I have always had a bit of love for the Tri-Zip design that Mystery Ranch came up with ages ago. From my CamelBak Tri-Zip (a licensed design from Mystery Ranch for CamelBak) to my Mystery Ranch Scree I bought several years ago, its just a design that works. Being able to access what is at the top and bottom of your pack with ease was a game-changer for me. I no longer had to dig grasping into the cavernous expanse — or worse — empty the bag to get the heavier items at the bottom. I could just choose the top two zippers to get things at the top, or the zipper running down the back of the bag to get to the bottom. When Slim worked his tiny connections and phoned Mini Dana and got us both Mystery Ranch 3 Day Assault Packs I was ecstatic. Not only would I be able to get a nice bag but it came in one of my favorite colors — Multicam.
Slim and Swinging Dick have been off on another adventure across the pond so we only get the odd picture of them doing things, but so far Slim has been impressed with his. Mine has been used as everything from a camera bag, day pack, radio bag and much more. When I am adventuring off the tarmac the Multicam color makes it so I don’t have to care where I set it down. Dirt does not really show.
Pockets, Pouches, and Storage
Speaking of being off the beaten path the large mesh bottomed pocket on the lid perfectly holds my survival kit in case I take a wrong step. The other pouch on the lid usually contains a snack and a set of Oakley Gascans or Wiley-X Nash sunglasses. Each side of the pack at the bottom is a bottle pocket.
Inside the Mystery Ranch 3 Day Assault BVS Pack is a large open cavity with some smaller pockets around the outside edge for holding stuff like batteries and other things you don’t want to sink to the bottom of the pack or want close at hand. The mesh pockets on the inside are zippered and have additional storage behind them.
When I was using the pack as a camera bag I used one side for my Nalgene and the other for a tripod utilizing the compression strap to hold the upper part of the tripod. I have a pot that fits onto the bottom of the Nalgene acting like the old canteen cups some of us are used to using.
The top of the lid contains a 4″x4″ Velcro square for morale patches or bag identification. At the base of where the lid attaches is a zipper that goes directly into the main compartment. This can be used to route comms cables, antennas, hydration — or if you absolutely need to carry something a bit longer than the bag, it can fit out this slot.
The back of the pack has a section of PALS webbing on it as well as a tether point at the top that can be used to hold up hydration packs or act as a tie-down for something you don’t want coming free of your pack. The remainder of the bag has minimal sections of PALS webbing allowing you to attach any MOLLE accessories you may need although I tend to keep them free. If I do use them it is to hold a glow stick or something small.
The 3 Day Assault Pack Even Has a Futura Frame
Being a fairly tall person the Futura Frame is a welcome addition to any pack. Adjusting the fit of the pack is as simple. Just open the Velcro to pull out the plastic frame sheet/spade and stuff it between the pack and the harness, so it separates the Velcro holding on the harness to the main pack. Once this is done you can slide the harness up and down to suit you. I also use this feature when flying to shrink down the bag for overhead compartments.
Bolstered Ventilation System
Now I would be remiss if I did not talk about one of the largest advantages of this bag over some others. The Bolstered Ventilation System (BVS) consists of two foam pads, a bit of webbing, and 4 sets of rather unique buckles. The BVS pads are made to hug your armor plates and keep the bag in one place instead of allowing it to slide around on your back. While I currently live in a province that makes it illegal for anyone other than Police and EMS to own plates, this feature is welcome on the rare occurrence I actually have to wear plates.
The BVS pads, if not needed, are released by poking your finger in and hitting what I can only call an end-release buckle (if normal buckles are side-release ones). These are easy to both remove and install the pad. Speaking of wearing gear, typically you won’t be using a waist belt in situations where armor is required. For this, instead of having to remove the belt, it tucks neatly into two side pockets. I was a bit sad to find out the Live Wing Waist Belt is no longer a thing as I really liked the design when I saw it on my friend Wills pack.
3 Day Assault Pack — Functional and Comfortable
All in all, this is a bag that has a ton of military feedback crammed into a functional bag for a trip into the woods or harm’s way. The internal organization along with the few pouches on the exterior of the bag makes it easy to find what you are looking for, especially when combined with the Tri Zip. The Futura harness is comfortable for a variety of body sizes and really makes it easier when you are carrying a bit more on your back then you should be. After a bit of downtime from hip surgery, you can expect me to blather on about another Mystery Ranch pack that can carry everything, and the kitchen sink.