Are you rough on your backpacks? Are you taking your pack somewhere it is sure to be abused, either by the elements, the work, the loads, your simian mates or some hellish combination thereof? If you answered yes to either of those questions, you should be looking at a Mystery Ranch pack. If you answered yes to both, Mystery Ranch should be at the top of your list, because they make some absolutely bombproof packs. For proof look no farther than their popularity in the military, where these packs have earned their reputation the old-fashioned way: supporting rough men in rough places.
Mystery Ranch basically overbuilds their packs. They use thicker thread, heavier nylon, and the toughest buckles they can find. The price you pay for all that is a modest increase in weight, but even that has an upside: Mystery Ranch packs carry comfortably under heavy loads that would make lesser packs cry and go home.
My first thought seeing the Mystery Ranch backpacking pack lineup was hey, they look a lot like the first serious pack I ever owned, a Dana Design ArcFlex Alpine that I bought in 1990 at Clem's Backpacking in Fairbanks, Alaska, with money I made working on the Exxon Valdez oil spill cleanup. That pack rocked, and if I'm not mistaken if you look up brick shithouse in the dictionary there is a picture of it there. It turns out that Mystery Ranch is the same people, and after strapping on their new Glacier pack I can say with certainty the packs are better than ever.
The Glacier is a 70 liter pack that has all that, with the features you want in an extended outing. Rather than give the whole tick list – believe me they're all there – let's look at a couple things that make the Glacier uber-cool. First is the separate sleeping bag compartment at the bottom, with its own bellowed zipper for ease of access. Second is the pair of vertical "torpedo pockets" on the front, which make storing and accessing bulky but lightweight shell and insulation layers a breeze. Third, the top lid is split into two compartments fore-and-aft, each with its own zipper, great for organizing smaller items like hats and gloves. Fourth, the Glacier come with printed instructions for dialing in the fit, something a lot of pack-makers omit, presuming you'll find it online. Which you will, but still, it's nice to have to have the piece of paper so you can get right to it.
So features are fine, but how's it carry? Fan-friggin-tastic, thankyouverymuch, and with as much weight as you can stuff into it. Both the hip belt and the S-curved shoulder straps are heavily padded, and they work with the beefy framesheet and stays to help you manage big loads over multiple days. The Mystery Ranch Glacier is a great pack for anyone who values durability, reliability and comfort. And at the listed price, it's a bargain to boot.