Mystery Ranch District Pro Review

The Mystery Ranch District Pro is a versatile, lightweight, eco-friendly messenger bag with great storage capacity and flexible carrying methods.

Our Verdict

7.8 /10
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  • Highly flexible and customizable organization
  • Has spacious compartments
  • The strap-adjusting mechanism is smooth and works like a dream


  • Lacks structure, so it doesn’t stand up on its own
  • Thin interior lining and materials raise concerns about their longevity.
  • Water bottle pockets don't hold slender containers securely

Technical Details

73 %

Carry-on Compliance

View 106/145 Airlines

46 %

Like the Look

Polled on Instagram

  • Capacity


  • Weight (lb)

    2.06 lb (0.9 kg)

  • Dimensions

    11.5 in x 15 in x 9 in (29.2 x 38.1 x 22.9 cm)

  • Notable Materials

    CORDURA® Ballistic Nylon, YKK Zippers

  • Laptop Compartment Size


  • Warranty Information

    Mystery Ranch Warranty

Buying Options

Mystery Ranch logo
Backcountry Logo

Full Review

The Mystery Ranch District Pro is a lightweight, eco-friendly messenger bag that expands and condenses according to your specific carry needs. It feels like it could pass as a beefy sling or a minimal messenger bag, depending on how much gear you load it out with. The bag provides ample storage with a capacity of 17L and offers quick access to essentials with various pockets and organization included. Both the laptop pocket/divider and the padded shoulder strap are removable, allowing for a great deal of customizability to ensure a flexible carry experience.

Mystery Ranch District Pro In-Use
Mystery Ranch District Pro | Slip pockets provide easy access to contents inside but are not the most secure.

The Mystery Ranch District Pro has some weatherproofing thanks to the industry-leading YKK zippers and protective flaps, but we’ll get more into that later. This bag provides a smooth and comfortable carry, and the organizational pockets are nice and easy to access. While the color may not appeal to everyone, it comes in two others.

External Components

Starting with the outside, the Mystery Ranch District Pro uses a tough and resilient, yet lightweight, 420D Recycled CORDURA® Velocity Dobby Nylon material. The bag feels comfortable and smooth to the touch and is a joy to hold and/or carry. As for hardware, it features YKK DWR-coated zippers with strategically placed protective flaps to safeguard your gear from rain, snow, or other light weather conditions. The bag’s lightweight material and condensable form offer great flexibility when empty. However, due to its lack of structure and form, the bag doesn’t stand up on its own when empty and can sometimes topple even when filled with gear. The 17-liter bag lacks compression straps and external attachment points and simply has a “Mystery Ranch” patch on the front for branding.

Mystery Ranch District Pro Carry Handle 2
Mystery Ranch District Pro | Straightforward and minimalistic exterior just features the brand’s logo on the front of the bag.

You can carry the bag in three ways: traditional shoulder carry, briefcase style, and, for jet-setters, a convenient luggage pass-through for roller-carry. The shoulder carry method utilizes the removable strap with an extra padded sleeve that includes various attachment points. This mode is particularly comfortable, and the strap length can be easily adjusted using a Thumb Lock adjuster that, while minimal and simplistic, works reliably and smoothly. This setup allows you to swing the bag from front to back without any issues, and the padded sleeve typically remains in place, which is a nice plus.

One thing to note: if you prefer to have your bag higher up on your back when carrying via messenger mode, you may lose some of the flexibility of swinging the bag around with the padded shoulder sleeve since there is no extra slack to slide along. Another advantage of this shoulder strap design is the attachment points. The straps connect via a buckle on both sides, making the strap reversible to accommodate the wearer’s preferred orientation.

Mystery Ranch District Pro Strap Padding 2
Mystery Ranch District Pro | Shoulder strap provides a great amount of adjustability with a padded sleeve that stays in place.

The bag can also be carried in briefcase mode using double grab handles, one on each side of the opening. While these handles are not the most comfortable or well-padded, they work effectively and, after a short adjustment period, provide enough balance for carrying the bag, especially when trying to get inside it at the same time. Finally, the bag features a pass-through that can slip over most roller luggage handles. Due to this orientation, the bag sits upright, ensuring nothing falls out. This is ideal since two water bottle pockets may or may not be secure, but we’ll get into that next. You may mistake this pass-through for a pocket (we did!), so make sure you’re slipping your wallet into the rear pocket right above it, or it may fall through to the ground.

Fit Notes

Mystery Ranch District Pro Side-by-Side
Morgan White, Height: 6’0 (182 cm), Torso: 17.75” (45 cm) | Kristyne Defever, Height: 5’5” (165 cm), Torso: 17” (43 cm)

Due to its size and compressibility, this bag can be classified as either a large sling bag or a minimal messenger bag. The chosen color also sets the tone, whether a casual vibe or a more professional one for a classroom or office. For example, the Galaxy colorway leans more casual, while the all-black version (with a neon orange interior) could easily pass as a professional briefcase or messenger bag. Regardless of the color scheme, this bag maintains a minimal aesthetic.

