Published on January 14th, 2018 | by Greg0
Carry-All, Anywhere: Mystery Ranch Urban Assault Backpack
If regular backpacks have always annoyed you, don’t worry- you aren’t alone! Most packs have settled on a fairly traditional shape (oblong) and a method for opening, a long zipper in an arc shape that balances the opening size, stability, and ease of access. But it’s not the only way, or the best one for every situation- we’ve seen bags that are rectangular on every face, which maximizes the total square area, better for added padding, but very hard to get at items at the bottom. Today’s option goes for a very different solution.
The Mystery Ranch Urban Assault Backpack is ‘inspired by military assault rucksacks’, and while at first glance it appears like a fairly normal bag, it’s most distinctive feature is obvious at a second look. The three zippers allow the upper flaps to open completely, with another vertical line that also unseals the entire lower section. Giving you access to everything if you want, while still allowing you to close the bag securely, the Urban Assault offers 21 liters of total storage. That’s enough for a weekend, keeping it light enough for serious hiking.
It’s not built for photographers, but does offer the sort of extras that make it an easy companion even for the gadget-lover. There’s built-in separate laptop and tablet sleeve, and a couple of zippered pockets inside for your valuables and cables, plus a mesh compartment in the lid. Like many bags this capacity, there is a sternum strap but no waist strap, but you’re unlikely to need one considering the weight and size. It’s back is well-padded, and there’s a grab handle for quick pickups (like when you need to stow your gear in an overhead compartment). We really liked the zippers too, well-sealed and solid.
We don’t do a whole lot of assaulting, but we do spend a fair bit of time in the city. And this is a great daypack, perfect for the gym or a jaunt or whatever it’s called when you end up sleeping over at a friend’s place. The bottom isn’t particularly flat, so the bag is prone to falling over if you set it down- it also isn’t particularly well-protected on the bottom from, say, puddles. But the Urban Assault is surprisingly comfortable and rugged- the company clearly knows their gear (and offers a wide line of professional options including some built for military and even firefighters). Expect to spend around $139 online and in stores, and you can find it in a wide range of colors (black like ours, or others like brick, wheat, peppercorn, indigo, slate, camo, and whatever coyote is).