Contributors to this thread:
Exo Mtn vs. Mystery Ranch??
I am gathering options, I am looking at purchasing a new lighter pack. I've narrowed it down to an Exo or Mystery ranch. They both have the same concept of being a pack ans meat hauler. I am not interested in hearing how amazing your kifaru or badlands pack is.
I have both and would hands down take the Exo over mystery. I've hauled out several moose with my exo 5500 and elk. I have recently purchased the Mystery Ranch Pintler, which I really like, for more of a day pack with meat hauling option. I hauled out one elk with it so far and it worked fine but imo the exo is easier to take down to meat more than the MR. Glad I have went with a lighter option for day hunts and a pack in bivy option, but I if were to buy one pack out of the two it would be the Exo.
Second on the exo 5500, light weight and versatile.
If those were my options I'd go Exo all day. Not that mystery ranch makes a bad pack.
Owned a exo3500 with the previous frame, not the current and the bag didnt suit me. The frame worked ok, although not my favorite by far for me especially with heavy loads. I didnt like it day pack mode as it was bit to stiff. I moved it along but I wouldnt rule out another exo pack in the future. I have MR metcalf, Pintler and Pop up 18. The guide light frame suits me very well, both with a light and heavy load, heavier then I would even consider(125 ish) . The pop up frame isnt a good with a heavy load ( over 80) but it excellent as day pack. I think it will suit a lot of people for day hunts. The guide lite frame is my second favorite frame to date all time.
Hey man I have the exo and used this yr for first time
The functionality is outstanding
I carried a max weight of 55# in pvc sand tubes to train over the summmer and handled it so much better than my previous rei pack
Unfortunately as you know I didn’t get an elk on ground yet today o really test it out
I can’t commit on the mystery ranch but the exo is outstanding
Good luck man
My EXO handles weight very well. Does not shift around, fits well, I really like the bag lay out.
EXO is an outstanding pack. A little more expensive than the MR but not much.
MR is also made overseas, EXO is not.
My mystery ranch was short and heavy. Pick the one that fits, meets your weight expectations, and go with it.
I had a mystery ranch met calf. It was built like a tank but never was comfortable and I was always rubbed raw. It was also about 7 lbs and lacked the functionality that I was looking for so I sold it and picked up a exo3500. I LOVE the exo. Last year I used it to train with 55 lbs, I packed out two entire antelope and i used it as a stand hauler for public land whitetails.
I just purchased a MR Pintler this year and really like it. I did a 7 day back pack elk hunt out of it(didn’t pack an elk unfortunately). Then did a Nebraska deer hunt, and packed out an entire quartered whitetal(which really isn’t that heavy).
I’ve tried both, prefer Exo.
I'm a bit biased, never tried the Exo but I have had the mystery ranch Metcalf since last summer and I am thrilled with it. The most weight I've had in it was 90 pounds (Training weight, not meat) and while the particular hike I was on sucked, it performed well and I was as comfortable as one could be. I have used it to hunt elk in Idaho, mule deer in western SD, and whitetails in eastern SD and I have zero complaints about it. But like I said, the only things i really have to compare it too are a Marine Corps ruck, a Badlands (unsure the model as it was a hand me down) and the POS Army Ruck sack that I was issued. I have no doubt that the Exo is also a phenomenal pack and i hope to try it someday.
I ordered an EXO (3500) and a MR Metcalf at the same time. I took my time evaluating both. I'm not going into all the variables here, but a few highlights for me: EXO was a fine pack but the frame and suspension were too minimalistic for my preferences. MR was far more substantial but also over a full pound heavier. The yoke/harness of the MR was way more comfortable under heavy load for me. I put the exact same load weight in each pack and did a couple test hikes. The extra weight of the NICE frame was lost on me, as the MR pack carried the 80 pound load in relative comfort and rigidity. The EXO pack (loaded) was anything but comfortable for me, and felt like it had far more flexibility under load than what I prefer. The EXO was a very slick pack and I liked several things about it (the bag) but the performance under heavy load didn't suit me at all, and I kept the MR pack.
For the record, I'm not an automatic advocate of MR. The Metcalf was and is a great pack bag but I came to dislike the extreme 'strappiness' and a few other things about the bag. The frame never disappointed me in any way. I now own a Pintler and I'm convinced MR actually made the frame (Guide Lite) a better overall performer than the NICE frame which preceded it. I've been carrying the Pintler since it was first released by MR and still haven't found a pack-and-frame which suits me better for the combination of 1) daily hunting pack and 2) heavy meat carrier. To be clear, not every hunt can be covered (well) with one pack.
Anyway, I've always advocated for guys to buy the 2, 3 or 4 packs they are most interested in. Put the bill on your cc and get them all together at once for a head-to-head evaluation. Only then can you really know which one is best for you. I've never had a problem returning a (tested) pack as long as all tags are on it, it's clean and looks new. Of course I am upfront with the company when I order or return.