1. Are you a current member with account or password issues?

    Please visit following page for more information

    Dismiss Notice

Review: Mystery Ranch Outsider (Indepth, lots of pics!)

Discussion in 'Gear Reviews' started by jcw122, Jul 7, 2011.

  1. jcw122

    jcw122 Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2010
    Messages:
    430
    Likes Received:
    25
    Update for 12/24/13. Recently reviewing my EDC setups. I still love this bag for weekends away from home (mostly to pack clothing) or urban biking. I really do wish the organization pouches were better, but perhaps independent pouches would solve this. I will also say that I saw MR increased the price on this to $229+shipping....I can't say I would endorse this bag at that price. It's a great bag, but I bought it for $172 shipped, at the time.


    UPDATE 5/12/2012: I can happily say that I've had this bag for almost a year now, and it has served me very well. Like I've mentioned here, no shoulder bag is comfortable if you weigh it down, but I've hauled anything from a bunch of clothes to a 6-pack of beer, and it's done the job well. I use it mostly for biking, and I think it rocks for that purpose as the weigh is vectored to your back rather than your shoulder. Haven't had any QC problems or anything like that either. Great bag.

    Hi everyone!

    This is my first major review on EDCF, and I'm hoping to make a contribution that will benefit everyone looking for a top notch messenger bag as an EDC, work, or biking bag. I made an effort to try to make the photos relatively color accurate, but these bags DO appear different under different lighting. One thing I enjoy about the MR is that it looks good both stuffed and nearly empty, unlike many backpacks that look silly when empty (PFII....).


    [​IMG]

    Overview:

    I recently started an corporate-type job, so I wanted something that looked more appropriate than a backpack to bring on my walk to work. I just don't like the look of backpacks over business attire. The Outsider doesn't necessarily have a business look, but I wanted something I could use for work and play (versatility), and I think that's what I managed to find. I'm also big into biking around town, so I wanted something fun and unique.

    I also made a point to avoid what I'll term "leading" or "name brand" messenger bag makers like Timbuk2 and all that, because everyone has that. And when everyone has it, I don't want it :) My last criteria was to have a bag that had great organization, as I noticed that most messenger bags are about the same as a plastic bucket, featureless!

    [​IMG]



    Customer Service and Color Changes:

    I've had this bag for about 4 weeks total. I initially bought it in Foliage thinking that the color would be grey (as shown on the MR website, and from other owner photos on Google), but it turned out that MR changed the color without leaving any notice (an MR rep informed me of the "slight" color change after I had already received the bag). The foliage version has a green tint to it that really bothered me, here it is beside a Maxpedition Monkey Admin in khaki:

    [​IMG] Notice the green?


    So I ended up returning the Foliage bag for a Coyote bag.

    After being told over the phone that I would only have to pay shipping back to MR, but not back to me, I found that my credit card was charged return for shipping ($13 or so, not cheap!). I was fairly upset by this, because if I would have known I was going to get charged both ways, I would have stayed with foliage. I told this to Customer Service, and got no reply, and the charge stood. So that ended up jacking my total cost up significantly, and I was angry, but it is what it is. I just wanted to let everyone know my experience with MR customer service, take it as you like.


    Compartments, Pockets, Organization Galore!

    Like I said, I think organization and storage is very well done in this bag, and it is SPACEOUS too! Specs list it as 1500cu in (25L). The folio shown inside measures 16.5" diagonally. You could easily fit a 17" laptop in, but weight would absolutely be an issue with a laptop of that size.

    [​IMG]
    LOTS of room!

    Here it is with THREE bath towels in it, I also loaded it with 2 beach towels earlier in the week plus 1L Nalgene with room to spare:

    [​IMG]

    I love the fact that I can carry my pens/light/notebook and all of that in the organization pocket, and also keep my Monkey Admin Pouch inside the main compartment, although that flops around and is a bit heavy to carry because of its contents.

    [​IMG]

    Another plus is the two internals mesh pouches in the main compartment that can fit my 1L Nalgene (unzipped). I use the other to carry FAK items, although I only carry bandaids.

