I have been fortunate to live in the high country West adjacent to wilderness for several decades and to hike several days a week every week of the year. I always carry a daypack or lumbar pack and have heavily used quite a number of packs from all major manufacturers over the years. More recently I have relied on trusted online reviews in picking packs. Even then, up until now, with my new Mystery Ranch Scapegoat 25, I had not yet found a smaller to mid-sized daypack that met all of my demanding criteria.
I tried a number of "hunting" daypacks and tactical packs, but found that almost all of them lacked the ergonomics, adjustability, and comfort required for use on frequent long distance mountain hikes, hunts or fishing expeditions. Popular highly rated hiking daypacks put forth by the biggest brand names were sometimes comfortable with lighter loads, but were poorly designed for serious use. For example, when hiking with groups, frequent stops would be needed so that fellow hikers could unfasten and remove their svelte looking packs, root through them, and eventually pull out camera, sunscreen, snack, bottle, or whatever they needed before putting it back and getting the pack back on. In pursuit of sleek style, the packs lacked good access to essential gear that should have been accessible underway and without removing the pack. When a heavier load was needed, such as more water on an extended high desert hike, the flimsy hip belts and shoulder suspensions were inadequate.
For day-and-a-half trips and day trips where a lot of gear is needed, a few years ago I settled on a Tri-Zip with Mystery Ranch's legendary adjustable shoulder and hip suspension, and found it to be the most comfortable system I had ever tried. There is not enough accessible on-the-go storage, but I solved that nicely by attaching pouches to the abundant Molle webbing. The only downside has been that the Tri-Zip pack was larger, wider and heavier than is needed for the bulk of my dayhiking.
I purchased and used heavily a Mystery Ranch Spartan daypack based on my excellent experience with the Tri-Zip. A good pack and useful, the Spartan had only a light webbing hip-strap and not a full hip suspension as I favor on even smaller daypacks, especially when extras such as more water need to be carried. But the Molle on the Spartan allowed attachment of pouches accessed easily on the go without removing the pack.
Though I had plenty of packs that did not quite meet my requirements, I was quick to purchase the oddly named Mystery Ranch Scapegoat 25 when I became aware of its features. Hiking with the new Scapegoat pack on mountain trails confirms my choice so far. While the size of the pack is modest, the storage areas are well designed and hold a lot for the size. The shoulder and hip belt suspension are full-out Mystery Ranch and capable of comfortably carrying much heavier loads than the pack size would suggest. This is excellent, when carrying extra water in the desert, for example, which is very heavy without being bulky.
The hip belt includes zip pockets on both sides that can be accessed on the go without shedding the pack, and there are large well designed stretch side pockets on the pack that can also be thus accessed. I cannot for the life of me understand why more daypacks aren't set up to allow gear access on the go. I would have liked to see some Molle webbing on the Scapegoat for even more pouches, but pouches can be attached to the compression straps on both sides of the pack if essential.
The zippers and fabric of the Scapegoat are well suited to shedding water and I had no leakage in a moderate rain on my mountain test hike with it. There are a several useful partitions in the main compartment, but none that interfere with the ability to store larger or longer gear such as a packable fly rod. The pack worked well with several of my longer, taller hydration reservoirs that I tried in it and the drinking tube is conveniently held by releasable elastic retainers on the shoulder strap, the best of any I have seen yet.
Comfort while hiking was everything I had come to expect with the larger Tri-Zip, but in a smaller package suited to the majority of my explorations while still including the best "big pack" features, accessibility, and impressive load carrying capabilities.
An agile hunting daypack for carrying your core gear.
Nothing makes you feel more one with the woods than trekking effortlessly and silently. The SCAPEGOAT 25 is designed for this purpose. With a minimalistic, highly compressible bag, the narrow body-panel framing allows for movement and flexibility. A full, “U” shaped zippered main compartment provides gaping, “fillet” style access to your gear. With generous stretch woven pocketing on the front and sides, hunters have ample storage and quick access to necessities.
- 500D CORDURA® fabric and YKK® zippers
- Horseshoe zipper for main compartment access
- Two detail pockets on lid for small items
- Multiple interior pockets to organize your hunting kit
- Full side compression to attach extra gear or accessories
- Two stretch-woven side bottle pockets
- Zippered waist belt pockets for small item access on the move
- Stretch-woven pocketing on face and sides
- Telescoping yoke for custom torso fit
- Volume: 1526 cu-in (25 L)
- Weight: 3.7 lbs (1.7 kg)
- Dimensions: 24"x12"x9" (61x30x23cm)
- Country Of Manufacture: Philippines / Vietnam
- Intended Use: Day Hunts
Frequenty Asked Questions
We're moving to a kitted system so that we can design and build packs and frames that are optimized for integration based on the function of the product. There are some cool new things in the works. In the meantime, we may be able to accommodate pack only orders based on available inventory - contact MR Customer Service or call 1.833.548.1999
As much as we would like to be able to offer our military/LE/ firefighter customers a discount on our packs, we have government contracts in these markets that prevent us from doing so.
