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Running Accessories • February 22, 2024

Mystery Ranch Spring 2024 Pack Review

mystery ranch - radix 31 spring

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New packs from Mystery Ranch for spring 2024


Galligator, Scree, and Radix


Fastpacking, daypacking, trail running, hiking

mystery ranch - scree 22 on trail

Mystery, Solved

With a decades-long history of quality and excellence, Mystery Ranch is known for packs that hold up to the toughest conditions. From Navy SEALs to backcountry firefighters, their clientele and purpose reflects the standard set for their gear, and their designs have traditionally catered to everything from hunting to everyday carry. While the packs used to be made in-house in Montana, the demand has necessitated outsourcing; however, their commitment to craftsmanship remains undeterred, even after their recent sale to Yeti.

That said, running wasn’t particularly in their purview when it came to outdoor packs, but with the new collection for spring 2024, the more ambitious of us now have some options with the three packs featured in this review. From 10L t0 57L, with purposes ranging from daypacking to peak bagging, there’s something here for those looking for a pack to accompany them on any true outdoor adventure.



Mystery Ranch Spring 2024

mystery ranch - scree 22 on rocks

Mystery Ranch Scree


Shop The Pack
Best For

Peak bagging, backpacking, hiking

Key Features

3-zip design, adjustable compression, custom laminate fabric, daisy chain and tool attachment, fixed harnessing

Size Range

22L (unisex), 33L (men/women)

TAYLOR: There isn’t a pack that I’ve spent more time with than the Mystery Ranch Scree 22 (it also comes in a 33L size, and a women’s specific version). It is a pack that bridges versatility, durability, and trail styling. From the get-go, know that this is not a running specific pack, it is a trail pack that can work if a larger work load is needed. 

With “day pack” in mind, the Mystery Ranch Scree 22 puts on a clinic in the comfort department. I used this for anything from travel to big hikes; heck, my 6-year-old daughter even used it for a short backpacking trip. Comfort and adjustability were very apparent. A modest waist strap combined with well-cushioned two-way adjustable shoulder straps adapted to various activities. The back panel was fairly rigid which made it possible to pack a lot or a little without a compromised fit.

This design oozes simplicity and practicality, which is basically a love language to me. But storage is the main attraction for the Mystery Ranch Scree 22. As you would expect from the name, the pack maintains 22 liters of storage capacity, courtesy of two main pockets combined with rear and front daisy chains for external storage.

mystery ranch - scree 22 lid

A quick access pocket on the lid of the pack holds smaller items like snacks, gloves, and a packable jacket. A large tube-like main compartment is easily accessed via a vertical waterproof YKK zipper or through a cinch-top opening. This design allowed for easy access to any item in my pack; I did not need to dump and sort every time I needed a layer, pull my headlamp from the bottom, or the like. It acted like an alpine drawer. 

Two other zippers secured the lid of the pack to the main compartment and concealed the cinch top access point. This 3-way zipper design took a little bit of getting used to but it allowed for adaptable usage of space, weather protection and easily accessed goods.

The pocket system would be a stellar option for crewing runners at races, FKT’s, or thru hikes as well.

There are no external water bottle pockets; however, a reservoir sleeve is integrated into the main storage area. In this style of pack, and what it might be used for, this is a good move for performance. It makes the rugged exterior nearly completely smooth. The technical outer laminate fabric did its job of not compromising any of the internals no matter the conditions or terrain. Rubbing along rocks, getting rained on, or dragged through the dirt and ash were all just in a day’s work.

Overall, the Mystery Ranch Scree 22 might be a non-traditional pick for runners. However, if you find yourself needing more storage, more durability, and/or a better organized system for long days (and short nights) on the trail, this pack could easily do the job. It gives off real mountaineer/climber vibes while having the specs and comfort of a light hiking or heavy duty running pack. It could easily work in all scenarios.

Shop Mystery Ranch - Scree


mystery ranch - galligator 12 with nikes

Mystery Ranch Gallagator


Shop The Pack
Best For

Daypacking, commuting, hiking, trail running

Key Features

Pocketed shoulder straps, rip-zip access, lid pocket, bungee panel

Size Range

10L, 15L, 20L, 25L

ROBBE: We actually received this pack towards the end of last summer, so it’s been with me for awhile. Taylor’s Scree pack was less of a running pack and more of a fastpack, this 10-liter version of the Gallagator is more of a running pack and less of the latter. 

Lightweight and stacked with just the right amount of pockets and storage options, the Gallagator is a perfect daypack for hiking, short runs, or urban exploring. I took this on a family vacation to Rocky Mountain National Park (where I met up with Taylor), which included long day hikes carrying a bunch of stuff for my family. I also used it for running, paddleboarding, fishing, and city cycling.

First and foremost, comfort is key with any pack. Mystery Ranch did a nice job of providing generous padding with a vertical ventilation cutout for the back. That said, I don’t think it’s as good as Camelbak’s M.U.L.E. ventilation design, but they may have a proprietary lock on that. Comfort-wise, I had no issues, same with the straps. For hiking, anyway.

