Mystery Ranch Tower 47: But I use it for Photography

Mystery Ranch Tower 47 pack

Mystery Ranch Tower 47: But I use it for Photography


It is no surprise that we here at Engearment are big fans of Mystery Ranch and are very enthusiastic about their packs; this is one of the main reasons why I asked the folks at Mystery Ranch to “lend” me the Mystery Ranch Tower 47 for the next chapter in my life. Adventure Photographer!

Mystery Ranch Tower 47

The Mystery Ranch Tower 47 out in the field

Mystery Ranch Tower 47 review

The Search Begins:

As an aspiring adventure photographer I am always on the hunt for the perfect pack to take with me on adventures. As I am sure you know, there is no such thing as the perfect adventure camera bag or an all-in-one do it all one stop solution. Fine. I love gear and this seems like the perfect opportunity to add to my grand collection of diverse bags.

When I saw the Tower 47 by Mystery Ranch packed to the gills with climbing gear I suddenly wanted one. Instead of using it for climbing gear though, I asked if I could test one for hauling camera gear up and down the mountains of Colorado and into parks around the city. 

Mystery Ranch reluctantly agreed and I am now the proud owner of the Tower 47. The Ranch even threw in the Super Fly Pack Cover which I have to say is one of my favorite pack covers ever, I won’t be doing a full review here but decided to throw it in for you guys anyways.

Mystery Ranch Tower 47

The Mystery Ranch Tower 47 Lays flat and opens like a duffle.


What I Look For:

One of the most important things I think about when picking out a pack is how I will feel after hiking up and down mountain passes and carrying entirely too much camera gear, 6 hours straight, for a 10 minute shoot.  The Tower 47 actually has a legit framed harness with a compression-molded back panel with a Futura Alpine yoke and belt system that has a telescoping yoke for custom torso fit. 

The second most important thing I look for is durability and the Tower 47 is not letting me down. I’ve trashed a lot of packs in my day and I’m definitely putting this little guy through its paces. The 1000D* CORDURA® fabric is strong, waterproof, and apparently isn’t a great fuel for fires. Which means when all those unnecessary extra batteries you are carrying decide to spark, you won’t have to worry about everything going up in flames. In theory.

The third thing is a combination of capacity, organization, and access. With a volume of 47L, three internal zippered pockets, and multiple access points to all the “essential” gear; this is looking like the perfect pack to take on my next adventure. Also, since you can lay it flat and fully open it up like a duffel bag, it is great for setting up a nice little work space for changing lenses or setting up stands.

Mystery Ranch Tower 47

You can even do a quick access from the top.

 For all you technical types:

Below are some quick specs I borrowed from the Mystery Ranch website. This should clue you in on what the Tower 47 was originally designed and built for.

  • Top zippered opening for controlled access or duffel bag opening for full access to gear
  • Five removable compression straps with aluminum buckles.
  • Removable frame sheet and fiberglass stays
  • Dual Daisy Chain
  • Handles on top for hauling, on the side and bottom to easily move the bag when open
  • Zippered lid pocket
  • Three large zippered internal pockets to keep gear organized and an additional zippered pocket on the body panel
  • Outer access to one internal pocket perfect to grab shoes and a harness without unpacking the whole bag
  • Hydration compatible
  • Weight 4.4lbs
  • Dimensions 24″x14″x11″
Mystery Ranch Tower 47

The 3 zippered pockets.

The Conclusion:

Just to reiterate, the Tower 47 was originally designed for climbers to haul their climbing gear up to the bottom of the crag and have it sprawled out with all of their equipment and it looks completely competent for the job. But to be able to pull double duty is amazing. Strong, sturdy, convenient and comfortable: the Mystery Ranch Tower 47 checks a lot boxes on my list.

Super Fly Pack Cover

Super durable rain cover with hood!

I almost forgot:

The Super Fly Pack Cover…. This is not some after thought of a last minute thing they did here. With taped seems, 2.5x Nylon fabric and a built in head cover, this accessory from Mystery Ranch keeps you, and your pack, dry with the added benefit of keeping snow and water from building up between you back and the backpack.

*The “D” stands for Denier. FYI…

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