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  • Comfort 70% 70%
  • Storage 80% 80%
  • Accessories 70% 70%
  • Weight 70% 70%

Price: $270

What We Like: Main compartment access. 

What We Don’t: Limited external storage options.

 

One Size (adjustable)

60 L

32.5 x 12.25 x 13.5 in

82.55 x 31.1 x 34.29 cm

4.8 lbs

2.18 kg

The Sphinx 60 is a classic Mystery Ranch pack. With robust fabric and YKK zippers along with the main vertical access, these backpacks seem essentially indestructible. The two torpedo pockets along the front of the pack are slightly odd in terms of storage options but offer some variety compared to other backpacks. The other simple features included with the Sphinx help carrying medium loads into the backcountry a breeze. Even though Mystery Ranch now makes backpacks for the military and first responders, they have not forgotten their journeys in the backcountry camping world. 

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Main Compartment Access

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The Sphinx 60 is a classic Mystery Ranch pack. It is well built, has an easy to access the main compartment, and includes some additional bells and whistles that help it stand out amongst its peers. 

The Sphinx comes in several sizes, so make sure that you buy the correct torso length pack for your needs. It is also the only pack on our list that does not include gender-specific harness designs. 

Best Backpacking Backpack: Mystery Ranch Sphinx 60 - Gear Hacker

Comfort and Suspension

With the variety of pack sizes, once you have found the pack that best suits your torso, the adjustable Futura Yoke will dial the fit in perfectly. The frame of the pack uses two vertical composite rods, an upper horizontal composite bar, and an aluminum lumbar stay. This frame coupled with the adjustable HDPE frame sheet creates a well-structured backpack that can also flex and move with your body as you hike. 

Best Backpacking Backpack: Mystery Ranch Sphinx 60 - Gear Hacker

The shoulder straps and hip belts use DU foam for comfortable weight distribution, and an aerospace mesh along the back panel to help with ventilation. The hipbelt cants and conforms to the hips, creating excellent weight transfer onto the hips and away from the shoulders. 

 

The back panel on the Sphinx does not have the ventilation features that may be found in other packs on our list such as the Osprey Atmos. But it is well supported and will flow with the wearer throughout the day.

Best Backpacking Backpack: Mystery Ranch Sphinx 60 - Gear Hacker

Features and Convenience

The Sphinx has Mystery Ranch’s trademark vertical zipper along the front of the pack for main compartment access. The top of the pack can be accessed by a drawstring opening that includes a compression strap. The combination of these features gives unhindered access to anything in the main compartment. The front vertical zipper is a burly YKK weatherproof zipper to keep your gear clean and dry. 

Best Backpacking Backpack: Mystery Ranch Sphinx 60 - Gear Hacker

The Sphinx 60 has a removable top lid that includes a zippered pocket for storing keys, headlamps, and other small valuables. On the front of the pack are two of Mystery Ranch’s torpedo pockets. These pockets are great for storing your camping fuel or some extra layers. You will also find a single adjustable tool loop down the middle of the pack for a trekking pole or ice axe. 

 

There are dual hipbelt pockets for quick access items, for example, a phone, snacks, or multitools. Along the side of the pack are dual water bottle pockets⁠—essentials for a backpacking pack. 

Best Backpacking Backpack: Mystery Ranch Sphinx 60 - Gear Hacker

Weight and Material

Weighing in at a burly 4.8lbs, we have ourselves a heavyweight contender. However, for Mystery Ranch, this is a lightweight pack that is still made to take anything that is thrown at it and keep on going. Using  210D nylon for the body and a 330D Nylon along the bottom, the Sphinx is built to last. The YKK zippers along the front of the pack and the torpedo pockets help to keep the weather out and your gear clean. 

The Bottom Line

Mystery Ranch has built a very good pack for a weekend camping trip or a Spartan weeklong adventure. At $270, it is right in the middle of the price bracket of the other packs on our list. Other than the vertical access point that other packs on the list have variations of, like the Osprey Aether, it is a simple backpack. One feature that is missing for me is a large stretch mesh pocket on the front of the pack due to the main compartment access zipper. The two torpedo pockets help to organize your gear but are an odd shape for most items that you would be bringing into the backcountry. 

The Mystery Ranch Sphinx was an award-winning pack in 2016, but I think it could use some upgrades to stay relevant in today’s backpacking market. 

Best Backpacking Backpack: Mystery Ranch Sphinx 60 - Gear Hacker

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