I’m keeping an eye on the brand Mystery Ranch for a while now and became an admirer long before I started the Outdoor Aesthetics project. Back then it was extremely difficult as an European to get hold of the coveted backpacks and bags if you weren’t on vacation in the USA.
Over the past few years the brand has been able to build up a good network of dealers around the world. By outsourcing a large part of the production to Asia, this had an additional positive effect on prices without any loss in the quality of the products. Although Mystery Ranch is reaching a wider audience, it seems that they have managed to maintain the image of the cool underdog among the other big backpack brands.
When testing the Ravine 50, I deliberately concentrate on the size class, which in my opinion is not given enough attention: the class with a volume between 40 and 60 liters.
While backpacks up to 30 liters are more likely to be used as day packs and the 40 liter backpacks are more sufficient for a 3-day tour or a weekend trip, medium-sized backpacks between 40 and 60 liters have various advantages.
Not too big and not too small, they are the ideal medium for a high packing volume, provided you pack consciously–this means that you can easily travel for a week with a 50 liter backpack. While backpacks beyond 60 liters are too big and bulky and heavy with the corresponding content, a backpack like the Ravine is still compact enough to be stowed away when traveling and still offers enough storage space for all necessary things. Of course, the design is decisive in order to use the available space as optimally as possible.
The Ravine 50 is Mystery Ranch’s largest backpack in the outdoor category with a 3-zip design, which allows quick access to the contents. At first glance, the two vertical tube shaped front pockets stand out. These can be opened lengthways. They don’t offer much volume, but I think they are more useful than the open pockets of the Coulee 40, for example. Things that can be stowed in the two tubes are quickly at hand.
Interestingly, the characteristic design of the vertical pockets goes back to 1975, when Dana Gleason, founder of Mystery Ranch, designed the Terraplane model, then still under the name Dana Design. The Terraplane is still running today as the current model Terraframe.
The fact that you can reach the pockets without taking the pack off your back is particularly practical. Such useful functions make a well-thought-out design.
The overall concept corresponds to a classic trekking backpack. You can attach trekking poles or soft items as clothing outside of the backpack using loops and straps. I especially like that Mystery Ranch thought about attaching loops underneath the backpack. Not all models have this useful feature. Two simple loops expand the capacity of the backpack, for example to attach a small tent, a sleeping mat or sleeping bag.
Left and right of the backpack are the almost obligatory pockets for drinking bottles or other items and offer enough space for a wide 1 liter Nalgene drinking bottle.
The backpack itself consists of a large compartment and an open back compartment that is large enough to hold a 3 liter hydration bladder. Of course, the backpack is optimized for the use of a bladder with the corresponding openings for the tube on both sides.
There are two compartments in the lid. The lower compartment is separated from the main compartment with a mesh and allows a view of the contents when opened.
Like most of the backpacks from Mystery Ranch, the Ravine 50 also comes with a fully adjustable Futura Yoke for that custom fit. For the initial fitting, you will need a few minutes and the help of a friend, but the upside is that it is possible to custom fit the backpack perfectly to your back. (The best way to see how it works is by watching this video: https://vimeo.com/104114298). Wide shoulder straps and a well-padded and very comfortable waist strap increase the comfort of the backpack.
In the waist belt are two large pockets, one on each side, which I use for the two things I reach for the most: my smartphone and my GPS. Of course the waist belt is fully removeable within 5 minutes. Perfect for a short (weekend) trip where you don’t need the full support of a waist belt.
Since the Ravine has a certain size with a height of 69cm, the mainframe is comprised of two vertical composit stays and a molded lumbar frame sheet for added structure. Through patented features and construction methods, the mainframe transfers the weight of the load into the wings which relay the weight and equalizes the contact around and into the belt.
When I first put on the fully loaded Ravine, I knew what qualities this backpack contains. The 15kg weight on my first tour was hardly noticeable even after several hours of hiking. The Yoke system in connection with the two vertical composite stays and the molded lumbar frame sheet is very comfortable.
I particularly like the 3-zip system in connection with the two large pockets on the front. These not only give the backpack that certain something visually and reinforce the feeling that Mystery Ranch has again succeeded in creating a particularly good outdoor backpack, which thanks to the detachable waist belt, also cut a good figure on all other types of trips.
Thanks to AT EASE SHOP for supporting us
with the MYSTERY RANCH Ravine 50