Sustainability at The RANCH

Published 2023-04-17

by Greg Breitmaier, Sustainability Program Manager

Sustainability. What image comes to mind when you hear this word? A farmer’s market bustling with happy people and jute burlap bags? A row of EV charging stations at your local Co-Op? A new MYSTERY RANCH BRIDGER pack? Any of these images would be, in a sense, correct.

In 1987, the World Commission of Environment and Development [WCED] published “Our Common Future,” otherwise known as the Brundtland Reports.

They [WCED] defined Sustainability as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

As I write this, Earth Day is two weeks away, and I am thinking about what Sustainability and Environmentalism mean to me. I am generally pragmatic, or at least that is how I identify. The people that know me best might say otherwise, but for the sake of brevity, we won’t entertain their arguments. I live in Bozeman, Montana, where it is not hard to feel connected to the environment. At this moment, I am peering out the window at the snow-covered Bridgers, wondering when it will stop snowing. I desperately want spring to come, but I am also grateful knowing more snow equals better fisheries this summer and, with luck, a shorter fire season.

Almost one year ago, I was given the opportunity to join the legendary pack-makers at MYSTERY RANCH to manage and formalize The Ranch’s Sustainability Program. I have spent the last 15 years working with outdoor brands in various roles, but mostly in product creation, focusing on product and materials development.

After joining “The Ranch” and a week of sewer training (which ALL new MYSTERY RANCH employees are provided), we decided, as a team, to take a step back to look at all the areas our business potentially impacts people and the environment. What areas could we make both a significant and immediate impact? Our conclusion was simple. We decided to double down on our efforts to reduce our greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint and waste. Those efforts, while ongoing, have quickly yielded great results. By focusing on GHG footprint and waste reduction, we focused our efforts on adopting new and innovative materials. Amazingly durable fabrics from high-quality, post-industrial waste are now part of our new DISTRICT, BRIDGER, and COULEE pack families. Manufacturing these materials means considerably less emissions and far fewer resources used.

At MYSTERY RANCH, we believe the most sustainable products are those that endure. Over the last twenty-plus years, MYSTERY RANCH has created and maintained “Fit For Use” guidelines for all specific end uses. These guidelines set minimum standards for materials’ durability to support the longevity of each product. Our commitment to making durable products and long-lasting gear is backed up by our warranty policy. “MYSTERY RANCH guarantees everything built against defects in materials and craftsmanship for the practical lifetime of the product.” Any defects resulting in a product failure can be repaired at our facility right here in Bozeman, Montana.

We recognize a need for continual improvement and education to minimize our footprint while serving our customers through innovative design and manufacturing. The sustainability landscape within our industry is constantly changing, and brands, customers and environmentalists do not always agree. We strive to take a science-based approach while recognizing the challenges in choosing truly sustainable options. We know the journey to create a new product, from concept to materials selection and manufacturing, significantly impacts resources, people, and the planet. This recognition drives our obsession with quality in materials and manufacturing techniques. In the near term, we are committed to reducing our GHG footprint by 30% with a goal of net-zero emissions by 2030 through preferred materials, renewables, and energy efficiency programs.

As most of you reading this know, MYSTERY RANCH holds a special place in the hearts of countless outdoors people, wildland firefighters, hunters, and special ops soldiers. It has been said, “MYSTERY RANCH supplies these stalwart souls with backpacks to match their boldness.” It is no longer a question of whether humans have impacted our planet in detrimental ways. For too many years, we have taken more from the planet than we have given back, and that trend is unsustainable for future generations to thrive the same way we have. I am a pragmatic person, but I am also an optimist. Bold actions by governments and large corporations, along with common sense choices by individuals, are what this planet needs. You and I have the power to act and make an impact.

I look forward to checking in with you periodically to share The Ranch’s and my personal progress toward Sustainability.

In the meantime, you can find more information at