There are few more hotly contested items in the EDC/Outdoors world than packs. There are the budget/low end packs like The North Face and Jansport and then there are the “Tier One” pack makers. These include Mystery Ranch, Triple Aught Design, and GoRuck as well as many others. Sometimes they decide to make changes to time tested designs for whatever reason that don’t quite make much sense. The newest iteration of the Mystery Ranch Sweet Pea, arguably one of the very best single day packs made, is an shining example of this.I happened to have my hands on an older Sweet Pea (March ’13) and a new Sweet Pea (Jan ’14) and thought it would be a good idea to do a pictorial documentation of the major changes.
First, the specs straight from MR.
|VOLUME:||2000 cu-in (33l)|
|WEIGHT:||3 lbs 9 oz (1.6kg)|
|DIMENSIONS:||18″x11.5″x8.5″ (46cm x 29cm x 22cm)|
The older one is the Green/Grey and the newer one is the black one, for reference.
Change #1 – They got rid of the Stick-it pocket. Don’t worry though, they added some PALS webbing at the bottom so you can add your own Stick-it if you want…. for another $59 + shipping + tax.
Change #2 – They got rid of the PALS webbing and the internal bladder hanger. Why? It makes no sense. Those PALS panels are a perfect place to put an admin pouch like the TAD OP1.
Change #3 – They got rid of the pass throughs on the sides. Now, I’m not a skier, but I have some buddies who live and breath the slopes and I can definitely see why they’d like to mount their skis on the side and snowshoe up the hill. Getting rid of the pass throughs makes near impossible with this pack. You can still easily carry a 320z Nalgene in the outer side pocket, however.
The one thing they should have changed but didn’t is that they still use these stupid buckles to attach their chest straps. They’re way too easy to break when you’re taking them on and off. It would be much better if they used the replacement style webbing buckles instead of these.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying the newest version is all in all a bad pack. It’s still the same bombproof, Made in the USA quality that Mystery Ranch is known for. I’m just not quite sure why they made the changes they did. If I were you, and were in the market for a new pack this size, I’d search out an older model. They came up on the various forums and eBay from time to time.