Mystery Ranch BASE Frame
by Brad Walker
Mystery Ranch has been an industry leader for quite some time. They produce forward thinking outdoor gear and packs that focus on the real dynamics of load bearing and weight distribution. When I discussed the specifics of the BASE Frame with the crew at Mystery Ranch, this piece of kit was no different. If you've ever gone through the agony that is wearing body armor for hours on end, you will definitely appreciate the genius of the BASE Frame.
My initial reaction was, "Huh!...I sure wish I had this when I was lugging around body armor for hours at a time."
Mystery Ranch spent many hours during the R&D process tweaking and perfecting the BASE Frame to give the end user maximum comfort and support. The waist belt extracts cues and options from the waist belts found on their other packs, such as their NICE Frame.
Thick and plentiful padding wrapping from flank to flank provides all-day comfort on long patrols . Two rows of MOLLE run the length of the waist belt as well, to provide the user with adequate real estate for storage of pouches, ammo, hydration or medical kit. The spine is fully adjustable to accommodate the short and the tall. The waist belt is available in three different sizes that will fit a range of folks from a 29"-46" waist.
The support element comes from the aforementioned adjustable hard spine that attaches via MOLLE to any body armor platform that has MOLLE on the back side. Simply weave the straps through the loops on your armor, snap it closed, adjust for your height and you're all set. It's that easy. The waist belt bears the weight of the plate carrier/body armor along with its accompanied accessories, kevlar and ballistic plates by placing the weight on the user's hips, relieving excessive shoulder stress and distributing the weight evenly. Coupled with their Mystery Cinch and their Bolstered Ventilation and Stability (BVS) System, the BASE Frame completes a highly capable ground platform for today's fighting forces. These combined pieces allow the user to distribute weight evenly, properly secure a pack and remove any strap-induced stress on the user's shoulders and arms (more importantly, the user's brachial artery). This enables the warfighter to focus his attention on the task at hand rather than constantly fumbling and adjusting his kit.
*One added bonus to the BASE Frame is that the spine is removable which converts the waist belt to a modern "battle belt". Mystery Ranch informed me that they don't currently make suspenders for a converted belt, but like most, as long as it's not completely maxed out with kit, you shouldn't need suspenders anyway.
The BASE Frame is available right now on Mystery Ranch's website at http://mysteryranch.com/military/body-armor-solution-packs/base-frame.
They are available in Coyote and Multicam and retail for $150.
For other excellent Mystery Ranch gear, log on to their main site at www.mysteryranch.com; the primary military side is http://www.mysteryranch.com/military.