Mystery Ranch Backpacks

Mystery Ranch Backpacks

England, Mike
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We all know people who are stubbornly spartan in the woods, deriding high-end internal frame packs with their flashy colors and space-age construction. But the majority of us are Epicureans at heart, gladly sacrificing looks for comfort and performance. If this is you, pick up a new pack from Mystery Ranch. Owner/designer Dana Gleason has a solid reputation for building strong, comfortable packs that conform to your back, providing unparalleled strength and support for any size load. Gleason’s new line uses carbon-fiber beams and T-4 aluminum stays, resulting in a lumbar-friendly support system that is fully adjustable and fully conformable to both your upper and lower back.

We tested two of Mystery Ranch's smaller packs, the Cakewalk and the Trance. Both packs carried on Gleason’s tradition of durability, resisting ripping and wear in the harshest of conditions. The Cakewalk is ideal for climbing and other specialized activities. Its 3,400 cubic inch capacity and exterior shovel pocket accommodated a rope, food & water, and all our gear for a day on the rock. The Trance, at 3,200 cubic inches, leans toward the day hiker or overnight minimalist. The main compartment includes a four-inch extension and drawstring for cinching down bigger loads. Two pockets on the lid hold your smaller accessories. The Trance's peculiar appearance includes an off-the-wall Spandura wrapping around the base, which could be handy for a map or maybe a shed outergarment. Both packs feature a wide range of strap, belt, and load adjustments, so you can customize them to fit your particular load and activity.
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