Tag Archives | Mystery Ranch

Mystery Ranch NICE Frame Daypack

I have been looking for a compact daypack that is compatible with my Mystery Ranch NICE Frame. Ideally, it would be something like the Load Sling/Day Pack concept created by FHF Gear. However, Mystery Ranch is no longer selling the Load Sling separate from the NICE Frame and, as far as I know, FHF Gear never put the daypack in production. I’ve looked online but mostly struck out which is what had me raiding my gear stash to see if I had anything that would work.

fight and flight llama cargo tailgate daypack mystery ranch nice frame

It turns out, the answer was right under my nose. The Fight and Flight LLAMA pack is a great pack with several very useful features. The feature that is germane to this article is the LLAMA Pack’s use of modular compression panels/beavertails called Tailgates. The LLAMA comes standard with a basic panel Tailgate but Fight and Flight Tactical has offered several variations that serve different purposes and serve to expand the capabilities and capacity of the LLAMA.

It turns out that the buckles on those Tailgates match closely to the buckles on the NICE Frame. I was able to bolt a Cargo Tailgate directly to the frame without modification. The bag stands off the frame a bit but settles down with a load in the bag. The standoff also allows you to use the pack as a compression panel for carrying gear or game bags between the frame and pack. In the picture above, there is a small Mystery Ranch Load Cell compressed behind the Cargo Tailgate (it works with a large Load Cell too).

I know I am not the only one who has been looking for a compact and relatively lightweight daypack option for the NICE Frame so, hopefully, this is helpful information. Fight and Flight Tactical hasn’t added all of their Tail Gate options back to their website since they migrated to the new site. If you want a Tailgate like the one shown, you will have to contact them directly.

Mystery Ranch Alpine Lid

The Mystery Ranch NICE Day Pack Lid is a pretty solid piece of gear. It adds 900 cu-in of additional capacity to your pack and makes a decent little stand-alone pack for when you don’t need your main pack. However, that functionality comes at the cost of weight. It weighs 1 pound, 3.2 ounces on its own. That is a lot of weight for something that spends most of its time as a lid.


Mystery Ranch just introduced the 9 ounce Alpine Lid to address that weight issue. The Alpine Lid has 700 cu-in of capacity split between 2 chambers (the Day Pack Lid has 900 cu-in). It can be carried as a stand-alone satchel style pack instead of the Day Pack Lid’s backpack style carry. Basically, the Alpine Lid provides similar functionality for considerably less weight.

Check out the Alpine Lid at Mystery Ranch.

New Packs from Mystery Ranch

Mystery Ranch is about to drop 3 new backpacks in their Mountain line! The Rush, Swift, and Big Mountain will be available for pre-order tomorrow (4/16).

mystery ranch new packs

All three packs will feature a new internal frame design. The Big Mountain, the largest of the bunch, will boast 4000 cu. in. of capacity. The Rush and Swift will feature Mystery Ranch’s iconic 3-zip design.

Check out Mystery Ranch while you wait for the new packs to drop.

Review: Oneiros Valley LLP

The Mystery Ranch NICE Frame was originally designed for shorter, military packs like the venerable ALICE pack. These packs are often designed to be wider rather than taller like civilian packs and so the NICE Frame is fairly short to accommodate the packs it was designed to support.

The problem with shorter pack frames is that their stays do not sit high enough over the shoulder for load lifter straps to work correctly. This meant that as a 6’ 1” tall person with a long torso, the NICE Frame that I own never really fit me well.

I lived with the short frame because I liked the capabilities that the NICE Frame offered but, more and more, I found myself reaching for other packs… that is until I saw the Oneiros Valley LLP.

Oneiros Valley LLP


The LLP, or Load Lifter Panel, is made from a mix of thin HDPE, webbing, various buckles, and either carbon fiber or fiberglass stays. The fiberglass stay version weighs 9.8 ounces and the carbon fiber stay version weighs just 7.9 ounces.

It is designed to strap securely to your NICE Frame without modification. It can provide up to 6” of additional frame height!

Oneiros Valley LLP Installed Oneiros Valley LLP  Installed Top Oneiros Valley LLP Installed Bottom

Observations from Use

Does it work? You bet it does.

I had no lift at all with the standard NICE Frame. The top of the frame was actually BELOW the crests of my shoulders which means the load lifter straps did next to nothing. Without lift, heavy loads were free to pull down and back, transferring a significant portion of the load’s weight to my shoulders rather than where it should be which is on the hips via the waist belt.

The LLP makes a startling difference. It feels like an entirely new frame. Once installed, I found that I had plenty of lift. Tightening the load lifter straps pulls the weigh back toward my back which causes it to sit down over the waist belt better, effectively transferring most of the weight to my hips. It is like magic. I can’t stress enough how much of a difference the LLP makes for me.

Installation was a bit challenging since I didn’t have instructions but I figured it out by looking at the pictures on the Oneiros Valley site. It wasn’t hard at all. I just didn’t know what I was doing at first. Now, they have thoughtfully released a video that shows the installation.

Oneiros Valley LLP Lifters

I would recommend doing some experimentation with the height that you set the LLP so you can find a happy medium that provides some lift but doesn’t block your head in the prone. One of the strengths of the LLP is that it is adjustable for height. That may not be a big deal for a hiker but for a hunter or soldier who may have to shoot from the prone, it is a huge deal. When you go prone, you have to lift your head to use the sights on your rifle which is impossible if your frame is too tall (hence one of the reasons why military packs are often shorter). A tall pack frame will physically block you from lifting your head. I imagine it is even worse if you are wearing a helmet.

If you are not wearing a helmet, you may be able to go prone with the LLP at full height since the stays are not tied together which means they can spread and flex around your head. You wouldn’t want to stay that way for long since the frame pushes back against your head and neck, but it is doable.

Oneiros Valley LLP Lifter Buckle

I don’t normally mention price on JTT unless it is an integral part of the product. I prefer to let you decide what a product’s value is. In this case however, it should be pointed out that the LLP costs only $35 which is very inexpensive compared to similar offerings. That is a lot easier to swallow on a frame that is already quite expensive on its own.

I should also note that if you, like me, plan on using this with the Mystery Ranch Crew Can, Load Sling, and/or Metcalf, you will also need the $5 Buckle Adapter.

Oneiros Valley LLP Buckle Adapter

While you are at it, pick up a set of the $5 OV Belt Guides too. They are easy to install and make it so you can pull forward to adjust your NICE Frame waist strap which is far easier and gives you some mechanical advantage when you need to really cinch it down. They are like magic too. Seriously, do it.

Wrap Up

I think the functionality and adjustable height make the LLP a home run. The fact that it also happens to be the least expensive option is just the cherry on top. I had no lift with the NICE Frame before and now I have plenty. It is like a whole new pack frame and I won’t use my NICE Frame without an LLP now.

Check out the LLP at Oneiros Valley.

Oneiros Valley LLP Stays

Mystery Ranch NICE Lift Kit

The Mystery Ranch NICE Frame is designed around military packs which are often very short to enable the wearer to raise their head in the prone position. The problem is that short packs don’t have enough frame extension to generate lift at the shoulders which is key for effectively transferring the weight of the pack from the shoulders to the hips. This is exactly why companies like Oneiros Valley and, now, Mystery Ranch have created modular frame extensions for the NICE Frame.


Mystery Ranch’s NICE Lift Kit is now available. It installs without modification to the NICE Frame and weighs 6.5 ounces. It is available in 2 sizes.

Check out the Mystery Ranch NICE Lift Kit.

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