In the event you’re not acquainted with Mystery Ranch, here’s a quick overview: it’s a technical pack model co-founded by the good Dana Gleason in 2000, an icon within the pack business, heralded for spearheading Kletterwerks and Dana Designs. The latter being the backpack firm that basically set the usual for load carrying know-how and comfort in the late 80s and 90s.
In 2004, Gleason and Mystery Ranch started making customized packs for the Navy SEALs and since then, Mystery Ranch has adorned the backs of army, first responders, woodland hearth fighters, alpinists and hunters around the globe. This group represents a big piece of Mystery Ranch’s buyer base and is a phase of the inhabitants that not only values great package, however depends upon it in life or demise situations.
So once you carry a Mystery Ranch pack, even an providing from their newer Everyday Carry line, you are able to do so with the arrogance it was designed and manufactured by a company that understands the significance of high quality and practical execution. Carryology carried out a unbelievable interview with Gleason final summer time and I strongly advocate checking it out.
So why this little historic preamble? Two primary causes (past the fact that Gleason could be very clearly my carry crush). First, pedigree issues. An organization’s historical past, leaders and business mannequin provide essential perception into its design ethos and are “sign posts” that provide essential intel when making an knowledgeable purchase. Ask me to select from two packs made from the same materials with the same capacity and comparable features and ten out of ten occasions my cash is going to the one with an established lineage. Pedigree issues.
Second, “The Prizefighter”, one of the newest pack of their EDC line, is clearly born out of this utilitarian, top quality and no frills blood line. Once I was requested to place this dangerous boy by way of its paces, I jumped at the probability. The Prizefighter seems to be an evolution of their Road Fighter. Apart from the shortage of exterior water bottle pockets and a further exterior pocket, the Prizefighter has a really comparable look. I feel it’s an incredible addition to the current EDC roster that is anchored by the wildly widespread City Assault 21 (additionally they lately added an 18L iteration).
Who Is It For?
The Prizefighter is a viable choice for anybody trying to purchase a comparatively easy pack, devoid of superfluous features and made with time tested, top quality supplies. At 21L it sits on the decrease end of what I wish to call the capacity sweet spot for EDC targeted backpacks but continues to be completely suitable when it comes to the area most people want each day. In case you are in search of a light-weight, snug pack that doesn’t break the bank and is supported by a rock strong guarantee from a extremely revered company, the Prizefighter is worthy of your consideration. Whereas I don’t advocate carrying over 15 kilos, simply from a comfort perspective, it carries nice and the load lifters are a really nice touch. As a comparability, I find it carries very equally to the City Assault and is actually an incredible various for somebody who needs a Mystery Ranch pack with out the well-known Three-Zip.
Who isn’t for?
Anybody on the lookout for a function rich pack with a ton of group and fancy new supplies. You gained’t find any hidden passport compartments and there’s no XPAC, Dyneema or Hypalon anyplace. It is, by most standards, comparatively easy. So in case you are in search of bells and whistles, you needn’t apply. Also, whereas I do assume this can be a “crossover” pack that permits for a comparatively seamless transition from work to average play, in case you are trying to carry vital weight this is probably not for you. Although, in all probability in case you are trying to carry vital weight you’re almost certainly needing one thing with a real load-bearing waist belt anyway.
There tends to be two faculties of thought when it comes to pack format. Some people need an ultra compartmentalized pack with vital organization and dedicated areas to put each item. Others value minimal compartments allowing them to arrange to their choice with the help of separate organizers or pouches. As an aside, there has never been a better time to seek out top quality organization pouches. I are likely to fall in the midst of these two group format camps and I feel the Prizefighter does as properly. So, when you fall on the far right or far left of the organization discussion, you might discover the pack has an excessive amount of or too little. I, together with Goldilocks, assume it’s good.
Let’s start with high quality and materials. This pack will retail for $USD125. While that isn’t low cost, it definitely isn’t on the excessive end of the daypack worth point spectrum. I might say the quality is at the very least according to what you’d anticipate at this worth level and even exceeds it. It’s made from 500D Cordura, which I personally love. Whereas 1000D is bombproof, I really feel any perceived improve in sturdiness is negated by the rise in weight. A nicely executed 500D pack offers all the durability anyone would ever need and allows for a significantly lighter finished product. I don’t know what this pack weighs in at however it is mild. Very mild.
The stitching is immaculate and I found no issues or deficiencies with its development. All compartments open and close by way of burly YKK zippers. While there are different nice zippers on the market, YKK branded are just about anticipated for any bag at this worth level. They are trusted world large and for good cause. All the exterior zippers on this pack are what appears to be Urethane (URE) reverse coil which is extremely efficient in holding water out and I can attest first hand that they do the truth is do a terrific job at this. I also like that these zippers are the same shade because the pack itself (in my case they are grey). I feel it appears really glossy and feel Mystery Ranch made the right determination by not going with contrasting colours.
The zipper pulls are simply de-threaded 550 paracord with a simple knot at the end. Super easy but very efficient. I have never been an enormous fan of difficult or over-manufactured pulls for a pair causes. First, they are typically loud and as you’re shifting from level A to point B you’ll be able to typically sound like a very caffeinated maraca salesman.
Second, they are troublesome to repair if they break. Paracord is ubiquitous and straightforward to restore do you have to over have to. Also, in case you are somebody who likes to customise your package, it’s straightforward sufficient to chop them off and never really feel too guilty.
If a bag has lower than stellar materials and under average zipper development, nothing else issues. It’s the core of any pack and even a tremendous design with incredible options can’t stand long run if it’s constructed on a weak foundation. I have zero worries here; 500D and YKK is a time examined duo that work.
