Thriller Ranch Bridger 65_ Consolation Meets Sturdiness


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In case you determine as a conventional backpacker, then you definitely doubtless aren’t afraid of a heavy backpack. In any case, when a backpack is well-built and comfy then you definitely’ll barely discover the addition of some kilos in your shoulders. If that sounds such as you, then this evaluation of the Thriller Ranch Bridger 65 is one to take a look at. Regardless of being the heaviest backpack we’ve examined but, it received our highest marks for consolation. It additionally had a number of options that modified the best way our testers checked out packing their bag for and through a trek.

Earlier than we bounce into the evaluation, it’s value noting a couple of issues about Thriller Ranch. One in all its founders is Dana Gleason, whose first firm was Dana Designs. Dana Designs was a famend backpack maker and people packs—a few of that are from the Nineteen Eighties—can nonetheless be discovered on trails at present. After promoting Dana Designs, Dana Gleason began Thriller Ranch with Renée Sippel-Baker in 2000. They gained a following amongst army and wildland firefighters, and their backpacking line has begun to select up steam lately.


A number of of our testers famous that they have been notably excited to do this pack (one among them makes use of an previous Dana Designs Terraplane when she isn’t testing for us). We had excessive expectations going into this check (to match the upper price ticket of this backpack). Let’s see the way it did.

Thriller Ranch Bridger 65 Specs and Key Options

Capability: 63 liters

Weight: 5.5 kilos

Unisex Torso Match: 15 to 24 inches

Girls’s Torso Match: 14 to 22 inches

Material: 100D Robic nylon ripstop with 330D Robic nylon in sure spots

Body: Spring metal

Pockets: Detachable high lid pocket with internal mesh pocket, two aspect stretch pockets, entrance pocket (not mesh) with two internal mesh pockets, two hip belt zip pockets, two shoulder strap pockets

Adjustment Factors: Connected hip belt, shoulder straps, load lifters, adjustable again panel, two sternum straps

Bladder Suitable: Sure

Bear Can Suitable: Sure, vertical solely (examined with a Bear Vault 500)

Comfy as much as 42 kilos (as reported by the testers)


Physique Kind Dimension Capability* Weight* Torso Match Vary Bridger 65 (unisex) Small 63 liters 5.5 kilos 15 to twenty inches Medium 63 liters 5.5 kilos 15 to twenty inches Massive 63 liters 5.5 kilos 17 to 24 inches Additional Massive 63 liters 5.5 kilos 17 to 24 inches Bridger 65 (ladies’s match) Additional small 63 liters 5.5 kilos 13 to 18 inches Small 63 liters 5.5 kilos 13 to 18 inches Medium 63 liters 5.5 kilos 16 to 22 inches Massive 63 liters 5.5 kilos 16 to 22 inches For this evaluation, all three testers took out the 65-liter mannequin; this pack can also be obtainable in 55-liter, 45-liter, and 35-liter sizes

*Thriller Ranch didn’t provide specifics on the distinction in weights between the completely different sizes for this evaluation

At first look, what’s most noticeable in regards to the Thriller Ranch Bridger 65 is its lack of a mesh stuff-it pocket on the again of the pack. That’s your first trace that this backpack is taking an entirely completely different method to group than different high backpacking backpacks. The Bridger 65 has pockets in locations that different backpacking backpacks don’t (just like the shoulder straps) whereas skipping different widespread pockets, together with the pocket beneath the mind. Opening up the backpack reveals much more secret organizational options.

However what actually impressed our testers with the Thriller Ranch Bridger 65 was how straightforward it was to get that just-right match.

About This Backpack Check

With loads of backpacking gear, it’s doable to quantify what the “finest” merchandise are in any class. One of the best backpacking water filters want to have the ability to carry out reliably throughout all kinds of water sources. One of the best tent stakes must have nice holding energy at a low weight. One of the best bear cans want to have the ability to maintain bears out of your meals. However what makes for one of the best backpacking backpack is extra subjective.

