Weird Wear, Strange Tales – MYSTERY RANCH Warranty + Repair Department

Published 2023-04-19

By: Jared Rueckert, Warranty + Repair Supervisor

My introduction to MYSTERY RANCH was sniffing butts at Bridger Bowl during the winter of 2008-2009. Chasing locals up a meandering boot pack to the promised land, sucking wind and sweating, borderline blacking out – Ranch packs stood out in a blurred sea of Black Diamond, Dakine and BCA. A guy with colorfully patched snow pants and a Broomstick told me the packs were designed and built locally at the bottom of Bridger Canyon. Another older gentleman sagely mentioned a wizard named Dana.

As life would have it, I worked at Croakies in the ex-Life Link manufacturing plant for the first nine years of Gallatin Valley life. In 2017 the Jackson-based company was sold to a conglomerate corporation, my freedom was compromised, and it was time to mosey. Somehow, I convinced a few important people at the Ranch to hire me as a Contractor Inspector. While inspecting brand-new backpacks for first-quality nonconformances, curiously pungent waves of smelly, soiled bags and raucous laughter often radiated from the Warranty Department. The sounds, smells, and smiles were natural attractions.

And so, my introduction to the world of Warranty + Repair was campfire mixed with body odor and coniferous trees. Piled precariously high and coated with fuel, fire retardant, dirt, soot, and sweat, these packs had serious ember damage and could tell some stories. It looked like they had been scraped from the forest floor and shipped to 1750 Evergreen from the front line of the apocalypse. There is no way to avoid the powerful smell at MYSTERY RANCH HQ during peak fire pack repair season – it is part of our DNA.

Three years later, I am this team’s proud leader as we learn and grow alongside each other. We love what we do and who we do it for. MYSTERY RANCH Warranty + Repair currently consists of six passionate humans and a rotating roster of dogs, cats, cows, goats, chickens, turkeys, and ducks who want to keep your backpack on your back, out in the world, and out of the landfills because we think it is the right thing to do, and because our gear is so well built that we can.

Humans are awesome and weird and crazy and will always find innovative ways to break shit, no matter how well-built. We see packs that have been cut, burned, slammed, stretched, crushed, dragged, chewed, gnawed, doused in mysterious fluid, run over by cars, slashed by bears, dropped off cliffs, shot through, blown up, left in the tropical sun to melt, and thrown down thousands of feet of mountainous terrain with bags of cement in them. We see packs shipped wet and growing mold, packs with blood and guts, layers of animal hair, weird wear, and splintered frame stays; faded fire packs that have been on the line, season after season, fire after fire, for almost two decades; Swiss cheese packs that are borderline disintegrating due to age and use, and multiple-tour military assault packs practically turning to fine sand.

One undeniable highlight of our job is pulling the next treasure out of its sketchy box, shipped to us from somewhere in the world and wondering…how?

Did your new hunting setup catch on fire? Lost or missing something? Slam a buckle in the car door? Animal damage? Want to talk to an actual human about backpack stuff? We are here for you.

Damage covered under warranty will be repaired or replaced free of charge. Non-warranty damage can typically be functionally repaired for a nominal fee. We will always ask for photos; please submit a case online with a visual context of the issue. We will then be able to get back to you with the best way to proceed.

Dana’s industry roots are in gear repair. We proudly continue the tradition by studying everything that comes into the shop and using what we learn to improve. As a result, our packs are built to endure and are often handed down sentimentally over generations.

Whatever your mission, we are here to support you. Stay tuned for more news from the exciting world of Warranty + Repair as we do our best to keep it weird, evolve with the brand, steal resources from the Marketing team, and try not to destroy our department playing indoor soccer. We will also work to highlight our extraordinary people and all the neat stuff we do and continue to develop a solid support platform for our amazing customer base. WE HAVE YOUR BACK!

*Please clean your pack before shipping it to us for repair. Cleaning and Care instructions can be found here.

To learn more about the Warranty + Repair Department and how to make a claim, head here.