If you are looking for a versatile rugged backpack then check out this review Mystery Ranch Crest rucksack. It is a heavy duty, military inspired pack that’s made for the outdoors. It’s suitable for everything from snowboarding to hiking but also ideal as a travel day pack and everyday life.
Review of Mystery Ranch Crest rucksack
When I first took the Crest rucksack out of it’s packaging I realised this is not a lightweight backpack. It is built to last from high quality materials and designed to be suitable for many different activities. In short this is a versatile rugged backpack.
The waterproof outer fabric is super-strong 500 denier CORDURA®. With nearly half a century of trusted performance, Cordura are an industry leader producing fabrics for outdoor and military gear. Their materials are known to last well and get the job done.
The CORDURA® material combines waterproof qualities with stylish durability and an exceptional strength-to-weight ratio. It is tear, scuff and abrasion resistant, and has been tested in many of the world’s toughest environments.
With weatherproof performance in mind Mystery Ranch have used YKK – widely regarded as the industry leader –waterproof zips. Throughout the pack the stitching is heavy duty and built to last. This is backed up by the Mystery Ranch guarantee, which covers you against defects in manufacturing and material for the practical lifetime of the product.
Rather than a traditional rigid frame, the Mystery Ranch Crest rucksack has a sturdy but flexible plastic sheet frame. This conforms to your back for added comfort and will adapt to the load. Furthermore, it spreads the load over your entire back rather than focussing it on the shoulders and hips.
The material and sturdy frame means you instantly get the feeling the Mystery Ranch Crest rucksack will not let you down. This strength comes at a price, as even empty it weighs 1.3kg, which is about twice the weight of other less sturdy packs I own.
However, the Crest is a 23 litre pack, so once fully loaded the extra half a kilo is not a big deal. I have carried over 15 kg of gear in it and found it more comfortable than lighter packs carrying less weight. In my opinion, knowing your pack will handle whatever you throw at it (and in it) is worth the extra weight.
Straps & comfort
The straps are fairly wide and nicely padded making it very comfortable. There is also good adjustability to tailor it to your size and the load. The telescopic yoke can be moved up and down to choose the right spot for you – this is a big deal for me as I find they are often too high.
The only negative I came up with during this review of Mystery Ranch Crest rucksack was that I’d like a bit more cushion on the hip belt. Compared to the rest of this versatile rugged backpack this strap is a little flimsy. Personally I would have liked the kind of padded hip belt wings you get on many backpacks.
When the pack is not full you can use the useful side straps to pull it all in, effectively reducing its volume and keeping the load closer to your body. This helps to stop the Crest backpack from moving during activities, which I found particularly useful when snowboarding.
Fully loaded with the waist and yoke used the Mystery Ranch Crest rucksack fits very snugly to your back making for a secure load. I have carried a less but been uncomfortable with other packs, meaning this versatile rugged backpack is one of the most comfy I have used.
Pockets and storage
There is nothing more frustrating than a backpack with just one main compartment, so no review of Mystery Ranch Crest rucksack would be complete without talking about the pockets and storage solutions. More pockets and options makes smaller items easier to find, and means you can keep some items within easy reach.
The Crest has a large main compartment with zippered top access. Inside is a elasticated sleeve close to your back that can hold a bladder. Alternatively it works well for my tablet and an A5 sized notebook, but is too small for a laptop. There is also an inside zippered pocket that is good for valuables.
On the outside there is a fairly large but relatively flat zip pocket on the front that I found ideal for a map when hiking or a book and documents when travelling. On the side are two reasonably sized zippered pockets that you can get into without taking the pack off your back.
On the front of the pack is a extendable stick it panel. It is perfect for carrying shed layers or stashing a helmet. It can quickly be adjusted for a secure hold. I found it very useful at the end of a day snowboarding, as it easily held my helmet and gloves making it less likely I would lose any gear.
There is also MOLLE webbing on the sides of the Mystery ranch Crest rucksack. You can use these to attach gear to the outside of this versatile rugged backpack – just clip things in place and away you go.
For this review of Mystery Ranch Crest rucksack I have used it hiking, snowboarding, travelling and for a family day out around town. Although there are two camouflaged and a beige colour option, I went for foliage – a bluey, greeny, grey – that is perfect for multi purpose use as it looks like a normal rucksack.
As I mentioned, I spent a few days snowboarding with the Crest pack in Lech of Austria. As you can see from the below video I was doing some tricks and spins, confident that the straps will keep the Crest pack in place as an unstable load could lead to a fall.
During this review of Mystery Ranch Crest rucksack I have also taken it hiking. Although it was no more than a couple of hours of mostly flat terrain I was loaded up with drinks, lunch and lots of spares for our kids. I found the load fit nicely to my back and I did not have to keep jiggling it around to avoid pressure points.
Even without the waist and torso straps it is an exceptionally comfortable pack. This makes it a very versatile rugged backpack that can be used for everything from work to college and travel to adventures. Whatever you throw at the Crest it would do the job very well.
On the Mystery Ranch website the Crest pack is listed under the hunting section. I do not hunt, and although I am OK about people hunting for food, I am not happy about sport or trophy hunting. However, do not let the hunting categorisation off this backpack put you off as it is suitable for almost any activity.
Conclusion: Versatile rugged backpack
The Mystery Ranch Crest is a very good rucksack that is comfy, practical and built to last. It is perfect for people that want a versatile rugged backpack, and is ideal for all outdoor activities, travel and everyday life.
It is also very rugged. If you snag it on a bush the CORDURA® material won’t rip. Likewise when I landed on my back in a snowboarding fall, not only was the pack unmarked but the padding and sheet frame protected me from both the icy impact and the contents of the backpack.
To conclude this review of Mystery Ranch Crest rucksack, I would say it is suitable for anyone who wants a serious backpack that is suitable for many activities. It is a day pack that will do the job and last the pace whatever you throw at it, or in it.
We hope you found this review of Mystery Ranch Crest rucksack useful. If you’d like a versatile rugged backpack of your own the Crest costs $179 and can be purchased at a range of retailers or direct at: www.mysteryranch.com. To find out more about Cordura fabrics visit: www.cordura.com