Mystery Ranch Marshall Review – Expedition Hunting Packs And Beyond
From backpacking to hunting, every day, fire, military and beyond, if you need a pack built for your specific mission in mind, chances are Mystery Ranch makes it.
With a name like Mystery Ranch you might be wondering where it comes from.
Back in the 1940’s when there were movie cereals on daytime TV, there used to be one that was called “Radio Ranch”. It featured crime singing cowboys with that old iconic version of the West. Given the companies Bozeman, Montana location with wide open spaces it makes sense.
History aside, this modern day pack company is pushing the limits of what’s possible. While they use the best materials and most durable construction methods, where their packs really shine is how the load transfers and carries over the long haul.
It’s a good reason as to why I was so drawn to the Mystery Ranch Marshall pack. I’ll explore every inch of this pack in great detail with you below, but first, let me explain why any Mystery Ranch product is worth every single penny. Of course, you’ll find some of my other favorite Mystery Ranch packs and accessories below too.
Mystery Ranch Quick Highlights
– Guide Light Frame, designed for the heaviest loads.
– Over 35 years designing packs.
– Still family owned and operated.
– Available GORE OPTIFADE Subalpine pattern.
– Overload Feature, exclusive to Mystery Ranch.
– Cordura Fabrics.
– Reliable YKK Zippers.
– Heavy Duty Molded Buckle Hardware
– Auto locks on compression straps.
– Textured webbing in critical areas to eliminate slip.
– Densified urethane foam that never dies.
– Carbon Fiber, fiberglass, aluminum and HDPE frames.
– Teflon C6 Water Repellency.
– 6,6 Nylon Thread for strength and toughness.
– Apparently a dog friendly workplace/company.
Mystery Ranch Marshall Review
Surprise after surprise; it’s what you’ll find with the Mystery Ranch Marshall pack.
With a 6408 cu-in (105 L) of interior capacity, there’s room for just about anything you would ever need for an extended backcountry hunt. And if that isn’t enough, just take advantage of the Overload Shelf to push the limits of your legs on the pack out.
Each backcountry hunting pack arrives with a 500D Cordura fabric construction and is paired with YKK zippers for extreme durability. Colors range from Coyote to Foliage alongside Desolve Bare and Optifade Subalpine. In my case, I choose to go with coyote.
Rapid access compartments make storing and removing things like rain gear, additional clothing layers, a spotting scope, and so on an effortless experience. Meanwhile, equipment straps for your bow and rifle offer storage with plenty of peace of mind.
To ensure comfort and stability while deep in the woods and high on the ridges, you’ll find a Guide Light Frame. There’s also a telescoping yoke for a custom torso fit, contoured waist belt, and thick, breathable strap padding. While heavier loads can often suck on other packs, the Mystery Ranch Marshall pack ensures consistent comfort.
While this is a monster of a pack, you can always compress it down to make it smaller in size for day hunts. Personally, what I like best, aside from the countless cool features (which I will get into below), is the generous size which allows me to pack as much as I want without having to stop and worry about it. Needless to say, this is the ultimate pack for the ultimate hunter.
Rear Two Vertical Pockets
At the rear of every Mystery Ranch Marshall pack, you’ll find two external ultra-long, vertical pockets. For getting items and in out in a flash, it doesn’t get much easier than this. Both compartments offer plenty of storage space even when the main compartment is packed full.
Top Alpine Lid Two Pockets
At the very top of this pack, you’ll find an Alpine lid which includes two pockets with approximately 2 L of storage space. The front compartment features a hydration pass-through port alongside an extra buckle. To remove both of these compartments entirely just unbuckle four buckles and the detachable Alpine lid comes right off. When removed it can double as a waist-mounted daypack simply by using that extra buckle found on the front compartment.
The Main Compartment
The heart of this pack can be accessed by a top-loading shroud. In terms of space, you will be amazed at just how much can fit in here. Best of all, at the bottom of the compartment, you will find a separator which keeps your gear in the compartment separated from your sleeping bag compartment below. You can see a better photo of this in the next section.
Main Compartment Size Access Zip Feature
To get to the main compartment of the Mystery Ranch Marshall pack you can also use the size zip access feature. It extends for the full length of the pack down right down to the start of the separator. As you can see the separator can be removed with the two interior buckles.
Separated Bottom Sleeping Bag Compartment
Wondering what’s below the separator as seen above? Here it is. Simply open up the bottom of the pack with the horizontal SpeedZip and it will reveal the perfect area for your sleeping bag. Inside you will find a black strap for compressing down your gear which I found to be extremely handy. There are also two grommets at the very bottom to assist in draining any spilled liquids from the interior of the pack.
Two included straps make securing your bow to the pack a breeze. In my case, I attached a Hoyt Hyperforce in about five seconds and it’s on there rock-solid. I tried to get it to swing, slide down, and etc. but it refuses to budge. When going over rocky and unfavorable terrain I have plenty of confidence that my bow isn’t going to get left behind.
Rifle / Shotgun Attachement
On the side of the Mystery Ranch Marshall pack, you’ll find a small pocket which is adjustable to fit virtually any rifle or shotgun stock. Three compression straps will keep your firearm secured in place. Of course, you can also use this compartment for storing things like a 32oz Nalgene water bottle, a tripod, or whatever else you wish.
Guide Light Frame
The Mystery Ranch Marshall pack can be separated into three separate pieces. At the heart of it all, you will find the Guide Light Frame. I have to say that I’m really impressed with just how well this thing handles heavier loads.
As you put more weight on, the tensioning action pulls the stays into a stiffer alignment. In other words, the lighter the loader, the more active the feel. And the heavier the load the more stiff and stable the feel for achieving the ultimate ability to carry your pack.
It’s been said to have been inspired by their military-oriented NICE Frame, only it carries taller and lighter making it more suitable for hunters. Overall, I like the new lightweight carbon fiber frame system. It offers the right amount of flex to move with your body, not work against it.
I also wanted to note that the detachable lid can double as a waist-mounted dayback.
Mystery Ranch Collection
For Marshall pack accessories, I recommend the pack fly or the quick draw bino harness. The harness allows you to drop your pack if your stalking an animal. Meanwhile you can still keep your bear spray or holstered firearm on you.
Let’s face it, not everyone is going to need a pack of this caliber. If the Marshall isn’t the right size, consider going with the Mystery Ranch Metacalf. It’s one of their top selling hunting packs and is suitable for 5 day hunts but can be easily cinched down to become a day hunting pack.
Hunting aside, if you’re into backpacking I highly recommending checking out their Glacier pack. And for everyday carry enthusiasts, their every day Urban Assault pack is also a winner my book.