Before getting this sling, I felt pretty confident that my sling setup was really comfortable and maybe even ‘set’. But this sling changed that, after what was an instant buy. The Forager line is not new for Mystery Ranch, but they previously were Asian-market-only, and you could find these slings on eBay and places like that for about $130 or so. Not cheap, not worth it. (The US market got the Forager pocket, which attaches to a hip belt and while nice looking, not that cool for those of us who loathe a hip belt.)
Now Mystery Ranch sells them to the US market for $32. What a deal!
And it is stellar, my favorite sling yet.
This is the hummus color.
Size and Material
The materials on this are nice, they are not premium but they also don’t feel cheap. Specifically they are: 330d Robic ATY fabric
and 210d Robic Dynagin fabric. I have no clue what that means really, but what I can tell you is the hand feel on the primary fabric is a very nice feeling nylon that is slightly smoother and much more flexible than 500D cordura. The 210d I suspect is the partial lining inside the sling. Overall the materials are great, and I see no reason to complain about them as they are durable enough feeling, and on such a small sling it is unlikely that there’s any further benefit to heavier materials.
The sling is 2.5L in volume, and the footprint is really nice at: 5″x10″x4.5″. It’s long enough that it won’t look out of place on larger guys, and small enough where smaller individuals can easily use it too. It packs out a little larger than 2.5L in practice, but really it’s 2.5L no argument there.
For $32 you would think it might have cut corners, but that’s simply not the case here. The materials feel nice, the inside-sides are lined (not the bottom) and the strap is solid coming with elastic webbing keepers on it. The buckle could be better, and would be nicer placed towards one end or the other, but it’s far from ‘bad’. The back of the sling is padded with a vented mesh which has a snap button to secure a quick stash pocket. Otherwise you get one main pocket with a small zippered pocket inside.
The sling has nicely extended wings on each side, to help the sling more comfortably wrap your body. I don’t quite understand why they are attached like this though:
The S-Biner is my attempt to make use of that, as I use them to hang my slings. But that tiny little bit of nylon webbing is all that holds that big strap onto the sling. It’s odd, and no, it doesn’t quick detach there either. I assume it is to allow the strap to better articulate on your body but it seems unnecessary and like a good point of failure. This is my only concern from the materials and finishing on the bag.
Use and Carry
Generally, I need a 3L sling, but this 2.5L sling is near ideally sized. It has just enough room to hold everything I want to carry with a little bit of space for the things you find along the way. Here’s my current load out in it:
The mask takes up a lot of space, but gets worn most of the time I have the sling with me, so there’s a little extra room because of that. The key to this sling was getting an organizer to help keep it from being a black hole, and to do that I used my Yellow Birch Outfitters PockIt — which works well and is easy to pull out the gear in it without spilling everything out of the sling.
The pocket behind the mesh padding is discrete and nice for quick access:
I do wish it was a little larger to hold my mask, as the Versa can — in a lot of ways the Forager reminds me of the Versa, but with better looks.
Carrying this sling is great. It sits nicely across my back or front, and generally stays put. The webbing is wide enough that this little sling never digs into my body, and the padding keeps lumpy items in the sling from digging in as well. The only complaint I have about carrying/wearing the sling is that the buckle is centered instead of being offset.
And as far as looks, the only complaint is that it would look much better with an Aquaguard zipper on it, or even reversing the coils on this zipper. Minor, but on something otherwise this great, this stands out.
Here’s the thing, it is $32. In the world of bags that’s as close to free as you ever get.
This is my favorite sling to date, and I haven’t switched back to any others since getting this one. I love the way it looks, and it functions as good as it looks.