Spending months away from home in a region where you won’t be able to restock your supplies frequently means that you have to carry all the equipment you need with you. This Mystery Ranch Terraplane review will show why this is one of the best backpacks you can carry to remote parts of the world.
Besides a sleep system or a tent, you will need a lot more bulky equipment if you’re planning on spending a lot of time high in the mountains or traveling to Alaska or any other destination where it won’t be easy to get more food supplies or gear.
The Mystery Ranch Terraplane is the brand’s flagship model, designed to withstand heavy loads and exposure to harsh weather conditions.
Our Mystery Ranch Terraplane review will take you through the most important features of this iconic backpack and help you decide if it is the right choice for your next expedition.
Key specifications of the Mystery Ranch Terraplane backpack
|Storage capacity||5005cu-ins or 82 liters|
|Hydration capacity||Hydration bladder compatible|
|Belt types||The 5-point lumbar waist belt and Futura Yoke shoulder strap|
|Number of external pockets||2 vertical long pockets and water bottle pockets|
|Material||500D Lite Plus CORDURA® fabric|
|Access type||Top loading and side zipper|
|Latest price||Check latest price here|
Core features of the Mystery Ranch Terraplane backpack
In the last couple of decades, we’ve seen numerous iterations of the Mystery Ranch Terraplane backpack that improved already impressive features of the original Terraplane model.
The Mystery Ranch Glacier or any other brand’s models can’t offer the same combination of load handling, organization capacities, or level of comfort as the Terraplane backpack. You can carry climbing gear, ice axes, or anything else you might need while spending extends time outdoors in this backpack.
You should consider Mystery Ranch’s ASAP or Scree models if you’re searching for a backpack you can take with you while exploring the best hiking trails in Europe or any other part of the world since Mystery Ranch Terraplane might be too bulky and too heavy for moderately long hikes.
On the other hand, if you’re planning on climbing a mountain or spend months off the grid, then the Mystery Ranch Terraplane backpack is one of the best options you have at your disposal.
Materials and design
The design of the Terraplane is above all else functional because it allows you to organize your equipment efficiently and access it quickly whenever you need it. The latest iteration of this backpack is available in Galaxy and Forest color options.
Also, you can choose between S, M, L, and XL sizes and find the model that best fits your height and waist or torso circumference. You can find detailed measurement instructions on the manufacturer’s website.
The backpack’s body is made of 500D CORDURA® fabric, while at the bottom you will find a double layer of this fabric. The shroud is made of the lighter 200D version of the CORDURA® fabric, and all parts of the backpack are polyurethane, and DWR treated.
As a result, Terraplane is one of the most durable backpacks on the market that is resistant to tears or water. Read our Mystery Ranch 3-Day Assault Pack review if you’re interested in other brand’s models made of the 500D CORDURA® fabric.
Arranging your equipment in the Mystery Ranch Terraplane backpack won’t be too difficult, because its interior features a large main compartment and several pockets that enable you to place different pieces of gear into separate compartments.
You will find the Speedzip™ compartment that is large enough to store a sleeping bag at the bottom of the backpack. Although this compartment isn’t separated from the backpack’s main compartment you can use an internal sling to create separation between two areas of the backpack.
The Terraplane model features a side YKK® zipper that enables you to reach items stored in the middle or at the bottom of the backpack quickly. Besides, the backpack features several tool attachments that enable you to save space and have easy access to the gear whenever you need it.
All Terraplane’s buckles are made of durable plastic that can withstand high amounts of pressure and they prevent the backpack from bouncing or moving awkwardly while you walk.
Check out our guide to finding the best outdoor backpack if you’re unsure which features a hiking or expedition backpack should have.
Weight and storage capacity
The dimensions of this backpack are 36x17x16 inches so when compared to other Mystery Ranch’s model, the Terraplane backpack is larger. However, it isn’t the largest Mystery Ranch backpack you can get, the T100 model is even bulkier than the Terraplane backpack.
The backpack’s volume is 5005cu-ins or 82L and you can fit large amounts of equipment inside the Terraplane without overloading it. The maximum amount of weight this model can withstand is 100lbs, which suggests that carrying heavy gear in this backpack won’t be an issue.
