Review: Mystery Ranch Blitz Series

Most outdoor enthusiasts are careful when building their gear arsenals, searching for specific products that fit particular needs, so they can cross those items off the wish list forever. But just when they think they've found a good fit, a new product comes along— and they realize, the void remains unfilled.

So it was with me, when Mystery Ranch released its Blitz series. One look and I knew my existing daypack would no longer cut the mustard. Whether it's a quick jaunt up Sypes, a bike ride around town, or a Saturday summit, the Blitz does it better. And though it's designed as an everyday-carry bag, with loads of tactical touches, it works just as well for outdoor excursions.

Here's why: like many folks, I like to load up my daypack, carrying not only water and an extra layer, but a notepad, naturalist guides, headlamp, first-aid kit, extra water and treats for the dog, rain shell, and a 20-pound plate. That way, the pack's always ready, whether it's a carefree nature hike or a rushed after-work exercise session that finds me on top of a mountain at sunset. On casual days, I can move slowly, smelling the roses but still getting a decent workout. As for the 20-pound plate—with hunting season soon upon us, I need to train for the pack-out.

The Blitz 30 provides plenty of room for the aforementioned items (the 20-pound plate slides into the laptop sleeve), with a large main compartment, standard top pocket, and two external pockets offering maximal organization—a place for everything, and everything in its place. The horseshoe-style zipper lets you "fillet" the bag, completely opening the main compartment for full access. It's a compact pack with all the essential features.

With a little more room and protection from the elements, the Blitz 35 has a beefed-up waistbelt, to handle heavier loads with comfort. It's a traditional top-loader, with a water-resistant cinch shroud for extending capacity upward. The extra space allows for a middle pocket, between the main bag and the exterior organization pockets—great for quick access to a map, book, phone, or light shell. This pack's great for colder weather or longer outings.

Both models have exterior water-bottle holders on each side, interior hydration sleeves, and a bevy of straps & buckles to increase external storage and secure the load. And both are built burly, designed to last a lifetime—with any luck, Mystery Ranch won't outdo itself in five years and make me put "new daypack" back on the wish list.

$279 for the Blitz 30, $329 for the Blitz 35;