Inside The Pack

The Mystery Ranch District Pro features four secondary compartments that provide ample organization and customizable access. Depending on the chosen colorway, the interior offers good visibility and contrasts with the exterior. As an example, this Galaxy variant has a bright white interior. We have a few concerns about the thin material’s longevity, although it seems adequate at the time of this review. It is unclear whether this colorway’s interior is more transparent than others due to the thinness or the white coloring.

A quick-access pocket at the top of the bag above the front pocket is accessible via a single zipper. While it’s not the most spacious, it can accommodate smaller items like a phone or wallet. The pocket includes a nylon key clip, which, while not the longest and lacking any stretch, is simple to use and allows smooth clipping and unclipping. One thing to note is due to the single zipper, depending on how you prefer to wear your bag, the zipper may not be on the most convenient side.

Mystery Ranch District Pro Key Leash
Mystery Ranch District Pro | Quick access pocket keeps daily essentials within fast reach.

The bag’s front pocket is covered by a large protective flap, providing weatherproof protection and ensuring the contents stay dry. This pocket functions well as a semi-quick access pocket since it is secured by two strips of hook-and-loop fastener. (Warning: They are not quiet.) Inside this pocket are three slip pockets that, while functional, tend to hang loosely when not in use, which not all users may find convenient or visually appealing. Beyond these, the rest of the pocket is fairly spacious. A unique aspect of this pocket is its customizability. Along one side of the pocket is a button and a zipper that spans its entire length. When undone, this allows for a more flexible opening, making it easier to access the pocket’s contents. The exact use case for this feature is unclear, but it adds a nice touch of flexibility to the bag’s design.

The bag features water bottle pockets on each side that sit flush against the bag when not in use and have a small amount of elasticity for stretching. We can fit a 32 oz Owala water bottle with a bit of maneuvering. Both pockets include a small hole at the bottom, presumably for drainage, though small items like keys could accidentally slip out if you toss them inside. The pockets work well with larger bottles but may not hold a smaller bottle or a regular-sized can very securely. We’ve found that cans may slide out when the bag is lying down, which can be problematic when getting in and out of an Uber or Lyft.

Mystery Ranch District Pro Water Bottle
Mystery Ranch District Pro | Dual water bottle pockets provide easy access but are not the most secure.

The bag features a rear zippered pocket that spans almost the entire width of the bag but only about half its length. This pocket is best suited for flatter items like a passport or wallet, or even a small book or journal. Although the zipper pull on the pocket does not provide “secret” or “hidden” access, there’s a little built-in security since this pocket sits flush against the user.

Things get interesting in the main compartment, this is where things get interesting. It has a traditional briefcase-style opening that can open pretty wide, providing a nice overview of the contents inside. This appears to be where the bulk of the storage lies. Despite the thin interior material and lining, this bag does not disappoint.

Inside the main compartment is a convenient slip pocket at the back suitable for things like notebooks, magazines, or newspapers. However, this pocket doesn’t feature any gussets to secure the contents and tends to hang loosely regardless of what’s inside.

Mystery Ranch District Pro Interior
Mystery Ranch District Pro | This Galaxy version we have comes with a classic navy exterior with a white interior accent.

The standout feature of this compartment and bag is its customizability, particularly with its dedicated removable divider with a built-in padded laptop sleeve. This sleeve can fit up to a 15-inch laptop and provides very minimal padding. While it says up to a 15-inch laptop, we still had to test the boundaries with a 16-inch MacBook Pro, and surprisingly exactly no one, it did not fit.

Thanks to the construction of this uniquely designed divider, the sides attach via snaps and hook-and-loop fasteners to the inside of the bag. This provides an extra layer of security, ensuring contents do not fall out when the bag is opened all the way. On the other side of the divider, opposite the laptop sleeve, two more fairly wide slip pockets have a decent amount of capacity. However, they also tend to hang loosely regardless of whether or not we use them.

Mystery Ranch District Pro
Mystery Ranch District Pro | Removable laptop sleeve provides customizable organization to suit the user/scenario.

There is a fantastic amount of organization built into this pocket. It can be used flexibly or just as a cavernous dump site for your stuff. It’s important to note that while this divider is removable and provides a nice addition to organization, it is fairly straightforward to insert. The snappable buttons require a bit of pressure to get that satisfying snap that ensures correct installation.

The Mystery Ranch District Pro is a flexible and versatile bag that can adapt to various carry needs. It has excellent customizability, offering different carry styles and a removable laptop pocket/divider. While it’s not the most structured bag and doesn’t always stand up on its own, it makes up for it with its lightweight and robust material and its wide array of organizational features. The bag’s color schemes suit different settings, from casual to professional, and its weatherproof features add to its overall practicality. However, the bag may not be ideal for those who regularly carry smaller items or prefer more secure pockets. Overall, the Mystery Ranch District Pro is a nice messenger bag that balances style, durability, and functionality.

Usage Timeline

Initial Usage

Condition: Excellent

  • Can be compressed down surprisingly flat
  • White interior is an interesting choice
  • Shoulder strap takes a bit to get used to
2 Weeks of Use

Condition: Excellent

  • No scratches or scuffs
  • External and internal materials still feel smooth to the touch
  • Have some minor concerns on the longevity of the interior lining
By Morgan White
Created March 13, 2024 • Updated March 13, 2024
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