Pre v. Post Marmot Dana Designs Terraplane LTW

12:09 p.m. on July 7, 2011 (EDT)
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Well, I figure if you can make sense of the title, you're a long ways already into answering my question. 

I have my eye on a new backpacking pack (need to increase load) and am going for the gold on it.  I want either a Mystery Ranch pack or a pre-Marmot Dana Designs. 

I found a Terraplane LTW at a good price and need some help figuring out if it is pre or post Marmot.  Picture is below.  My eye tells me that this is more mass-produced than what I usually see in a DD pack (fabric doesn't look like cordura) and that it might be after the Marmot acquisition.  Anyone else care to chime in?


11:38 p.m. on July 7, 2011 (EDT)
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i'm not sure distinguishing pre/post Marmot is meaningful.  a little history: K2 acquired Dana Design in 1996 and moved manufacturing of Dana packs overseas in the late 1990s.  K2 didn't acquire Marmot until 2004, and didn't merge the Dana Design line with Marmot products (rebranding the Dana packs as Marmot packs) until 2005 or 2006. 

in my mind, the questions are:

1.  was the pack manufactured by Dana Design in the US, prior to the late 1990s, vs. being manufactured overseas?

2.  if it was made overseas, are you comfortable using a Dana Design-branded backpack that was mass-produced - is there some sort of problem associated with the Dana packs that were made in Asia? 

I think the backpack you photographed was made overseas.  in particular, look at how the daisy chain is stitched to the bag, the circular stitching.  that is how the stress points were sewn on the Marmot/Dana Design Bridger i used for a number of years.  I'm pretty sure the US-made Dana Design packs used more traditional linear bar-tacking. 

my opinion? the Dana packs made overseas were very well-built and didn't meaningfully alter the very good Dana ideas.  that Bridger i used was made in Asia - nonetheless, it was bombproof, took several years of hard use in stride, carried loads extremely well.  i sold it early this year, not because it stopped working or failed, but because i never liked the lack of usable water bottle pockets and got tired of that. 

can you go wrong with a mystery ranch backpack? nope.  i have a G6000 and a Snapdragon, and they are tremendous.  expensive, but extremely well-designed and made, comfortable.  should last long enough to more than justify the investment. 

12:42 a.m. on July 8, 2011 (EDT)
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In the lower part of the picture is a Dana design tag affixed to the pack.  On all of Dana Design's packs that I'm awear of it states by name where the  pack was made (please let me know if I an incorecct).   Please let us know what info is on the tag.

9:45 a.m. on July 8, 2011 (EDT)
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The LTW series is post-2000, thus made overseas.  Still a nice pack.  Some of the design alterations in those packs are pretty sharp (as in very smart).

It'll say in the inside of the pack, on a tag somewhere, where it was made.  Sri Lanka, Mexico, etc.  This definitely was not made in the USA.  All DD packs were mass produced.  They might have even made hundreds of thousands of packs per year.   It was at least tens of thousands of packs per year.  They dominated the market for a long time.  Their numbers were staggering and would likely baffle the mind.  There's a reason there is a steady stream of them on eBay and Craigslist.

3:18 p.m. on July 8, 2011 (EDT)
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Thank you everyone for the replies.  Very helpful.  Should have asked if it was pre-K2 days... did realize the specifics of that history.  The "DD" tag was especially key... it did lack the "Made in Bozeman" on the bottom (which my Dry Rib has on it).

I have nothing really against the mass-produced, over-seas bags.  I'm sure they are pretty solid.  My Gregory has served me well for some time.  However, given the money and availability, I will choose to support a small home-grown company. 

Been over to Mystery Ranch's shop a couple of times.  Well worth the trip.  I think I shall just sock away the funds until I can pull down one of their 5000's.  As long as it will match my SnapDragon... :)

10:38 a.m. on July 9, 2011 (EDT)
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Love MR.  Heavily considered their Trance XXX several times for looooong treks.  Bombproof, big, and quite light for the features.

12:27 p.m. on July 9, 2011 (EDT)
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Just had my hands on the Trance last week.  Bombproof is the word.  The fabric they use on that bag is amazing (same stuff that lines the sides of the Snapdragon).  Pretty sure it would outlive most owners.

6:46 p.m. on July 9, 2011 (EDT)
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Found this under a "Company History" page:

1996  Anthony Industries Inc. changes it name to K2 Inc.

K2 closes the three Dana production plants in Montana (Gallatin Valley, Livingston and Lewistown)

almost 300 staff are retrenched in the USA

production moves to Mexico and Sri Lanka

K2 acquires outdoor brand and pack maker, Wilderness Experience.

Dana Gleeson oversees product development for Wilderness Experience.

1997  Under Dana's tutelage, Wilderness Experience pack, the Moraine, wins Backpacker Magazine Editors Choice Award

Renee Sippel-Baker leaves K2

1999  Dana Gleason leaves K2


Hope this helps.   I have two DD packs which were made in Mexico (a Bridger and a Loadmaster Longbed), and if the above information is correct, were made under Dana Gleeson's supervision.   I'm pretty sure those dates are correct, as that's about the time I bought them - the LL really soon after K2 took over, and the Bridger in '99.   I've been dragging arse, but I'm gonna sell the Bridger if you're not dead-set on the Terraplane.


9:00 p.m. on July 9, 2011 (EDT)
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Yes and lighter than I would expect, given the performance....

....did you buy one?  ; )

8:43 a.m. on July 13, 2011 (EDT)
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i'm having backpack envy....after long, hard deliberation and a lot of thinking about the Trance (at $350), i replaced a Bridger this winter with a more cost-conscious gregory baltoro - REI discount plus coupon took the price to around $200.  nothing but good to say about the gregory.  

funny story, extra kudos to the company, the first week i had the gregory pack, i accidentally left a clif bar in one of the hipbelt pockets.  a rodent ate through the pocket and ate some of the clif bar.  next day, i pulled out that clif bar and came very close to taking a bite before spotting the shredded wrapper in one corner.  i called the company about buying a new hipbelt pad, told my story, and they sent me a new pair of hipbelt pads, free.  people can crab all they want about where a backpack was built; great customer service like that builds loyalty, too.  

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