AlexB wrote an answer about Mountain Hardwear South Col 70 OutDry Backpack - 3975-4275cu in on June 30, 2014
Hayes and Ven,
You are definitely not overlooking anything and your assessments are spot on. From the picture that Hayes included in the question, it is evident that the pack shipped with the aluminum stay reversed. The lower section of the aluminum stay needs to follow the lumbar curvature of the wearer, as with the template stay that Hayes also pictures.
It is an easy correction to make, but our sincere apologies for this shipping oversight from our Mountain Hardwear factory. The rectification is to un-hook the lumbar section, slide the stay out of the hipbelt, slide the stay out of the backpanel (easiest to also remove the plastic framesheet) flip the stay around and re-assemble.
Also remember that part of beauty of this pack is its flexible design, which allows removing pack components (i.e. swap the padded hipbelt for the included webbing belt and/or remove the top pocket, frame stay and/or framesheet when climbing with lighter loads). The minimum weight for this pack is approximately two and a half pounds with these components removed and the hipbelt swapped.
Alex @ Mountain Hardwear