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      Load Carriage: Architecture of a Mystery Ranch Pack


      With over four decade of design and manufacturing experience - coupled with simultaneous in-the-field testing and read-world hammering - we've learned a thing or two about load transfer, active framing and the importance of using only the most top-shelf materials. Here you'll find a detailed explanation of our Load Carriage credo, our patented custom fitting, as well as all of the time-tested design features and proven engineering that makes our packs the most comfortable and durable for the long haul. 

      Face it; we live in a world with too many choices (backpacks included). As someone who wants or needs to carry heavy loads – for missions ranging from alpine cragging or backcountry elk hunts, to wildland firefighting or patrolling hostile terrain – we're here to help you cut through the noise. In short, we want you to understand the fundamental design ingenuity and load-bearing solutions that differentiate our backpacks from the others in the market.

      You've heard the adage, "necessity is the mother of invention." Well, in our case, the necessity was fixing other peoples' gear (primarily backpacks) that had failed in the course of normal, in-the-field use. Our very first enterprise – dating back to 1975 – had us hunched over sewing machines, repairing blown out gear. From these humble roots, we learned a whole heck of a lot about where the "Achilles heels" existed in backpack design, materials, and manufacturing. With this foundation, we began making packs for ourselves and our friends. Our pack-focused enterprise grew out of these pragmatic, labor-of-love beginnings.

      Bottom line – we want you to better understand our backpacks: what makes them the most comfortable packs on the planet for big, awkward, changeable loads. What patented design elements make them easily customisable to fit you perfectly. And, what materials and trim components are thoughtfully chosen to make ours the most brick shithouse backpacks available. In essence, we want you to have a crystal clear understanding what makes our packs the premium choice in an often-blurry marketplace.

      Different from the get-go - Most backpack makers start with the packsack because that's what most customers look at first. They then cobble a pair of shoulder straps and a hip belt onto said "design". The shape and aesthetic silhouette of the bag, the colour palette, the shiny trims and bling features... these are their tier one considerations. Which is to say, how the pack's load carries is an afterthought for most. At MYSTERY RANCH, how the load transfers and carries - over the long haul - is our #1 consideration. As Dana Gleason (our charismatic, mad scientist founder) likes to say "Some of our best ideas are born of fascinating problems"



      Our packs are different in that they let you adjust the yoke via a telescoping design – up and down – to fit the exact length of your torso. By moving our form-fitting moulded adjuster, we move the shape as well. This is a patented feature unique to MYSTERY RANCH. In short, our telescoping harness design, in conjunction with our patented lumbar wrap, allows us to custom fit any of our packs for any customer for any mission. Our form fitting "adjuster" gives an accurate representation of your upper back.


      Our frames are built flat which helps them transfer the weight/load more effectively than an exaggerated S-curve or C-curve that you often see on the market. Though designed to perform as an active brace, MYSTERY RANCH packs are built to flex. They are not built to a generic shape that may or may not fit the user. Building that flex into the frame – by pulling on the lifters – changes the dynamic by putting an arc into the pack's foundation. We have learned that it's far preferable to spread the load across the entire height of the back (a wider swath of a carrier's back) than to focus the load on just the shoulders and hips. The arc created helps lift the pack off your shoulders and allows the load to be more evenly distributed. 


      Engineered for your specific end use

      We engineer packs that stabilise and control a wide range of loads and let your body move naturally and dynamically throughout a gamut of motion. In solving these equations, we ask: Who is the end user? What are they carrying? How are they using it and in what environment? Our challenge is to synthesise all of these inputs and then design purpose-built backpacks that evenly transfer weight, making the load as easy to carry as possible.


      While MYSTERY RANCH backpacks are certainly "more than the sum of their parts," the materials we select for our packs and accessories are the most premium, fully field tested specs available. Period. We skimp on nothing. While some components may differ from line to line or model to model, rest assured there's a meticulous method to our design rigor. Whether on the frontline, the fall line, the fire line or simply deep in the mountains, MYSTERY RANCH materials are BUILT FOR THE MISSION.