ISO 9001:2008 Certification

Photo: Jayson Coil

In the Fire Service, safety is priority number one, and we respect the established safety standards of all agencies in the fire service. That fact drove us, over two years ago, to make a significant decision: to become compliant for the ISO 9001:2008 certification, a commitment that affects every level of our company here. After two plus years, and the accompanying costs, we have just completed our official audit for ISO 9001, and are proud to announce that we have been recommended for that certification.

What is ISO 9001:2008? It’s a quality management system whose primary goal is customer satisfaction, achieved through continuous improvement of our organization, its processes, standards, and structures. While it may seem like a bureaucratic formality, ISO 9001:2008 certification is important to the fire community primarily because ISO is a prerequisite for NFPA 1977 certification. Firefighters from many agencies use our gear, but others cannot because their agency requires this NFPA cert. In short, we feel strongly that every firefighter out there should be able to wear our packs.

We approach everything here at Mystery Ranch with our end users in mind. Our fire products are probably the best example of our commitment to design, construction READ MORE >


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The Trio – Part 2

MR4

By: Zack Boughton – MONTANA WILD

We got out for another awesome hunt with our friend Tyler a few weeks after our first bear hunt. This time, the landscape was greener and the animals were more awake.  After a long morning of hiking and glassing elk, we made a gamble and switched locations.  We were positioned along a steep ridge where we’d seen lots of sign the year before, but as we climbed the mountain, we crossed snow drifts that were still 3-4 feet deep. We sank to our knees with every step, breaking through the crust, just trying to find the pockets of green.  As we slipped along, I noticed a tan spot on the hillside that didn’t look quite right.

A look through the binos revealed a beautiful blonde bear feeding at about 600 yards, a doable shot but only if the bear stayed put. We moved up the road and Tyler got the rifle set up. The bear proceeded to claw and tear at a rotten stump, only pausing for a moment in a head on position before lumbering off and slipping over the ridgeline.  Sh*&!  We regrouped and dropped into the bottom.

It was Tyler’s first … READ MORE >


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The Trio – Part 1

MR5

By: Zack Boughton - MONTANA WILD

The speedometer dropped rapidly as I banked a hard left off of the highway and onto the loose gravel of the mountain road.  Snow banks stained dark brown with spring mud marked the way up and away from the river. We were back in the mountains and it felt good – it had been too long since we’d seen the white peaks looming in the distance.   With the sun rising I pushed the gas pedal deeper, anxious to burn some rubber off the old boots.

Western Montana saw record snowfall this winter – with Missoula getting almost 40″ in February alone.  Winter had been a long one, but the green of spring could finally be seen peeking through on some of the south facing slopes. It was late April, and though the landscape was still bleak, I had a bear tag to fill.  We set off loaded down with camp and food but still making good time. By mid-morning we had set off up a broken ridge to see if we couldn’t find our first bear of the year.

A day and a half later we were headed home.  Sign was nonexistent and we … READ MORE >


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Innovation Invasion: The 3-Way Briefcase and Invader are LIVE

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If you haven’t seen it yet, Inc. Magazine has featured Mystery Ranch in its list of the 25 Most Audacious Companies.

Photo: Travis Boughton / Montana Wild

The article defined an “audacious” company as “on the one hand…bold, courageous, even heroic. Yet, on the other, they are defiant, presumptuous, irreverent, and even cocky. They see a better way to do something and work to make it happen, fearlessly committed to not only making their vision a reality but also spreading that vision.”

We certainly feel that this is an appropriate assessment of what we stand for and how we go about our business of designing packs for the mountains, the street, and the front line. Dana Gleason has always done it his way: committed to his version of the best, even when that idea may have gone against what is popular.

Robots in Disguise. 

Our latest products are no exception. Two more designs from Dana’s son, D3 (who is rapidly making a name for himself in the Adventure /Urban market), represent our full commitment to irreverent innovation. Both packs draw on the designs and technology of our work with the military, wherein we attempt to solve complex carry problems … READ MORE >


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New Mystery Ranch Adventure Backpacks

New Adventure

We are excited to launch three new packs today, all designed by Dana’s son, D3. With backpacks in his blood, D3 designs with deep respect for and understanding of the history of pack building, and strives to improve on the classics using innovative materials and a fresh perspective on his father’s brand.

Designing packs for Adventure has been at the heart of my work since I first tried to trick out a custom version of one of Dana’s originals. Pack bags give me room to play as a designer, but the frame is hallowed ground since my dad takes pride in his frames above all else. I knew that whatever change I made was going to have to be a big step forward. Years of exploration and testing have lead me to understand basic elements, strip away the extra, and re-craft a frame that carries a load better, is more comfortable and lets people forget about a user’s manual.

