Mystery Ranch Backpacks

case study mystery ranch

The guru of backpacks

To say that Dana Gleason knows his way around a backpack is bit of an understatement. Since the mid-1970's, he's been designing, redesigning and revolutionizing backpacks for adventurers, hunters and the U.S. military. His philosophy is simple—make exceptionally comfortable, incredibly durable packs for people who depend on their gear. And, keep in mind that these people will probably be carrying extremely heavy loads and possibly some odd-shaped items like skis, hunting rifles or military equipment.

In 2007, when Mystery Ranch embarked upon designing the next generation of backpacks, they searched for new materials to innovate the backpack frame. In previous products, Mystery Ranch had used polyethylene plastic to fabricate the backpack frame sheets. While functional, this design added significant weight to the pack and was labor-intensive to manufacture. It also required the use of aluminum stays to provide the appropriate stiffness to the frame.

A stronger, lighter and more cost effective solution

To address these issues, Mystery Ranch partnered with Fiberforge to make a glass fiber reinforced thermoplastic frame sheet. Although thermoplastic composites are light and stiff, they are notably tougher than traditional thermoset composites and, with the right process, can be produced at lower prices. Mystery Ranch's new frame sheet from Fiberforge weighs 57% less than the previously-used polyethylene part and takes just one-tenth the time to fabricate. The Fiberforge part is strong and durable, negating the need for additional aluminum stays for increased stiffness which contributes to even greater cost and labor savings.

According to Dana Gleason, founder and president of Mystery Ranch, "We are extremely happy with the Fiberforge parts. Not only are they significantly lighter weight and more functional for our customers, but they are actually more cost competitive and have saved us significant labor expense."

A solid partnership

With strong industry competition and a virtually saturated market, continuous improvement is vital for Mystery Ranch's brand longevity. With the help of Fiberforge's lightweight and durable thermoplastic technology, Mystery Ranch is sure to remain the leader of the pack for years to come.

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