It’s no big secret that here at Industry Outsider, we love companies that have a passion for what they do. While there are many companies that make great products just to make money, the truly special companies are those that make great products because they want to use them for themselves, or have found something that is missing from the industry while they were personally out enjoying the outdoors. Given the choice between supporting the money chasers or the outdoor enthusiast, it’s pretty obvious who we’ll choose. During Outdoor Retailer, we were able to meet with one of the guys at Mile High Mountaineering and were greatly impressed with what we saw there. Not only did they have a lot of innovation, style, and creativity in their line of backpacks, but they also have passion. They didn’t create their backpacks because they wanted to become rich (although I’m sure they wouldn’t say no to that), but they created them so that they could have a solution for the complaints they had about other systems, and to help more people get outdoors. That second part sounds a lot like our M.O.
Based out of Denver, Colorado, these guys know a thing or two about the outdoors (and traveling through the mountains). They chose to develop the best backpacks that they could because they felt that they are the most important piece of equipment that people bring with them into the outdoors – and the single item that has the greatest impact on creating good memories or painful nightmares. Of course, wanting to make backpacks better than anyone else, they couldn’t follow the mold and create a product that was just like those offered by everyone else. Instead, Mile High Mountaineering has taken great effort to make massive changes and improvements in some of the most important elements of constructing a backpack: compartments, materials, and suspension.
Several changes to the standard approach to compartments have made the Mile High Mountaineering backpacks some of the easiest to use and most versatile packs on the market. From making the hydration sleeve easier to access to keeping the heaviest items closer to your back, they have designed everything to make it as easy on you as possible. Of course, being able to access all of your gear without digging through it is also a nice plus. The materials used to make your backpack might not be the first thing you ask about, but it should certainly be something you ask. In order to make sure that their packs last the longest and can survive the most grueling conditions you can throw at them, the guys at Mile High Mountaineering make their entire line out of CORDURA fabric (not just the parts that are going to have the most stress). This makes them tough enough that they have a lifetime warranty. I bet your backpack doesn’t have one of those. Finally, four different types of suspension have been designed to make sure that not these packs help you carry the weight in the most comfortable way possible. My personal favorite has to be the sYnc A.C. suspension system (which is found on their 55 and 80-liter backpacks). It is easily adjustable (without being accidentally messed up), helps cool your shoulders and back, and has an awesome hip belt that is not only fully adjustable, but pivots with your body. No more getting bitten by your hip belt because you twisted your hips on those trickier trails.
Overall, Mile High Mountaineering wins points for being passionate about what they do, creative problem solvers, and makers of excellent backpacks. Go to the Mile High Mountaineering website to find out more about their 4 lines of backpacks, and which one is perfect for you. You can also buy directly from their shop, which gives you the promise that if it doesn’t fit you right they will refund your money, no questions asked (which is a relief). The Fifty-Two 80 pack is my favorite of the lot, so check it out.