When I received my Mystery Ranch ASAP I knew I needed to do something to help tone down the absurd amount of PALs webbing across the face of the bag. I also knew I wanted to get something a little fun and also maybe useful to do accomplish the hiding. So I started looking at Mystery Ranch’s line of ‘stick-its’ which is also known as a Beavertail, or helmet cache. Basically a bit of fabric which is attached to the bottom of your bag, and then clips somehow to the top of the bag — creating an area to carry bulky things.
The issue with the Mystery Ranch variants is that they come in coyote brown, black, camo, or blaze orange — in other words not the color choices which would really help me tone down much. But, there’s a seller on eBay and Instagram who custom makes these out of Ukraine, using whatever pattern you want.
I bought two.
The first one in Desert Night Camo, and one in Multicam Alpine. Which are, objectively speaking, the two best camouflage patterns out there. They look awesome, but I am not sure they help tone anything down, doesn’t matter though because they are my jam.
There’s a lot of uses for these things, so while I bought mine to hide the PALs on the bag, you can do more. You can stash a jacket, a lunchbox, or helmet in the cache as it is. Or you can release the top buckles and let the tail hang below the bag, and secure the clips in a way which allows you to carry something longer like a rifle, or more likely for me: a tripod.
Big ass lunch box in there.
It’s a useful addition to the bag for either aesthetics or utility. The only issue I’ve found is that the plastic g-hooks being used tend to come off the bag fairly easily when not under any tension. My quick fix for that was to use an elastic webbing keeper to help lock it in place.
The g-hook style clips tend to pop off when you have the Beavertail open, so I used an elastic webbing keeper over it to help retain it.
I really like the added utility of these Beavertails, even if it does add another step to getting fully inside the bag. The tri-zip setup allows enough access without releasing the tail to get gear, and the clips make it easy enough to open the tail.
Quality / Materials / Installation
All of the hardware is really nice ITW/Duraflex stuff — no complaints at all. And you can customize the hardware colors on it to whatever you like best. The main material is a nicely sewn and sourced bit of nylon. As a piece of kit, it is very nice and well made.
The installation can be a little tricky as there’s not details on how to do it, here’s the method I have found best:
Overall it can take a little playing with to get things to sit exactly where you want them on the bag, but the good news is that you can get it to sit exactly where you want it on the bag with a little patience.
The last bit which I needed to fix was how to mount it more securely to the top clips on the bag, for that there is a product called: Duraflex Siamese Slik Clips. These are cheap and infinitely useful for people who like to tweak their bags like me. Unfortunately black is the only color you can easily find these in. Even so, with these installed the clips are even more discrete looking than before and generally look nice. They also solve the problem of dual adjustment straps eating up space.
On the ASAP this simple modification was more than enough to take something I was only moderately happy about, and change it to something that I am happy with. It could be better, but sometimes you need to pick and choose how much time you want to put into something and thus I am stopping here as I am happy. (You might notice that I weaved the straps in a little different than would be obvious, I did this only because I think it looks much better as it hides more of the clip.)
I am very happy with both of these, and the issue I face is constantly wanting to order more of them. But they are not the cheapest items to get and then takes weeks to arrive once you order them. The Desert Night Camo runs about $67 on eBay while a solid black variant is $47. If you reach out to the creator on Instagram you can get a highly customized piece of gear, which is what I recommend — he is great to work with, and I’ll show you something else he made for me soon. Overall, recommended.