Tooling around Orlando, Florida I typically don’t need a whole lot of backcountry gear, but one thing I always use is a backpack. I carry mine almost everywhere. And the Mystery Ranch Urban Assault is the most interesting, fun backpack I’ve ever owned. It’s extremely durable, fits the body well, has many compartments, and has the oddest (yet functional) zipper. Let’s break it down:
It’s made in America, which is nice. But moreover, it’s made with military-grade durable canvas (technically 500D CORDURA® fabric). Personally…I am so rough on both clothing and bags. Oh, and shoes. I just wear things heavily. And this bag is most lovely because it is just so thoroughly bomb proof, metaphorically speaking (I think). Most dirt and stains wipe right off, and if not, simply add a little water and voila! Added to the strength-factor are the monstrous zippers. It’s not comical how large they are, but they are certainly grand and hold up quite well.
The bag is constructed like a hiking pack and—in that—it doesn’t look quite as fancy as I’d like. However, it rides tremendously well. It’s high up the back, which is much easier on the back, hugging it rather than rattling around loosely. There are also load straps over the shoulders, ski-pole straps underneath the arms, and a chest strap across the chest that brings the pack even closer to the body. In fact, I’ve fairly regularly ran with the backpack and it rides very well for this. Some bags, when you’re running with them, you need to hold the straps underneath the arms to keep the bag from flopping around, but with this, you can quickly pull all the straps quite tight and take off, letting your arms swing naturally.
My last pack only had two compartments, the main one, a smaller one, and a paddled computer sleeve. This bag, then is a treat. It has a pocket on top with water-proof zipper. Within that, there is a key clip, per normal. Inside, when the bag opens up, there are two very convenient pockets high in the bag, enclosed with mesh so you can see the contents. I use these two for cables, chargers, and the like. For this, they work perfectly. Along the inside back of the bag, there is a computer sleeve and an additional pouch in front of it that’s a bit smaller. For me,
This is weird. There are three zippers (all YKK®) connected on the top and back of the bag that open to the main compartment. They are such that you can open the top two and reach into the bag. The third zipper goes down from the point the other two meet to the bottom of the bag. You can actually grab both sides of the bag and rip it open, such is the strength of the bag and zipper material and construction.
After all this work, using this bag in the city and in the parks of Orlando and San Francisco, I’m truly excited to take it Kings Canyon National Park and Sequoia National Parks. I'll let you know how it goes.