BEHIND THE SEAMS
Since its foundation in 1974, Osprey has had the same relentless spirit towards innovation and quality—values established by founder Mike Pfotenhauer back when he began placing his first stitches at age 16. Little did he know, he would eventually stitch together the legacy of meticulous craftmanship for which Osprey is widely renowned. Mike has been the unbreakable thread that has made Osprey a company like no other.
AS A YOUNG BOY GROWING UP IN OREGON, Mike found himself unsatisfied with the poor fit of his backpacking equipment. Taking matters into his own hands, he learned to sew from his mother and created his first backpack. It wouldn’t be his last.
As a young entrepreneur, Mike opened up Santa Cruz Recreational Packs in California where, drawn by word of mouth, backpackers and travelers sought him out for his custom-fitted, made-to-order packs. His reputation would eventually transform the business into the Osprey we are today, but first he’d need some help.
With his business partner/wife Diane Wren, Mike moved to Dolores, Colorado, and began working with a small team of sewers who took over production while Mike’s attention turned more heavily to pack design. These Navajo women, skilled in traditional sand painting and blanket weaving, became experienced in the art and science of constructing Osprey packs. They built upon and scaled Osprey’s vision, contributing to the prosperity and growth that, in 1994, led Osprey to expand operations to Cortez, CO, where it remains headquartered to this day.
The Osprey of today looks a little different than these humble beginnings, with packs that are sold and used the world over. We have offices in Poole, England, as well as design and manufacturing facilities in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, where Mike and Diane lived for four years to build relationships and transparency with our employees and suppliers abroad. Besides our headquarters, we have a distribution center in Ogden, UT, and also continue to employ local Navajo sewers at our original warehouse in Cortez, CO, where we proudly deliver on our All Mighty Guarantee.
This growth and development of the company hasn’t hindered our longstanding commitments to innovation and quality, allowing us to tap into global talent and resources that have strengthened the legacy Mike started back when he first sat before his mother’s sewing machine.
Mike continues to work meticulously as Head Designer to push the limits of pack design and what it means to be a sustainable, responsible and integral participant in the global outdoor industry alongside a growing team of over 270 employees aligned around a common mission.
A LIFETIME COMMITMENT TO QUALITY
Osprey packs is established in Santa Cruz, CA
Our first breathable mesh backpanel is implemented in pack design
We begin offering custom-fit mountaineering packs with revolutionary internal-frame construction
The first adjustable sternum strap slides into market, making personalized adjustments easier than ever
The Outlander, our introduction into travel packs, is released to the masses
The first Ariel backpacking pack makes its appearance, reviewed by Outside magazine
The removable pack lid becomes more useful than ever with its new convertible design, making it functional as a waist pack when detached
Gabriella Salinas and Diane Wren join Osprey and begin selling packs, like the Silhouette, wholesale
Mike and Diane move Osprey into a former GORE-TEX factory in Dolores, CO, and begin working with a team of skilled sewers, primarily from the Navajo Nation
Fortune Magazine profiles Osprey Packs in an article on "America's Best"
We introduce the Isis, our first innovative custom-fit women's backpack, as part of our legacy for custom anatomical fit
Production moves to a new facility in Cortez, CO as the company scales up to meet demand
Our first recycled HDPE framesheets are engineered for backpanel suspension—a key step toward our sustainability initiatives
We begin sewing Leave No Trace principles into our backpacks
Osprey athlete, Anatoli Boukreev, summits Everest, Lhotse, Gasherbrum II and Broad Peak
Mike literally dreams the Straightjacket suspension compression system into existence
Our ErgoPull hipbelt closure is introduced and revolutionizes backpack hipbelts forever
We expand our facility in Cortez and move all of our operations from Dolores
The Aether™ backpacking pack makes an appearance on the cover of Time magazine
Erik Weihenmayer, the first blind climber to summit Everest, chooses the Aether 60 for his ascent. Time magazine features him, along with his pack, on the June 18 cover
We begin shifting some production offshore to Korea and Vietnam to meet product demand
The Aether 60 backpacking pack receives the Great Gear Award from Outdoor Life Network
The Aether 75 backpacking pack receives the Gear of the Year Award from Outside Magazine
Mike and Diane move their family to Vietnam for four years to oversee the development of our Design and Quality Control Center in Ho Chi Minh City
Our first line of travel gear is introduced, broadening the horizons of adventure for Osprey
We introduce our Custom Molding technology to our backpacking suspension system to ensure even better anatomical fit
The Atmos 50 backpacking pack is awarded the Gear of the Year Award from Outside Magazine
The Meridian 22, our first wheeled travel pack, wins the Gear of the Year Award from Outside Magazine
The Circuit daypack earns the Green Gear of the Year Award from Outside Magazine for including 71% recycled materials by content
We expand our headquarters in Cortez, adding an additional 27,000 square feet of office space with LEED-like standards
After 35 years of independence and innovation, we celebrate by introducing our expanded All Mighty Guarantee.