The backpack’s Astral Frame system is the reason why carrying heavy loads isn’t going to affect your ability to move through rough terrains. The system contains four vertical stays and dense foam that make the backpack both rigid and flexible.
The mainframe absorbs the stress produced by the backpack’s weight and pushes it to the sides and into the lower belt area. As a result, you won’t feel the full weight of your backpack even if you’re walking with it for hours.
Go through our guide to the best external frame backpacks, if this internal frame backpack doesn’t meet your expectations.
Comfort and ventilation
Like most of the Mystery Ranch’s models, the Terraplane backpack has excellent weight distribution capabilities.
In addition to the Astral Frame that delegates the weight from the upper body to the lower back region efficiently, the removable Futura Yoke enables you to adjust the pack’s distance from your back.
The five-point lumbar waist belt provides additional support to the lower back region and ensures that the backpack remains in place. The backpack features cross-compression straps that allow you to reduce its size when you’re not using the Terraplane’s full storage capacity.
Although not impressive, the Terraplane’s ventilation features are good enough to keep you cool under moderately warm weather conditions. The foam in the back panel is breathable, but it may get too warm after several hours of walking in the sun.
Range of applications
The weight of an empty Terraplane backpack is 6,8lbs, which makes it a poor choice for thru-hikes or any other outdoor activity that requires you to cover a lot of ground daily. Also, you won’t need so much storage space if you’re planning to use this backpack for weekend hikes.
On the other hand, the Mystery Ranch Terraplane is one of the best backpacks you can get if you carry a lot of heavy tools with you whenever you spend time outdoors. The high storage capacity this backpack offers makes it a great option for long trips or expeditions to remote parts of the world.
The side-release buckles keep the backpack’s lid attached to the body, and all you need to do to convert the lid into a daypack is release these buckles. Keep in mind that you’ll also have to remove the yoke from the backpack and install it on the lid.
The daypack is spacious enough to hold items you might need when heading out of the camp for several hours. Even though the manufacturer states that the Terraplane backpack is water-resistant, the CORDURA fabric isn’t waterproof.
It is unlikely that water will reach the backpack’s interior during short summer showers, but you will need a rain cover for this backpack if you have to walk in rain for several hours. The Terraplane backpack doesn’t have a built-in rain cover and you must get this accessory separately.
The cost and warranty period
A Mystery Ranch Terraplane backpack can cost you anywhere between $179 and $400, depending on the outdoor gear retailer. The latest version of the backpack is priced at $400, which makes it more expensive than most of its competitors.
Mystery Ranch offers a limited lifetime warranty for all their backpacks, but you won’t be able to repair defects that occurred as the result of daily wear and tear for free.
However, damaging the Terraplane backpack is difficult even if you use it in challenging conditions, so the chances are that you’ll be able to use it for more than ten years without ever thinking of replacing it.
Go through our Mystery Ranch Metcalf review if you need a backpack with slightly smaller storage capabilities.
The advantages of the Mystery Ranch Terraplane backpack
Made from resilient materials
The Terraplane backpack body is made of 500D CORDURA® fabric, while its bottom is composed of two layers of this fabric. Tearing this material is difficult, while the DRW and polyurethane coating keeps water on the backpack’s surface.
Lots of storage space
This 82L backpack enables you to carry a lot of equipment with you. Fitting different tools or gadgets inside the pack won’t be an issue, while two external vertical pockets offer enough space to carry items you’re using frequently.
Turning the Terraplane’s lid into a daypack can be useful if you want to leave the pack at the camp and take only a few essential items with you. Attaching and removing the yoke and lid is a straightforward process that takes a minimum amount of effort.
The belt has the 5-point lumbar support system
Carrying a lot of weight on your back for a long time can cause pains in the lumbar region. This backpack solves this by implementing the 5-point lumbar support system that helps distribute the weight evenly and reduces the pressure on your lower back.
All equipment is easily accessible
The size zip enables you to reach items that are stored at the bottom of the pack within seconds. Hence, you won’t have to unload the entire backpack to find the item you’re searching for.
The disadvantages of the Mystery Ranch Terraplane backpack
Heavier than most expeditions packs
The Mystery Ranch Terraplane adds nearly 7lbs of weight to the equipment you’re already carrying and it is not the best option you have at your disposal if you’re planning on walking long distances with a backpack.
