Dana Design Japan

6:14 p.m. on August 25, 2013 (EDT)
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Anyone notice new Dana Design Japan packs are being sold on eBay now?  I don't need one, but I like seeing them available.  I'd like to hear about the business agreement etc that allows them to be made and sold under the name.  Was that a Dana Gleason deal or a Marmot deal?

7:53 p.m. on August 25, 2013 (EDT)
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Dana Gleason. Marmot (K2) has retired the "Dana" name, in part because of the falling out between Mr. Gleason and K2. Jarden owns K2 skis and snowboards, Marmot, Coleman, and Ex Officio among other outdoor gear, plus a bunch of other familiar brands like Bee and Bicycle playing cards, Diamond matches and First Alert smoke alarms (how's that for a pairing?), plus Crocker, Oster, Mr. Coffee, and a bunch of other consumer brand names.

8:20 p.m. on August 25, 2013 (EDT)
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I looked at ebay and at the 'dana design japan' website.  the backpacks on that site and on ebay have nothing in common with the original dana design backpacks.  the print style on the name & juxtaposition of the print and 'jumping hiker' logo are very different.  the designs are nothing like what Dana Design actually made and sold when it was operating.  I strongly suspect these are knock-offs trying to trade on a name that no one uses any more or cares to enforce in terms of protecting the trademark.  like those rolex watches you can buy on the streets of New York City for twenty bucks.  

ps - those backpacks also don't look like anything that Marmot sells.  after K2 first purchased Dana Design, they attempted to make and sell designs very similar to the original Dana Design backpacks under the Marmot nameplate.  I used one for a number of years, the Marmot Bridger - very good backpack.  Today, Marmot's backpacks don't appear to have anything in common with the old Dana Design models. 

As far as the Japanese dana design backpacks out there, buyer beware in my opinion.  you would be much better off buying an older, used, legitimate Dana Design backpack instead.  

10:56 p.m. on August 25, 2013 (EDT)
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I wouldn't necessarily recommend buying a Japan model, either.  However, I believe these to be linked in some way, because Dana was, and still is, a big collectible on the Japanese market.  They've become both collectible as old and desirable to the Japanese as new.  They had a big market presence in Japan, and that respect and demand continues to linger to this day.  The Japanese market is very "retro" obsessed.*  I don't believe either Dana/Mystery Ranch or Marmot is still involved or connected, but Dana Design packs never stopped being sold in Japan.  I'm led to believe the name was sold to a Japanese outfitter at some point, be it an actual outdoor gear company or a fashion company.  My next assumption would be that their no-compete clause, or something of the contractual like, has expired, and this is why they are finally being seen on eBay.

I've sold several Dana Design backpacks to Japanese buyers, and they all knew their stuff.  They knew every detail.  I've had the most precise and meticulous questions asked by Japanese buyers.  They taught me a thing or two regarding the old Dana Packs.  "My father only used Dana Design backpacks, so that is why I use them."  Things of this nature are common in their correspondence.

So, are these Japanese Dana Design packs of the same quality and design?  No, I don't believe they are, but I do believe there is a legal link from the old to the new.  I don't believe these are bootlegs, and I do believe these are legal Dana Design backpacks made by another company in another country through some old licensing situation.  In the early 2000s, as late as maybe 2005 or 2006, you could still find very similar packs to the Slusikin, Tatoosh, Colchuck, Salish, Tokaloo, T3500, T3000, T2000, Hiatus, etc.  These were all some of the final Dana Design models.

*a lot of the new Kletterwerks and Rivendell/Jensen packs are sold to the Japanese.

11:07 a.m. on August 26, 2013 (EDT)
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I have an original Dana Design (I think it is the arc altitude flash point) that was purchased in Bozeman, MT in the 90's.  I have been keeping it around thinking I would give it to my son one day.  However, if I got the right offer I would consider selling it.  Great pack, I just prefer the fit and capacity of my MH Maestro better.  

"Dana" from the original Dana Designs now manufactures high end backpacks under the name Mystery Ranch.  I am not sure if these packs are available for consumers or if they are just available through gov't contracts for special forces.  

I highly doubt Marmot/K2 sold the "Dana Design" name to some Japanese company but I could be wrong.  If they did, that would be a shame.  

5:23 p.m. on August 27, 2013 (EDT)
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Mystery Ranch sells to civilians/consumers, too.

December 19, 2014
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