First it’s a must to think about the whole lot you might be carrying: a 20-pound in a single day load carries loads otherwise than 40 kilos of substances for a weeklong journey. Then there’s the way you pack that gear into your pack—do you employ a water bladder or Nalgenes? Are you carrying a number of layers that you simply’ll want easy accessibility to, or are you climbing in a fair-weather local weather? However the greatest X issue of all is you: the padding, hip belt size, torso width, and shoulder strap curve all range between backpacks, and selecting a backpack that’s incorrect on your body can lead to the whole lot from again ache to bruising.

To assist discover one of the best backpacking backpack for every physique kind, we chosen a panel of testers throughout a variety of physique sorts and experiences, who will check a collection of backpacks all year long. As soon as all baggage are examined we’ll pool the outcomes right into a finest backpacking backpacks article.

Our Testers

“I’m 5 ft 2 inches, with a brief torso. I put on a dimension 0 or 2, however routinely verify the kids’s division when searching for outerwear.” Rebecca Ross “I’m a larger-than-average lady—5 ft 10 inches and a costume dimension 14. I are likely to go straight for males’s gear, as a rule.” Diana Helmuth “I’m 5 ft 6 inches with a dad bod and big calves” Jason Boyle

Rebecca Ross is a backpacker, climber, mountaineer, and runner who’s a workers author for GearJunkie and has contributed to Climbing journal, and Melanin Base Camp. Diana Helmuth has hiked extensively all through the western U.S., Europe, and Chile and is the writer of The way to Endure Exterior, which received a Nationwide Out of doors Ebook Award. Jason Boyle has been backpacking, climbing, and path operating for 30 years and at the moment works as a information for REI out of Shenandoah Nationwide Park.

Testing the Thriller Ranch Bridger within the Subject


It’s uncommon for a backpack to obtain such universally excessive marks from this group of testers in each class—besides worth. That is by far the costliest backpacking backpack we’ve checked out, over 100 {dollars} greater than mainstays just like the Deuter Aircontact and Gregory Baltoro and Deva.

Class Rebecca Diana Jason Common Match: May you modify it to your satisfaction? 9 10 8 9 Consolation: Did the pack trigger you any ache or discomfort? 8 10 8 8.7 Load Bearing: How did it deal with a heavy load? 10 10 8 9.3 Storage: Did the pack adequately maintain all of your gear? 10 8 7 8.3 Accessibility: How straightforward was it to entry all of your gear within the subject? 7 8 7 7.3 Worth: Is it well worth the cash? 6 5 7 6 General 9 8.5 8 8.5

Let’s dig into whether or not what our testers liked in regards to the Thriller Ranch Bridger 65 makes it value its excessive price ticket.

Match, Consolation, and Load Bearing

The very first thing that two of our testers seen was the backpack’s weight—one among them caught it in on a house scale and reported that it got here out to over six kilos. That makes the Thriller Ranch Bridger 65 not solely the heaviest backpacking backpack in our check, but additionally one of many heaviest backpacking backpacks in the marketplace.

All three of our testers have been pleased with the consolation and cargo bearing capacity of the Thriller Ranch Bridger. Diana Helmuth

Whereas that alone can be a dealbreaker for light-weight backpackers, our testers (who determine as conventional backpackers) discovered that the Thriller Ranch Bridger 65’s additional weight was offset by its load bearing capacity and general consolation. All three testers reported that they have been in a position to stability a few of their heaviest masses on this check comfortably with our smallest tester, Rebecca, commenting that, “As soon as it was on my again, it truly appeared lighter than when it was being picked up.”

All three testers have been additional impressed with how straightforward it was to regulate the Thriller Ranch Bridger 65 to suit their physique sorts. The one exception to that was with the again panel—a notoriously tough adjustment level for all of the backpacking backpacks on this check. The adjustable again panel of the Bridger 65 depends on Velcro, just like the Gregory Baltoro and Deva and Kelty Coyote.

