The Complete Guide to Stone Glacier Hunting Packs

Author / Justin Helvik, Avid Outdoorsman

Why Stone Glacier Packs?

In 2012, Kurt Racicot set out on a mission to build a strong, simple, ultralight pack that met the demands of the backcountry hunter. At the time, no hunting-specific pack existed that withstood the abuse of hunting and could transform into a load-hauling machine. Built tough with no fluff, Stone Glacier packs deliver everything the backcountry hunter needs in an ultralight package. From the original Sky Solo to the newest Terminus Series featuring an ultra high-molecular-weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) fabric, there is a pack to fill every hunter’s niche whether you’re on a 10-day Dall Sheep hunt or cruising the prairie for speed goats.

Which Frame is Right for You?

Stone Glacier offers two load-hauling frame options: the Krux and the Xcurve. Both frames integrate with all SG Bags and include an integrated Load Shelf designed to carry quarters and other game meat.

Which hunting frame is right for you will depend upon the shape of your back. The XCurve has a carbon fiber frame that anatomically matches the curvature of your lower-back and torso for unmatched load-bearing comfort. More contact with your back equals more surface area contact and load displacement resulting in a more comfortable packout. For those who have a straighter back, the Krux will likely match your back better. The best way to determine which frame is right for you is to try the frame on without 30+ pounds of weight in it. Adjust the fit according to the video in the “Proper Pack Fitting” section below. If the frame is not comfortable, you may need to try a different frame, which SG Customer Service can help you with.

In addition, Stone Glacier offers several internal frame packs without a Load Shelf for those who are looking for a streamlined, ultralight option. The Terminus Packs feature an internal frame, which is also capable of hauling more than you can physically carry. Even the largest Terminus Pack (8700 cubic inches) weighs in at 4 lbs. 4 oz. For missions like scouting that don’t require load-hauling capability, the Tokeen 2600, Kiowa 3200, and Avail 2200 are all great options depending on your needs.

Proper Pack Fitting

No pack in the world will feel right if not properly fitted. In general, many people often wear their pack too low on their hips. The waistband of our belt should wrap around the center of your iliad crest (top of hip bone). The shoulder straps should come into complete contact with your chest, shoulders, and back with no gaps in between your body and the pack. A good place to start is to align the shoulder strap where the color transitions with your collarbone.

Part of the ingenuity of Stone Glacier packs is modularity and adjustability. Not only can you adjust the shoulder straps by moving them up and down, but you can also angle them to fit your body’s contours to really get a precise fit. Additionally, you can adjust the lumbar pad in your belt by sliding the foam insert up or down to adjust points of pressure. When loading up your pack, the heaviest items should be snug against your back. This is why the Load Shelf is located tight against the frame so you can comfortably pack meat out after a successful hunt. When packing for overnight trips, start by placing your sleeping bag at the bottom of the bag. Avoid placing heavy, dense items at the very bottom or very top of your bag.

Modularity & Versatility

Once outfitted with the proper frame, you can own several packs without having to start from ground zero. From the Approach 2800 for day hunts to the voluminous Sky Guide 7900, you can be outfitted for literally any hunt. With several bag options that fit both the Krux and Xcurve frames, you can swap bags for whatever endeavor you embark on. This innovative system is designed to be malleable for any hunt or situation. Attaching a new bag is simple; in only a few minutes, you can transform your pack system without having to break the bank.

If you want to keep it simple or if you’re on budget and only have one bag, even the largest SG bags can compress down like an accordion. When using our Sky Series packs, you can pile gear up high or scrunch it down for a streamlined pack. You can even ditch the lid, employ Bivy Mode and go ultralight and sleek for the hunt. The modularity and versatility of Stone Glacier packs is unmatched, setting you up for literally any hunt or scouting trip.

Pack Accessories

Stone Glacier packs are built with a minimalist mindset. Extra pockets and zippers all add ounces, and ounces make pounds. We let you customize your storage as you see fit and offer a variety of accessories to suit your needs. Swing Out Pockets are the perfect accessory for all of those smaller, miscellaneous items that you need quick access to. They are perfect for a backcountry med kit, which we now conveniently offer already fully equipped. Camp Pockets are great for larger items, including a kill kit. With two sizes of hip pockets equipped with internal elastic bands that work great for bullet organization, you can really customize your setup for the hunt. There are a variety of water storage accessories to fit your preference, whether it is a water bladder inside your pack or a Nalgene bottle at your fingertips outside the pack.

