Mystery Ranch Terraframe 65

Best suspension of any large pack

Brand: Mystery Ranch

Model: Terraframe 65

Overall Rating: 4.8

Suspension • 5.0

For packrafters, overpackers, or anyone who’s just gotta have that second case of beer, the Terraframe offers a unique solution originally conceived for backcountry hunting: a 7-inch-deep shelf that accordions out from between the main packbag and backpanel. The shelf provides you a spot to load your heaviest gear right against a reinforced carbon-fiber lattice frame (which, by the way, is rated to carry up to 150 pounds). Thank a maximalist engineering approach for that best-in-test load capacity: Four vertical carbon stays provide rigidity and transfer weight to the hips, and four horizontal stays (also carbon) provide stability as well as enough torsional flex to avoid pack sway. The beefy load lifters and hipbelt keep weight against the spine even when the shelf is extended. “Best pack I’ve ever used,” says one Alaska tester, who carried 94 pounds of food and field equipment in Denali National Park. “The weight transfer is so good, my shoulders felt more comfortable the more I loaded it down. They never ended up sore.” Tradeoff: The Terraframe is the priciest pack in the test. 

Comfort • 4.8 

The Terraframe’s taut, grid-like frame doesn’t leave much room for ventilation channels in the backpanel. However, testers reported no more swamping than average; credit the open-cell (rather than the usual closed-cell) foam. The broad hipbelt’s plush padding kept up with oversize loads by spreading weight across the hips, eliminating hot spots.  

Features • 4.3

Two zipper sliders let us access various points of the full dorsal U-zip without exploding an overstuffed pack, though we liked having the option to flay it fully open to fish for gear. We also loved the easy-access water bottle pockets and the dual vertical dorsal pockets for extra layers. Dings: The toplid opening is small, inhibiting access, and while the hipbelt wings sport daisy-chain webbing, there are no pockets.

Durability • 4.9 

Dense, 330-denier Cordura nylon, sturdy buckles, and a PU coating on the zippers all boost durability, which our Alaska tester appreciated during thorny, off-trail hiking. “The pack shows little wear, even after three days of bushwhacking in shrub birch and tall willow in Denali,” he says.

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