There’s plenty to admire about Mike Pfotenhauer. For 41 years, the founder, owner and chief designer of Osprey Packs had led the way for one of the industry’s top pack sellers. While many of his outdoor-equipment brethren branched out and diluted their brands with the siren songs of apparel and footwear, Pfotenhauer has remained committed to the category, expanding from within, through expertise, constant innovation and sport-specific solutions. We find out how Pfotenhauer has kept things together for a marathon of one of the longest running, independently owned brands in the industry.
Where do you see the state of backpacking as an activity today? How is it evolving?
Backpacking, like other sports, is embracing new technologies in a big way. Gear is getting significantly lighter, better engineered and more painless to carry. Electronics and solar technologies are finding their way into new designs. It’s easier to carry your comfort zone into the wilderness. There’s a trickle down of this tech so that even some of the cheapest gear is better than ever, and more accessible to the masses. Backpacking is a relatively inexpensive way to escape the ever-increasing pressures of a fast, rapidly evolving, modern life.