The Exos 46 ultralight backpacking pack receives the Gear of the Year Award from Outside Magazine
The Ace 48 youth backpacking pack receives the Editor's Choice Award from Backpacker Magazine
The Sojourn® 25" travel pack receives the Gear of the Year from Outside Magazine
We introduce our new Hydraulics® reservoir system, making hydration on the go even easier
The Raptor 10 mountain bike pack receives the Gear of the Year Award from Men's Journal
Outside Magazine recognizes Osprey as one of "America's Best Places to Work" for the fifth year in a row
The Ozone 22" travel pack receives the Gear of the Year Award from National Geographic
The Xenith 88 backpacking pack receives the Gear of the Year Award from Outside Magazine
The Ozone 22" travel pack receives the Gear of the Year Award from Men's Journal
Osprey celebrates 40 years of independence and innovation
The Atmos AG 65 backpacking pack receives the Outdoor Industry Gold Award
We open a new distribution center in Ogden, UT, and turn the Cortez warehouse into our dedicated AMG repair facility
REI awards us their Vendor Partner of the Year Award for the fifth time
We reveal our innovative AntiGravity suspension to the world, setting new benchmarks in carry comfort, breathability and load management
The Atmos | Aura AG receives the Editor's Choice Award from Backpacker Gear Guide as well as Gear of the Year from National Geographic
We build our new World Headquarters in Cortez and establish a new Headquarters for Osprey Europe in Poole, UK
The Aether AG 70 backpacking pack receives the Gear of the Year Award from Outside Magazine
The Kamber 42 | Kresta 40 ski/snowboard packs receive the Editor's Choice Gold Award from Backpacker Magazine
We partner with the Renewal Workshop, diverting tens of thousands of pounds of waste from ending up in a landfill
As part of our commitment to meaningful sustainability, we begin rolling out our plan to not only provide the highest performing and longest lasting technical carry solutions on the market, but to also be the industry hard goods leader in upstream and downstream sustainability.
We build our new Osprey Vietnam Office for our design, quality control and sample room teams in Ho Chi Minh City
Our repair team allocates its time and resources toward creating face masks for medical front-line workers during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic
Sporting his trusty Aether Pro, Osprey Athlete Nims Purja becomes the fastest person to climb all 14 of the world’s 8k+ meter peaks. He completes this mission in under 7 months, breaking the previous record of 7 years
The Heritage Collection is unveiled, celebrating nearly 50 years of design and innovation
All poly bags are made of 100% recycled material and all paper packaging is FSC-certified or recycled and recyclable
We become a bluesign® system partner, marking a significant shift towards textile sustainability throughout our supply chain
We helped found the OIA-sponsored Climate Action Corps and are using the Climate Neutral system and database to calculate, reduce and offset our carbon footprint
In 2021, our Aether/Ariel 55 was awarded the Backpacker Editors’ Choice Gold Award