Stephanie P.wrote a review of Mystery Ranch Stein 62L Backpack on August 4, 2018
Familiarity: I've used it several times
I bought this pack because a friend had it and liked it. When I tried it for 10 mins in the store, it seemed like it would work. I am carrying in the 35 pound range with it. It is comfortable and carries well. That is a big plus. Mystery Ranch customer service is awesome. But there are some design flaws that have become bothersome enough that I am going to buy a different pack.
1. Probably the biggest flaw is that that the top flap of the top compartment does not cover the top of the main pack when the pack is full. Also, the main compartment cinch-ability is really lacking. There is no extra material so you can’t cinch it totally closed if the pack is really full, thus the top of the pack is open more than it should be. That, coupled with the fact that the top flap doesn’t cover the top of the pack is a huge detriment. It lets rain, hail, pine needles etc in. It also looks clunky and not at all streamlined.
2. The next fairly bad flaw is that the various pouches are not really pouches. What I mean by that they don’t have much extra material so if you put something in them, it takes away space in the main compartment. So, I can fit water bottles in the bottom two holders on the outside, but not if the pack is full. The “stretchy” material is too tight and not really very stretchy. So forget putting Nalgene bottles in there if my sleeping bag is in the bottom. I could not even fit my Crocs in there with the pack filled up. And there are two zippered compartments on the back of the pack, which you’d think would be really useful but again, they are not really pouches. If you try to put something in them, it takes away volume from the inside of the pack. If the pack is already very full, you can’t fit anything with any bulk in those two zippered compartments (like a water bottle or a fuel bottle).
3. The top two-hump Bactrian camel-like pouch has a lot of room but it looks kind of stupid and is very bulky (sorry guys). It is hard to get items in the section that is against your neck/head such that it doesn’t touch your head, although putting stuff in the back section is fine. I think a single large top compartment would have been better.
4. Finally there is no way to hang anything from the belt because there is not one loop or attachment point on the waist belt, nor is there a waist belt pouch. I have a separate pouch I like to hang off my belt with stuff I need right away (an energy bar, some medications, toilet paper etc). On this pack I have to hang it from the webbing that is part of the belt system. What that means is that I always struggle to get the belt buckle back to where I can close and cinch it.