So far as comfort, the Prizefighter carries rather well. I choose my packs to hold excessive on the back and this does. There’s a non-removable HDPE frame sheet to provide it some structural integrity and assist with carry comfort. I have stated it before and will say it again, this can be a non-negotiable for me as I actually discover some type of semi-rigid frame sheet is optimal for carry consolation. There is a skinny layer of good breathable mesh on the backside of the pack and underside of the straps and I discover it very snug.
The harness is fastened and cargo lifters really assist to comfortable the pack towards your back. I’ve all the time found that Mystery Ranch packs do that rather well, even the EDC line offerings that don’t have the superb Futura harness. This pack is not any exception. At the prime of the pack between the two straps is an easy nylon strap serving as a grab deal with. It really works high-quality but definitely isn’t snug if the pack has any weight to it at all. There’s an included sternum strap which I don’t typically use however am all the time glad to have one and really feel all packs ought to. It attaches to the straps by way of daisy chains and you are able to transfer it up and down to ensure it matches good. However notice, this pack does not embrace any sort of strap management, so if that bothers you spend money on some simple velcro loops, ranger bands or net dominators.
There are precisely three zippered compartments on this pack, all of that are all externally accessible which I actually respect. Starting from closest to the again panel, you might have the most important compartment. This area includes a suspended and pretty well-padded laptop pocket resting towards the back that easily holds as much as a 15” pc. I now carry a 13” MBP and it rides within the pocket with no drawback. To the suitable and left of the laptop compartment are two strips of elastic webbing (two on both sides) which allow the pocket to increase and contract as wanted. It’s also an amazing place to clip pens or anything considerably thin or cylindrical.
In front of the laptop computer compartment is a thin sleeve that might in all probability be good for an iPad or smaller paperwork. I do wish this sleeve was a bit wider to hold legal paperwork and manilla folders. Aside from that, it is completely satisfactory. In front of what I check with as the doc sleeve is a small and simple admin area. There are four open pockets and two pen slots. There isn’t a ton to it however I truly respect that.
The 4 open pockets are laid out with two next to each other and the other two stitched on prime of them. The underside two are approximately Three” large by 6” lengthy and the highest two are 3” large by Three” lengthy. I found them to be good for my business card holder, work badge, a pair costs and other odds and ends. There are not any zippered pockets of any variety and nothing in any respect on the other stated (entrance) of this massive compartment. General, this compartment is pretty cavernous and you may match a ton. Outdoors of what I listed above, I can straightforward match my Yeti espresso thermos and an insulated lunch container.
On the entrance of the pack there are two totally different zippered compartments. The top is a quick grab/dump pocket that matches sun shades perfectly. There isn’t a ton of room for anything and there’s no organization or key tether. I am an enormous fan of quick seize pockets but I do wish this one had a tiny bit extra volume. A compartment or two would have been an added bonus. Once I journey for work and undergo safety at the airport I wish to throw my keys, AirPods, pockets and telephone in that area. Having a segmented spot to ensure they don’t bounce round is all the time appreciated. The truth that on this case the pocket is barren isn’t a huge deal, but value mentioning.
The bottom zippered compartment is considerably larger and has its own devoted volume which is all the time good. For some cause it does not prolong to the underside of the pack and stops about two thirds down. So it principally begins a third down from the highest and ends a 3rd up from the bottom with usable volume all through the center of the pack. The constructive is that unfastened gadgets don’t fall thus far down that you’re up to your shoulder fishing for them. The destructive is that you are dropping fairly a bit of capability and it reduces the potential makes use of of the pocket.
The Not So Good
There are few things I might change with the Prizefighter and most of these are associated to the pocket format and execution. First, I really wish the iPad/document sleeve was a bit wider and never utterly flat. There’s the area for this and I really feel it will have made this function much more usable.
Sticking with the primary compartment, I really like that there is vital area in front of the group compartments however I do assume they need to have included a minimum of one, and probably two, zippered compartments towards the front. This may have allowed for higher organization and prevented gadgets that don’t match in the admin pockets from falling to bottom.
As I referenced earlier than I do wish the fast grab prime pocket was barely bigger with some further group inside. Undoubtedly a key tether additionally.
In all probability my largest concern is the bigger pocket within the entrance of the pack. It’s great, however it might have actually been superb they extended the bottom lower on the pack. This is able to have made it potential to hold a smooth shell and or a water bottle/Nalgene. For my part, this is able to be a use case many wearers would benefit from.
Outdoors of the pockets and organization, I only have two small points. One, it doesn’t get up on it’s personal. Admittedly, this isn’t a huge deal for me, however I know it’s for some individuals. Lastly, there isn’t any strap management included and I absolutely deduct some extent anytime a pack doesn’t embrace this.
The Prizefighter is a strong pack. It’s not fancy, it doesn’t have any progressive or thrilling options and also you gained’t find any slick advertising video displaying it off. It’s a easy, well-made pack that has the whole lot you want (virtually) with nothing you don’t (virtually). It’ll doubtless final a lifetime and as an owner, there are few corporations that warrant the extent of shopper confidence that Mystery Ranch elicits. Have been some pocketing selections made that I wish weren’t? Absolutely. Do I wish the laptop compartment was executed in another way? For positive. It’s not a perfect pack and there are undoubtedly some points I wish have been executed in a different way nevertheless it carries really nice and for my part, appears nice.
I have a tendency to use (or overuse) sports analogies and to me, the Prizefighter is a middle of the batting order sort of participant. It can hit for respectable average, offer you consistent manufacturing, is an effective teammate and will by no means be a liability at protection. It’s a center of the rotation beginning pitcher or trustworthy center reliever. Each workforce wants those sorts of gamers on their roster. They gained’t win batting titles or hit many recreation profitable house runs but many championship teams have been carried by these aforementioned consistent position players. That’s the Prizefighter.