You can never know which piece of equipment you’re going to need while you’re on a hiking trail. In this Mystery Ranch Sphinx Review, you’ll find out if this backpack is large enough to store all items you want to take to your next hike.
Finding the best outdoor backpack may not be as easy as it seems, because there are so many options that offer a similar set of features. Besides the backpack’s maximum storage capacity, the model’s weight, durability, or level of comfort should all be considered while choosing a backpack.
The Mystery Ranch Sphinx 60 is currently the only available model from this brand’s collection, although you can choose from several sizes. Our Mystery Ranch Sphinx 60 review is going to take you through all of the backpack’s features and help you decide if this model is the right choice for you.
Key specifications of the Mystery Ranch Sphinx 60 backpack
|Storage capacity||60L or 3660cu-ins|
|Hydration capacity||N/A – Hydration-bladder compatible|
|Belt types||Redirect waist belt and Futura Yoke shoulder strap|
|Number of external pockets||7 external pockets|
|Material||210D and 330D Robic fabric|
|Access type||Top loading|
Core features of the Mystery Ranch Sphinx 60 backpack
Hiking at the PacificCrest Trail or any other thru-hike requires you to have different types of equipment as you move from one section of the trail to another.A backpack like Mystery Ranch Sphinx enables you to carry only the necessities between two resupply points while offering enough space for the food and items you’re going to need along the way.
Also, this backpack offers several water bottle pockets and is compatible with most standard hydration bladders. Even so, this backpack isn’t an ideal option for long hikes because there are lighter options available that have similar storage capabilities.
That’s why, most hikers use this backpack for relatively short weekend hikes, rather than for hikes that take weeks to complete.
Materials and design
At first glance, there is nothing that sets the Mystery Ranch Sphinx 60 apart from backpacks manufactured by the brand’s competitors. The Mystery Ranch’s model is available in wood and deep-sea colors and it has a centrally positioned zipper that allows you to reach the backpack’s contents quickly.
The manufacturer offers both men’s and women’s versions of the pack and you can choose between S, M, L, and XL size options. Checking the brand’s instructions will enable you to determine which size of the Mystery Ranch Sphinx 60 you should choose.
The majority of the pack’s body is covered with the 210-denier Robic fabric that has a high-tensile strength. The bottom of the backpack is made of even sturdier 330D-denier Robic nylon that is both waterproof and resistant to tears and damages.
However, the Mystery Ranch Sphinx 60 isn’t smell-proof, and you should go through our guide to the best smell-proof backpacks if you’re concerned that the food you’re carrying may attract animals. This Mystery Ranch’s model features the Adventure Frame that contains two vertical composite rods, a horizontal composite bar, and a lumbar stay made of aluminum.
According to the manufacturer, the dimensions of the Sphinx 60 backpack are 32.5x 12.3x 13.5-inches, which suggests that it isn’t too bulky. On the other hand, it also indicates that it is smaller than backpacks that are usually used for long hikes.
The backpack is loaded from the top, but you can use the YKK® zipper at the front to reach the items inside the backpack. There are seven external pockets on the Sphinx 60, including two pockets located on the removable hip belt that is large enough to hold a smartphone and similar items.
This backpack is also water bladder compatible so you can use it with your hydration system, but you should keep in mind that this Mystery Ranch’s model doesn’t come with a built-in hydration system.
It is worth pointing out that the water bottle pockets might be too small to hold a 64oz Iron Flask water bottle.
Weight and storage capacity
Ideally, a hiking backpack should be light and capable of storing everything you need during the time you spend on a trail. The Mystery Ranch Sphinx doesn’t offer a perfect balance between weight and storage capacity because it weighs 4.8lbs when it is empty.
The backpack’s maximum storage capacity is 60L, which means that you can carry a maximum of 50lbs of weight. However, in most situations, you won’t be carrying more than 20lbs of weight to a weekend hike, while the recommended backpack weight for a thru-hike is around 15lbs.
The backpack’s Adventure Frame, the Futura Yoke adjustment mechanism and Redirect waist belt ensure even weight distribution.
The backpack features two upper and one lower sections of the HDPE sheet that helps the frame push the load to the side and distribute it equally across the surface of the back.
You will be able to carry up to 30lbs of weight in the Mystery Ranch Sphinx backpack comfortably without feeling pressure on your shoulders.
Comfort and ventilation
The excellent weight distribution, as well as padded adjustable straps, ensure that you stay comfortable while carrying the Mystery Ranch Sphinx backpack.
