- Buyer's Guide
If there's one thing we've learned working away at this thing, in secret, over the past few years it's this: if you're unable to find a unicorn of your own, you should go into a lab like Dr. Frankenstein and create your own from scratch. Because sometimes, if you work your ass off, it can turn out even better!
Our unicorn has always been the Mystery Ranch X Beams Day Assault. Its mystique has haunted the Carryology team and I so much… So much that we decided to build our own.
Introducing the 24L Carryology Assault.
'Someday day' is finally here
This tale begins in the early days of Carryology (around 2010/2011), when we were a microscopically small group of misfits, who had an idea of creating something BIG around what we were calling ‘carry.’
In those days, we’d dream of doing collab projects with these incredible brands that we covered on the site. “How cool would it be if we could do a collab with someone like Mystery Ranch? Ha, yeah right, maybe someday”.
Years of building went by. Years of slowly growing this thing called Carryology.com and watching it blossom and flourish as corners of the world began to embrace their inner ‘carry geek’.
And then, sometime in late 2017, now friends with the fine folks at Mystery Ranch, we got down on one knee and asked them the big question… And they said YES. Our dream had been realized – we’d work together with one of the greatest brands on the planet!
Finding the unicorn
Before we could really begin, we had to know what we’d be working on. We combed through the archives. Rolling eyes over a few different versions of Tri-Zip backpacks, even a 3DAP. Each one of these options was completely viable, but they never really had that feeling we were looking for.
So we opened up the history books of Mystery Ranch’s legendary Japanese brand collaborations. The oh-so-sweet Japanese blends of streetwear with Ranch military and outdoor heavyweights.
Then we landed on it. The single collab that had transfixed us all. The unattainable. What if we make the Beams Day Assault… in our own vision? Take it down to its core, rethink everything, and rebuild it. Make it better, stronger, faster, lighter, blacker and more.
In fact, we’d design it to score the highest review rating ever recorded (currently held by the MR 3DAP with a 9.2).
There was radio silence from all parties. Then, there it was… that unanimous “YES!”. That uproar made it official. We would build the unicorn.
4AM wake up, seat 23A (window seat, always), a turbulent snowy landing. D3 swings the heavy metal open with a smile, inviting my girlfriend and I into the Mystery Ranch headquarters on a crisp Saturday morning in January 2019. We hug. Dana is a legitimately incredible human being, who I am lucky to now call a friend. The facility’s large space is eerily empty, as everyone is off on the weekends. But it’s filled with all kinds of eclectic humorous charm and human touches. I laugh out loud at some of the signs and objects hanging at, from, and around the work stations. One could spend hours doing this. We head back to the Classified Product Development area, D3’s skunkworks workshop.
I don’t expect it… but Dana has an early prototype sitting in the middle of the table as we enter the design area, just based on our previous jam sessions at OR (and a few emails). It’s made with available fabrics on hand just to dial in the shape/pattern for testing and evaluation. Despite there being many necessary changes, it almost radiates its own light. I’m drawn to it like a moth to a flame. My hands don’t leave the bag for nearly our entire meeting. We go through it, step by step, carefully selecting the upgrades.
From combat to covert
The pack we’d be starting from uses MultiCam camouflage and coyote colored nylon. While it looks cool, it’s designed for the battlefield and can limit versatility. These colors and camo can be off-putting in workplaces, cities, and for some folks. Now, you should know by now… we dig black and minimalist clean lines. This would be a pack that should be able to go anywhere, from work to travel to adventure, domestic or abroad. We all agreed, the exterior would lose the mil-spec colorway and stay ultra-clean, all black, no PALS in sight.
Adding to the bag’s “anywhere-ability”, we needed comfortable ”anywear-ability”. See what I did there? If you’ve tried on Mystery Ranch’s Futura yoke and harness, you know how lovely it can carry loads while hiking with serious weight. Usually exclusive to MR's military, hunting and hiking lines, we’d incorporate it into this urban / travel / daily beast. Thanks to Dana’s (aka “D3”) genius mind, we were able to streamline the system and deliver minimalism, full adjustability, and a low-profile fold-away waistbelt… that is actually comfortable and legitimately works.
