Monday, 21 January 2013

Mystery Ranch 3 Day Assault Pack

Geocaching in Cyprus
On my last deployment, taking advantage of the USA APO, I ordered a Mystery Ranch 3Day Assault Pack BVS in Foliage. The choice of Foliage or, as I call it, Feld Grun was specific; it can pass for a civilian style day bag with a cursory glance.  Many European bags are made in a similar moss grey green colour. The purchase was well researched through contact with various end users who had used the bag on combat operations. Immediately, upon opening the packaging, I was impressed with the construction and attention to detail. This is a bag for all seasons, full spectrum operations and multiple roles from signaler to medic to gunfighter.

Getting my bearings...

The Mystery Ranch 3 Day Assault really is the last word on assault packs. It has enough room for sustainment gear, ammunition, medical gear, and other mission specific items. As a bonus, the internals will support all the man pack-able tactical radios types currently in service with the NATO Forces . The removable Bolstered Ventilation and Stability (BVS) system is designed to give more stability to a pack when worn with body armor. The Bolsters are made of an incredibly robust injection molded EVA that are the removability allowing the bag to be adjusted for when body armor is not used.

The Futura Frame the basis of Mystery Ranch daypacks. It is designed to support standard day loads of 18 kilos (40lbs). The Futura Yoke is a Velcro fixed telescoping shoulder pad system that can be adjusted to match your torso length. Once the yoke is properly set, the shape of the composite frame sheet is curved to match the shape of your back. A wise operator will pre-set multiple loadouts using a Sharpie to make hash marks for easy adjustment.  Remember when ordering that the yoke is available in three different sizes to offer a seamless fit; pay particular attention to this detail.

Right side:Live Wing Waist belt and BVS System in place.
Left side: Live Wing Waist belt and BVS System stowed 
Integral storage panel is secured with a buckle system during use.

Mystery Ranch Futura Frame packs has a myriad of waistbelt options: from a simple 2" webbing strap to the Live Waist Belt System. I ordered the Live Wing belt system upgrade as a load transfer system. The foam “wings” are attached to a foam stiffener in the lower section of the pack bag.  It can be tucked away in the side panels when lighter loadouts are being carried; always available when heavier mission specific gear is added. With MOLLE on the ‘wings’, critical gear can be carried close at hand. Additionally, Mystery Ranch has pouches specifically for the Live Wing belt. Pictured here are the Flip Top Box pouches, which have foam integrated into the walls to protect important gear like your GPS, camera, or rangefinders.

MR Flip Top Box Pouch

MR Flip Top Box Pouch
with thirty 2 3/4" 12 gauge rifled slugs  

The rear of the pack has daisy chains bisecting the panels of the 3zip allowing you to attach any required mission mobility kit such as ropes, carabiners and harness. A necessary addition in mountain, urban and helo operations. The hardware and zippers in this pack are of the highest quality and will give you years of hard service. Each compression strap has Webkeepers sewn onto their ends; controlling trailing ends of webbing getting caught on your environment when making movement.

The top flap of the pack is divided into two pocket with access facing towards the wearer, rather than facing out to a team mate. The top pocket is graduated into a medium sized pocket with and integrated organizer panel that allows you to store one square or rectangular items, about the size of a digital camera, GPS or IR Strobe, and two tubular  items, about the of a large Sharpie marker, tactical flashlight or pen flare. The lower pocket is a large pocket with a mesh floor. This area would be large enough to store admin items, gloves, SSE bags, and the like. Sewn to the top of the flap of the pack is a 10cm by 10cm (4" by 4") Velcro loop panel for IFF or ID patches. Just below the top flap, on either side of the yoke, are zips that open to allow antenna, comms wire or a hydration tube to be attached to the shoulder harness by a Velcro hook and loop holder. This Velcro holder called an Eggroll by Mystery Ranch can for left or right access depending on the operator. Also, in between the top panel and yoke, is a larger zip access to allow manipulation of communications equipment.

Top Panel is divided into two pockets 
with a Velcro loop panel on the top.
Below the Top panel behind the yoke
 is a large zipper access
for communication equipment.

The top pocket has a graduated organizer
and the bottom pocket has a mesh floor
There are zips on either side of the yoke
 for hydration tubes or comm wires.
The Eggroll can be moved to either
 left or right shoulder strap easily.

I am a true believer in the 3Zip design. It allows you to get into your pack fast and have full access to gear without completely unloading your bag. The 3Zip design permits the operator to pack with lighter bulkier clothing and gear at the bottom of their bag; keeping heavier objects higher so the weight can be split over the shoulders and hips. But, you still have instant access when required. 

The 3Zip design combined with the internal pockets, sleeves and
 MOLLE Panel allows you to customize your load to the mission or adventure.

There is PALS web on the sides and on the inside back panel increasing the modularity and versatility of this pack. The side compression straps compress the bag down when not fully loaded and when combine with the side pockets/ panels can be used to secure longer items such as tertiary weapons systems, telescoping poles or antenna.

The side of the the pack has PALS to expand the loadout

Use the PALS and sleeve behind the side pocket
to secure longer mission essential equipment.
 In this case, an MoE tool.

Using the compression straps, 
you can make the bag
into a small package for tighter spaces

This is a well-constructed pack with a well thought out design that will give you years of service; whether in military, police or first responder applications. The single improvement that I have done to the pack is removing the paracord loops on the zipper pulls and buckles; replacing them with paracord Solomon bars. I do not like loops of cord on my kit. They have a nasty habit of getting hooked or hung up when trying to rapid exit a burning vehicle or making entry in to a hostile compound. 

Some bouldering in the Catacombs

My MR 3 Day Assault Pack acts as my geocaching and bug out bag when not being used for tactical work . It is being used constantly and has yet to fail me.

It can be purchased in Canada through the distributor Rampart International. The pack comes in Scorched Earth, Mud Hut, Feld Grun and Multicam. There will be further posts regarding this pack and various loadouts, primarily tasked based.

Take care out there


  1. great review! I'm considering purchasing this myself. Do you know if this will fit the 522 man pack? And how is it/are radios secured/strapped down? The little sleeve on the inside looks like it barely fits a Camelbak.

    1. The 522 or MBITER style radio will fit nicely into the sleeve on the inside front of the pack. I am not a signaller but that is the how he set up his 3Zip. The MOLLE panel in the rear of the bag can be used, also, for MOLLE comparable pouches.

      Hope that helps...

  2. By the way, any updates on your thoughts & observations?

    1. Not really. Still a great bag. Still going strong.

      I am planning a blog on the medical insert and other accessories once I am done this current gig.