Stone Glacier launches a new pack that calls back to the brand’s creation a decade ago.
Before there was Stone Glacier, there was a man learning to sew together a backpack for sheep hunting. The result caught the eye of friends and fellow hunters, and things escalated from there.
Recently, the brand has updated its classic Solo pack (with more volume) and resurrected its flagship Terminus pack with an entirely new build. It also introduced new sleeping bags, tents, and apparel pieces to its growing line.
We spoke with Kurt Racicot, Stone Glacier’s founder and lead designer, to learn how the brand started and how backcountry hunting still informs its detailed designs.
It all began with Racicot’s passion for sheep hunting in Alaska. “Most of the areas I was going into — because of time and the distance — if you could make it all the way out with all of your gear and the entire animal, then you could really extend your range,” he explained.
He scaled down his equipment, adopting the minimalist principles of ultralight backpackers at the time. However, the missing piece was a lightweight backpack that could meet the needs for hauling out sheep and gear. Racicot tried a few alpine shapes, but they didn’t have the load capacity, and most lacked the volume. So he took matters into his own hands.
“In very short order, once I taught myself to sew, it started to take on an entirely different design. So that’s really where it started. It was just the motivation of making one better for what I was doing with it,” he said.
The initial prototypes were pretty rough, he admitted. Racicot began with existing packs, cut those apart, and tried to Frankenstein them together. He soon found that trying to match one frame with another bag was a difficult task, especially when he tried to get the hardware to fit his own 6’4” frame.
By 2012, friends and fellow hunters had shown enough interest to try out his pack that he found a manufacturer that would make 30 of each. Those quickly sold, and he used the profits to find another round of production, upping the ante to 100 backpacks.
Ten years after its founding, Stone Glacier is now a full-fledged brand. Headquartered in Bozeman, Mont., it makes backcountry-ready backpacks and lightweight frames, apparel, tents, sleeping bags, and other outdoor essentials.
Coming Full Circle
Once Racicot finally whittled his first hunting pack down to 5 pounds with 6,000 cubic inches in volume, he named it the Terminus. It was later discontinued, but it was the start of the brand’s interchangeable pack and frame designs that followed.
The Solo pack, then with a 3,000-cubic-inch volume, was part of his initial run of packs too. As a customer favorite, the Solo has stayed in production and now comes with a 3,600-cubic-inch capacity.
Conversely, the Terminus returns with a completely new design. Unlike the rest of Stone Glacier’s interchangeable designs, the Terminus 7000 is attached to the frame.
“It has a load cell on the internal frame for carrying the meat,” Racicot said. “It separates away from the gear so it keeps the densest part of the load closest to your back, but it also separates the meat so you don’t get blood and all of that into your gear.”
For the new Terminus, Racicot sat down with a list of parameters like size, volume, and weight. Then, he started going through the materials available to get there.
“The design philosophy was almost exactly the same as the first pack came about,” he said.
Like any designer, Racicot has his own calculus for choosing fabrics for his gear. For Stone Glacier, that means a lot of CORDURA 500, primarily for breathability and because it’s quieter than laminates.
“If you have any wet gear that goes into a pack, the heat from the outside will draw that moisture back out,” he said.
Once it’s broken in, it should have a softer feel. And, of course, there’s a visual appeal factor, with CORDURA 500 available in plenty of colors.
The stronger laminate fabrics are used in high-tension areas, like around the frame. Racicot explained those areas usually don’t see rubbing, so noise is less of a concern.
“The water-resistant laminates are also used in areas where game will be carried to prevent blood from soaking through,” Racicot said. “It makes it easier to clean too.”
Likewise, the laminate fabrics are used on the top of the pack’s shoulder straps to fight against water or snow soaking into the foam cushioning.
Stone Glacier apparel also incorporates Racicot’s years of experience navigating the backcountry. The brand’s jackets are made to flex in the elbow and have longer cuffs to keep wrists covered while glassing or shooting. The hoods are shaped to fit close to the head and leave room for peripheral vision. The pants are made with front-facing pockets and for use with knee pads.
Below, we run through Stone Glacier gear and apparel with alpine hunting and hiking design features.
Stone Glacier Hunting Packs and Apparel
Higher-Volume Solo Pack
The new, higher-volume Solo pack has a 3,600-cubic-inch capacity and weighs 1 pound 8 ounces (4 pounds 9 ounces on a Medium Xcurve frame). It has a 150-plus-pound load rating thanks to its four carbon fiber composite stays configured in an “X.” This construction is meant to complement the contours of the lumbar and upper back, improving weight distribution and comfort under heavy loads.
Additionally, the “X” stay configuration is designed to increase both vertical frame strength and eliminate any lateral shift, especially for loads over 100 pounds.
New to this pack is a pocket for a spotting scope. It works as a minimalist multiday backpack and is sized to fit ultralight four-season gear and a week’s worth of food. It offers access through a lid panel zip, includes room for a hydration sleeve, and is compatible with the brand’s 2,500-plus-cubic-inch expandable load shelf.
There’s a reason this versatile pack has been in production since day one.
Built for high-alpine mountain hunters and adventurers, this pack boasts up to 7,000 cubic inches of space from its 4,300-cubic-inch main bag in bivy mode, 500-cubic-inch lid, and a collapsible, 2,200 cubic-inch internal load cell. The Terminus has a 150-plus-pound load rating and weighs under 4 pounds.
It uses waterproof laminate fabric designed to resist abrasion and tears. The sacrifice is a bit of noise, but this is more for rifle hunts than bows. Additionally, Stone Glacier uses waterproof X-Pac fabric for the frame and suspension.
De Havilland Lite Pant
Stone Glacier created a lighter version of its bestselling pants using a nylon double-weave for early-season hunts or backpacking. The Havilland Lite weighs 1 pound 3 ounces, which is 5 ounces lighter than the original.
It keeps the brand’s Contour Waist System, designed to reduce the pressure points common with traditional pack belts. It also allows for up to 3 inches of waist adjustment for an exact fit and to accommodate layering.
The pants have an athletic fit with articulated knees that are compatible with pads, as well as front-facing cargo pockets and an internal cellphone sleeve.
Chinook Merino Hoody
The Chinook is made from Merino6, a merino-nylon blend designed to wick moisture, dry fast, and naturally resist odor-causing bacteria. It fits close to the body and has a fitted hood for extended face coverage. The shoulder seams are off the shoulder to avoid rubbing from pack straps.
SQ2 Alpine Boot Gaiters
These waterproof boot gaiters are made from a breathable ripstop Hydrashield upper and double-layered X-Pac lower. Made with durability in mind, the gaiters employ a patent-pending Contrail Bootstrap, which combines Dyneema rope, a pinless buckle, and adjustable nylon webbing.
This article is sponsored by Stone Glacier. Find more of its backcountry packs and gear online.