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Stone Glacier Cirque 6200 Internal Frame Pack

Paul Forward reviews the Stone Glacier Cirque 6200 Internal Frame Pack for Blister Gear Review.

Stone Glacier Cirque 6200

Stone Glacier Cirque 6200 Internal Frame Pack

Stated weight:

  • 6200 mode weight – 4.08 lbs
  • 4000-5700 Bivy mode weight – 3. 78 lbs

Blister’s Measured Weight (with three-piece waist belt option):

  • 6200 mode weight – 4.3 lbs
  • 4000-5700 Bivy mode weight – 4 lbs

Stated Features:

  • 130+ lb. load rating
  • 6200 cubic inches main bag and lid
  • 4000 cubic inches in bivy mode (no lid, compressed)
  • External side pocket, 2 internal pockets (with capability to add 2 more Swing Out pockets)
  • Hydration compatible
  • 32″ center zip for access to main bag
  • Ice tool loops
  • Belt attachments
  • Heavy duty YKK #10 center zipper
  • Cordura 500 and Xpac fabric
  • Double layer bottom, interior panel X-pac for water resistance
  • Heavy duty, 1″ Duraflex military approved buckles and webbing

MSRP: $489

Test Locations: Chugach mountains ski traverse/packraft trip; multiple Alaskan wilderness packraft trips; Afognak Island, Alaska backpack hunting; Kodiak Island backpack hunting; Alaskan arctic slope backpack hunting

Days Used: 40+

Introduction

Stone Glacier is a relatively new company that specializes in making lightweight backpacks that can handle very heavy loads. If you browse their website, you’ll quickly notice that a lot of their marketing and photos are geared toward hunters, but they are expanding their lineup into packs for general mountain travel.

The Cirque 6200 is one of Stone Glacier’s first entries into the general mountain pack world, and according to Stone Glacier, “From ski touring to ice climbing to pounding out miles on the trail, the Cirque is designed to get you and your gear to farther off the beaten path.” In addition Stone Glacier claims that any of their packs using they “Krux Frame” — including the Cirque 6200 — can carry “130+ pounds.”

Paul Forward reviews the Stone Glacier Cirque 6200 Internal Frame Pack for Blister Gear Review.

Paul Forward in the Stone Glacier Cirque 6200.

It is very rare for me to go on any kind of backpacking or hiking trip without bringing a packraft, skis, ropes, hunting or fishing gear, or some combination thereof. And once I add anywhere from 1-12 days of food and camping gear, it’s easy for me to be carrying a pack that can exceed 60 or even 80 lbs, sometimes quite a bit more.

In the past I’ve gone back and forth between trying to save 3-4 pounds of backpack weight and suffering with lightweight packs that don’t carry heavy loads well, versus carrying heavy, well-built internal frame packs that often weigh more than 7 or 8 pounds for the pack alone.

So the prospect of a 3-4 lb pack that could handle loads in excess of 100 lbs was appealing to me. After discussing this with a friend who works full-time as a hunting guide and regularly carries over 100 lbs in his Stone Glacier packs for long distances in relative comfort, I felt compelled to try one out.

Design

The frame used in the Cirque 6200 is the Krux Frame. According to Stone Glacier, it is essentially “4 carbon composite stays encased in Xpac fabric with an integral frame sheet.”

When manipulating the frame by hand, it is quite stiff and light with significant resistance to torsional or longitudinal flexion. The Xpac fabric is a tough and waterproof material, and it is stretched across the entire expanse of the frame which provides a non-breathable waterproof barrier between the user’s back and the contents of the pack.

The pack bag itself is made of Cordura 500, which is a relatively common material on backpacks. It is water resistant and quite abrasion resistant.

The buckles and webbing are all full 1” spec, in contrast to many lightweight packs on the market that use narrower buckles and webbing. I suspect that this is an intentional weight sacrifice for a more secure and durable compression and suspension system.

Also available from Stone Glacier are Auto-Lock buckles that can be purchased separately to create an even more secure compression system.

The pack is a traditional top-loader style with a large amount of extra material at the closure to stuff in extra gear. The drawstrings seem quite robust, as are the cord locks.

Running along the back center of the pack is a heavy gauge rubber-backed zipper that allows access to the main pack bag. Sewn along the inner sides of the zipper are several silnylon pockets to help organize small pieces of gear inside to the large bag. The pack bag does feature a hydration tube port, but you’ll have to buy the hydration bag holder separately which mounts inside the pack back against the frame via 2 sewn-in tri-slide attachments.

The lid is light, simple, and contoured to wrap over top of the loaded pack with minimal impact on the volume of the lid. The buckles on the lid are are opposing male / female so that the lid compression straps can be clicked together to make it into a minimalist 500 cubic inch courier-style bag.

In the case of the Cirque 6200, the pack bag is sewn directly onto the frame, as are the compression straps along the sides of the pack. This is in contrast to most of the other packs in the Stone Glacier line, which feature a Krux Frame that is removable from the pack body. The benefit of the sewn-on design of the Cirque (versus the detachable/modular Stone Glacier packs) is that it’s a bit lighter for the same size pack, and the pack is a bit more securely and stably attached to the frame.

Paul Forward reviews the Stone Glacier Cirque 6200 Internal Frame Pack for Blister Gear Review.

Paul Forward in the Stone Glacier Cirque 6200.

However, the modular design of the other Stone Glacier packs does have some interesting advantages. I’ll expand on this below, but the primary features of the modular setup are that (1) you can swap out your pack bag to a different size or style to suit different kinds of trips, and (2) you can squeeze heavy, wet, awkward, or extra gear between the frame and the pack — which can be a really nice feature for certain trips.

Fit

When purchasing a Stone Glacier pack, the only fit decision you have to make is the waist belt size. I can’t comment on the other size waist belts, but with my 33” waist, the size Medium has provided a perfect fit with plenty of extra strap length and space to cinch it down to the pack tight for heavy loads.

All Stone Glacier packs have a hook-and-loop shoulder strap adjustment. At 6’ tall, I was easily able to dial in the fit using the fit video on the Stone Glacier site, and it seems that there is a lot of room on the frame for those much taller than I. On the other end of the spectrum, I can almost make the shoulder strap assembly small enough for my girlfriend who is quite petite and just over 5’3” tall. We have not set her up with any weight in the pack yet, but I think we could make it work. And I suspect that Stone Glacier can probably set you up with a good fit if you happen to fall outside of the normal sizing spectrum since they are open to custom projects.

NEXT: Belt Options, Bivy Mode, Etc.

2 Comments

  1. zjh July 28, 2016 Reply

    “For going as light as possible on adventures that involve heavy loads of food, gear, or other toys, I haven’t tried or seen anything on the market that compares to the Stone Glacier packs.”

    Have you considered McHale custom packs?

  2. Blister Member
    mike August 1, 2016 Reply

    Other packs to look at would be mystery ranch and kifaru. I own 2 kifaru packs and both have been bullet proof. Have owned my 7000cu for about 10 years. Their customer service is also top notch.

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