As an avid cyclist and urban crawler I was enthusiastic about Mission Workshop’s Rambler Backpack. MW was kind enough to send me a review Rambler (Medium size) and I’m happy to report it’s great for gearheads, students and those who need their office on the go. It’s spacious, comfortable and extremely durable.
About The Bag Specs
Mission Workshop’s Rambler is characterized by its large fold over flap that covers the pack’s 3 large internal compartments. A small velcro pocket is hidden underneath the flap and a small zip up pocket is on the pack’s front right towards the bottom.
Two weatherproof compartments
Large Roll-Top Pocket
Expanding cargo compartment
An external accessory pocket
Water-resistant urethane coated zippers
Rugged internal frame
Made in America with a lifetime warranty
Compact Measures – 13” x 19” x 5”
1,350 cu. in. / 22 L / 5 Gallons
Expanded Measures – 13” x 19” x 10”
2,700 cu. in. / 44 L / 10 Gallons
3.7lbs / 1.65Kg
The first thing I noticed about the Rambler aside from its sleek exterior and comfort was the pack’s build quality. You’d expect a backpack in this price range to be versatile, comfortable and durable. The Rambler not only meets all of these qualifications but looks it. The build quality is superb and reinforced by a Carbon Fiber frame making it light to carry.
The Rambler really sets itself from other bags by being completely versatile and weatherproof. Mission Workshop’s attention to detail is what stunned me. Zippers are covered with a protective layer to prevent liquids from seeping in to the Rambler. Side pockets are protected the same way and give easy access to small electronics like a phone or your wallet.
Storage space is what really struck me as one of the best features of the Rambler. Mission Workshop decided to blend the best of both worlds — sleek and portability with space and durability — to create the Rambler. In either Medium or Large sizes, the pack can be expanded by unzipping the middle compartment’s inner cover which doubles in size. I had no problem fitting a Canon 50D protected by a massive Pelican all purpose case without noticing much bulge.
Even with the many options to carry large things like a few DSLRs, lenses, laptops, external drives and whatnot, there aren’t many medium or small sized openings. You have three main compartments that can house anything iPad sized and larger snugly but loose objects like cables, drives and small books can only be stuffed with each other in one of the large compartments. I feel the Rambler could be bettered by converting the front to a zip open compartment that reveals the entire space with smaller sections for miscellaneous items.
If you have other storage solutions for these kinds of items, you wont be bothered. However, I found myself dumping cables, an external drive, pencils in the large front pocket.
The Rambler is comfortable and well-suited for cyclists. The front strap doesn’t suffocate and makes the pack a lot more bearable to carry when loaded to the brim with weight. As I rode through the town following my daily routine I wasn’t worried about the Rambler swishing around or suffocating me. This pack was made for cyclists and perfect for carrying work clothes to change in to after riding to the office.
The Rambler is worth every penny but I had a few minor issues. While the bag focuses on being a backpack you’d take with you on your suburban adventures and urban exploits, it looks more like a camping pack than your traditional bag or backpack. A few people commented on the Rambler’s large size when not expanded and asked if I was going camping. This may not be the bag for fashionistas but it works damn well for those lugging around copious amounts of gear. Those who want one bag to rule their gear know the importance of functionality over looks. If you’re serious about being comfortable while toting your mobile gear then the Rambler is perfect for you. If you’re looking to make a fashion statement with an oversize pack, camping might be a new hobby of yours with the Rambler. That’s not to say the Rambler doesn’t look bad – it looks great and durable yet sleek.
Final Verdict – 4 Stars
-Great for those taking a lot of gear with them
-Comfy and durable
-Sleek design and expandability options are a plus
-Not too many small pockets for miscellaneous items
-Might get confused with a camping backpack depending on who you talk to.
-But even if it did, the Rambler could weather the elements and carry your camping gear without breaking a sweat.