Tag Archives | Oneiros Valley

Oneiros Valley Mean Pad – In Stock

Oneiros Valley understands the Mystery Ranch NICE Frame like no one else. There are 2 main criticisms of the otherwise excellent frame – the short stay height and the flat back contour – and Oneiros Valley has set out to address them both. They addressed the frame height with the LLP (which I previously reviewed) and they have addressed the flat back with the Mean Pad (previously mentioned here).


The Mean Pad is an accessory lumber pad for the NICE Frame that serves a few purposes based on how it is used. For the typical hunter/hiker, it serves to add comfort and support in the lower back area. For the military user, it can serve to fill in the gap under hard armor and allow the hip belt to transfer weight to the hips for effectively.

The level of padding is adjustable. The hiker/hunter may need only a small amount of padding while the military user will likely need all the padding they can get to over come their issues with body armor.

The MEAN Pad is available in two versions. Both can be installed without permanent modifications to your NICE Frame. The Hunter version attached via ladderlocks while the Military version uses side release buckles which are slightly heavier but easier to install and uninstall.

Check out MEAN Pad at Oneiros Valley. It is in stock and ready to ship.

Review: Oneiros Valley LLP

The Mystery Ranch NICE Frame was originally designed for shorter, military packs like the venerable ALICE pack. These packs are often designed to be wider rather than taller like civilian packs and so the NICE Frame is fairly short to accommodate the packs it was designed to support.

The problem with shorter pack frames is that their stays do not sit high enough over the shoulder for load lifter straps to work correctly. This meant that as a 6’ 1” tall person with a long torso, the NICE Frame that I own never really fit me well.

I lived with the short frame because I liked the capabilities that the NICE Frame offered but, more and more, I found myself reaching for other packs… that is until I saw the Oneiros Valley LLP.

Oneiros Valley LLP


The LLP, or Load Lifter Panel, is made from a mix of thin HDPE, webbing, various buckles, and either carbon fiber or fiberglass stays. The fiberglass stay version weighs 9.8 ounces and the carbon fiber stay version weighs just 7.9 ounces.

It is designed to strap securely to your NICE Frame without modification. It can provide up to 6” of additional frame height!

Oneiros Valley LLP Installed Oneiros Valley LLP  Installed Top Oneiros Valley LLP Installed Bottom

Observations from Use

Does it work? You bet it does.

I had no lift at all with the standard NICE Frame. The top of the frame was actually BELOW the crests of my shoulders which means the load lifter straps did next to nothing. Without lift, heavy loads were free to pull down and back, transferring a significant portion of the load’s weight to my shoulders rather than where it should be which is on the hips via the waist belt.

The LLP makes a startling difference. It feels like an entirely new frame. Once installed, I found that I had plenty of lift. Tightening the load lifter straps pulls the weigh back toward my back which causes it to sit down over the waist belt better, effectively transferring most of the weight to my hips. It is like magic. I can’t stress enough how much of a difference the LLP makes for me.

Installation was a bit challenging since I didn’t have instructions but I figured it out by looking at the pictures on the Oneiros Valley site. It wasn’t hard at all. I just didn’t know what I was doing at first. Now, they have thoughtfully released a video that shows the installation.

Oneiros Valley LLP Lifters

I would recommend doing some experimentation with the height that you set the LLP so you can find a happy medium that provides some lift but doesn’t block your head in the prone. One of the strengths of the LLP is that it is adjustable for height. That may not be a big deal for a hiker but for a hunter or soldier who may have to shoot from the prone, it is a huge deal. When you go prone, you have to lift your head to use the sights on your rifle which is impossible if your frame is too tall (hence one of the reasons why military packs are often shorter). A tall pack frame will physically block you from lifting your head. I imagine it is even worse if you are wearing a helmet.

If you are not wearing a helmet, you may be able to go prone with the LLP at full height since the stays are not tied together which means they can spread and flex around your head. You wouldn’t want to stay that way for long since the frame pushes back against your head and neck, but it is doable.

Oneiros Valley LLP Lifter Buckle

I don’t normally mention price on JTT unless it is an integral part of the product. I prefer to let you decide what a product’s value is. In this case however, it should be pointed out that the LLP costs only $35 which is very inexpensive compared to similar offerings. That is a lot easier to swallow on a frame that is already quite expensive on its own.

I should also note that if you, like me, plan on using this with the Mystery Ranch Crew Can, Load Sling, and/or Metcalf, you will also need the $5 Buckle Adapter.

Oneiros Valley LLP Buckle Adapter

While you are at it, pick up a set of the $5 OV Belt Guides too. They are easy to install and make it so you can pull forward to adjust your NICE Frame waist strap which is far easier and gives you some mechanical advantage when you need to really cinch it down. They are like magic too. Seriously, do it.

Wrap Up

I think the functionality and adjustable height make the LLP a home run. The fact that it also happens to be the least expensive option is just the cherry on top. I had no lift with the NICE Frame before and now I have plenty. It is like a whole new pack frame and I won’t use my NICE Frame without an LLP now.

Check out the LLP at Oneiros Valley.

Oneiros Valley LLP Stays

Oneiros Valley MEAN Pad

I have a bit of a love hate relationship with the Mystery Ranch NICE Frame. I love its flexibility, modularity and versatility, but it is shorter and flatter through the back than I prefer. Thankfully, Oneiros Valley is around to make me fall back in love with my NICE Frame with their line of ergonomic improvement add-ons.


The latest of these add-ons is the MEAN Pad. The MEAN Pad is a bulked up lumber pad that serves 3 purposes. First, it adds additional padding in the lumbar region which makes it fit the typical user’s back better. Second, it prevents the pack from sliding around via a patch of non-slip material. Finally, it can actually tuck under the ballistic plate in your carrier, providing a bit of a stand-off, to make wearing a pack with body armor more comfortable.

The MEAN Pad is adjustable for thickness via foam inserts. It is made from 500D nylon and features quality ITW Nexus hardware. I have been working with their LLP Gen 2 and OV Belt Guides for review and they are excellent so I have every reason to believe the MEAN Pad will be excellent too.

The MEAN Pad is available for pre-order now. It will ship in January.

Gen II Load Lifter Panel from Oneiros Valley

This just made my day. Oneiros Valley has released their Gen II Load Lifter Panel for the Mystery Ranch NICE Frame. I didn’t know such a thing existed but I have known that there was a need for it since I started using a NICE Frame.

Oneiros Valley G2LLP2R

The Gen II Load Lifter Panel (LLP) is panel that attaches to your NICE Frame to extend the length of the stays. My only real complaint with my NICE Frame is that it is too short which means it can be difficult to have enough height on the load lifters to effectively transfer the weight of the pack onto the hips. The LLP solves that problem by attaching to the NICE Frame without tools and providing up to 6 inches of additional frame height.

Oneiros Valley G2LLP4R

The LLP weighs only 7.7 ounces is is available in two colors to match most NICE Frames. This new Gen 2 version is considerably more streamlined than the original. The user has the choice of heavy duty fiber-glass stays or lightweight carbon fiber stays (carbon fiber adds $10 to the total price). They even thoughtfully include an adapter that allows the LLP to work with the Crew Cab backpack.

I am definitely going to pick one of these up. If you own a NICE Frame and more than 6′ tall, you know how much something like this is needed.

Check out the LLP and other NICE Frame mods including the great looking MEAN Pad at Oneiros Valley.

Oneiros Valley G2LLP3R

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