Mystery Ranch is no stranger in the backpack world. The Bozeman, Montana company manufactures backpacks for hiking, fire and rescue, and the military (among others). A few years ago, Mystery Ranch came out with the Golf Mahal backpack. Using their customizable yoke system, Mystery Ranch as positioned the Golf Mahal as one of the most robust — and customizable — disc golf backpacks on the market today.
In early April, Mystery Ranch released the latest edition of the Mahal. The update brought better rain protection, removable waist band, bigger putter pocket, and new colors. We’ve been using the Mahal for some time now and are impressed with the results.
When you first get your hands on the Mahal, you’ll need to set the Mahal’s yoke to fit your body. The yoke comes in three sizes (small, medium, large). The idea is to allow the weight to be lifted off your shoulders and allows your legs to carry the weight. This causes less strain on your shoulders and back. Mystery Ranch recommends using a friend to help you size the yoke. We completely agree with this. Part of the setup is visual to see where the bag is sitting on you. We tried doing this ourselves, but quickly realized we needed some assistance.
Once you get the bag sitting right, don’t forget to really tighten up the shoulder straps. When pulled tight, the bag’s weight will be lifted off your shoulders and provide a much more comfortable fit. This took a little getting used to at first. Once you get used to it, you’ll feel much less stress on your muscles as you carry the bag around.
When you first look at the Mahal, you’ll notice the main compartment in the middle being flanked by two expandable pockets. The main compartment can hold between 12-18 discs. We have 16 in there which includes two putters and five midranges. We stick our distance drivers in the outside pockets. The expandable pockets on the outside allow you to setup your bag in multiple ways. We know someone with a Mahal who carries 30-35 total discs. We stick to between 20-25. The redesigned putter pocket on the front of the bag can hold up to three putters.
Just because the Mahal can hold 35 discs, doesn’t mean you have to put 35 discs in it. If you want to carry only 15-20 discs, the side pockets can be used for extra clothing, towels, food, or anything you might need during a round.
Another feature which stands out is the depth of the main compartment. It is deep enough to comfortably hold a disc laying flat on top of the other discs in the bag. We found ourselves after a quick upshot, throwing our previously thrown disc quickly on top of the other ones and it will securely remain in the bag.
Inside the bag, on the rear of the main compartment is an area for a scorecard, clipboard, pencils, cell phone or any other item you need quick access to. These sit nice and high and are easily accessible when sitting on the ground.
To protect your discs from the elements, the Mahal does come with a built in rain fly. During dry weather, you can keep it rolled up at the top of the bag. When raining, it easily rolls down over the bag to cover the main compartment and putter pocket. The top cover to the side pockets can be zipped shut to cover those discs and other items being stored in there. It is still very easy to get a hold of your discs with the rain cover in use.
The Mahal does have two cup holders on each side that can hold up to a 32oz drink. The cup holders do have a nice elastic top to it. If you are using a drink in a smaller size, they will still be securely held in with that added strap. If a water bladder is more your thing, Mystery Ranch does sell an additional water bladder that can be inserted into the bag.
On the front of the putter pocket, you’ll find a pocket for minis and straps that can hold either a chair or an umbrella. You can also insert an umbrella into one of the side pockets and strap it down with a small velcro strap. Think of it as a rain fly for the rain fly.
The third version of the Mahal comes in three colors: Black, Midnight (dark blue), and Foliage (light green/gray). They retail for $259. All Mahal bags come with a lifetime warranty. If you need a strap repaired, zipper fixed, or a hole patched, you can send it back to the factory and they’ll take care of you.
There might be some sticker shock at first, but you have to look at a bag like the Mahal like an investment. With the quality of the Mahal and lifetime warranty, you certainly won’t need a new bag any time soon. The Mahal will treat you right for years.
With the adjustable yoke, quality build, and expandable storage, the Mahal is one of the top choices for a disc golf backpack on the market today. If you need to carry 15 discs or 35 discs, the Mahal does the trick and does it with comfort.
Don’t miss our interview with the designer of the Mahal, Levi Buckingham, and how the bag went from concept to reality.
Do you use a Golf Mahal? What do you think of the bag?