Review: Mystery Ranch Tower 47

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I’m not sure I’ll ever need (or want) another crag pack—the Tower 47 is that good. First things first: Mystery Ranch gets sizing right. At 47 liters, this cragging pack is big, which crag bags to date have rarely been. And it uses that space well, with myriad pouches, interior pockets, external pockets, etc. to stash—and keep track of—your sundries. I used the upper sleeve against the backing for my kneepads, the zipper pocket below for first-aid and skin-care kits, the two internal racking loops for belay devices and the occasional trad piece, the big mesh side zipper pocket for rock shoes (two pairs), the two smaller side zipper pockets above for belay gloves and glasses and snacks, and the pack body for my harness, chalk bag, clothes, and water bottles. And the pack was rarely full—only when I dropped in a rack, set of draws, and a drill and drill kit did I max out capacity. Meanwhile, you also get a zipper pocket in the brain, a rope-lashing strap above that, and two compression straps on one side that hold a stick clip. Couple all this with the Tower 47’s ingenious “splay-open access,” in which the pack essentially unzips into a giant tongue, and you’ll no longer need to yard-sale your stuff amongst everyone else’s sorry tangle of gear at the crag base. Your gear can stay in your pack where it belongs, nice and organized.

The Tower 47 has Mystery Ranch’s telescoping Alpine yoke system to customize fit; it carries, as all their packs I’ve tested do, like a dream. Made of 1000D Cordura with aluminum buckles and weighing 4.4 pounds, it’s a bear, but it’s also nearly indestructible—I used the drag handles more than once to shuffle the Tower 47 along the cliff base, and it’s showing zero wear. To consider for future iterations: With a rope and stick clip lashed on, easy access to the side pocket and brain are impeded (like, for grabbing your car keys), though you can get into the pack body through a collar zip just below the brain. The pack comes in two sizes: S/M and L/XL.