Also, the Futura Yoke adjustment mechanism enables you to regulate the length of the torso and find the perfect distance between the backpack and your back. Besides, you can reduce the backpack’s size while carrying lighter loads by using its top, side, and bottom compression straps.
Compression straps enable you to fasten a sleeping bag or keep bulky pieces of equipment firmly in place. Even though the Robic material is durable and waterproof, the fabric isn’t breathable, so you might get too warm if you carry the Mystery Ranch Sphinx backpack for a long time.
Range of applications
Although it is designed primarily to meet the demands of backpackers, this Mystery Ranch’s model is suitable for almost all types of outdoor activities.
The Sphinx 60 can be useful even if you’re planning to spend weeks at the John Muir trail because it is large enough to hold enough equipment between two resupply points.
The compatibility with different hydration systems enables you to use this backpack in situations where you can’t carry water bottles or use your hands to drink water from a bottle. However, the Mystery Ranch Sphinx 60 isn’t a great option if you’re looking for a backpack you can carry during one-day hikes.
This backpack is equipped with several attachments you can use to carry an ice axe or any other piece of equipment that is too bulky to store inside the backpack. Also, the centrally positioned YKK® zippers are urethane coated which makes them resistant to corrosion.
The fabric covering the backpack’s top, body, and bottom are water-resistant, and for that reason, this Mystery Ranch’s model doesn’t come with a built-in rain cover.
The material’s ability to resist prolonged exposures to water may decrease over time and getting the rain cover is the only way to protect your gear from getting wet. You must get all backpack accessories separately from the Spinx 60 because the manufacturer doesn’t ship accessories with this model.
Go through our Mystery Ranch Metcalf review if you’re searching for a hunting backpack.
The cost and warranty period
The Mystery Ranch Sphinx backpack isn’t more expensive than Osprey Volt 60 or other backpacking and hiking 60L packs. You can get a Sphinx backpack for $269 directly from the manufacturer’s website, but its price might be higher if purchased from an outdoor gear retailer.
The brand offers a limited lifetime warranty for all of its backpack models that covers all defects of the materials and craftsmanship. The damage resulting from daily wear and tear or reckless handling of the backpack isn’t covered by the warranty, and you will have to pay a fee to repair it.
Read our Mystery Ranch Scree review if the brand’s Sphinx model is too large for you or if its price exceeds your budget.
The advantages of the Mystery Ranch Sphinx 60 backpack
The Adventure Frame is composed of two vertical and one horizontal composite bars that keep the backpack aligned with the body and enable it to adjust to its movements. The backpack features an aluminum pad that provides lumbar support.
The fabric has a high tensile strength
The Mystery Ranch Sphinx is made of 210-denier and 330-denier Robic fabric that can’t be torn easily. This material is also water-resistant, so you won’t have to worry about your equipment getting wet if you get caught in the rain.
Excellent compression capabilities
Reducing the volume of the gear you packed into the Sphinx backpack is easy as you just have to use top, side, and bottom compression straps to make the backpack less bulky. You can also use side compression straps to fasten the equipment you carry in this backpack.
Offers ample storage room
The Mystery Ranch Sphinx will cater to all your storage space needs unless you’re planning to stay on the road for months. You can carry up to 50lbs of weight in this backpack, but you won’t be using its maximum storage capacity often since in most cases you won’t be carrying more than 20lbs of weight.
Allows for easy access to all items
Reaching your phone or taking a piece of equipment out of the backpack won’t take more than a few moments of your time. The backpack has a large corrosion-resistant zipper at the front that enables you to find the item you’re searching for quickly.
The disadvantages of the Mystery Ranch Sphinx 60 backpack
The backpack’s weight
The Mystery Ranch Sphinx weighs almost five pounds when it’s empty. So, when you’re calculating how much weight you’re planning to carry with you should factor in the weight of the backpack as well because a five-pound difference can be significant on some trails.
The backpack’s price
The Sphinx 60 isn’t the most budget-friendly piece of hiking equipment you can get, as you have to spend more than $250 to get this Mystery Ranch’s model. You should consider getting the High Sierra Explorer or Osprey Kestrel if you don’t want to spend more than $200 on a backpack.
The best alternatives to the Mystery Ranch Sphinx 60 backpack
Even though finding a downside to the Mystery Ranch Sphinx 60 backpack is difficult, there are several reasons why you might want to consider alternative options.
