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Mystery Solved on Mystery Ranch Sizing Options

Mystery Ranch’s sizing options for the 3DAP and other Futura Frame packs are both a blessing and a curse.

The Blessing 

Rather than offering one size fits all, the Montana-based pack maker offers different sized yokes and waist belts to ensure a proper fit.  Have you grown in any direction since purchasing your pack?  For an extra fee ($85 at the timing of this writing), another yoke can be purchased from Mystery Ranch and swapped out by the user.  The waist belts are sewn in (more on than later).Mystery Ranch Logo

The Curse

How can any of that be a bad thing?  Offering so many options can be confusing at time of order and Mystery Ranch hasn’t helped anyone with their recent changes.

Yoke Size

Are you a male over 6’3″ tall?  Then, like me, you should probably order a XL pack off their website.  Simple enough.  However, when you receive your pack, it will have a Large Yoke.  Huh?    

It gets better.  The new M/L is a Medium Yoke.  The Medium Yoke fits male torsos between 18-21 inches or 5’6″ to 6’2″ in height.  Mystery Ranch finds that fits the majority of people.  The Small is a Small Yoke, which is really the only intuitive size option in the bunch.  I guess if you’re small… well… you’re just small.  

There is a XS Yoke for Ant Man and XXL for the Hulk.  If you’re an Avenger, just call customer service and they’ll hook you up. 

Waist Belt Size

The NICE frame has individually sized waist belts.  Mystery Ranch will just ask for your size.  On the recreation packs like the 3DAP, Komodo Dragon, and others… the waist belt is of the universal variety that fits waists up to 52″.  That’s why you’re likely to have excess webbing on your waist belt (which you may or may not want to trim).  So where do the various sizes that you’ve heard about come into play?  That has to do with packs with the Live Wing Belt option and the Live Wing Belt Accessory for packs that don’t like the 3DAP (Note: the Live Wing Accessory has been discontinued and is no longer sold by Mystery Ranch).  The sizes are as follows:

25 to 29″ = Extra Small
30 to 34″ = Small
35 to 39″ = Medium
40 to 51″ = Large
52″+ = Extra Large

Of course, you can order different combos in Yoke and Live Wing sizes by calling Customer Service if you don’t fit perfectly within Mystery Ranch’s sizing tiers.  They can do that because the Yokes are modular and separate from the packs.  The company does offer a Fit Guide to help.  But with all the confusing size combos, it really only helps with the Live Wing sizes.  


Mystery Ranch Sizing and Fitting

Discontinued Accessories

Offering so many size combinations in their packs has resulted in a few recent casualties among their accessory options.  Mystery Ranch had to drop items like the Stick It and Live Wing Belt Accessory to free up production for some of their new products.  That’s because the accessories were also offered in different sizes which made it even more difficult to manufacture them consuming much-needed capacity.  

And, for what it’s worth, the sizes on the Stick It were also confusing.  For instance, the Small Stick It fits both compatible mid-sized packs like the 3DAP as well as smaller packs like the ASAP, 1DAP, and Street Fighter.  The Stick It also came in a Large Size (presumably just to confuse and torture us).    

In review, my properly sized pack would have a Large Yolk, Universal Waist Belt, Large Live Wing Belt, and a Small Stick It.  Got that?  Good. 

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4 Responses so far.

  1. LD says:

    There have been some long threads on this subject on Carryology and EDC Forum, as well as Military Morons.

    Another way to look at it is to say that the yoke can be adjusted up and down to cover a lot of range in torso length, but the width of the neck space in the yoke is fixed. If you have very narrow shoulders, you generally do better getting a smaller yoke so the yoke is properly centered on the shoulders. If you have wide shoulders, immediately move to a larger yoke or it’ll pinch you on the sides of the neck. Make sense? Shop yokes for shoulder fit (i.e., width) and the lengths will pretty much take care of themselves.

    As for belts, they’ve made it much simpler for the civilian market, but this is a pack designed not to hang from the shoulders but to sit on your hips. So yes, a hip belt is important. Dana, who has always been into luxurious hip belts that support your pack on your hips, chose to do away with that on the 3DAP. Military users often skip the belt because it doesn’t fit well with body armor and because military users often have a lot of junk mounted on their waistline already (interfering with the belt). Also in combat use, the tendency is to ditch the belt so the pack can be shrugged off as fast as possible — combat users tend to put up with shoulder weight and will reshape the stays in the 3DAP to make it carry better on the shoulders. Adding a lid pocket also makes it carry better as a shoulder-strap-only pack. So … that’s where we are with that pack. I like it better with a better belt, but the wing version was just a couple slip-on pads that weren’t all that effective anyway.

    If you happen to carry weight in the pack, it’s worth having a good shop remove and replace the waist belt with a more supportive belt — it makes the pack much nicer if you’re carrying 35-50 lbs in a pack that size (not hard if you’re packing a couple gallons of water in arid areas). The smaller versions like the ASAP simply don’t get that heavy so it isn’t as much of an issue for them. This is a pack that seems to be migrating from being a pure field combat pack to a bit of a hybrid. There are a couple variants under military contract that stick with the earlier design but aren’t available to the civilian market, but the approach at MR seems to be that if you want to carry that much, you get one of the NICE packs.

    The drawback to that is that if you’re just carrying a lot of water (or something else compact but heavy) the NICE packs are overkill, and for military applications the NICE frame is bulky and a few of them really fill up an APC — and totally overwhelm a tank or Blackhawk.

    • Blaine B. says:

      Excellent post LD!

      You are correct. In addition to the manufacturing challenges, I was told that 90% of the 3DAPS are sold to the military and they do not use the Live Wings when wearing the packs with body armor. So, that is why they were discontinued.

      And I get what you’re saying about the yoke. It would be difficult to judge which yoke to go with since MR doesn’t provide any measurement guidance based on shoulder width, but… I will say that I had plenty of up and down adjustment left on the Large Yoke I received. However, I wouldn’t have wanted the yoke to be any more narrow because, to your point, the sides of the straps would have been rubbing my neck.

      The lid pocket is an interesting thought. What pockets have you heard people using with the 3DAP and how does that make it carry better as a shoulder strap only pack?

  2. Alan says:

    Clear as mud!

    Why do you think the first word in their name is Mystery

  3. Dan says:

    Great comments above. I have two 3 DAP and live in Australia where posting this pack is a one way ticket unless you want to pay $150 in postage. Moreover, with the dollar they way it is I paid $700 for each pack, crazy I know but I like having the best.

    I did have issue with the yoke sizing and found that this issue was overly complicated on the website. I ordered the medium and found it a little small, nothing to worry about. I then ordered another pack in XL and did get a large size and it does fit. However I found that when the yoke is adjusted for a larger torso that the pack sits below the shoulders and the top end of the yoke digs into the top of the shoulders a little.

    With the above being said these packs are fantastic in so many ways. The 3 zip design is awesome and so functional. The packs for the most part are very conformable and bomb proof, you actually feel like it can take abuse and you want to take it with you everywhere. The size is perfect for a day pack and you get the impression that you don’t have to take it off for PT or any activity which is handy because its always on your back.

    Once you have one of these packs I think you will be a user of Mystery Ranch for life, its hard to go back to other designs and one 3 DAP is not enough.

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