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

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

  1. jcw122

    jcw122 Loaded Pockets

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    Now that I am back at school, I don't use it nearly as often. But it does come in great handy when I need something that has more capacity than my PFII. I've used it a couple of times to haul clothes and shoes, groceries, or a 6-pack of beer.
     
  2. moveable.beast

    moveable.beast Empty Pockets

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    thanks for the review. i'm thinking about this bag, but am not sure about the shoulder strap. i probably won't use it cross body like a real bike messenger, just hanging on one shoulder. did it work ok for you?
     
  3. jcw122

    jcw122 Loaded Pockets

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    Yeah it works that way too, although it's obviously not totally designed to for it.
     
  4. Spinee

    Spinee Empty Pockets

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    i've been a fan of dana's stuff ever since the kletterwerks was too expensive for me, but this bag has a few problems, at least for the way i use it.

    let me say it does some things extremely well. the size (for me, anyway) is absolutely perfect. it's deeper than most messenger bags, which makes it easy to really load up. the arrangement of compartments & pockets is nigh onto perfect too. even fully loaded (and by fully loaded i mean packed tight with 15-20 pounds of stuff) i can get into pretty much any compartment i need. in a lot of bags, once it's loaded your access gets pretty limited. and that semi-stiff pad is great too: gives it some structure and protects my back from pointy things.

    so the bag itself is pretty much perfect. i've got one little quibble: i'd love to have had a pocket on the backside (meaning the side to my back). great for sliding papers, whatever in & out quickly. but i knew the outsider didn't have it when i bought it, so maybe i don't get to vote on that.

    my one problem with the thing is the whole strap/shoulder pad/phone case thing. it just doesn't give you the kind of flexibility i'm used to with a messenger. one of the problems is actually caused by one of the really nice features of the bag: the way the strap attaches to it. the straps are attached in such a way that when you begin to pack the bag full, the weight of the bag will help to compress it and cinch the load up a little tighter. an unfortunate side effect of this is that it effectively "shortens" the strap by 3 inches or so. what this does is (1) move the phone case back up over your shoulder and kind of behind you. harder to get at, and (2) moves the attachment point for the stabilization strap up so that it'll end up gouging your underarm if you use it.

    and that's if you wear it "as designed", with the top of the pack flush with the top of your shoulders. if you lower it a bit to let the lower corner rest on the small of your back (a comfortable position when you've got a little weight in there) you've pretty much lost all use of your phone, and there's an unpadded strap on your shoulder.

    if it had a movable shoulder pad, i think it'd be a lot more user friendly. i'd be able to wear it tight when on the bike or moving fast, or loose for just walking around.

    don't get me wrong: i love this bag...for certain things. if i know i'm going to be carrying a heavy or large load it's the one i pack up at the beginning of the day. but most times i use my more traditional messenger, because the outsider just isn't as general-purpose as most messenger bags.
     
  5. jcw122

    jcw122 Loaded Pockets

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    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.
     
  6. jcw122

    jcw122 Loaded Pockets

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    Update for 12/24/13. Recently reviewing my EDC setups. I still love this bag for weekends away from home (mostly to pack clothing). 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+....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.
     
  7. tigz

    tigz Loaded Pockets

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    Indeed its a cool casual bag, more on the civilian side than tactical. The loose build also helps in creating more room for extra clothing. My only qualms is having it feel less tough and rugged for day to day rough and tumble.
     
  8. Spinee

    Spinee Empty Pockets

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    Hey, I don't know if anyone's still watching this thread, but I wanted to give a heads-up to anyone who might be interested in this bag. If you are, you probably know that the price went from high to geosynchronous orbit a couple of years back, before Mystery Ranch finally chucked the bag from their catalog altogether in favor of the smaller Invader.

    But just recently I was poking around their site & the bag was back! I wrote to see if it was just some website bug & they told me that a few recently were unearthed. These are made-in-Bozeman bags, and they claim that once they're gone they're truly gone. Last I checked they had black, coyote, foliage & camo, and the good news is the price was lowered back into the low earth orbit level.

    While I've moved to another bag for my everyday use, this bag is absolutely one of the best-designed pure courier bags I've ever had. I still use it when I go out knowing I'll be carrying a sizable load by the time the day is done.
     
    CBisch likes this.