Meet the Mountain Ruck
Some of you may remember my earlier article about the Mystery Ranch Crewcab – a great modular pack that fit’s the Mystery NICE Frame system – well – here is another. The Mystery Ranch Mountain Ruck.
While I really love the Crewcab for its versatility, I also wanted a simpler pack for when I just wanted to throw a pile of stuff in a ‘sack’ and carry it. As I always do, I read up heaps online, and came across another of MR’s packs – something that would go onto my existing NICE frame, and give me a simple way of carrying a load. The Mountain Ruck.
It’s not hard to spot that the Mountain Ruck is heavily influenced by the ALICE Pack, a part of the system the US military used for a long time. It’s pretty simple – one large central pack with multiple external pouches – one large one in the middle, and two smaller ones on either side.
Big pockets, lots of storage.
The smaller external pouches are ideal for those items you want to get hold of quickly – in my case, I am often storing my tarp, cooking gear and lunch in the external pouches. The pouches are MR’s ‘rip’ open type – meaning you can easily get into them, even with gloves on. Nothing is worse than getting to a site in the rain, then having to unpack the bag in the rain, just to get some shelter up. I can dump the pack, grab the tarp out and get some cover up, then worry about anything else.
Once I have some shelter up, I can open up the pack to reach the internals – inside the pack are three more pockets – one larger one at the back that will hold a hydration pack (or a radio if in military use) and two side pockets, that I use to hold my hammock bag and often a small tripod.
The main area of the bag is certainly capable of holding more than I am ever going to want to have on my back. The MR site says 4800 cubic inches – which works out to around 78 litres. You have a double ended zip on the top rear of the pack – which is ideal for routing your hydration tube (or radio aerial) out of. On top of that, you have 8 litres in the outside pockets and if you are really hankering for more space, you can clip n the Daypack Lid for another 15 litres again. More than enough.
Of course, me being me, that isn’t – so you can also strap on more pouches to the MOLLE webbing on the pack and the hip belt as well. In my case, this means a IFAK I can tear off, and my Hazard4 Camera pouches for my SLR and Lens.
Because I really needed yet another pack. Honest.
The Mystery Ranch Mountain Ruck has been a very cool addition to my pack options. Did I really need it? No. Not really. The Crew Cab would happily carry as much. But the main thing is the simplicity of this pack. It is really just one large internal space that I can fill up, unlike the transforming Crew Cab, that has piles of carrying options, and a million and one straps to do it. For most plain tramping, the Mountain Ruck is the go-to. Hunting, it’s still all about the expanding Crew Cab.