The Mystery Ranch Beartooth 80 is a rugged hunting backpack that’s perfect for multi-day backpack hunting and can handle up to a week’s worth of gear or more if you pack light. It is completely different than anything else in the Mystery Ranch hunting pack lineup largely due to the innovative zipper and bag configuration. The Beartooth is also a comfortable backpack to wear with a wide range of sizing options with a unique yoke that allows for a near custom-fit that’s hard to duplicate in other pack lines with pre-set adjustments. This pack has some features that will make it particularly appealing to anyone looking for one do-it-all hunting pack. This pack was designed to be used in the harshest of outdoor environments which often includes cross-country travel through heavy brush, weather extremes, and rough terrain.
Specs at a Glance
- Weight: 100 oz (size XL)
- Volume: 5187cu-in (85L)
- Dimensions: 30.25”x15”x16.5”
- Color options: Coyote (tan), Foliage (green), and Optifade Subalpine Camo
- Gender: Unisex
- Frame: External Frame w/ Carbon Fiber support stays
- Pockets: 7, plus the main compartment
- Torso length range (multiple sizes available): 15″-24″
- Hip belt lengths range (multiple sizes available): 26″-39+”
- Materials: 500d Light plus, 330d Lite plus CORDURA fabric, YKK Zippers, SJ autolock buckles
- For complete specs and sizing, visit the Mystery Ranch Beartooth 80 product page
External Frame Breakaway Backpack
The Beartooth has a well-designed breakaway overload feature built into the pack which allows the bag to expand away from the frame to carry meat, antlers, or hide. This eliminates the need to put meat inside the pack bag and makes the heaviest of loads more stable and closer to your back (same fundamentals as regular backpacking), so carrying a very heavy load becomes a lot easier. The custom-developed SJ auto-lock buckles are strong, lightweight, and make transforming the pack into the overload function quick and easy.
Additionally, there is a 270-degree “duffle style” zipper, which makes access to items like food, jackets, and other gear easy to grab no matter where they are packed inside without having to pull everything out of your pack to find it. This feature provides a lot of flexibility and is a unique addition to the Mystery Ranch line-up which has always been innovative when it comes to pack access.
The first time I used this backpack was on a late August archery hunt. I had harvested a young cow elk and the morning was quickly warming up. I wanted to get the meat off the bone and off the mountain to cool. I had my 11-year-old son with me at the time, and we wanted to minimize the trips even though we were only a mile from the trailhead. We elected to load as much meat as we could carry into our packs. After stuffing the meat into T.A.G game bags, we loaded my pack on the edge of a deeply cut stream bank so that I didn’t have to lift the pack onto my back but rather slide it forward and let it settle onto my back. The overload feature worked as it was designed as we snugged the side straps down to stabilize the load against the frame. I can safely say that the Beartooth was loaded with a little North of 100 pounds.
The weight was heavy as the pack settled onto my back but once the hip belt and shoulder straps were adjusted the pack was astonishingly comfortable. On the way out, the pack rode remarkably well with no slop, slump, or excess shifting of the meat. The hip belt and shoulder straps were comfortable and did not pinch, rub, or chafe while under the load. The hike out was heavy but manageable with the assistance of my trekking poles. I recommend using trekking poles when carrying any backpack; they add a dimension of stability and safety especially when carrying heavy loads. I have since carried several other loads of varying weights using the overload feature. The Beartooth has performed flawlessly with plenty of well-placed straps and buckles to secure even the most awkward and unbalanced loads.
Backpack Organization and Storage
The Beartooth 80 has five external pockets and two internal pockets for gear organization. The face of the bag has a giant zippered front panel pocket which is useful for storing extra layers and gear. The two side stretch pockets are good for packing a water filter, snacks, rifle, spotting scope, or anything that you may want to access frequently during the day.
The lid has two large zippered pockets and is designed to be removed if you don’t need the extra space.
There’s a hydration pocket in the main compartment where you can hang a water reservoir if you choose to use one. I have found that this is a great way to carry extra water when needed because it helps center the weight closer to your core.
The main compartment is large and easily accessed through the 270-degree zipper. It is very useful in visualizing not only what you have packed, but how it is packed. This is handy when trying to balance the weight distributions within the pack. There are two internal zippered mesh pockets for items that you want to keep separate from the rest of your gear.
