Mystery Ranch Indie: Review

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Mystery Ranch is one of those iconic pack and bag brands that rarely needs an introduction. Known for quality and useful designs, Mystery Ranch has been used by hot shot firefighters, military special operations, and those with an affinity for exploring and living off in remote areas of the wilderness. Lately, Mystery Ranch has had quite a successful approach to those of us who are more bound to the city with iconic packs and bags like the Street Fighter.

But, for #slingweek, we’re checking out some things with one less strap. Recently, Mystery Ranch has updated some of their tried and true, older models and now, the well known Load Cell has evolved into the Indie sling bag.

Tech Specs

Capacity641 cu. in.10.5L
Primary Materials330D Robic, YKK Zippers

Quality and Comfort

As usual, the quality coming from Mystery Ranch in the Indie is superb and it’s evident that everything has had some thought placed behind it. All the construction is very well done with durable, and lightweight material choices. The 330D Robic fabric is thin and lightweight, and also features a heavy TPU coating on the back to help keep the elements out. So while some are used to heavier 500D and up fabrics, there is a TPU coating here which gives it a bit more structure and resistance than just the fabric itself but helps keep the bag light. YKK zippers are used throughout the bag for the different compartments keeping a recurring theme of reliable hardware.

The Indie is decently comfortable sling/shoulder bag. The main shoulder strap is a simple strap that adjusts well for different user shapes and sizes, as well as for different methods of carry. The Indie carries best when not fully loaded and without a tablet in its tech sleeve while in courier-style carry lower on the back. It’s easy to fill up the Indie with all the daily things needed, a tablet, and a packable jacket, so if the tablet goes in the sleeve it could get a bit uncomfortable so it is best to have the jacket closest to the body, and the tablet in front of the jacket.


The organization of the Indie is well done. The front flap opens up and features two large slots for any of the usual EDC items needed to be had on hand like a notepad, flashlight, multitool, power bank, etc. With use, it was found that the Type 1 organizer from Alpha One Niner fit perfectly in this pocket.

The main compartment is pretty cavernous but it does have two smaller pockets. Firstly it has a hanging zippered pocket on one end useful for smaller items like snacks, phone chargers, etc. and on the opposite end, there is a tech/notebook sleeve. While the sleeve may not fit a laptop, a medium tablet or planner/notebook will fit. The main compartment is most of the 10.5L of volume, so there is a good amount of space for daily needs or other gear to supplement a day out.

On the back side of the bag, there is a flat pocket that runs the entirety of the bag ideal for travel documents, bar money, or other similar flat items. Interestingly enough, this bag actually has better organization and more pockets than other full size packs and bags on the market. With all the provided pockets, a typical EDC load may not need as much self-provided organization from the end user, but the internal pockets also accommodate the full BYO organization party happening in my bag.

What’s Perfect

  • Quality material and hardware choice: 330D Robic fabric backed by a thick TPU coating on the inside provides a very lightweight, yet durable build for the bag. YKK zippers are used wherever zippers are used to help round out the durable hardware.
  • Organization is provided well enough that users may not need to bring their own, but will accommodate the user’s own pouches if desired.
  • Main compartment is big enough to store a thinner jacket or sweater and a pretty complete EDC list.
  • The bag is available in a couple brighter, non-earth tone colorways for more city and fashion friendly choices.
  • A $50USD price tag makes it affordable and an excellent value due to all the great features it has, especially for those who are ballin’ on a budget.

What’s Not

  • Using the tech sleeve can lead to an uncomfortable bag if fully loaded and worn in a courier-style carry, but can be offset by packing a jacket closest to the body and then the tablet. In future updates, a tiny bit of padding can remedy this.
  • Front pocket organization could be a bit basic for some, user can add an admin insert if needed; couple of narrower slots in future updates could be helpful.
  • A 500D Cordura, or XPac version could be a great idea for those who want a bit more wear resistance or structure since 330D Robic can be a bit floppy at times and attracts loose dust or smaller pilled threads from shirts if worn for more extended periods of time.

Wrap Up

The Mystery Ranch Indie is a great new revision of the older and more well known Load Cell shoulder bag. The Indie is a great choice for everyday carry due to it smart choice of quality materials, and the ample organization it comes with. While it’s made from a lighter fabric which can be a bit floppy at times, the saved weight keeps the bag from being too heavy when items start being added. The organization of the bag is stellar and can suit both those who need or want a good amount of pouches, or those who already have their own pouches and organizers.

The Indie is available for $50 directly from Mystery Ranch – quite the steal and very much worth taking a look at.

Disclaimer: the Indie was purchased privately and used subsequently for this review. The content of the review was not shared with Mystery Ranch prior to publishing and our reviews are never edited to keep brands happy.

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