“1 pack with 10 uses” is how Mystery Ranch markets their redesign of the redesigned Scree 32. One would think that a mid-size do-it-all pack would be simple to design. Whenever something is designed to be multi-functional, it tends to compromise great performance in one aspect to make room for mediocre performances in other aspects. For $190 The Scree seems to be a blend of a durable daypack for the outdoors and a casual everyday pack. It wouldn’t look out of place on a 10 mile hike day hike, nor as a carry on bag boarding a plane. However, looks can be deceiving. How does it perform in all of those roles?
Just like the original Scree, the redesign generally seems to be a civilian style version of their popular 3 Day Assault military pack. The main difference is that the Scree is made of a lighter, less durable materials because the assumption is that it doesn’t need to withstand “military style” abuse. The other main differences are that it ditches the molle attachments, the inside and outside pockets are set up slightly differently, and the waist belt is set up differently. The final difference is that the Scree is not Berry Compliant which is required of US Military issued gear. This could be the main reason why the Scree is much less expensive than the $400 3 Day Assault Pack.
The Scree was redesigned in 2019 and was given a sizing update in 2020. The Scree still sports the classic Mystery Ranch 3-zip design that provides quick access to your gear even if it’s buried at the bottom of the pack. Compared to the older version of the Scree, the 2019 version now has two pockets on the top lid.
An aspect of the old Scree that we didn’t like was the lack of internal pockets. The main compartment had a pocket for a hydration bladder and that was it. In the redesign, Mystery Ranch added two pouches on the inside of the pack that don’t take up any room when not being used. This makes the inside of the pack a lot more organized because smaller pieces of gear can be neatly stored in there instead of getting buried.
The waist belt has been completely changed for the better. The pockets on the old Scree’s waist belt were a bit too small to hold a phone or gps. We were only able to use them to carry snack bars. The new pockets on the waist belt have been made slightly bigger and can actually store a phone and wallet. The waist belt is now removable which allows it to be more easily worn with a climbing harness. Removing the waist belt also allows it to be worn more casually in an airport or on a city street.
With the addition of ice tool loops, this bag seems to wander into a mountaineering function. Although the ice tool loops work fine, another nice addition would be a strap to hold rope. There is a way to rig up webbing round the top handle, but a manufactured strap that comes out of the hydration opening would make it easier and more convenient. The Scree worked fine for alpine climbs, but we had to get creative with how to carry the rope on the walk-offs.
Speaking of maximizing the outer attachments of the pack, straps on the underside of the pack can go a long way to store light items that would take up a lot of space inside the pack. The original 3 Day Assault Pack did have these straps and I do use them. They are absent in the newer versions of the 3 Day Assault Pack, as well as the Scree. Just like with the rope strap, it’s possible to rig something yourself. You could put bungie or tie some cord to the front daisy chain, however something manufactured would be more convenient. The bottom of the pack is the only one of the 6 sides of the pack that are completely unused, which was a missed opportunity. With all the innovation in the redesigned pack, this would have been a perfect opportunity to bring those bottom straps back and even make them removable.
The original Scree seemed like a mediocre attempt at making a civilian version of their very popular 3 Day Assault Pack. However, their 2019 redesign and 2020 update to the sizing shows that Mystery Ranch actually cares about making meaningful improvements to their packs. The Scree 32 hasn’t reached its full potential yet, but it is getting close. The new and improved Scree 32 is a rugged and inexpensive pack that can be used on a trail, on the road, on a through hike or on a multi-pitch climb.