Mystery Ranch In And Out Daypack Review
We take a look at the feature-rich and packable daypack, to see if this is the best choice for your space saving needs.
Introduction To The Mystery Ranch In And Out Daypack
Mystery Ranch is a pretty well known company in the hiking and rugged bag space. They focus on fit, load bearing solutions for changing load needs, and using top notch materials. I'd say that's already a good reason to check them out. They've really got a ton of hard wearing, multi-focus bag types that should have you covered. I wouldn't say they are really a minimalist, urban style bag company, but their every day carry style bags come close. They always tend to have a bit of an outdoor lean to them - which is good because that's their roots.
For me, how did I end up here? Well, one day I found myself spiraling fast down the rabbit hole of packable daypacks. And I went deep. At first, I focused on absolute bare minimum of space and functionality. Then, I decided to go further and look for something a little more robust and featured. We'll touch on both of those journeys here.
Why a packable daypack? Well, for one, we're often focused on one-bag travel whenever possible. Now honestly, it's not always possible. But when it is, I generally use a one-bag backpack, a duffel, or a roller. Depending on my mood and desired function. None of those are things you want to be taking around town with you. I wear both the backpack (obvs) and the duffel on my back. So, that means I really can't take another standard-style backpack as a carry on item or I'd be carrying it by the grab handle all day. That's not smart wandering. Wouldn't make sense and would be a huge pain. Enter the packable daypacks.
They take up almost no space, and mean you can pop them out when you need a backpack in your destination, just take the essentials, and be good to go while not being too over burdened with bags. They are seriously clever. Today we're going to talk about the one I currently use.
This is my review of the Mystery Ranch In and Out Pack. This bag was purchased with my own money and researched on my own time, I've had no interaction with the company. The opinions in this review are my own and it is not sponsored in any way.
Mystery Ranch In And Out Daypack Overview
Packable daypacks are nothing new, I was soon to discover. Though they were new to me, for sure. Many of the major brands (Arc'Teryx, Cotopaxi, Osprey) all have a version. Further, the smaller indie brands all do, too (WANDRD, Aer, Tortuga).
Mystery Ranch is no exception. The In And Out daypack however, does offer a bit more than the rest in terms of features. It's not just an ultra-light fabric (which IS convenient) and easily stuffable (also infinitely convenient). In fact, it's a little heavier than most, but that's because it's more heavy duty material. 100D Cordura and YKK zippers to be exact (material geek shout out). This adds weight, sure. But increases 'backpack' feel.
It's got a water bottle pocket, tool loops (it's actually designed as an ultralight summit pack, so you can leave your big pack while going to the top, pretty cool).
The bag retails on their site for $79.00 USD.
Additional Mystery Ranch In And Out Features
I did elude earlier to the fact that there are a few more features to this backpack than most in the class, and I love it. See, I found that I really liked the idea of a packable daypack when I travel - but I didn't love how flimsy most were. And other than colorways and a few design choices in terms of material patterns, there weren't really that many differences across the brands (WANDRD being the exception, their version is very clever, if expensive).
The In and Out is much more like a real backpack. It's stuff pocket acts as a stretchy front pocket for maybe a jacket. It's got a top slash/quick grab pocket. Compression straps. Tool loops. Sternum strap. A hydration pocket. Really, it's more than you'd expect in this class of bag.
Aside from the fit and finish which should be an obvious plus - the features and "backpackiness" of this bag wins out for me. The others, while much better for ounce counters and those that just really can't be bothered by all these details or the feel of the pack, really just didn't hold water for me. They were too flimsy. This one isn't, and for all intents and purposes, it's a real backpack. That means versatility is key here. It's great for around town - you can see in the pics above what I packed in it. It fits my small camera cube with ease. It also fits a 13 in laptop - though be warned, this is not a laptop bag so be careful how you pack it in there. There is zero protection for that, but it's not its design so can't fault the bag here. Further, it's basically designed as a small hiking pack. So when you head off to the trails, you're good to go there, too. Oh, and lots of colors to choose from.
The big obvious plus is you can pack it into its own front pocket. That means packing it into your carry on or suitcase is a breeze. I also just lay it flat over my other items in my bag when I'm too lazy to pack it up. Fits fine that way too as a "lay flat" bag since there's no internal support system or frame.
Take these with a grain of salt because I love this bag, but I want to identify these things for those that will be looking for them. It's not the lightest bag in this class by any means. It's heavier. But, that's because of the materials. You need to trade off somewhere. It LOOKS like a backpack for the outdoors. I picked a nice subdued blue-gray, so it's not really loud. That said, if you want a sleek, minimal urban style bag, this isn't it. Lots of things hanging on it. Some people don't like that. Lastly, when packed, it's bigger than the other bags.
Mystery Ranch In and Out vs. The Osprey Ultralight Stuff Pack
This is actually the second packable daypack I bought. The first was the Osprey. This one is a favorite of ultralight packers, and frankly it served its purpose for me quite well. It was just, a bit too insubstantial for me. I wanted more support and features. The Mystery Ranch In and Out is also more comfortable to use, so there's that. I think it's because it's more like a real pack with real straps.
Don't get me wrong - the Osprey is still a quality product and it might suit some people's needs better. It packs MUCH smaller, weighs MUCH less, and therefore is easier to take around. You honestly can put it in your coat or hoody pocket, don't even need to stick it in your bag. Price wise, they aren't in the same league with the Osprey only around $34.00 USD. But - very different builds here.
I've dropped some pics here to show you them side by side. The decision, is up to you. Base it upon your needs. Do you need this? Do you not really need that? Is this or that feature enough? Etc.
The Improvement Requests for Mystery Ranch In and Out Pack
While the pack itself is fantastic, every company can always work on something to improve. These requests aren't critical, but they are something to mention. For one, and the PackHacker guys wouldn't like this, there are a lot of things hanging off the bag. That's because of the grab handles, compression straps, tool loops, etc. Now in many cases these are good features. But, something to see if they can improve on in future versions. It's also a little harder to pack into itself than other bags, but really that's due to the heavier materials. Give and take, always.
Final Thoughts On My Mystery Ranch In And Out Pack Review
The packable daypack space has exploded over the years, and you pretty much have the pick of the litter. The world is your oyster so to speak. You won't be wanting for choices here.
But, what you really want to be considering is what kind of features you really need, if any at all. Do you just need the lightest possible daypack to legit just stuff some things in as you walk around? You can do that. Do you want a more urban style bag? You can do that. How about a dual-purpose daypack for the city and the trail? Don't be surprised here - but you can do that, too.
And that's what we have here. The Mystery Ranch In and Out pack is one of the best constructed bags of this variety on the market from all inputs and reviews I've seen (remember, I research these products heavily on my own before I purchase so you can ideally save time). It's feature packed for pockets and your every day carry stuff, or switching it up and using the external tool loops as well while on the trail.
I wanted a bag that felt more like a real backpack, rather than the ultimate in lightweight travel efficiency. So I think what I lost in extra weight, I made up for in quality and features that work for me. To that end, I think for a lot of people, this is the best packable daypack you can get. If you're trying to decide if you're going to get into this space to wander a little smarter, well the answer is you should. And if you want a more versatile, standard feeling pack while being OK with the little bit extra weight and space-taking, I think you should give this one a serious look. If not just buy it outright. The function, materials/build quality, and design make this a great value - even if it's on the higher end of this space. You truly get what you pay for here, though.
They sell directly from their website and on Amazon, so click below to grab yours:
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