The market is saturated with smaller, lighter, and more affordable backpacks that might be better suited for hikers who like to travel light or simply don’t want to spend too much money on their equipment.
We’ve selected some of the best alternatives to the Mystery Ranch Sphinx 60 backpack, so let’s take a look at their features. You should also go through our Mystery Ranch Urban Assault review if you’re searching for a lighter backpack made by the same brand.
Osprey Atmos 65
This 65L storage capacity enables you to carry between 30lbs and 50lbs of weight in the Osprey Atmos 65 backpack. This Osprey’s model is equipped with the Anti-Gravity back panel that distributes the weight efficiently and minimizes the pressure your body is taking.
The backpack features an internal hydration sleeve that can accommodate systems that hold up to 3L of water. Organizing your equipment is easy because the backpack’s interior features a lot of pockets that enable you to separate your gear.
The breathability of this backpack is impressive, which makes it a great option for long hikes in warm climates. Read our full review of the Osprey Atmos 65 for more information about this remarkable backpack.
Gossamer Gear Mariposa 60
The Mystery Ranch Sphinx backpack has the same storage capacity as the Gossamer Gear Mariposa 60, but it weighs almost three pounds more than its competitor does. The Mariposa 60 is made of 100D and 200D Robic nylon and it features a custom air mesh fabric on both shoulder straps and hip belt.
As a result, this backpack can keep you comfortable even at rough patches of the trail and you won’t be able to tear it easily. Also, you’ll be able to carry more supplies with you because the backpack weighs just 2lbs and 0.7oz when empty.
Go through our Gossamer Gear Mariposa review for a detailed analysis of the backpack’s features.
Granite Gear Blaze
The dual-density shoulder harness and the Air Current frame are among the features that make the Granite Gear Blaze backpack comfortable. You can carry up to 50lbs of weight in this 60L backpack, and you won’t feel like you’re carrying so much weight on your shoulders.
The breathability of the Granite Gear Blaze backpack leaves much to be desired since the back panel doesn’t ensure the free flow of air. Also, it may take you some time to get used to adjusting the hip belt and shoulder harness.
This Granite Gear’s model features a hydration port and a hydration sleeve so you don’t have to carry water bottles with you. Check out our Granite Gear Crown VC review if the price of the brand’s Blaze model exceeds your budget.
Answer: Yes, you can, but it is highly unlikely that you will utilize the backpack’s full storage capacity for a one-day hike.
Answer: The Robic nylon that is used to make this backpack is waterproof, but its capability to resist water decreases over time. That’s why the Mystery Ranch Sphinx 60 won’t be affected by rain or snow while it’s new, but once it wears out it might start to soak water.
Answer: Besides the attachment for the ice axe, you won’t find any other gear attachments on this backpack.
Answer: You can’t wash the Mystery Ranch Sphinx backpack in the washing machine, and the manufacturer recommends handwashing it in a bathtub. However, before you start washing the backpack you should first remove the yoke.
Interested in more Mystery Ranch Alternatives? Check out our detailed reviews and find a favorite:
Final thoughts: Is the Mystery Ranch Sphinx 60 worth the cost?
A backpack that doesn’t distribute weight efficiently can ruin your hike because it puts too much pressure on your shoulders. The Mystery Ranch Sphinx 60’s Adventure Frame, hip belt, and shoulder straps ensure that the weight is distributed evenly between the upper and lower back.
This Mystery Ranch backpack provides you with more than enough storage space for a weekend hike and you may even use it for hikes that take a week or two to complete. We recommend choosing this backpack if you don’t mind its weight, lack of breathability, or price.
You should consider getting the Osprey Atmos 65 if you’re searching for a backpack that has a breathable back panel and a similar price to the Mystery Ranch’s model. Was this Mystery Ranch Sphinx review helpful? Let us know in the comments or continue reading our Mystery Ranch Glacier review to find out what this 70L backpack has to offer.
David is a strong advocate of outdoor-related activities and has many years of experience backpacking and hiking around the world, including the Italian and Austrian Alps in Europe as well as central and southern Asia.
Locally, he has also led many groups cycling through Vermont, Nova Scotia, and Wisconsin. David constantly uses and tests the latest gear for the outdoors, which in turn allows him to help others make more informed buying decisions. He’s excited to share more of his knowledge and to see others enjoying the great outdoors more because of his advice and recommendations.