By SG Founder & Lead Designer Kurt Racicot / Photos by Sam Averett
Our approach to designing hunting gear is a continual process of bringing our experience as hunters into the design room, challenging our own preconceptions, staying on the bleeding edge of technology, testing in the field, redesigning, testing again, and sometimes even starting the whole process over. We do not bring products or features to market just because we can. Everything must be intentional to enhance the mountain hunter’s experience and not distract from it.
All of this revolves around the hunt, and our demands as hunters are unique. We not only seek to venture into remote places few other people go, but we also must outwit wild animals in their domain, kill them with humane precision, and retrieve the meat and trophy in a timely manner. When you are 10 miles from your truck or a plane ride from the nearest trace of civilization — especially with an animal down — the latest trends and opinions mean nothing. You just need your gear to work like it’s supposed to, and you need to get the goods home.
When we created the first Stone Glacier pack, the goal was simple: create an ultralight hunting pack that can instantly transition from the hunt to the packout. Ten years later, we offer complete gear systems for the hunter — from packs to apparel, shelters, and sleeping systems — but the ethos remains the same.
Cutting the weight of hunting gear while enhancing its capability continues to be Stone Glacier’s north star.
Our design process hinges on three questions: 1) What are the absolute necessary functions? 2) What are the necessary feature sets? 3) What are the luxuries? This hierarchy informs every product we make.
The new Terminus 8700 is a perfect example. This pack is specialized for extended alpine backpack hunting for sheep, goats, and mule deer. With this in mind, we began the process of creating the lightest and most capable pack possible.
What are the necessities for this hunter? First, the hunter needs the volume to carry all of their gear. That’s a lot of gear for a two-week hunt, which means the pack itself must also be very light. Second, the hunter needs to use the pack on the hunt, so the pack needs to cinch down for practical use on a stalk. Third, the hunter needs to be able to pack out the meat and all of their gear.
What features will make a positive impact for this hunter in the field? When you’re covering long mountain miles often in search of a lone animal, quick access to a spotter, tripod, and weapon are critical. Likewise, when you’re in the field for up to two weeks, keeping total pack weight down makes travel faster and reduces effort.
Lastly, what are the luxuries for this hunter? We start with a list of nice-to-haves and then separate the wheat from the chaff. Gear organization is nice, but is it critical under a time crunch in a hunting situation? No. Extra fabric and zippers make ounces, and ounces make pounds. In other words, is the squeeze worth the juice?
This is where the line was drawn for the Terminus 8700, and the result is a pack capable of a two-week wilderness hunt at an unprecedented weight of 4 lbs. 4 oz. While every product is different, the same concept applies to everything we make: start by identifying the specific purpose of the product and then build the design and feature sets based on that. This is how we continue to redefine the capabilities of ultralight.
This story first appeared in the 2023 Stone Glacier catalog. If you want a paper copy of the catalog delivered to your mailbox, consider joining our catalog mailing list.