Pack Files: Big D's 4900

Pack Files is a series that explores rare, forgotten, and prototype packs and accessories.


Mystery Ranch debuted the Big D's 4900 pack on their website the second half of 2004, and it was the first proprietary pack offered for sale that was designed for their newly released NICE Frame. The extensive, full wrap PALS webbing is an uncommon feature for a Mystery Ranch bag and one that wasn't replicated on any subsequent Mystery Ranch offering. The so-called "Big D" lid appears to be the same model used on their BDSB (Big D's Special Blend) pack and was the forerunner to the Daypack Lid. The 4900 has a similar shape and style to some of the mid-2000s Kifaru tactical offerings, such as the ZXR, though I don't suspect them of being influenced by Kifaru's designs.

It's likely that only a small number of Big D's 4900 packs were sold. I was unable to find a price listed for the pack and have never seen one come up for sale in nearly a decade of buying and selling Mystery Ranch packs. This post on the Lightfighter Tactical Forum discusses some of the possible options available for the 4900 ("two pockets on the 'face' and PALS on the sides, a la Terraplane or BDSB, or an all PALS version as pictured"), which means at least a few packs must've been sold. The fact that they offered long pockets on the face with PALS on the sides leads me to believe that the 4900 may have evolved into the NICE 5000, a similarly sized bag that featured two front pockets, side PALS, and added a center zip down the face of the pack.

Mystery Ranch Big D's 4900 (L) and NICE 5000 (R)


Description and photos from Mystery Ranch website (2004).

Your basic toploading packbag, built to maintain a flat profile - positioning the 4400 c.i. main packs volume to let you stand as upright as possible (thin is in!). This kind of control - even with a big load - is made possible by the NICE frames broad load contact area - 250 of flat packframe that the load is engaged with.

Extensive PALS web absolves the designer from responsibility for however you choose to set up you're pack, but a word to the wise - show a little restraint, and, use the compression straps - a tight load carries better than a floppy one.

The Big D lid is 500 c.i. in capacity, hydration compatible, and converts into a butt pack or cross shoulder bag.

The inner pack has PALS web covering the upper third of the frame side - essential for organization, especially with com gear - and a pair of Velcro sealed comports.

Bottom loading straps are built in and integrate with the NICE frame.


  • Volume: 4900 c.i.
  • Weight: 2 lbs
  • Price: TBA

Written 10 May 2017 by Jesse Ables.