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Mystery Ranch In and Out 22L Backpack Review

Mystery Ranch In and Out 22L Backpack Review

The Mystery Ranch In and Out 22L is a lightweight and highly versatile packable day pack. Designed and built to be a fully functioning daypack, this pack is also light enough and packable enough to be your summit pack or “go” pack for travel and other adventures. When not in use, it stuffs down into its rear pocket making it easy to pack in a carry-on bag, suitcase, or a larger backpack for summit attempts. The In and Out 22L is also available in a 19L size with a U-shaped top zipper instead of the fold-over top lid used on the 22L model reviewed below.

Specs at a Glance

  • Weight: 14.4 oz / 408 g
  • Gender: Unisex
  • Packable size: 8.5” x 4.5” x 4”
  • Volume: 22L
  • Materials: 100D Cordura; YKK zippers; Duraflex buckles

Backpack Storage and Organization

Mystery Ranch In and Out Backpack 22L
Mystery Ranch In and Out Backpack 22L

The Mystery Ranch In and Out 22L is a wide, top-entry pack with drawstring pull and durable lid-style flap covering. I did end up tying a small knot in the drawstring so that it wouldn’t retract all the way when I opened the pack. At 22L in volume, it was large enough to hold my hiking ten essentials, rain gear, and more. My laptop also easily fits in this pack should I wish to use this pack for an airline carry-on, etc.

On the front, there are two zippered pockets. One is a large breathable mesh pocket (8.5” x 4.5” x 4”) that is large enough for my lightweight raincoat, and it also would make for a great map pocket. Being “packable,” the entire pack stuffs down into this pocket, packing down to an item the size of a water bottle. The second zippered pocket is about 5.5” deep and could hold a camera, knife, keys, snack, the largest of smartphones, pencils, and/or first aid and the like.

The In and Out 22L a one side bottle pocket
The In and Out 22L a one side bottle pocket

There is one side stretch fabric pocket that fits a smaller water bottle. With an elastic top edge and side compression strap, it held my 1L water bottle securely in place. One liter Nalgene-styled water bottles will not work in this pocket.

Inside the pack is a hydration bladder sleeve pocket and side port, large enough to accommodate a 2L bladder. This newer 22L model only had a port on the left side; the 19L model has a right and left side port.

The frameless In and Out stuffs into its rear pocket making it perfect for travel or as a summit backpack.
The frameless In and Out stuffs into its rear pocket making it perfect for travel or as a summit backpack.

A sturdy loop handle allows you to carry the pack or hang it from a peg in a hostel or on a branch nub on a tree.

Backpack Suspension

For an ultralight daypack, this pack has nicely contoured and comfortable shoulder straps. Made of a breathable material, they are wide, yet soft and flexible. Shoulder straps are sewn into the pack, providing a fixed yoke. The shoulder straps are reinforced with webbing that holds the adjustable sternum strap. Mystery Ranch utilizes interesting slide buckles that allowed me to quickly and easily adjust the sternum strap and kept it secure so that it would not slide up or down. A hip belt is not included.

The shoulder straps are well ventilated with S-shaped female-friendly straps
The shoulder straps are well ventilated with S-shaped female-friendly straps.

Compression and External Attachment System

Upper and lower nylon compression straps on both sides of the pack give this packable pack a true “day pack” feel when loaded. Durable nylon daisy chain straps on the front of the pack will allow you to add gear, pouches, carabiners, hang items to dry, or whatever you need.

An interesting feature is that the lower “tool loop” end of the daisy chain webbing is adjustable, so while you could use these for tool loops, you could easily imagine how you might secure an umbrella, fishing gear, collapsed trekking poles, or the like.

Bungee tie-offs for your trekking poles round out the attachment features that make this such a versatile pack.

The fold-over lid and daisy chains make the pack suitable for four season adventures.
The fold-over lid and daisy chains provide extra weather protection and make the pack suitable for a wide variety of adventures and gear loads.


The Mystery Ranch In and Out 22L is a fully functioning daypack that could be a great addition to light hiking, basecamp or hostel use, airline travel, or anytime you might envision wanting a “go” bag for your adventures. For something so lightweight, it was very well engineered and carried on my back quite comfortably. Its pockets, compression straps, and attachment points make this pack highly versatile for a wide range of use and activities.

Mystery Ranch employed durable materials, such as 100D Cordura to make this pack bomber tough. Also, all seams and stitching are reinforced, making it possible to carry some weight in this pack. This durability comes at the expense of “ounces,” making this pack a few ounces heavier than other packable packs, but it’s a Mystery Ranch Pack thru-and-thru and will get you IN & OUT, whatever your mission might be.

Disclosure: Mystery Ranch provided a pack for review.

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About the author

Beth Zimmer is an expert backpacker who's backpacked all over New England and Eastern Canada, with a long list of hiking accomplishments to her name. She's section hiked the New Hampshire Appalachian Trail, climbed the New England Hundred Highest and the New Hampshire 500 highest (mostly bushwhacks), hiked all the trails in the White Mountain Guide (1440 miles), and climbed the White Mountain 4000 footers several times over. Beth also teaches GPS and off-trail navigation classes as a volunteer for the Appalachian Mountain Club and is co-chair of the New Hampshire Excursions Committee, which oversees all volunteer hiking and leadership training activities. When she's not hiking and backpacking, Beth resides in New Hampshire where she can usually be found sipping coffee and planning her next adventure.


  1. Shame it doesn’t fit nalgene sized bottles. Looking for 22L pack for day hikes that can take nalgene bottles and carries weight well.

    • If you’re near an REI, check out their Flash 22. Its elastic mesh pockets may hold a Nalgene. I have the Flash 22 but not the Nalgene to test it. It’s a really nice daypack.

      • Unfortunately in a bit of a gear store desert here. I prefer trying things before buying when possible. I’ve eyed the flash a few times though

    • Any of Ospreys day packs fit that bill. Is the thing that appeals to you about this one, the stuffability? That’s really the key feature they emphasize with this design. It really packs into itself small.

      You might also want to check out the new Beast 28 from Matador. It also stuffs down small but can hold 2 x 32 oz Nalgenes. It has cool built-in frame that gives it a lot of support.

      • The fully collapsible design is a plus but not necessity. Wife has an osprey stratos 24 but it’s bulky in the car, is only comfortable when packed heavy weirdly (for me when I tried it), and I prefer one big pouch to throw gear in. The talon doesn’t fit bigger bottles either. I think you are right that the matador is probably better. That’s getting into ultralight price territory. I’ll take a look around, thanks!

  2. Be carful of the draw string for this bag, it breaks after a months use. I’m lucky that they are able to do a one to one exchange.

  3. nice review. my question is, do you think it could ne able to carry a big tripod on the side, and does a 15″ laptop fit inside?

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