    [​IMG]

    Although the MR website cites it as having a padded laptop sleeve, I wouldn't say this is accurate. It is more like the back of the Outsider has a large, fairly stiff pad, and you can fit a laptop OUTSIDE of that zippered pad compartment...you can't really fit much inside. I tried fitting my 15" laptop inside and it doesn't work. But it still fits fine outside the pad pouch and I feel comfortable with that. See photo with padfolio at top, and see this photo for an idea of the backpad:

    [​IMG]


    Moving on to the strap. It is a very large, and heavily padded shoulder strap with mesh on the back of the pad and a seat-belt type strap for the rest of it. It has large PALS-like peices that the included pouch can attach to. I left it detached in my photos, but here are pics:

    [​IMG]

    Here is a detail of the back of the pouch to show how it attaches using velcro. This pouch is pretty useful, but the zipper design can make it easy for items to fall out (curved zipper, see other photo up top with pouch, if you turn it the other way the zipper faces away from you so it's just as awkward):

    [​IMG]

    The strap is actually more versatile than I initially realized. It allows you to carry the bag like a tight messenger bag, or something more close to a strapped briefcase hanging at your side. The benefit is this is that it puts less pressure on your chest, which does get uncomfortable, and more pressure on your shoulder. This can be very useful if what your carrying is heavy and you don't need to run.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Also included is a detatchable strap that goes under your arm and across the chest to connect to the main strap. This is a common option in Maxpedition gearslingers, and helps with stability. I use it for biking, and I like the fact that it can be detatched easily from the back of the bag and stored (black ring in rear-of-bag photos).

    [​IMG]

    The ultimate advantage to the Outsider, as with any messenger bag, is accessibility. I love being able to swing this thing around and get into it, instead of having to take my entire backpack off like with my PFII.

    I also decided to use Web Dominators to keep the flap straps in check, they match perfectly, and do a good job. Otherwise your straps will be flying around as they are somewhat long.

    [​IMG]

    And for the Maxpedition lovers, a comparison between Khaki and MR Coyote:

    [​IMG]


    What I Love:
    -Great orgaization
    -Backpad! Makes contact on your back comfortable, which is a nice change from my PFII being always oddly shaped. It is also nice to protect your back from oddly shaped items in the bag
    -LOTS OF SPACE! I fit two beach towels, a 1L Nalgene, and EDC items in this the other day, with room to spare in secondary compartments
    -Large strap, lots of positioning options, plus the stabilizing strap
    -Tough design, although stitching for the strap attachment points is unknown, as it appears to be concealed. I assume it uses 500D cordura/nylon, it is soft but feels tough and light.
    -Very nice zippers

    What I Don't Care For:
    -Comfort: This is a problem inherent with having a single strap design. Load it down with much more than 5lb of stuff and it will not be ANYWHERE near as comfortable as a backpack. This is my first messenger bag, so maybe it is an exaggerated effect for me. I tend to keep it fairly light, and comfort is not a problem otherwise. Adjusting the strap to a shoulder-bag style carry improves comfort when possible
    I will also note that comfort issues subside when your biking with this, as that vectors a lot of weight more directly onto the back.
    -Colors: I was pretty upset that MR changed their color for their Foliage bag, as the tint of green causes the bag not to match any clothing you might own. The general color selection for the Outsider is rather strange, especially for being marketed as an Urban bag. Sure black works, but IMO black kills details.
    -Long Flap Straps-Had to use my Web Dominators for these, so it wasn't a huge problem. Although, I can see the long straps being useful if I carried very large loads.

    What I Hated:
    -Honestly, nothing! I really enjoy everything about this so far, and there isn't anything I found that I flat out hate.


    SUMMARY:
    Overall, I'm VERY happy with this bag, and despite the customer service, color, and comfort problems, I think it was well worth it. I love the accessibility of the bag over my backpack, as long as the weight and shape are kept in check. I think the Outsider is one of the best designed and best looking messenger bags on the market, and I would definitely recommend it as long as you are not planning on carrying heavy items.

    Thanks for reading my review!!!!

    JCW
     
    Last edited by jcw122, Dec 24, 2013
    Cobra 6 Actual likes this.
  2. stax
    • In Omnia Paratus

    stax Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    May 26, 2011
    Messages:
    1,471
    Likes Received:
    2,423
    Great review, but isn't that pic a comparison between Khaki and MR Coyote?
     
  3. jcw122

    jcw122 Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2010
    Messages:
    430
    Likes Received:
    25
    Thanks! and you're right. Still checking for errors :D
     
  4. ran23
    • In Omnia Paratus

    ran23 Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2007
    Messages:
    6,015
    Likes Received:
    4,840
    Great review. I thought my PFII-Khaki was a little much for work, so this year I found a Maxped Operator. NOt a true 'messenger bag style' but comfortable lightly loaded. Have not been back to work yet to really try it out.
     
  5. Flexxx

    Flexxx BST/Marketplace ban

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2010
    Messages:
    1,178
    Likes Received:
    542
    Excellent review, Mystery Ranch have some of the best gear IMO. But you pay a major price thats for sure
     
  6. bigfoot

    bigfoot Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2006
    Messages:
    2,804
    Likes Received:
    1,311
    Excellent review -- many thanks for taking the time to include lots of details and photos!! Wow, that bag is a little bigger than I thought. Looks really nice in the coyote color!
     
