In my decade long full-fledged attempt to feed my bag addiction, I’ve never tried anything from Mystery Ranch. Many regard the Montana-based equipment company, born out of the imagination of renowned designer Dana Gleason, to be the pinnacle of production bag making here in the United States. Kifaru and some others might disagree, but there’s no question that Mystery Ranch is well-regarded.
I’ve always wanted their Three Day Assault Pack, but I resisted due to cost. The 3DAP is a 2000 cubic inch (33 Liter) tactical assault pack that leverages a 3-zip design for easy access and Mystery Ranch’s patented Futura Frame for a custom-like fit.
I finally pulled the trigger this past month and purchased the pack in Black.
STICK IT POCKET
Mystery Ranch fans will recognize that I’ve added a small removable “Stick It” pocket to my new pack.
Don’t get excited – I didn’t order it from Mystery Ranch. The Stick It is still discontinued and extremely hard to find. A special thanks to Eric Blackstone for sacrificing for the cause by giving up the Stick It off his personal pack. Eric was fairly compensated (and further down the path towards his next grail), but I was still very appreciative that he was willing to let it go. Before that, I had contacted vendors in five countries in an attempt to source one.
Why all the fuss? I’ve used transporter tails on packs like the Triple Aught Design Litespeed, Camelbak Urban Assault, and Vertx Gamut enough to know they are extremely useful for stowing hats, gloves, and other gear for easy access outside the pack. I wouldn’t want a 3DAP without one. I hope Mystery Ranch reconsiders and starts making them again. The Stick It can even be used with other MOLLE compatible packs. It’s an awesome piece of kit.
I also added a Sling Pocket to carry my phone or Sunglasses (pictured below on the right shoulder strap).
Based on Mystery Ranch’s suggestion, I ordered a XL and I’m glad I did. It took me a hour of messing with the frame, waist belt, shoulder straps, and load lifter straps to dial it in completely, but once I had the yoke and straps adjusted to my liking, the fit was very custom pack-like.
Having just received the 3DAP, I don’t have a fully formed opinion on it yet. At 18″x11.5″x8.5″, I was concerned that the pack would be a little short for my height and I wouldn’t be able to properly use the load bearing waist belt (in the above pictures, it’s stowed and tucked out of sight). The Futura Frame adjustments along with the load lifters took care of that. I was able to extend the frame enough to get everything in the correct position.
Every aspect of the 3DAP is overbuilt with the intent of handling a heavy load out. I’ve heard others describe the yoke as “overkill” with lighter loads. I haven’t experienced that yet but I need to carry it more.
The Tri Zip opening is awesome. You can flay the pack fully open or run it as a top loader. It will be hard to go back to my other conventional packs after this.
The Mystery Ranch Three Day Assault fills a gap in my bag collection as a weekend hiking pack, bail out bag, and large EDC for days when I need more capacity. A full review is coming soon. Stay tuned.