Mystery Ranch is one of those brands that basically needs no introduction. They have a long track record of making high quality bags for wildland firefighters, military units, and outdoor enthusiasts. Throughout their history, they’ve had many different bags and variations on those, but a few have remained iconic; the Loadcell became the Indie, the Sweet Pea became the 3 Day Assault, and the Rip Ruck got a face lift along with 3 different sizes.
As the name implies, the Rip Ruck 15 is a smaller, 15 liter bag that Mystery Ranch says is “for travel, the office and everywhere in between” that retains an outdoorsy or “tactical” look — sounds good to me! As work has started up again, a small bag to take to and from work seemed like a good idea to carry the daily essentials, a jacket, and maybe something more.
|Primary Materials||330D Robic Nylon, YKK zippers, ITW Duraflex hardware|
Quality and Comfort
As is typical of Mystery Ranch the overall quality is excellent. The quality control and stitching are great with no loose threads, bartacking in the right places, and neat binding — just as we love to see from Mystery Ranch. Aesthetically, the pack is pretty good looking in my opinion. It has a streamlined, and sleek appearance but still retains some outdoor or tactical vibes with the PALS webbing, daisy chain, and Velcro patch panel.
Material wise, the pack is mainly made from a 330D Robic nylon that has a rather thick PET coating on the back for weather resistance. The usage of 330D Robic Nylon is a slight departure from the heavier 500D Cordura Nylon that Mystery Ranch bags have used in the past. The lighter 330D Robic uses thinner yarns that are able to be woven tighter giving the material a slight sheen, increasing the abrasion resistance slightly and lowering weight. However, the Robic is of a lower tenacity, so a rip will go further than on a higher tenacity fabric. The usage of 300D Robic is not a bad thing as it provides a lighter weight bag while having features of heavier and even less feature filled packs.
The bag is definitely comfortable. The back panel and the rear of the straps are made from a thinner, almost neoprene like nylon adding some breathability during hot weather or prolonged use. The back panel has a molded foam backing with varying degrees of thickness to help contour to the user. It also serves to get some stress off of a laptop or tablet and allows it to stand up straight in the internal tech sleeve.
The straps themselves are contoured — but a tiny bit narrow, so our smaller framed friends will be able to enjoy this pack. The straps themselves are filled with a thick, but very flexible closed cell foam with a thinner, but more rigid foam insert right on top to help give it structure — reminiscent of the mixed materials in the tried and true Futura harness. The bag also features an adjustable sternum strap for stability when carrying heavier loads and for extended use. The one thing to mention is that the bag does ride a bit low, so the user has to make sure that the bag is properly adjusted on the shoulder and sternum strap for the right fit since the straps themselves can be floppy.
The Rip Ruck 15 organization has been nicely done, especially for a bag in the 15 liter range. On the outside of the pack there is a tall and narrow stretch pocket for water bottles and a vertical admin pocket on the front. The admin pouch is accessible via a small side zip and features some pen loops that are wide enough for smaller multi tools, and a bigger sleeve for larger items like cables, or power banks. Right next to the admin section is a vertical daisy chain for an outdoorsy look, but more importantly as an attachment point for all sorts of carabiners or accessories. Additionally, there are two rows of 3/4” PALS webbing on top of the lid as well as a patch panel.
The inside of the pack is also well organized. The main compartment is accessible by a top panel with two zippers and a magnetic closure. On the back panel there are two sleeves, the first is an electronics sleeve with a false bottom. The second is a slightly deeper document sleeve that has loop Velcro for adding any accessories or organizational inserts. Using these sleeves will lead to a more rigid back panel and additional comfort without the bag curving as much. The very front of the sleeve has a zippered mesh pouch with a line of stitching in the middle to separate the pouch into two channels. The mesh pouch also has a gusset at the bottom to give it a bit more depth when using bulky items such as charging bricks.
- Lightweight build due to lighter materials, small size, and well done organization in a small package makes it useful for a variety of quick trips.
- Several attachment points make it accessory friendly and helps with the packs ability to balance a utilitarian and aesthetically pleasing pack.
- Speaking of the aesthetics, the bag is very streamlined and gives a nice outdoorsy or tactical look without being the usual PALS covered bags.
- The neoprene like material used for the inside of the straps and back panel does not retain sweat and heat making it comfortable for hot weather and all day use.
- The Robic nylon while light, doesn’t keep its shape and becomes floppy when the bag is not fully loaded. Additionally, lighter Nylon 6 like the Robic has a lower tenacity than a 6,6 Nylon meaning that a rip or tear may be more catastrophic.
- The back panel contours a bit too much when not used with a tablet or folder inside, but the contour is ideal for shorter and/or smaller framed users.
- The straps are too simple. While the bag is on the smaller side and a full yoke isn’t needed, the straps could be a bit wider and more rigid to ease comfort throughout a full day of use.
The Rip Ruck 15 from Mystery Ranch is for the most part, a good update to the original pack. The pack is very lightweight and versatile for quick trips to the coffee shop, a travel companion, or for a minimal office or school carry. The overall look of the bag is sleek and minimal, but has that great outdoor or tactical utilitarian look and features that we’vecome to love from Mystery Ranch. The build quality is also fantastic as always and will no doubt last for years.
However, the main fabric is a bit of a conundrum as the lower weight and tenacity of Robic means a rip or tear can cause more issues – like when my jean’s thighs wear out – but it does have the benefit of being very lightweight. Additionally, the straps are not the most comfortable, so the bag is best suited for quick trips or more minimal carry. The lightweight and sleek nature of the bag is something that will make it useful for a variety of users, especially given the fact that it provides useful organization for a variety of urban tasks.
The Rip Ruck 15 comes not only in this wonderful Cherry Red, but also in other earth tones for an affordable $119 USD straight from Mystery Ranch.
Disclaimer: The Rip Ruck 15 was provided by Mystery Ranch for use in this review. The contents of the review were not shared prior to publication. Our reviews are impartial and never changed to keep a brand happy.