Check out our guide to the best ultralight backpacks if you think that this Mystery Ranch’s model is too heavy for you.
High price tag
At $400, the Mystery Ranch Terraplane is one of the most expensive expedition packs on the market. Models produced by other brands have similar storage capabilities and considerably lower prices, although they don’t always provide the same level of comfort as the Terraplane backpack.
The best alternatives to the Mystery Ranch Terraplane backpack
It is difficult to find a downside to the Mystery Ranch Terraplane backpack, even after closely inspecting its features. This backpack can withstand years of heavy-duty usage without showing any signs of deterioration and it utilizes a frame that distributes weight effectively.
The cost of this backpack is arguably its only major downside, since it may be too expensive to fit everyone’s budget. That’s why we’ve selected more affordable but equally impressive alternatives to the Mystery Ranch Terraplane backpack. Here’s what they have to offer.
Gregory Baltoro 75
As one of the most versatile backpacks on the market, the Gregory Baltoro 75 can be used in a wide range of contexts. Besides being spacious enough to store all the equipment you need to take with you on an expedition, this backpack is also a great choice for traveling, hiking, or backpacking.
The A3 or the Automatic Angle Adjust response suspension system adapts to your movement and maintains the center of gravity as your body moves. The back panel features a ventilation channel that allows the air to flow and keep you cool during long hikes in warm weather.
Read our Gregory Baltoro 75 review for more information about this backpack.
Teton Sports Explorer 4000
Despite offering just 65L of storage capacity, the Teton Sports Explorer 4000 is still a high-performance backpack that enables you to carry heavy loads with ease. The backpack is made of 600D Ripstop nylon and 600D Oxford canvas, and it is highly resistant to tears.
The Explorer 4000 features an internal aluminum frame and an adjustable back system that lets you find the perfect distance between the heavily padded back panel and your back.
This Teton Sports backpack is considerably less expensive than the Mystery Ranch Terraplane, so it is an attractive affordable option if you don’t want to spend too much on a backpack. Go through our Teton Sports Explore 4000 review to learn more about this backpack.
Osprey Aether AG 85
Even though it offers more storage space than the Terraplane backpack, the Osprey Aether AG 85 weighs over a pound less. Both of these expedition backpacks have a convertible lid that can be useful whenever you want to leave the backpack behind and travel light.
The maximum weight this backpack can handle is limited to just 60lbs, but attachment points enable you to carry tools or equipment that can’t fit in the backpack. This Osprey’s model is equipped with the LightWire frame and the Anti-Gravity back panel that ensure balanced weight distribution.
Check out our Osprey Atmos vs Aether comparison if you want to find out which of these backpacks is sturdier.
Answer: There’s no need to get a new yoke if you want to convert the backpack’s lid into a daypack because all Futura Yokes are removable.
Answer: This backpack doesn’t come with a hydration bladder, but it can be turned into a hydration pack by placing the bladder into its hydration sleeve.
Answer: All Mystery Ranch Terraplane backpacks have the same storage capacity regardless of their size and you will have to opt for a different model if you need a backpack that offers less storage space than the Terraplane backpack.
Answer: This backpack is made of highly durable materials that are incredibly difficult to damage, but the backpack’s lifespan depends on how challenging is the context in which you use it.
Our Verdict: Who should get the Mystery Ranch Terraplane backpack?
Staying comfortable even if you’re carrying a lot of weight on your shoulders is key when you have to spend an extended period away from the nearest resupply point. The Mystery Ranch Terraplane is one of the brand’s most popular models because it can hold a large amount of equipment.
The backpack can store up to 100lbs of gear while its Astral Frame reduces the pressure the Terraplane puts on your body. The 5-point lumbar support belt keeps your back in a comfortable position and ensures that the backpack doesn’t bounce while you walk.
We recommend opting for the Mystery Ranch Terraplane if you need a backpack you take on a long journey. However, if you’re searching for a lighter backpack that provides the same level of comfort as this Mystery Ranch’s model, you should consider getting the Osprey Aether AG 85.
Was this Mystery Ranch Terraplane review useful? Let us know in the comments or continue reading our guide to the best Osprey backpacks if you don’t think a Mystery Ranch backpack is the right choice for you.
David is a strong advocate of outdoor-related activities and has many years 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.