mystery ranch snapdragon vs. camelbak tri-zip.

6:52 p.m. on December 28, 2009 (EST)
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i'm looking for a smaller pack to replace a beloved arcteryx that has finally given up the ghost. don't blame the manufacturer, i overstuffed this day pack for years until the zippers just quit after a decade of abuse.

i'm looking at roughly 2300 cubes (a little larger) and am considering the camelbak tri-zip vs. the mystery ranch snapdragon. camelbak is slightly heavier, has 500d cordura (double on the bottom), and subs a few zip pockets for the mystery ranch bottle pockets. designs seem highly similar, same harness, three-way zip that looks fab, slender hip belt that stows. mystery ranch doesn't discount; the camelbak can be had for at least $60 less on some websites. i'm not concerned about color.

any comments on (a) features and/or (b) build quality to distinguish the two? happy to hear about other sized packs as a point of comparison. i own a mystery ranch g6000 that is easily the best large pack i have ever lugged up a mountain.

6:12 p.m. on December 29, 2009 (EST)
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I can't speak to the Camelback but can to the Snap Dragon. I really like the SD - the tri zip is vry robust, the materials are bomber, and the yoke adjustment easy for a virtual perfect, semi custom fit. With the live wing hipbelt it will comfortably sit with as much as 35-40 pounds without issue. Should last a lifetime.

If I had to do it again, however, I would look at the MR Sweat Pea. Just a bit smaller in the main bag, but has the shove it pocket at the front of the pack. It has plastic inserts that are ideal for a helmet, tarp, tent fly, rain wear, etc.


Have fun with your decision....!

3:46 p.m. on December 31, 2009 (EST)
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good thoughts. thanks!

2:56 p.m. on January 3, 2010 (EST)
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I am hoping that my next pack will be the snapdragon. I just don't need a new pack right now. From the camelbak packs I seen they are very far from the quality of MR but the trizip looks in the photo a lot like the snapdragon and they also say "Fully adjustable patented Futura Harness by Mystery Ranch". I would call/email MR and ask them if they make this pack for camelbak. Could be something for the military? If they only design it but do not manufacture it then for sure I would go with the snapdragon for built quality.

12:38 p.m. on January 7, 2010 (EST)
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I went with the snapdragon, ordered it yesterday via the mystery ranch website. i opted to not get the beefed-up waistbelt because i don't expect to carry over 20-30 pounds and will most likely tuck the waist belt away most of the time. the pack does have a light frame - HDPE sheet with carbon reinforcement. The Mystery Ranch employee I spoke with on the phone was very helpful in evaluating shoulder harness sizing. fyi, the waist belt is one size fits all on this one, which isn't clear from the website.

PS - I confirmed with Camelbak's military/law enforcement sales that the Camelbak tri-zip is "assembled in the US incorporating foreign components." Camelbak makes the pack here, and components (fabrics, hardware, for example) may be made overseas. Camelbak is allowed to use the Mystery Ranch design, a big plus, but you aren't buying Mystery Ranch fabrics or manufacturing quality. Not to diminish Camelbak; i used a Camelbak hydration pack for years for running and never experienced a failure.

thanks for the helpful input!

12:00 a.m. on January 8, 2010 (EST)
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Enjoy the SD!

6:31 p.m. on March 1, 2010 (EST)
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camel bak used mystery ranch to design the tri zip. simarilites are not accidental. the tri zip is designed for the military, which explains the extraweight and molle attattachments

December 17, 2014
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