If you're familiar with Hand-Eye you'll know we're all about a bomb-proof product with a badass backstory, and Kletterwerks absolutely delivers. The lead man of the Kletterwerks line is Dana Gleason II. An avid outdoorsman with a passion for making great gear, he's been the driving force behind impeccable bag-making companies for decades. He founded Kletterwerks as his first backpack company back in 1974. Starting out by repairing and building bags for the hardcore climbing and mountaineering community, he began to dabble in his own designs. Pulled from the German "Kletter" meaning Climbing, and "Werks" meaning Plant, Kletterwerks was a "climbing factory" based in Bozeman, Montana. In order to afford a first minimum order of rusty red material from a new supplier called Cordura, he pooled resources with other young bag-obsessed gearheads (Murray Pletz later of Jansport, Dick Kelty of Kelty, and Wayne Gregory of Gregory). This first generation of bags was built with hard-earned design insight and some of the best material the outdooring world had ever seen.
Dana II displays a climbing pack for a slick, slightly '70s Cordura ad
Years later, Kletterwerks had been sold and then closed, but those first packs of the 1970s were still iconic and still functioning. Dana Gleason II had gone on to start Dana Designs and Mystery Ranch, two more bag companies known for rock-solid construction and beloved by Special Ops, forest firefighters, and outdoor enthusiasts of all stripes. His son, Dana Gleason III (or D3), grew up in the family bag trade and now has some of his own ideas to add to his father's work. In 2012 they brought back the Kletterwerks line, focusing on simple, burly designs, made correctly out of great materials. The Flip Pack and its smaller compatriot the Day Pack are original designs from that very first round of Kletterwerks backpacks, made from 1000D Cordura and 1680 Ballistics, helpfully updated with a liner, densified urethane foam padding and a laptop sleeve. Just like in the beginning, Kletterwerks bags are individually made in Bozeman, this time by the same craftsman who build Mystery Ranch bags for the Navy SEALs. These are bags for bag lovers and bag destroyers who want traditional style without sacrificing anything. Online and in-store now at Hand-Eye Supply!