For 16 years since the inception of Mystery Ranch, serious hunters have known of the quality of the packs produced by Dana Gleason and the team at Mystery Ranch. Many of us older hunters remember the packs from Dana Gleason. I grew up hanging with serious backpackers, skiers and rock climbers and we often drooled over the Dana Design packs. We called them bombproof at the time because they could handle just about anything we threw at them. In all that time, however, Mystery Ranch had not developed a pack for hunters specifically – until this year. Hunters used these packs for years, especially the Crew Cab, and now hunters have specific packs built purposefully for hunting.
We have seen these new packs and we had the opportunity to test out the Cabinet pack this fall in the canyons of Nebraska on some mule deer and whitetail hunts. These canyons are not incredibly far off the road, I am never really more than two miles from my truck, but they are steep. Packing animals and meat out of these canyons requires a load-bearing pack that can hold anything I throw at it. It needs to be “bombproof.” The Mystery Ranch Cabinet is a bombproof pack that can handle everything you throw at it in a single day.
Over the course of 45 days, I threw just about everything at this pack: carrying in a tree stand, camera equipment, blinds, bows and gear. Finally, on my last day of testing, I used the pack to carry out meat that had been boned out, thrown into a game bag and strapped to the pack. It all worked flawlessly and was rock solid through all of my hunts. The Cabinet is not produced in a quiet cloth material, however. It is not a deal breaker, but I found the pack a little noisy in the tree stand when the deer where right under the me.
At SHOT Show, I sat down with the team at Mystery Ranch and they walked me through every available adjustment on this pack and I was blown away. I had thought the pack fit very well to begin with but with this knowledge I came home, loaded up the pack and made some recommended adjustments. Holy Smacks, does this pack fit like a dream! I honestly believe I could carry twice as much weight as I have in the pack and I am quite sure I was packing close to 70 lbs. on that pack out of the canyon with a big doe boned out and strapped down.
The Cabinet is built on the Guide Light Frame that adapts to the weight you are carrying. It is flexible for light loads and stiffens with more weight. The waist belt offers a layered lumber structure and three attachment points. This pack has adjustment points and the redirect belt secures twice as tight with pressure where it matters. The front panel main pocket offers access to internal contents like your kit, rain gear, knives, food and stoves. The flat front pocket offers a small pocket for GPS units, flashlights, licenses and maps. The two tubular pockets offer access for spotting scopes and optics and small tripods. You can use the second pocket for rain gear or cooking and food items. The pack also has a dedicated hydration pocket with toggle loops to handle any of the current water bladders. The overload shelf and tie down points offer the ability to securely strap down gear and haul out meat. The entire pack comes in at 5.7 lbs. which makes it one of the lightest day packs on the market with more features than I have seen in any other pack I have tested to date.
The Cabinet offers a very serious pack in a lightweight, streamlined system that is purpose-built specifically for hunting and I could not be more impressed with it. This pack is exceptional, ‘nuff said!
Head over to mysteryranch.com and take a look.