A while back I mentioned my plan to swap my back pack and try something different, I ended up with a stone glacier sky 5900 attached to an x curve frame. I put about a year into this pack and have actually moved on to try out another pack just recently but I wanted to give a rundown on my thoughts of that set up over that time period I used it.
First thing to highlight is the fact that not all packs fit all people and that was what I ran into with the x curve. Though the frame had a lot of adjustability I never could find the sweet spot for me, at least not one as comfortable as my previous frame had been. Comfort with a pack is the top priority for me especially after you start to stack on the weight. As much I as I enjoyed the features of the pack and its layout nothing could make up for an imperfect comfort rating. Though this was my main determining factor on trying another pack I still found the pack and layout a great option for anyone who can find their comfort while underneath it.
The bag was able to adapt from a claimed 5900 with lid down to a slim profile bivy mode. This feature was one of my favorite parts of this bag. It was sewn to fold up on itself very cleanly which made it great as a day pack or a travel pack for normal family trips. I do not know if the claimed 5400 main bag was accurate or not but it did seem a touch on the smaller side compared to other bags I’ve ran. The workmanship and durability of the entire thing was top notch, I’m not gentle with gear and other than one small spot on the lid you couldn’t tell I’d even used the bag outdoors. I loved the full length zippers on the front pocket and the access pocket into the main bag with it’s full length zippers made entry a breeze. The front pocket easily fit my 82mm spotter in it and thanks to all the straps I could cinch down and keep everything tight and quiet.
The lid was easy to use, load, and remove whenever I saw fit and was sewn to shape so it laid across the bag very cleanly. The buckles all held up well, never seemed to back off on their own accord and had plenty of webbing to allow for extension. I did cut the sewn ends off of the bottom two straps and a few of the horizontal compression straps. I did this to allow me to quickly remove the bag from the frame, move over two buckles from the bag itself to the frame mounted straps which allowed me to strap things directly to the frame and built in meat shelf. This worked out great for workouts where I strapped on sand bags to the pack and would have worked great for a dedicated meat pack out if needed, all without needing your actual bag to keep it all together.
The largest issues I had with the build itself (and not the fit to my body) was that the bag didn’t cinch down to the frame as much as I would prefer. If you lifted by the bag instead of by the handle sewn to the frame it was very easy to lift the bag off the stays of the frame. This could be annoying especially when the bag was heavy and you had to set it down and get it back on the stays before lifting it up yet again. The other issue I had was the velcro of the shoulder straps, though it made adjustment easy it also was very noisy in times when lifting the bag by the shoulder straps and while getting your bag settled on your body. The velcro noise was usually not overly noticeable while hiking and the materials the bag and frame were made from was actually very quiet both in hot and cold temps which was a concern I had originally.
The hip pockets available from SG seemed small in size and tended to fight back when I tried to close them when mildly full. The strap system used to mount pockets to the hip belt did leave a great way for me to mount a holster which is something I’ve had trouble with on other belts. The water bottle attachment wasnt my favorite but I didn’t try it a lot as I was using bladders more often. Instead of running the stone glacier branded sleeve for my bladder I opted to use two carabiners attached to my msr dromedary bladder and then hooked to the inner loops of the bag. Whichever way you chose to hydrate though the bag doesnt have the best system worked out for holding your water and could use some updates in that area in my opinion.
Overall if the frame fits you I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend giving this lightweight streamlined combination a shot and see how you like it! Velcro is something I dont think belongs with any hunting gear and a small update for holding the bag to the stays tighter are the biggest things I’d want addressed. Accessory wise a quick simple spot to hang a bladder in every bag, a bigger belt pocket option and a better bottle holder for the nalgene guys would really tie a bow on a pretty great piece of gear.
Questions, comments, or disagreements? Dont hesitate to let me know!