  7. jcw122

    jcw122 Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2010
    Messages:
    430
    Likes Received:
    25
    Thanks everyone!


    For sure, I actually forgot to put price in the review. The bag is $160+13 shipping, then I had to pay about $12 return shipping, and $13 again....you can guess why I was a bit mad about the color problem.
     
  8. GRIFFINHAWKS

    GRIFFINHAWKS Banned

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2009
    Messages:
    3,481
    Likes Received:
    79
    Very thorough review and sorry to hear the extra shipping issues .
    Looks like anything I get with MR design would be under the Camelback label, what I'm seeing here including your Customer Service issues is WAY to pricey for what you get .

    Thanks for the info !

    BE WELL .. GH
     
  9. jcw122

    jcw122 Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2010
    Messages:
    430
    Likes Received:
    25
    Thanks! Yeah, it did end up being much more expensive than I intended, fortunately I'm getting a lot of good use out of it.
     
  10. TjPippa

    TjPippa Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2010
    Messages:
    196
    Likes Received:
    14
    Awesome......thank you
     
  11. GRIFFINHAWKS

    GRIFFINHAWKS Banned

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2009
    Messages:
    3,481
    Likes Received:
    79
    It is a great looking bag and hopefully you will get your $$'s worth !

    BE WELL .. GH
     
  12. CGZ

    CGZ Empty Pockets

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2011
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0
    Totally agree with you on the color change. I love foliage, but only when it's more gray with green tint and opposed to the other way around.
     
  13. billybag
    • In Omnia Paratus

    billybag Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2009
    Messages:
    1,549
    Likes Received:
    1,351
    If you could please, what would you guess that the max load weight would be before it became uncomfortable.
    I now carry a 5.11 Rush 24 loaded up pretty well.
     
  14. jcw122

    jcw122 Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2010
    Messages:
    430
    Likes Received:
    25
    I start getting uncomfortable around 5-7lb. It may vary, I'm a skinny dude but not the strongest. I'm basing that real roughly off of what I know I usually load my backpack with. It's really not terrible, but the thing I've noticed the most with heavier loads is actually that the strap compresses onto your chest, which is more uncomfortable than the load on your shoulder, as obviously the ribcage isn't necessarily intended for weight bearing from that angle.
     
  15. AndyH

    AndyH Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2008
    Messages:
    33
    Likes Received:
    5
    Great review - thanks.

    Shame about the extra carriage charges. The bad publicity here that they are receiving over them must be much more expensive to them in the long run!
     
  16. Jedi Knife

    Jedi Knife Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2007
    Messages:
    456
    Likes Received:
    9
    Awesome review, Bravo!
     
  17. Missingno

    Missingno Empty Pockets

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2011
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    1
    Nice review! I really like the versatility in the strap of that bag.
     
  18. untamed

    untamed Empty Pockets

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Messages:
    43
    Likes Received:
    0
    As I've posted on another thread, I've been bag hunting + researching for sometime now. I've been eyeing the "bike messenger" type also more for work and play rather than a backpack (having had 2). This review truly is AWESOME for its being honest, insightful and good pics!

    Thanks a bunch for taking the time and sharing man!

    It seems that Mystery Ranch, being what it is, finally offered an "evolved" messenger bag:

    1. An actual HANDLE; something I personally NEED.
    2. Organization and proper pockets (Superb! Glad how they designed the internal ones for water bottles/Nalgene's)
    3. Stiff support similar to their back packs
    4. Versatile strap (though not ambi)

    The only thing is that "price" which may make you say "ouchie"!
     
  19. maxray

    maxray Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2007
    Messages:
    246
    Likes Received:
    83
    Thanks for the review - seems like a great choice in a messenger. I too recently moved away from a backpack in the workplace as I find myself having to wear suits more often and I am not crazy for that look either (backpack and suit). I looked at some messengers and passed on them - namely the Larkspur (too much flap velcro - and those odd shaped side pockets) and the 5.11 Rush Messenger (too tactical). Had I looked at the MR it definitely would have been a contender - but I had a requirement for either internal PALS and/or hook and loop for customization. What ultimately pushed me in a different direction was that I tote a laptop every day, so a good amount of internal structure for it was definitely needed. I ended up with the 5.11 Sidetrip with an MPC bag to drop into the main pocket - so far so good.

    Looks like the MR has what you were looking for - congrats!
     
  20. billybag
    • In Omnia Paratus

    billybag Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2009
    Messages:
    1,549
    Likes Received:
    1,351
    It's been a bit since this thread has seen any action.

    @ jcw now that you have had the MR Outsider for a few month what are your thoughts on it.