Introducing Mystery Ranch

At the beginning of 2017, Mountain Crossings brought in a “new” pack brand called Mystery Ranch. We put quotations around the word new because they are neither new to the pack making game nor newly on the market. Mystery Ranch packs are the brain child of famed pack builders Dana Gleason and Renee Sippel-Baker, creators of Dana Design packs. If this sounds familiar, it’s because Dana Design’s packs were the hottest packs on the market in the 1990’s! These quality made packs were the first to carry heavy loads comfortably. They were the pack to have at the time and even today you will hear folks talk lovingly of their old Dana Design packs. In fact, we still see a few of them pass through the shop every now and then! How’s that for long lasting quality.

Mystery Ranch pack vs. Dana Design pack

Mystery Ranch was born in 2000. This was only 5 years after Dana Gleason and Renee Sippel-Baker sold Dana Designs, with thoughts of retirement, to a corporation. But as it always seems to go with ambitious, outdoorsmen and women, they missed being in the pack game and jumped on the opportunity to build something new. Mystery Ranch packs and products soon caught the eye of Navy SEALS, who swayed Mystery Ranch into doing direct sales to only US Military and Special Force. This gave Mystery Ranch a unique clientele who used and abused their packs to their fullest extent and then return to the company with great insight to make an even better pack.  As time went on, Mystery Ranch soon began to sell to firefighter crews too, their packs being a favorite of hot shot crews on wild land fire fighting teams.

With a basis in rugged and extreme use, Mystery Ranch just recently has come back around to offering their packs to the civilian population via direct to customer sales and through select retailers, Mountain Crossings being one. We carry their “Mountain” line of packs for backpacking and several of their “Everyday” packs and bags. We understand that not all backpackers are ready for or even interested in going ultralight. Bringing in Mystery Ranch products rounds out our pack selection nicely by offering customers a heavier duty, more built out pack with all the bells and whistles. Just like the other pack brands we carry, Mystery Ranch makes packs that are up to our standards as backpackers ourselves.

Check out this impressive line up below. It is but a simply of what we currently have in store at Mountain Crossings. For greater detail on these packs and to check on our inventory status, call the shop at 706-745-6095 or email us at Come in and check out these awesome packs for yourself!


Stein 62

Liters: 62
Weight: 4.7 lbs
Price: $299.00
Use: Long Distance Backpacking


Liters: 32
Weight: 3.1 lbs
Use: Weekend Backpacking, Day Hiking, Climbing


Liters: 22
Weight: 2.3 lbs
Price: $125.00
Use: Day Hiking, Climbing


Liters: 16
Weight: 2.6 lbs
Price: $149.00
Use: Day Hiking, Everyday Carry



Liters: 7
Weight: .8 lbs
Price: $55.00
Use: Short Day Hike, Everyday Carry

Mountain Crossings Employee’s Off on Adventures!

The large majority of Northbound thru hikers have passed by us here at Neel Gap and it is the time of year that a Mountain Crossings Employee or two jumps into a new adventure. During the thick of hiker season, we are heavily staffed and yet still all of our employees are working long hours to help serve the hikers as they begin their hike. We wait all year for hiker season and it is by far the most fun time of the year for us, but it is always nice to get a chance to get outside and go play after watching thousands of folks pass through the shop beginning their own epic adventures!

This year, Leigh, aka Star Crunch, is headed west to thru hike the Pacific Crest Trail! She thru hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2014 and was a Ridge Runner in Georgia for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy during 2015. Even after jumping on staff here at Mountain Crossings in the summer of 2016, Leigh continued to work as a Trail Ambassador, helping educate hikers about the local area and Leave No Trace practices.

At the beginning of this week, Leigh set foot on the PCT at the border of Mexico and the United States! She is taking on this new adventure with her boyfriend, Andrew, who is the Resident Naturalist for our good neighbors down at the Hike Inn. Together they have spent the last few months paring down gear and making selections for their thru hike. Now they are making their way north through the desert!

Be sure to keep up with occasional blog posts and newsletter updates to follow along with Leigh and Andrew as they hike the PCT.

Leigh PCT.jpg

Leigh, known on trail as Star Crunch, at the southern terminus of the Pacific Crest Trail!

After hiker season slowed down, Matt, aka Pretzel, also left for a fun new adventure. He recently landed a seasonal wildland firefighter position in Boise National Forest in Idaho. Pretzel is not new to physically demanding jobs that help protect or promote beautiful wild places. He has spent time working on the Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s S.W.E.A.T. Crew in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park building and maintaining remote trails, as well as helping do the same in Big Bend National Park in Texas.

Moving into the realm of a wildland firefighter is a step up in terms of specialized skill and training.  Matt is used to living in the field and having to work with hand tools packed in on his own back, but the ante has been up-ed. His job will be to work on a small crew to help create fire lines around wildfires in an effort to keep them from spreading. The location of his crew changes with the needs of the National Forest.

Matt will be working on the crew during the prime time of wildfire season, at which time he will (we hope!) return to Mountain Crossing in the fall to help us with second busiest time of the year!


Matt, aka Pretzel, on his first trail run in his new home in Boise National Forest.

At Mountain Crossings, we are lucky to have such incredible employees who’s lives reflect their love of the outdoors!