I started my sling journey by grabbing the Mystery Ranch Full Moon and as the cheeky name implies — it is first and foremost a hip/fanny bag but so are most of these sling bags. Overall, this is a really good option, but has left me wanting something a little different.
(One note about Sling testing, given the world right now, I did a different kind of testing here. I alternated between 6 different slings throughout my testing to get a sense of how different Slings measure up. And I also mostly used this running the odd errand, or long walks with the family.)
First thing that struck me about this bag is the material. The vintage blue color I chose is listed as “300D Nylon Twill fabric”. I am not sure what exactly that is, but I can tell you a few things specifically about it in hand:
- It is a smooth/soft feeling nylon. A quick touch and you would be forgiven for mistaking it as cotton.
- The twill pattern on it is excellent, nothing about it screams “nylon nylon nylon”.
- The color is most better in person, almost like it has been faded and seen years of use.
This is a great fabric, and I am surprised I have not seen it used on more bags.
So this bag, for a sling, is huge. At 6.3 liters (a size I don’t disagree with) I think it is on the upper bounds for this type of sling. And while there are much larger slings — I look at those as more “backpacks missing a second strap” than I do as a true sling.
The 6.3 liters is also utilized primarily in one main section. As there are two smaller pockets, those pockets are thin and do not hold much at all. To help manage the capacity of the bag, Mystery Ranch has attached two compression straps at either end. Both do a great job of compressing the bag down so that your gear stays tidy, and the bag stays neat looking.
But, this bag can carry a lot more than you might expect.
Carry and Use
First let’s talk about carrying this bag. As it is primarily envisioned as a hip bag for day hikes, but can be carried across your body. What’s very nice about this bag is the padded mesh back panel on the bag which helps the bag stay in place, and ride comfortably. Even nicer still, is the fact that the bag has a built in frame sheet, which means that no matter how lumpy and poky the items are inside the bag, they never dig oddly into your back. That’s awesome.
The one downside is the strap. While the width is nice, and it secures well, the buckle is rather obtrusive, and the fabric on the strap could be smoother which would allow for better wear. More than that, this is primarily designed as a belt, so it tightens on both sides of the buckle, which can lead to a lot of loose webbing flapping about — and the extra width means I had no ready solution to strapping those down. If I were to keep this bag, I would replace the plastic buckle with a cobra buckle for sure.
Carrying aside, the actual use of this bag is great. Because it is so large, I was able to stuff in my X100T and a bottle of water for a hike with the kids, while still not running out of space for the other items I wanted. But, the lack of organization means that you need to bring your own. I used the Triple Aught Design Admin Organizer for it and that worked pretty well as it fit nicely in the bag. But anything loose in the bag very much becomes part of a bottomless pit.
And for carrying in this type of role, the downside is that this bag encourages you to carry more, while not affording you the organization you would want to easily carry more.
As with all Mystery Ranch products the parts that matter are very well executed. The zippers and pulls are spot on. The handle at the top of the bag is ample and easy to grab. And everything is constructed well, so if you carry a lot of bulky goods this is going to be great.
At $39 this is a bargain. While the stock from Mystery Ranch is hard to deal with, it is a good sling for a great price. But only if you want something larger, or if you carry a lot of bulky goods. If the stuff you are carrying is smaller in nature, you’ll want something with far better organization.
Still, for the price, this is going to be hard to beat.