In terms of storage, there’s plenty to go around, despite the supposed limitations of the 10L spec. The zip pocket on the lid of the main storage compartment is a nice quick-access spot, and has an integrated key loop so you don’t lose those suckers in the backcountry. The main compartment is wide open, with a separate stash for a hydration bladder.

mystery ranch - galligator 10 bungees

Bungee panel allows for additional storage

mystery ranch - galligator 10 paddleboard

Also works on a paddleboard

On the Gallagator 10 that I tested, the closure system is a two-zipper design that meets in the middle. It’s obviously a simplified take on the classic Mystery Ranch rip-zip design (a Y-zipper that is actually utilized in the two larger capacity Gallagator packs), but in this version… it’s just a V without its spine. I know that’s their thing, but I’m not sure I’m fully sold on it for this pack, because it’s a little annoying to have to undo two zippers in two different directions to get to the main compartment. That said, it’s not a dealbreaker.

There’s plenty more storage on the outside of the bag, thanks to the compression straps on the side of the main compartment and the bungee system on the back. That means you can shed layers, carry shoes, or a camp chair, or whatever fits, which kind of multiplies the storage capacity. The shoulder straps on the bag also feature two small front pockets with bungee closures that are cell phone or soft flask compatible. For some reason, may favorite part of the bag is the hang loop– a sturdy, nylon handle that’s good for slinging and hanging around.

Two front chest straps offer a secure fit and can be situated to your liking with three daisy chain options. There are also a few more smaller gear loops scattered throughout the bag that can be used as carabiner attachment points. In terms of durability, it’s a pretty standard recycled polyester found in most packs in this range. It’ll be plenty durable for most of what you throw at it. It’s not waterproof, but it is water-resistant, so that’s better than nothing.

mystery ranch - galligator 12 water bottle

Lid pocket for snacks, main pocket for essentials

Now let’s get to the criticisms, because all is not perfect with this pack. I don’t think it’s an especially great running pack, or even a good one. For starters, there is no shoulder cinching, so there is a little bit of bounce on the run. Speaking of shoulders, the straps did create some chafing, which is the primary killer among trail runners aged 0-100. And then there’s the bizarre length of the nylon portion of the shoulder straps used to tighten the pack down. They are at least two feet long, which is obviously absurd and unnecessary. Are they supposed to be used as an emergency tourniquet? Because that’s the only explanation. They got in the way and were supremely annoying, even when bundled up and secured with the included Velcro loop closure.

Overall, I really enjoyed this pack. I thought about going up to the next level of storage, but this is honestly perfect for shorter hikes or as a daypack while traveling. It also packs down nicely into a duffel if you want to take it as an extra bag, and fits perfectly under the airplane seat in front of you if used as a personal item. The downside to such a small bag of course, is that you won’t have outside storage for a water bottle or room for much else aside from snacks, a change of clothes, and a book. That said, utilize those bungee cords on the back if you need a bit extra storage. Last thing– in case you’re wondering– it will hold a standard 13-inch Macbook in the main compartment, just not in the hydration sleeve.

Shop Mystery Ranch - Gallagator


mystery ranch - radix 31

Mystery Ranch Radix


Shop The Pack
Best For

Peak bagging, day hiking, bug out

Key Features

Removable aerospace aluminum frame, off-center zipper, compressible front and side pockets

Size Range

31L, 47L, 57L (all men’s and women’s specific)

ROBBE: So this is the only bag from the new spring collection that we haven’t reviewed. Granted, it is positioned for more aggressive endeavors outside of the typical runner’s purview, anything from peak bagging to weekend hikes to bug out bag (for the larger storage options).

The Radix series is designed to be lighter, faster, and stronger, and the construction materials support that goal. The pack is crafted from lightweight Ultra-PE Birdseye and a recycled ripstop fabric. Adjustability is key, and the pack features a removable aerospace aluminum frame, as well as plenty of external pockets for a myriad of storage options. The waist belt is also removable. And again, it remains lightweight, coming in at 3.1 pounds for the 31L option. 

The good news here is that it not only comes in sizes small through extra large, but it’s also offered in men’s and women’s specific sizes.

Shop Mystery Ranch - Radix

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Taylor Bodin
Lead Trail Reviewer
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Taylor Bodin is a trail and ultra runner living in Estes Park, Colo., with his wife and daughters. Trail running is pretty much the only hobby he can manage right now and loves it. Every so often, he will pop off a race or FKT attempt because competition is pure and the original motivator for him getting into running anyways. When not running, Taylor is a 1st grade teacher, running coach (track & field, Cross Country, and Trail/Ultra athletes), and volunteers at his church.

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Fav. Distance


  • 27:03

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Robbe Reddinger
Senior Editor
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Robbe is the senior editor of Believe in the Run. He loves going on weird routes through Baltimore, finding trash on the ground, and running with the Faster Bastards. At home in the city, but country at heart. Loves his two boys more than anything. Has the weakest ankles in the game.

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