Keep the bomber build. GO lighter.
It was agreed by every single one of us, one of our favorite attributes of a MR pack is the bomber build. It’s crucial to their DNA. So materials were keenly selected. Dana leads me over to their library of sample materials. His eyes light up and he tells me he remembers this one particular bolt of fabric that would be absolutely insanely awesome to use. We fondle it. He snips a 1” cut in the middle of the 2’x3’ panel and asks me to try to tear it… with all my strength, I can’t even get this already cut fabric to tear another 1 millimeter. This stuff is wild. It would also make the pack cost over $1,000. We explore Dyneema, but again, that would make this unattainable for most of our readers (yes, for this one, we sincerely thought about pricing). Finally, we choose the perfect combination (and perfectly black) fabrics that give a nod to Mystery Ranch’s military heritage and to the future: Dimension Polyant VX21 X-Pac and 500D Cordura with Hypalon functional hints. They accent each other beautifully, as well as help visually reinforce that sexy iconic patterning of the BDA.
Weather the storm
This is a simple one: we chose #10 coated AquaGuard YKK zippers for every exterior pocket. Paired with the X-Pac exterior and X-Pac-lined side pockets, it would be more than enough protection from the elements.
Organize and conquer
We spent the bulk of our time on the details with this one. Refinement and ultimate perfection. One particular area we focused on: organization. We love the cavernous main compartment that the Tri-Zip feature provides, but wanted many more ways to keep smaller items from getting lost. We added pockets, then removed them, and rethought them. Thought about modern tech (i.e. tablets and laptops) and how to protect them. And sprinkled in the option for mods and customization with interior PALS.
And finally, a nod to Mystery Ranch’s military heritage, we’d design a morale patch as seriously awesome and inspiring as the pack. It would be illustrated by Carryology’s co-founder Hadrien Monloup, and would be fun and magical and new levels of rad: a knight riding a unicorn, clutching the holy grail, his shield engraved with the fictional symbol for unobtanium (Un). Yes!
After a long, coffee-fueled, in-person design meeting, we sat there staring at the prototype in silence. We reviewed our long list of changes to be made, desperately thinking if we had forgotten anything or if there was anything else we could do to improve it. We read through it several times. And then we nodded to each other. It was done. The new unicorn was born. And it’d score over 9.2, no doubt.
Friday, 20th of March (7pm EDT New York time)!
And you guys, our readers, will have exclusive first dibs, 24hrs before the public. Please note, this collab will be a limited edition, so make sure you’re one of the lucky ones!
Mark your calendars. Get ready for the big reveal. And keep an eye on your inbox for the launch newsletter or Carryology.com for the exclusive article and shop link published on 20th of March (7pm EDT New York time).
Shipping to USA and Japan only (see below for international proxy options)
NY – March 20th, 7pm
LA – March 20th, 4pm
London – March 20th, 11pm
Vancouver – March 20th, 4pm
Sydney – March 21st, 10am
Singapore – March 21st, 7am
Berlin – March 21st, Midnight
Paris – March 21st, Midnight
Tokyo – March 21st, 11am (available in Tokyo store, address: 6 Chome-15-7 Jingumae, Shibuya City)
IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR THOSE OUTSIDE OF THE USA AND JAPAN!
Due to restrictions on Mystery Ranch’s website and shipping system, this pack cannot be shipped to addresses outside of the USA or Japan. BUT, that doesn’t mean you can’t order one! You WILL need a proxy (someone located in the USA) to purchase this for you and then send it over to you. Easy stuff. We’re all about building community here and this is a great way to make a new friend. So where can you meet a like-minded friendly carry-obsessed individual who can be your proxy? Join our Carryology Classified Facebook group RIGHT NOW and start making friends and finding your proxy. While we made plenty of these, I personally think these will sell out very (very) fast. I would suspect if you don’t have a person already arranged to proxy for you WELL BEFORE the drop, you will likely miss out. Remember, these people are generously donating their time to help strangers around the world, so please ask nicely.