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.

1976: Kletterwerks Rock Pack, photo used for vintage Cordura advertisement

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.

1977: Original Kletterwerks field testing

Dana sells his share of Kletterwerks. With that fresh capital, he starts a new brand called Mojo Systems focusing on camera bags. The relationship with Kletterwerks is still strong and Dana is able to use their cutting table during off hours.

1978: Mojo Systems Model
1978: Kletterwerks storefront, Bozeman MT

Upon returning to Bozeman, Renee is hired at both Kletterwerks and Mojo Systems.  This leads to a decision point; liking her brief experience working with Dana she went with Mojo. This is a decision that will shape the rest of her working life.

1982: Original Kletterwerks Factory, Bozeman, MT

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.

1986: The pack that changed the world, the DD Terraplane
1991: Dana Design catalog cover
1992: The Big Cheese
1993: Dana’s Crew
1995: Team Dana

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.

2006: The SATL Assault Pack, standard issue across SOCOM

Mystery Ranch begins to gain major traction in the United States Military working primarily with Tier 1 Special Operations Teams.


Mystery Ranch gains major traction throughout Asia, Japan and Korea especially.


Mystery Cinch adopted for issue by the USMC

2011: The Dana Gleason’s and their respective Kletterwerks Day
2011: Introduces the Blackjack, a deployable avalanche airbag pack

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.


Dana moves to Madison, WI to help run a store called Happy Trails.  There he meets and marries his wife Laura.

1974: Mountain Man shop shown here, left of the Ranger Bar in Deadwood, SD. You don’t want to know what went on upstairs.

The packs created during those last days in Deadwood would eventually become the  Terraplane, Day, Flip, Rock, and a Hip Sack. Dana calls his new company Kletterwerks. The name is derived from “Kletter” meaning Climbing, in German.  And “Werks” meaning Plant.  Kletterwerks basically means “climbing factory”.


Kletterwerks eventually grows out of their house in the North side of old Bozeman to a location on Main Street. At this point, the company is a small community of climbers, who occasionally were overcome with fits of responsibility.

1977: Hot cutting fabric at the Kletterwerks Factory, Bozeman, MT

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.

1978: Quest Systems Camera Case

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.

1982: Alex Lowe and Jennifer Lowe

Kletterwerks goes bankrupt and Dana decides his non-compete contract was no longer worrisome.  After pushing asphalt for a new parking lot, Dana resolves to make his dream of building packs a reality, once again.

1985: Early Days Dana Design Factory
1988: Kletterwerks Headquarters

Growth is strong for many years, and after taking over most of the surrounding buildings on Commercial Drive in Bozeman, Dana Design builds a new factory on the edge of town.


After 8 years of design development, Dana Designs becomes an overnight success. To meet growing demand, Dana Design starts another factory in Lewistown, MT.


Dana Design is acquired by Anthony Industries, which would later change their name to K2, Inc.  Dana and Renee continue to oversee the growth of Dana Design until they both leave in the late 90’s.


K2 decides to “combine synergistic assets”, “leverage cross market potential,” and “cut extraneous overhead costs”. This decision sparked the merger and acquisition of Wilderness Experience and Garuda tents.


Dana Design is at its peak employment in Montana with almost 300 employees.  K2 decides to “remain cost competitive in a changing market”.  In other words, they decide to close down the factory and move production to Mexico.


Dana and Renee begin development on their new pack company. Dana’s two sons start working for him as independent contractors called the ‘Stuffing Brothers’. Paul and Dana 3 had their first taste of working with packs in the Dana Design warranty department six months before Dana left.


Fresh out of high school, Paul and Dana 3 start working at Mystery Ranch and begin learning everything there is to know about what has suddenly become the family business.

2004: The Mystery Ranch originals
2006: BDSB NAVY SEAL Sustainment Pack
2008: Standard Issue
2010: Mystery Ranch gains major popularity in Asia
2010: Mystery Ranch creates Hunting Division, providing packs to hardcore backpack hunters.

Mystery Ranch Backpacks grows to over 80 employees, 5 factories around the country, and production exceeds anything under the Dana Design brand.  Brand caters to an enormous customer base throughout Military, Fire, Hunting, Outdoor and Lifestyle markets.

2011: Mystery Ranch deploys packs to nearly every Hot Shot crew in the country

Lead primarily by Dana’s son, Dana 3 (or as we all know him at the factory, D3) Kletterwerks emerges from a 35 year silence. D3 wants to re-examine packs that his father had developed during his 20’s.