Designer, Dana “D3″ Gleason

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Going big and going home – The first ascent of the Pisce Wall

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About a year ago, my friend Tom mentioned that there was an alpine wall way back in the Beartooth Wilderness that not only had not seen an ascent, but had no name.  He had done a reconnaissance trip in 2009 to see what this thing looked like and exactly what it would take to get back there.  He told me about a 20+ mile approach, much of which was off trail and through swamps, down timber and difficult orienteering.  Apparently, other parties had tried to access the wall from different locations, but all had been skunked.  Often called the Phantom Wall or the Secret Wall, the details were undeniably intriguing.  Tom’s pictures showed it to be steep, littered with cracks, and beautiful.  I had to at least see it.

My enthusiasm grew, which only stoked Tom’s interest in an attempt. Once we persuaded Tom’s brother Pat to come along (an easy sell), our team was complete.  Pat’s experience with dreaded offwidth cracks rounded out our skill set and  and set us up to handle anything this mountain could throw at us.  Since August typically has a short weather window, we decided that a week in the middle of the month … READ MORE >


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Jungle Bears

The anticipation was building.  Our Mystery Ranch packs were loaded to max capacity.  3 cameras, 16 camera batteries, 2 audio recorders, handfuls of AA & AAA batteries, 2 Garmins, 19 Mountain Houses, 1 Snowy Mountain Rifle Co .300WSM, 2 water filters, 4 bear tags, and 3 guys looking for an amazing Idaho bear hunt.  We hoped the planning we had compiled over the past 6 months would finally come together on what would become our hardest hunt to date.

I laced up my boots and made one last attempt to collect my thoughts before hitting the 10 mile hike to our camping location.  We had all the necessary gear to accomplish our goal in 7 days.   Now we just had to put the pieces together and take the pain that comes along with carrying +70lb packs.  The country we were hunting was a beautiful backcountry landscape and helped us push through the aching pain in our shoulders and feet.  The only thing that stood between ourselves and our camp for Day 1 was a 1600′ vertical ascent.  What looked like a maneageble open hillside on Google Earth, turned into an overhead jungle of brush.

We clawed up the mountain, busting … READ MORE >


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Alex Lowe – The Greatest Mountain Athlete Of All Time

Alex and Jennifer Lowe skiing toward the north face of Notch Top in Rocky Mountain National Park in 1982.

Words by: Jennifer and Max Lowe

Alex and Jennifer Lowe skiing toward the north face of Notch Top in Rocky Mountain National Park in 1982.

Alex Lowe was a Montanan who arrived on the national climbing scene in the early eighties with a voracious appetite for climbing in all disciplines. He became known as the “Jack of all Trades” and “The Fiend”, climbing big walls and difficult free routes as well as forging steep ice and notable alpine ascents around the globe. Alex was known to be fast, bold and somewhat of a visionary in developing the direction of mixed climbing and technical ice routes. In the spring of 1999 he was called, “the world’s best climber” by Outside Magazine. He died in October 1999 at the age of forty, buried by an avalanche in Tibet.

Jennifer – The North Face of Notchtop was one of hundreds of adventures that Alex and I shared in the mountains during our first years together. Our Kletterwerks packs accompanied us as we explored the US and traveled to Europe, Alaska and South America to climb. In later years Alex went on to climb on every continent and we settled in Bozeman where he READ MORE >


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NICE Metcalf

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INTRO

Based in Bozeman, Montana, Mystery Ranch has had a decade’s long heritage in hunting. Our Internal Frames from the old Dana Design Terraplanes in the 80’s and 90’s to the NICE Frame systems we have today, share a robust framing that controls the outlandish loads required to pack in a camp or pack out a trophy. Carrying unreasonable loads in unreasonable terrain and circumstances is second nature to us, around the world and in the backcountry of Montana. The progression of MR hunting packs, based off our military influences, moderated and edited by Mark Seacat and our in-house crew of hunters, has ultimately landed us here with the lightest weight NICE Frame pack we’ve ever made. Introducing the NICE Metcalf.

DESIGN

Kyle Christenson on designing the Metcalf:

At Mystery Ranch design is a communal ongoing process. We strive to wow our customers by integrating their ingenuity and feedback directly into our products.  Our direct sales approach gives us immediate access to those who use the product creating a tight feedback loop for development.  The NICE Metcalf in no exception, as it has been developed by hunters that not only use our gear, but use it hard!  The NICE Frame

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The Monarch

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BY: MONTANA WILD

Man vs. Elk.  It’s a battle that consumes the minds of thousands of hunters each year.  To me, elk hunting has become a passion and a lifestyle.  I love the challenge and the places that it takes me.  I don’t have a long history with elk, it’s only my third year chasing the wild beast, but it’s something that has become a part of me.  This year I once again drew a Missouri Breaks tag.  After failing to arrow a bull there last year, I made it a goal to return and get redemption.  After 5 grueling days I was without an elk once again.  At that point, the decision was made to swap the open country for the dark timber of Northwest Montana.  I already had a location picked out as I had done some scouting there this summer.  Trail cameras had shown that some mature bulls were inhabiting the area.

We arrived at the trailhead at 5:30AM.  This would be the first time we’d be camping out of our Long Bows, and we were excited to see how they’d handle the challenge.  The packs loaded nicely, and I can say I could comfortably hunt for … READ MORE >


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