Owning a McHale and either owning or having owned packs from Jansport, Osprey, Gregory, Mountiansmith, Golite, HMG, MLD, SMD, Gossamer Gear, ULA, and my wife having a Granite Gear, the McHale is by far-far-far the best made pack of them all. The design is a step above, but that is a different story. The materials are top notch, but unless you go with the full Dyneema (or Spectra) option, the materials can be found elsewhere, but the stitching and the reinforcement are beyond compare. Are they worth the money (mine was more like $700)? To some they are and others not. The packs will last a lifetime and they are custom fit to your body, but you could buy two or three top notch off the shelf packs for what you can buy a McHale for too, so it is truly an individual decision.
I will say after working with Dan, he is a pack genius and THE master of pack design alive today.