40 YEARS IN THE MAKING
Mike remembers backpacking as a young boy in his home state of Oregon with his brothers and father, wearing a backpack with an awful fit. With the help of his mother, he learned to sew, and created his first backpack at age 16.
As a young entrepreneur in Santa Cruz, California, Mike opened a retail shop in the front of his rented house where backpackers and travelers – drawn by word of mouth – came to get measured for the custom-fitted, made-to-order packs. Each was constructed by Mike himself over the course of several days.
By 1987, Mike delegated much of the sewing to seven or eight employees while he focused on design. As the demand for the great-fitting packs increased, Mike and business partner/wife Diane Wren found themselves in Dolores, Colorado, population 864, the exact day a local Gore-Tex factory was closing down. Soon after, they rented the 8,000-square-foot building – originally built in the 1920s as Ford Model-T factory. They recruited a team of women sewers from the nearby Navajo reservation. Mike trained these experienced sewers in the art and science of constructing Osprey Packs. In 1994, they expanded sewing operations to Cortez, Colorado, and five years later, Osprey moved all operations to this facility in preparation for more expansion.
To celebrate its 35th anniversary in 2009, Osprey launched the All Mighty Guarantee, an enhancement of a lifetime warranty that was already one of the most robust in the industry. Free of charge, the company will repair any damage or defect in its product – whether it was purchased in 1974 or yesterday. If Osprey is unable to repair the item, it will happily replace it. The All Mighty Guarantee: any product, any reason, any era.