Mystery Ranch load cell shoulder bag review.


– RRP: $55 USD

– Volume: 549 cu-in (9 L)

– Weight: 0.7 lb (0.3 kg)

– Dimensions: 9″x14.5″x7″ (23x37x18cm)

– Country Of Manufacture: Philippines / Vietnam

So I wanted to combine the features of a MR Hip Monkey and a Crumpler small messenger bag (Quarfie). I found my MR Hip Monkey great for when I was visiting NY, I could carry my daily needs but didn’t want to look like a tourist carrying the kitchen sink. Like I lived in the place I was actually visiting, I envisioned minimal grey man. The Hip Monkey had space but just didn’t have the right size, and the carry was weird as it’s meant to be a waist pack, not shoulder, plus Multicam isn’t very grey man (should have bought solid colour). My Quarfie carried better as a messenger but needed more size, and I disliked the flap on something this small, and needed zips rather than clips and flaps, which only added bulk, but black worked well for urban and work.


I took a risk and bought this without finding any reviews, or feedback, and per usual a lack of photos. So I want to give you this shoulder bag review.

The bag is top open, which beats having to access via flap like most messengers. This is great as you can get quick access to the bag, but the drawback is obviously the ability for water ingress via the gaps in the zip.

The internals are basic, one main pocket, and one free float side wall zipper pocket for keys and glasses. No bigger than 5×8″. Outside there are two pockets, one flap veclro pocket which is deep which would be a good stow for either thin rain jackets or compact umbrella. And the other is slim zipper pocket on the opposite side wall. Also note this isn’t lined with contrasting or light colored material, which saves weight, but it’s black inside a black bag, so finding items at the bottom that are black in darker lighting might be hard. There is a 1″ strap which has basic adjustment. It’s fairly thin strapping so padding might help. I added my BOgear top tube pad which I repurposed as a shoulder pad, it works really well. Also I attached an Cactus Outdoor XL pocket so I can have my phone on the outside for easy access.


Without really testing this in the real world I’m happy with the purchase. It does what I thought it might. I can carry a water bottle, lunch, snacks, phone, sunglasses, gortex jacket, pens, SAK, headphones, charger, cables, compact umbrella, some work documents, and probably a little more if I actually needed it, like my wife dumping things in my bag because she’s ill prepared.

Alternatives to this would be the Alpha One Niner Chio, which looks very similar but has more organization, but with that a higher price tag.

Call it a purse, murse, handbag, messenger, carry bag or shoulder bag. It’s all those and if you’re ok with less weight, less size, less straps, less flaps and of course the stigma you’ll be rewarded with a simple and great bag for those urban trips that require just the basics. Hope my shoulder bag review will be useful.

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