Playing with a favorite bag format
I used to go walkabout a lot as a kid. Stick a massive pack on my back and go bush for a couple of weeks of adventure and discovery. For all the sites and experiences, my overwhelming memories revolve around trying to get at stuff jammed down the bottom of my pack, ramming my arms down their and trying to feel for the item I was after. Thanks memory…
Since then, a number of trekking packs have innovated with new access ideas which make pack life much more accessible. One of our favorites is the Tri-zip (or 3Zip), which Dana Gleason has designed into various Mystery Ranch packs, and then shared with Camelbak through some joint projects.
The Tri-Zip gives you a lid style top opening for everyday access. But then if you’re packing complicated items or for a long trip, you can open the pack right up and get horizontal access the way you would a shallow suitcase.
While mostly used for military and outdoor packs, the format also has a huge benefit in carrying odd shaped loads, as it gets around the bottle neck issues that chunky items can create. If you regularly jam a DSLR or helmet into your backpack, the Tri-Zip works a treat.
The downsides? So far the Tri-Zip format has always been used with a lid pocket. Personally, lid pockets annoy me a bit because if you fill them, you then need to keep swinging that bulk and weight each time you open the lid. Also, things like compression straps and snowboard carry systems can get in the way of opening the long vertical zip, making it a little more fiddly. But really, these are both pretty minor.
We’ve been road-testing the Camelback version of the Tri-Zip (pictured above), which we’ll give a more in-depth Road Test for soon. In the meantime, you can check out a few Tri-Zip bags at Mystery Ranch, Camelbak Tactical, and Camelbak Recreational.
Oh, and sorry to tease you with that top image. It’s a Mystery Ranch x Maiden Noir collab from a few years ago that still gives us goose bumps. We’re still hoping that one day Mystery Ranch bring out a proper urban range…