Mystery Ranch doesn’t stop at making bombproof gear for life-on-the-line professions like firefighting and the military. They make outstanding outdoor and lifestyle gear as well, and I’m happy to report that their travel packs are the bomb. As in bombproof, because that’s just how they do things down at the Ranch.
The Mission Rover travel packs are built in my favorite format: a clamshell design that zips open on three sides and opens like a book. Available in 30, 45, and 60 liter sizes, I tested the 45L (4lb 1oz on our scale) because it still fits within carry-on size limits. The only other choice after size was color, and I went with what Mystery Ranch calls wood waxed. It’s gorgeous, but you can get it in basic black and gray as well.
The clamshell design is, for my money, the best because it allows full access to contents for packing and removal. If you roll and fold carefully, Marie Kondo style or ranger roll, then you don’t need packing cubes. I can just live out of the pack, and when traveling light, one less thing is a good thing. The Mission Rover has a bit of stiffness to its construction, which is nice because it doesn’t flop around much when empty or partially filled.
The two main compartments are each accessed with a full u-zip heavy-duty mesh flap. The mesh is nice for seeing what’s inside without having to unzip, and for breathability to cut down on the funk. Each flap has a full-size flat zipped pocket for larger and thinner folded items like jackets and dresses.
The front half has two exterior pockets: a shoe compartment on the bottom has a liner that expands into the main compartment, to keep your shoes separated from your clothes. A larger zipped compartment exposes a laptop/tablet sleeve, two phone-sized open pockets, and two smaller, flatter zipped mesh pockets, one with a small key clip.
Mystery Ranch didn’t skimp on the carrying options. There’s a long removable shoulder strap to start with, and comfy beefy grab handles a-plenty: one on the hinged side of the pack, a pair on the opposite side (1 for each half), and one each on the top and bottom of the pack.
On the back of the pack, there is a sleeve for sliding the pack over the handles on wheeled luggage – a must for long airport and hotel humps. Underneath that sleeve, the hip and shoulder belts tuck away into their own zipped sleeve. The hip belt is adjustable on both sides, and there’s a sternum strap for good measure. Basically if you’re planning on extensive carry with the Mission Rover, you’re good to go.
The Mission Rover pack just gets it done, in style and without complaint. If you haven’t tried a travel pack yet, this is where to start.