Mystery Ranch Bridger 55 Review
Mystery Ranch Bridger 55
Recently I tested out the Mystery Ranch Bridger 55 Pack. When it comes to modern backpacking packs there seem to be two clear design platforms that take very opposite approaches.
There is the minimalist “throw everything in one pocket Ultra-Light” platforms on one side and on the other side of the spectrum are the super comfy, organized, and pocket-rich platforms.
The Bridger absolutely comes in on the comfy side, the padded straps make for a very comfortable trip but do add some weight. If you are looking for an Ultra-light pack this is not it!
When it arrived and I took it out of the box I immediately noticed the plethora of well-designed pockets, daisy chains, and generously padded straps. This coupled with some other great features makes it a great pack for backpacking.
The Mystery Ranch Bridger is designed for both beginners and experienced Backpackers and can be used in a variety of scenarios. I really enjoyed testing it out on a few recent trips to New York’s Catskill Mountains. The Bridger excels in all seasons:
Non-winter Backpacking – 55 Liters might be a little big for your standard summer overnighter but don’t let the size scare you away. There are multiple straps and drawstrings that allow you to compress the pack when not full. This helps to prevent added bouncing or gear shifting around. The pack is perfect for a 3 to 4-night weekend trip.
Winter Backpacking/Mountaineering – The Bridger makes a great Winter Pack for both day trips and overnighters. At 55L it is probably on the smaller side for big expeditions but is perfect for a weekend trip.
The daisy chains and dual drawstrings on the back of the pack worked great to hold an extra pair of snowshoes and my poles. I recently used it as a day pack on a recent Snowboard Tour.
While I typically would go with a smaller pack for a day trip, I needed extra gear for my two dogs and variable conditions. While the pack is not built for snowboarding, I found it to still perform really well on both the up and the technical descent down.
Mystery Ranch Bridger 55 Features:
As mentioned above there is a plethora of well-designed pockets. These include the easy access pockets attached to the front straps. One of my biggest complaints about backpacking specific packs is the lack of easy access to front storage.
This often leads to me having to take the pack off to access often-used items. Sure, there are the commonly found hip strap front pockets (included) but these can only hold so much. T
he front strap pockets are very similar to the ones found on modern hydration vests and are great for holding items like phones, GPS, small water bottles, maps, snacks, or my personal favorite flasks. Inside the main pocket, there are four additional pockets that really come in handy when packing.
At the bottom, there is a flap that divides the bottom of the main pocket from the top. This is designed to be used with a sleeping bag and can also be accessed via a zipper at the bottom of the pack as well. This does a nice job of keeping your sleeping bag dry and accessible.
On either side of the main pocket, there are two mesh pockets that help with keeping things organized. I like to stick light items like my puffy or gloves in them. Finally, there is a hydration sleeve on the back of the pack. Bonus: The top lid can be removed and even used as a waist pack for day hikes.
Durable Materials –
The pack is built with very durable materials. These include 100D Robic Nylon (recycled). I found this material to be very resistant to scratches and abrasion. On my recent trip, I took a nice fall while avoiding my dog on the downhill and blew threw some thick brush and trees. The pack got slapped around pretty well but had zero signs of wear at the end of the day. I also really like the large YKK Zippers, these are easy to use with gloves on and will last a very long time.
Padded Straps –
The hip pads have a nice thick layer of padding that I found to be very comfortable. I found that I did not have that all too familiar hip area rash/bruising that I normally get after a long day in a heavy pack. The two front straps are also nicely padded and breathable. I also really enjoyed the breathable padding that sits against the back and shoulder areas.
Well Placed Zippers –
There is a large zipper that runs from top to bottom on the back of the pack on both sides. I love this! It makes accessing items inside the pack very easy and also helps when repacking.
What would I change:
The only change I would make to this pack is to expand the size of the rear external mesh pocket. I really like this pocket for wet gear or fast-access items. If it was slightly large it could fit a mountaineering helmet.
Check it out: https://www.mysteryranch.com/bridger-55-pack
Andrew is a trail runner, climber, paddler, snowboarder, marketer, and most importantly a dog dad. Andrew grew up in suburban Philadelphia and now lives on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.
While he lives pretty far from the mountains, he puts a heavy focus on preparing for them and inspiring others to do the same. He first fell in love with the mountains on family trips to the White Mountains and the Adirondacks. He spent the majority of his early life competitively running and leisurely paddling, however after college he began focusing on learning to climb, snowboard, and backpack.
Over the past ten years since then, he has been fortunate enough to gain some amazing experiences exploring North America. Some of the most memorable thus far are alpine climbing in the Sierra, trail running in Alberta, learning to splitboard in NH, countless days hiking in the Catskills, or a plethora of mellow days paddling the Chesapeake Bay with friends.
When he can’t be in the mountains Andrew is often running or hiking with his favorite training partners, his two rescue dogs Calvin and Enzo. Andrew is also a self-proclaimed gear junkie and confessed that his gear loft is the most organized place in his home.