A plastic instrument provides rigidity to the again panel and can be utilized to simply modify the again panel. Laura Lancaster

To detach, you pull out a plastic instrument hidden within the again panel and use it to interrupt the Velcro connection. Then you’ll be able to pull the panel up or right down to match the size of your torso. A key distinction with this backpack in comparison with others that use a Velcro panel is the inclusion of steel sliders alongside the aspect. These provide help to modify the backpack evenly on each side, however don’t assure it. Whereas not one of the testers reported points with the adjustable again panel within the subject, Diana reported that she might “hear [the Velcro] each time I took the pack on and off.”

One in all our testers’ favourite options was the running-vest model shoulder straps, full with two sternum straps for additional stability and two deep vest pockets. Laura Lancaster

The Thriller Ranch Bridger 65 has all the opposite typical adjustment factors for backpacking backpacks—hip belt, shoulder strap, load lifters, sternum strap—with a couple of extras. As a substitute of getting one sternum strap, the Bridger 65 has two. This helps give backpackers better management over the match of their backpack. While you shut up and tighten down each sternum straps it helps to maintain the pack shut towards your physique, whereas in the event you loosen up or launch one it opens up your arm actions. Jason mentioned that he appreciated having the ability to loosen and tighten the highest buckle “relying if I used to be going uphill or downhill.” The Bridger 65 additionally included a second connection level for the load lifter straps, which may help customers of various heights discover the right angle—important for decreasing pull towards the shoulders and clavicle.

The cushioned hip belt of the Thriller Ranch Bridger 65 was an enormous hit with our testers. Laura Lancaster

The hip belt on the Thriller Ranch Bridger 65 was some of the cushioned on this collection, however for one tester, Rebecca, it didn’t keep tight whereas she was backpacking alongside the Oregon Coast. That meant she needed to pause and tighten it as she hiked, a minor annoyance. That being mentioned, she nonetheless discovered the backpack exceptionally comfy, even whereas carrying 33 kilos. Jason, who was carrying 42 kilos alongside The Wild Oak Path in central Virginia, additionally reported some minor hip ache after the primary day that dissipated over the course of his journey. All testers gave this backpack excessive marks for consolation.


There have been a couple of notes on sturdiness after the testing interval. The primary was that Diana had each elastic pole loops break throughout testing, the primary whereas she was packing earlier than her journey, the second whereas within the subject.

One of many few particulars of the Thriller Ranch Bridger 65 that wasn’t sturdy sufficient for the lengthy haul have been the trekking pole attachment factors. Diana Helmuth


Different testers famous that the selection to make use of 100D Robic ripstop nylon on the entrance pocket means that it’s going to doubtless last more than people who use the extra typical mesh.

Storage and Accessibility

Whereas the testers finally preferred the storage and accessibility of the Thriller Ranch Bridger 65, they reported that it took some getting used to. As famous above, this mannequin consists of a variety of pockets not seen on different conventional backpacking backpacks and is lacking a couple of of the extra typical ones. One function that escaped testers was a hidden buckle on the underside of the removable mind. This lets you convert it right into a lumbar or waist pack in the event you intend to day hike out of your campsite.

Whereas the mind of the backpack is properly sized, with an internal mesh pocket, a number of testers famous the dearth of a zipper pocket on the underside.

Their greatest rave was for the 2 mesh pockets on the shoulder straps. Whereas any such pocket is mostly related to operating vests, it’s turning into more and more widespread on one of the best ultralight backpacks. All three testers have been transformed to this function. They used them for the whole lot from snacks to sun shades to telephones, and felt that the drawstring closure was loads of safety. The Thriller Ranch Bridger 65 doesn’t skimp on hip belt pockets both, which means that testers have been in a position to maintain basically double the small gadgets on the prepared than they have been with different backpacking backpacks on this collection. Diana famous that in contrast to different backpacking backpacks, she had a straightforward time zipping and unzipping the hip belt pockets whereas sporting the pack.

The entrance pocket could possibly be utterly unzipped, revealing two internal mesh pockets—a function that may attraction to extremely organized backpackers.

One other set of pockets that modified how our testers approached organizing their gear of their backpacks have been the internal mesh pockets. The primary set of those is contained in the entrance zip pocket, with Jason noting that he “might put a lot of the similar stuff I carry in a shove it pocket within the exterior zippered pocket as a substitute,” together with his range, cup, filter, and gas canisters. Not like a extra conventional exterior mesh pocket, it did take up house inside the principle compartment when stuffed to capability.