Backpack Frame and Suspension
The new Guide Light MT frame is an improved version of their original frame system but provides for a more customized and comfortable fit. The new frame has smaller carbon fiber supports stays that not only reduces weight, but adds to the flexibility, and overall adjustability of the yoke over a large range of torso lengths. Load lifters on the main pack help counter the backward tilt of a heavy pack, especially when the overload feature is extended, bringing the load closer to your back, and shifting more of the weight onto your hips.
The hip belt is segmented into 5 sections which are designed to wrap around your waist creating more contact points for a better fit and more comfortable ride with heavy loads. The hip belt can be canted to further customize the fit and adjustment. The outside of the hip belt features Molle webbing attachment points for a bear spray holster, forager pockets, or a range finder.
The hip belt is tensioned with a pull forward mechanism on each side, which makes it easy to adjust on the go. The sternum strap slides up and down along webbing attached to the shoulder pads and is easy to adjust.
In the backpacking world where ounces equal aches and pounds equals pain, the weight of this pack is considered moderate to heavy for a pack of this size. However, when considering the exclusive features, utility, and convenience of this pack, the added weight can be easily overlooked.
External Attachment and Compression System
For a larger pack, the Beartooth condenses remarkably well with the compression straps to make for a sound fitting, usable daypack that feels secure during any hike. Web keepers, which are strips of Velcro used to mind the loose webbing ends, keep the straps secured and tucked away until extra lengths are needed for pack expansion.
The position of the straps and buckles on the exterior of the pack are designed to allow fast and efficient gear or weapon attachment. A rifle is secured by sliding the butt of the gun into the stretch pocket on the side and using the three straps to secure it to the pack. Attaching a bow to the face of the pack is also quick and easy, with plenty of straps to secure it safely.
For example, attaching a bow to the face of the pack is also quick and easy with plenty of straps to secure it safely. Typically I take care to secure my bow upside down on the pack with the quiver and arrows facing down and to the outside. This allows the sight and arrow rest to face the body of the pack protecting them from accidental bumps and brush when hiking off-trail. The arrows themselves are a little more susceptible to dislodging in heavy brush, so I use a separate Velcro strap to secure them to the quiver to reduce that likelihood. Care must be taken when setting down the pack depending on the overall length of your bow so that the strings, cams, and limbs of the bow are not damaged. I usually attach my bow to my pack when traveling into the backcountry so that my hands are free to use trekking poles. Once I am in an area where the game is more likely, the bow comes off the pack and into my hands so I am ready for the possibility of a quick or unexpected shot opportunity.
Comparable Hunting Backpacks
|Make / Model||Volume||Weight||Price|
|Mystery Ranch Beartooth 80||80L||6 lbs 4oz||$550|
|Seek Outside Lannier 5400||88L||4 lbs 8 oz||$549|
|Seek Outside Goshawk 4800||79L||3 lbs 11 oz||$499|
|Kuiu Pro 6000 Full Kit||98L||5 lbs 10 oz||$569|
|Kifaru Mountain Warrior / Duplex Frame Lite||94L||5 lbs 13 oz||$632|
|Stone Glacier Sky 5900||97L||5 lbs 7 oz||$569|
|Exo Mtn Gear K3 4800||79L||5 lbs 9 oz||$649|
The Mystery Ranch Beartooth 80 Backpack is made with gear organization in mind and is a great pack for longer backcountry trips. For hunters familiar with the Mystery Ranch line of packs, the Beartooth is completely different than anything else in their hunting pack lineup, largely due to the new zipper and bag configuration, and fills the size void between their Metcalf and the Marshal packs. For those looking to travel a little further and stay a little longer, the Beartooth 80 might just be the perfect hunting pack for you.
I chose this pack over the competitors for three simple reasons: First, while a few other packs have similar overload features for game meat, The Mystery Ranch Beartooth 80 seemed to have a little more robust design that was extremely user friendly and easy to make adjustments on the go. Second, the yoke and hip belt offered the most comfortable fit for me, especially when adding weights of over thirty pounds to the pack. When making your own choice for a hunting pack, I would recommend adding some significant weight to the pack to test the ride and feel of the pack under load. Finally, the 270-degree zipper on this pack sealed the deal for me. It is so convenient to have near-effortless organized access to all of my gear when I am in the field. Overall, the Mystery Ranch Beartooth 80 has proved to be a functional and reliable do-it-all pack for my hunting needs.
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