Hiker Jam #1: Building Osprey Packs with Mike Pfotenhauer

Updated on October 12, 2020

© Christopher Haslam

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I talk with Mike Pfotenhauer, founder of the iconic pack company company, Osprey Packs.

Osprey Packs has been and continues to be responsible for making some of the best packs on the market. From handmaking packs out of a small retail shop in Santa Cruz in 1974 to operating one of the largest pack manufacturers in the world, Mike has a lot of backpacking insight to share.

Mike talks about how the company grew, how they test and optimize their gear, his thoughts on ultralight backpacking, observations on the growth of the backpacking space in general, and struggles the company has had to overcome. 

Show Notes

  • Introduction to Osprey and Mike (0:00)
  • How Osprey started (1:03)
  • Scaling production and hiring reps (3:07)
  • Moving to Vietnam (6:03)
  • Business growth and milestones (8:27)
  • Materials and design (12:07)
  • Innovation and technology (18:22)
  • Mike's view on ultralight backpacks (20:27)
  • Mike's thoughts on Osprey's growth (23:00)
  • Mike's role in the company (24:38)
  • Osprey's plans moving forward (25:44)
  • Biggest turning points for Osprey (27:19)
  • Mike's hobbies (31:21)
  • Final words (34:33)
Chris Cage photo

About Chris Cage

By Chris Cage Chris launched Greenbelly Meals in 2014 after thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail for 6 months. Since then, Greenbelly has been written up by everyone from Backpacker Magazine to Fast Company. He wrote How to Hike the Appalachian Trail and currently works from his laptop all over the globe. Instagram: @chrisrcage.
Stoveless Backpacking Meals
  • 650-Calorie Fuel
  • No Cooking
  • No Cleaning