The only repair that we can offer on Dana Design products is a replacement back foam pad on packs with the ArcFlex body panel design. We can ship the foam to you and you can easily install it yourself without having to send the pack in to be repaired. Replacement back foam pads are $15.00 plus $5.00 for shipping. For any other Dana Design pack repairs, please contact Marmot or try the following reputable gear repair companies:
We are not set up to perform custom work on individual orders and no, we cannot build a pack for you in a custom color. If your concern is in regards to sizing please give us a call at 406.548.3234.
Also, please know that modifying your MYSTERY RANCH pack may void the lifetime warranty, so please think first before you start ripping straps off and cutting holes in your pack to make it more aerodynamic for winged flight.
First, start by washing your pack with hot water in the shower. Use a mild detergent like Dawn to get minor dirt and grime out of your pack. Dry the pack out of direct sunlight. DO NOT USE HARSH CHEMICALS TO CLEAN YOUR PACK. If you need to get odors/blood out of your hunting pack, please use Atsko Sport-Wash Laundry Detergent
For full cleaning and care instructions, see here
We always recommend that you size down for the waist belt. If you fall in-between sizes on the yoke, we recommend that you size up.
MYSTERY RANCH accepts returns for a refund within 60 days of the original purchase date. Items must be returned in brand new, unused condition, and shipping charges are non-refundable. Please give us a call at 1.833.548.1999, and we can get you set up with a Return Authorization (RA#).
Why did you add a production facility in the Philippines and Vietnam?
MYSTERY RANCH added these facilities because of the increased demand for our product. We needed the additional facilities to build for customers who don't require (Berry Compliant) US production and / or don't want to pay a premium price for products built in the U.S.A. With these additional offshore facilities, we are able to focus our domestic facilities on the Berry Compliant orders.
How do I know if the pack I want is made in the US, PH, or VN?
It will be noted on the product page on our website and you are always welcome to call us and ask if you don't see the "US" or "world" icons that denote production location.
Is the quality of the packs the same?
Yes, absolutely! We carefully select the highest quality materials and ensure that all production facilities adopt our quality standards and techniques to deliver products consistent with the MYSTERY RANCH legacy. Our distributors who have received product from the US, PH, or VN are unable to tell the difference without looking at the label.
How do you ensure consistent quality?
Our factory resources use the protocol defined by our team in our production packages in order to deliver consistent quality gear. Upon introduction of new products, our product engineers visit our factory resources to work with them to develop new styles. As the product goes to production, our QA and QC teams will then visit our US, PH, and VN factories to ensure the finished goods meet our MYSTERY RANCH standards.
Recently received the pack, and it lives up to everything you'd expect from Mystery Ranch. Great ergonomics, very adjustable and comfortable. I love how slim and tall it is, and how close it sticks to my back. I can comfortably secure the pack close, so it doesn't swing around while I'm doing whatever I need to do. Easily accessible, easily adjustable, and nearly everything I was hoping for. Just a few things to keep it from 5 stars.
Like the other reviewer mentioned, it needs some MOLLE webbing, on the sides at the very least. The elastic pouches on the sides are annoying and rather ineffectual. My nalgene slides out far too easily, whether I am bouncing while biking down a trail fast, or bending over to pick something up. In addition, when the main pack is filled up, the side pockets loose space, putting pressure on anything in the side pocket, which thing (typically my nalgene with gatorade) become even more inclined to slide things out the top. The compression strap doesn't make it worse at all, but it won't keep a smooth object in. Coincidentally, I have an awesome little molle attachment that allows me to secure a Nalgene to webbing, and not have it go anywhere. I just wish I could use it on the side of the pack. So, ditch the side pockets and put on some molle.
The main elastic webbing on the front of the pack is more functional, but is butt ugly. If it could match the Desolve Bare camo pattern of the main material, it would be great looking (like the Scapegoat 35, that is a beautiful pack). As it stands, I'm going to take off all the elastic webbing, and put some more functional webbing on.
All in all, I like the pack a lot, but will be making some changes that come down to personal preference. First, and most importantly, it handles weight very well, is well designed(save above mentioned issues), and has everything you would expect from MR. Secondly, and less importantly, it would look much better without the solid Coyote panel of elastic webbing messing with the colors. I'm keeping the pack, but definitely making some adjustments.