I love the Mystery Ranch ASAP. And I was fairly certain nothing would unseat my high benchmark on the GORUCK GR1, but then I tried the ASAP and it met and passed the bar. The ASAP does have a flaw, small as it might be, it comes with no laptop compartment. Which means you need to add suboptimal options to the bag to rectify that.
And then, the ASAP SB came out, same bag — except it comes with a laptop sleeve integrated. Oh yes please.
Shiny and new Navy + Black.
Summary of ASAP
Here’s my ASAP review and a comparison to the GR1. My bottom line on this bag: there is no more comfortable backpack to wear. There’s no backpack which feels this agile, this formed to your back. It feels truly modular, while offering the right places for quick access.
The ASAP was my go to for the office any time I wasn’t testing something else, but even with a custom laptop sleeve it was never spot on perfect for the office. That I made do anyways, is a testament to how good this bag is in all other aspects.
Changes with the SB Model
There’s not many changes from the standard ASAP to the ASAP SB. As far as I can tell there are only three:
- Addition of the internal laptop sleeve in place of the 4×3 PALS webbing field. It’s a top loading design, suspended, light padding, with a small velcro enclosed pocket on the front.
- One size yoke only, which is the ASAP’s M/L harness size. No other options.
- Two-tone colors added. The SB comes in all black, navy & black, and black with multicam webbing. All of them look stellar.
Put another way: this is the ASAP for non-war use.
I’ll keep this as short as I can: this bag is perfection.
I’ve tried to figure out why I like this bag so much over all the other great options out there. But it’s the same thing I wrote about with the ASAP in the first place: this is effectively a glove on your back which wears amazingly well, and with the new laptop sleeve it becomes everything you need for almost, well, everything.
Rather than talk about the bag so much, I’ll add a few thoughts on things which help using the ASAP as your setup excel:
- I’ve found that bags are designed to operate one of two ways: sitting up vertically while you dig items out of it. Or laid flat on a surface while you access your gear in a nearly open bag. The ASAB SB operates best laid flat on a desk/table as the tri-zip setup means that nothing will easily spill out while you do this, and yet it is all very accessible.
- This bag requires pouches and more pouches. I’ve found the Medium Zoid Bag fits perfectly along the bottom of the bag horizontally so that you can easily hold soft goods and other things which further add padding to the bottom of the bag. Everything else is a toss up of what you need. Something for cables, or a camera, it can all neatly stack on top and be pulled out without fully opening the bag, or further worked out of on a tabletop.
- The ASAP SBs require you to keep your coffee mug inside the bag. I was torn on this after getting used to an external pocket with the LBT Daypack, but the Axiom 24 convinced me that enclosing your mug in the bag is cleaner looking. The same here, though I will note that the ASAP doesn’t always keep your mug in one of the two water bladder sleeves as they are a bit oversized.
All in all: get some pouches, and enjoy what is my favorite EDC bag on the market right now.
Best Got Better
It’s rare that a bag I find to be the best, has a substantial change made, and somehow gets better. This is what happened here. I am not sure many people need the standard ASAP (unless, well, war is your office) because the ASAP SB offers little to no downside, while giving you a huge bonus in the laptop sleeve.
I don’t want to use another bag, and that’s telling. On top of that, I’ve found this Navy color to be stellar. It’s very vibrant in person and even though the bag is still covered in black PALS webbing, it doesn’t scream tactical simply because of the color. The all black has always been great looking with this bag, and you can’t go wrong there. I’d love to see the black and multicam in person, it looks very cool but I can’t quite get a sense for how it would be day to day.
This bag is stellar. Go get it.