Dana Gleason was among the founders of Erehwon Mountain Supply in Chicago. He was also on the road working as a rep, and was part of a group who started importing European Mountain climbing equipment, which would eventually emerge as the outdoor industry as we know it.
Dana and Laura move to Deadwood, SD to be closer to the mountains and open a store called Mountain Man. They sell other gear but this is where Dana hones his repair and customization skills, but quickly finds out there are not enough people to support the shop’s niche product.
Dana Gleason moves to Bozeman, MT. Within a week in between shuffling his life in between Deadwood and Bozeman, in a fury of creativity, Dana builds five different packs he had been tinkering around with in the last days of his shop in Deadwood.
The first Bozeman cutting table dominates the front of the space and is shared with the retail wall. The back houses the “sewing floor”; the hi-jinx that needed more room.
Kletterwerks moves into a larger space to accommodate their growing needs. They are able to increase production in the basement and have a much larger store front. This is very good for both showing and selling the packs and most of the hi-jinx happens out of view.
Renee Sippel-Baker starts as a seamstress at Kletterwerks. She overlaps Dana’s time there by about three months and is formally trained by Dana himself.
Having grown up in Bozeman, Renee wanted to get out of town and experience the world. Taking the job at Kletterwerks had been originally a resume builder. Proving to the world and herself she was capable of long term employment, she turned in her notice and took care of a few loose ends.
After Dana and Laura have their first child, Alice, Mojo and Quest merge into a company called Quest Systems. After the merger, a larger factory is established in the building Dana would end up working out of until 1991.
Quest Systems’ partner majority moves production to Central America. Dana sells his stake and purchases all their production equipment. They agree to terms and he continues to build Quest Systems products until the foreign production is be established.
Dana incorporates what will become one of the most well-respected backpack brands on the planet. Throughout the 80’s and 90’s Dana Design packs were found on the backs of some of the hardest core mountain athletes, and the Terraplane and Bomb became legendary.
Here was the call from K2: “Hey Dana! How’s it going? Great. So we bought you a tent company. When can you clean up the old plant and get it running in Bozeman, because we want to have you two together at the next show.”
Dana leaves the company. After a 100 day ski season, boredom ensued and he discovers he wasn’t tired of building packs per say, just tired of the corporate way of doing it. With all this free time Dana started tinkering. Within the next two years, K2 moves Dana Design from Bozeman, MT to Vashon Island, WA.
Upon termination of the non-compete with K2, Dana and Renee build what will become their most successful brand ever. Mystery Ranch Backpacks.
Dana is approached by a group of Navy SEALS with hopes he would replace their old Dana Design Astralplane they had been using since the early 90′s. Dana sends over a few prototypes and they order what will become the Big D’s Special Blend. The BDSB Sustainment pack will become Mystery Ranch’s first major military contract, and evolve in to the first version of the G-6000.
Mystery Ranch enters, and wins the SOCOM assault and reconnaissance pack submission, with the SATL and Tactiplane. The Tactiplane is the newest generation of the BDSB.
Mystery Cinch adopted for issue by the USMC
D3 wants the new designs have the same look and feel of the vintage packs Dana built decades ago. He uses similar fabrics such as Cordura 1000D Nylon, but with an updated take to the comfort in the shoulder pad, back panel form, and also by adding a computer sleeve.