With Stone Glacier packs, carrying your bow or rifle on your pack no longer has to be a hassle. Being hands-free and putting your mind at ease that your weapon is safe and secure is critical during hunts. During archery season, there are times when you will be hiking in the dark to your coveted spot or no longer need your bow readily available. Attaching your bow to your pack is simple by using the two front compression straps to secure your bow to your pack.

For rifles, you can attach your firearm securely while still being able to access it within seconds if the occasion arises. The Quick Release Weapon Sling allows you to carry the weight of your rifle distributed on your pack, making it tremendously more comfortable to carry. No more sore shoulders as the weight is transferred directly to your pack, and you don’t have to worry about your rifle slipping off of your shoulder as you charge up the mountain. Attaching the Quick Release Sling only takes a few minutes, and you will be thankful you did. All SG Frame packs, including the Xcurve, Krux, and Terminus frames can be equipped with a sling.

Load Shelf

After you connect and ride the emotions of a successful kill, it will be time to put the Load Shelf to work. Start by separating the bag from the frame to unveil the Load Shelf. The shelf is strategically positioned against the frame so that the heaviest weight is carried tight against your back and vertically in the middle or upper two thirds. Once the meat is loaded into the shelf, start by tightening the Load Shelf itself. Reattach the bag starting with the bottom straps and work your way up to the top of the pack. Once you are wearing the pack, the last step is to tighten those load lifters. When adjusting your shoulder straps and hip belt, try keeping the bulk of the weight on your hips. A good frame of reference is to keep 60% of the weight concentrated on your hips and 40% on your shoulders. However, you will find yourself wanting to constantly shift weight from one to the other during long pack outs to help relieve tension, which is typical.

Pro Tip: Carry your kill kit tucked away in the Load Shelf, sandwiched between your frame and bag. This creates less clutter in your bag during your hunt and it will be accessible when you actually need it.

Elk Rack Attachment

If fortunate enough to get a bull elk down, you can lash the antlers on top of your Stone Glacier lid a couple of different ways. A preferred method is to carry a couple of Compression Strap Extender Kits in your kill kit. First, attach the extension straps to the tag end of the bag-to-frame straps so you have enough strap to work with wrapping around the base of the antler and crossing over to the opposite top/side compression strap tag end where you will secure it. Following the same steps for the other side. This method is the most secure way to attach the skull and provides plenty of adjustment/tightening points so you can comfortably position it in place while making the slog back to camp or the truck. You can accomplish nearly the same goal by using the lid of your pack if you have one or by using your frame-to-bag straps to wrap around the antler and back over to the opposite side and attach to the bag.

Pack Cleaning

Maintaining your gear is important. Once you’re home and you've off loaded the fruits of your labor, give your pack a good cleaning. Keeping your pack clean will help maintain its integrity and extend the life of your pack. All you need is warm water, mild soap, a stiff bristled brush, and a tub or container. If your significant other or roommate finds the aroma of ungulate scent glands and freshly cut meat unpleasant, then we suggest using a large tote and moving your cleaning operation outside.

Start by detaching the bag from the frame and opening all of the zippers and compartments on your bag. Clear out all debris from those nooks and crannies before you begin soaking your pack in the tub or container. Use the brush to remove any grime from noticeably soiled areas. We recommend soaking your bag for a couple of hours before you begin your final cleanse and rinse. Rinse with clean water, repeat as necessary until the water comes out clean, and hang upside down to dry.

From fit to rinse, Stone Glacier is here to help you on your hunting journey. Do not hesitate to reach out to our awesome customer service team if you have any questions.

About the Author: Justin Helvik is a fourth generation Montana native who lives for adventure in the outdoors. He and his family live in Bozeman, MT where he is currently an educator. His passions are his family, working with students, and exploring the great unknown.