Many know Mystery Ranch (MR) from the Outdoor Recreation, Hunting and Military packs that made them famous, but over the last few years. MR have made an increasing number of packs that are designed more for urban or office type users, what many folks would refer to as Everyday Carry (EDC) packs. These often contain features such as organizer or administrative pockets and laptop sleeves. One such pack from Mystery Ranch is the Rip Ruck. It draws some design inspiration from Mystery Ranch’s own military packs but is loaded with traits for more civil tasks. It is made from 500D Cordura and uses Urethane coated zippers. Measuring 19.5″x14″x12.5″, the pack comes in at 1343 cubic inches (22 L) and 2.5 lbs.
The Rip Ruck sports a distinctive aesthetic from the front. It has two built in pockets that use the Rip Ruck opening MR uses on their Rip Ruck pouches and then a larger “main” compartment that uses the same opening style. Each of these uses zippers as well as buckles for closure. The buckles on each of the small pockets are fixed in length and the buckle on the center is adjustable but is sewn to the body of the bag up most of the face. The Small pockets are simple and contain nothing inside them. The main compartment does have some overload capability built in by loosening the strap and buckling the load down.
The front pockets have enough girth to hold a 1 liter bottle, but do not have a provision to secure taller water bottles like a 1+ liter Nalgene. I’ve not had an issue with them falling out, but I would like the option to strap them down better. Even just giving these adjustable buckles and longer straps would solve this problem.
As can be seen, the sides of the Rip Ruck are devoid of any additional pouches and that the zipper for the laptop section comes about 3/4 of the way down.
The Rip Ruck sports a fixed harness with removable sternum strap and mesh covering the back panel, and I must say, the suspension on this pack works. For loads typically carried in a small pack like this, it is super comfy. It is much lower profile than something like the Futura Harness and is very appropriate for a pack this size. I was thrilled with the carry comfort, really.
Atop the pack is a wide rolled webbing carry/grab handle. It is low profile, but the width makes it very useable, stable and easy to grab. Well done here, Mystery Ranch.
The bottom of the Rip Ruck would be a great place for lashing points or similar but unfortunately has been left blank.
Inside the main compartment is a small mesh zipper pouch at the top and mounted to the back panel. This compartment is otherwise empty and open. The interior mesh pocket is in a great location for easy access and usability and gives the pack some much needed organizational capabilities for small items.
The rear most area on the Rip Ruck has a lot going on and is about 3″ deep overall. On the rear panel is a 15″ laptop sleeve that is raised and somewhat flexible (by means of elastic loops designed to suck the sleeve in as needed) to protect and adapt to different laptops. Sewn to the front of that is a smaller tablet type sleeve. Both have velcro closures, and the laptop sleeve’s closure strap can be tucked back out of the way and secured to the back panel of the pack. On the front panel are two basic sleeve pockets sized for A4 documents, folders or the like. These have angled tops to help differentiate them and provide easier access and insertion. Given the depth of this pocket, there is room to carry a laptop as well as a textbook or binder (or maybe 2) in the space between the laptop sleeve and the document sleeves.
This may be one of my favorite areas of the pack. It is just killer. The sleeve is well designed and stable, while remaining super easy to access and insert laptops into. The document sleeves are not always necessary, but they are nice to have when needing to organize such items. And because of the depth of the compartment, it is quite versatile in what can be carried in there.
One of the other reasons this rear compartment is so useful is that the zipper runs down the sides far enough that this section opens up quite a bit.It would have been easy for Mystery Ranch to only allow access to the top, but it would have lost a ton of functionality if they had done so. I’m really a fan of this design feature.
In conclusion, there are a few more praises I’d like to sing about this pack. First, the aesthetics are objectively really good. I mean, look at how cool it looks. Secondly, the build quality is second to none, just what you should expect from this brand. Third, both the main and laptop compartments are deceptively voluminous. Stuff can be stuffed in there. Finally, while some users will not like the segregation of the packs volume into 2 main areas, but I found it very helpful. In the rear goes my laptop, books, charger and external hard drive, and in the main compartment goes my lunch and jacket. It suits my usage case very well.
I do have to point out a few more flaws though. You may have noticed, but this pack has no admin section. I might have included a few elastic loops in the front pockets or above the document sleeves, were I to suggest changes to the design. I got around it by handing pens on the elastic loops on the laptop sleeve and using the little mesh pocket. Also, while the pack does have a bit of expansion capability, I’d like to see more. Maybe leaving the center buckle strap loose so it could secure a jacket on the face of the pack would be an option, or including a couple of rows of webbing on the bottom of the pack to lash items to.
Again, Mystery Ranch did a fantastic job on the Rip Ruck. It is a very capable and clean little pack for the urban commuters and is ready to go as is. I imagine that clean aesthetics and simplicity took precedence over modularity and expandability, and even though I prefer those features, I did not find myself missing them often. For predictable and regular days that require a fair amount of office type gear, this is a great option. At just 130 USD, this pack represents a great value in the small EDC pack market.