Rebecca commented that the group potential of those pockets might exchange the necessity for separate stuff sacks on a trek. Complementing the hidden mesh pockets of the entrance pocket, there have been an extra two mesh pockets on the inside of the backpack. These have been situated alongside the edges of the backpack, fairly than on the entrance pocket. Jason experimented with conserving his sleeping pad and {a magazine} in a single and a rain jacket in one other, commenting that it had the potential to alter the way you arrange your backpack if used.

The primary compartment will be accessed through two zips down the aspect along with the highest drawcord closure. Laura Lancaster

One set of pockets that didn’t impress our testers have been the 2 aspect pockets. A number of testers famous that they may solely match one merchandise in every, reminiscent of a Nalgene or backpacking chair. Nevertheless, in the event that they wished to tug out a bottle of water to drink from, they needed to take off the backpack to entry it. Additional, they famous that the pockets have been so shallow that in the event you didn’t tie gadgets down in them, they have been prone to fall out.

The Velcro strap holders have been included on virtually all the nylon webbing items on the Thriller Ranch Bridger 65, making a extra streamlined look than is typical. Laura Lancaster

Our testers had combined emotions in regards to the velcro strap holders. Usually the surplus nylon webbing on the finish of any variety of straps on a backpacking backpack merely grasp unfastened, however the Bridger 65 has velcro straps on the finish of every that can be utilized to tie up the surplus. That contributes, together with the dearth of a entrance mesh pocket, to a extra streamlined aesthetic. Nevertheless, Jason famous that there have been no mesh tabs for the hip belt straps, the place an extra of webbing was typically flapping and hitting his knees whereas climbing.

The undercarriage gear straps simply barely match a NEMO Kunai tent.

Unusually, the gear straps on the underside of the Thriller Ranch Bridger 65—sometimes used to carry a tent—have been fairly brief. Whereas this prompted one among our testers some frustrationwhen attempting to safe a tent to her pack, one profit right here is that backpackers can be much less prone to strap a sleeping bag on this location—a standard newbie’s mistake that may result in a unclean or moist sleep system on the finish of the day.


The sleeping bag compartment simply barely match a 30-degree Kelty Cosmic Down sleeping bag. Laura Lancaster

One function of the Thriller Ranch Bridger 65 that testers agreed wasn’t working was the sleeping bag compartment. They discovered that, for his or her gear, it was just too small. Whereas a light-weight backpacker might be able to match among the best backpacking quilts on this compartment, it might not suit your present sleeping bag.

Last Ideas on the Thriller Ranch Bridger 65

Rebecca’s Take: “General, I actually preferred the backpack. It was actually comfy with a number of performance. It additionally felt like a strong backpack that will final and endure numerous tough put on and tear from longer backpacking journeys and mountaineering.”

Diana’s Take: “Each single inch of load appears to be adjustable on this factor and it’s insanely comfy. However there have been a couple of points with the main points.”

Jason’s Take: “If I had to purchase one pack this may in all probability be it due to the sturdiness of the supplies, however the draw back is that this pack weighs six kilos. That being mentioned, I feel it is going to final perpetually and it appears to do a very good job carrying a heavy load.”

There aren’t many true “perpetually” packs in the marketplace. Over the course of their profession, most backpackers will find yourself upgrading for a number of completely different causes: Their backpack wore out and developed holes, their backpack merely wasn’t comfy sufficient for longer journeys, or they’ve determined to go ultralight. Whereas the Thriller Ranch Bridger 65 is decisively not a light-weight choice, backpackers which can be dedicated to extra conventional gear and heavier weights will discover heaps to like right here—and a pack that they are going to be capable to use indefinitely. Thriller Ranch has an exceptionally good guarantee and restore program. For our testers, the heavy-duty material, customizable consolation, and nice options just like the shoulder strap pockets and internal mesh pockets greater than made up for the small particulars we wished have been completely different on this pack.