Mile High Mountaineering makes backpacks built on an eternal love for the outdoors—and a refusal to settle.

Colorado natives and Mile High Mountaineering (MHM) co-founders Jeff Popp, 29, and Casey Lorenzen, 32, design backpacks for anyone hitting the ground running, hiking, slaying pow, traveling. . .anyone who appreciates a smart product, really.

The Political Science and Business Administration majors (respectively) launched their first packs in 2011. And they’re killing it. National Geographic named their Salute 34 pack among its “Gear of the Year” and Men’s Health listed the Snake-Loader™ pack as a “Top 5 Product” for its heavy-duty “S” wrapped-zipper design.

They’re passionate and innovative. Just a couple of idiots who like to get rowdy outside—at least that’s how their 6,000+ Instagram followers know them.

“Jobs for college grads were few and far between due to the poor economy, and the idea of taking a traditional white-collar path after college terrified us,” Popp says. “The term ‘corporate’ doesn’t apply to us and it never will.”

The guys are building their Colorado brand from the ground up, employing an easy-speaking bro style and delivering over-obsessive compartmentalized designs that are like nothing else out there.

The MHM lineup includes seven backpacks and gear like trucker hats, stitched tees and hoodies, as well as load-shrinking sack, pillow and compression sacks perfect for hike-in camping.

MHM co-founders Casey Lorenzen and Jeff Pop

They’ve put some serious research into these bags. They’ve trademarked a VersaHaul™ carry system to lug skis or a snowboard uphill. Comfort comes in the form of their M-Flex™ frame system and VariCant™ dual-pivoting hipbelt. Toss in durable Cordura® Fabrics, pockets galore, and a deployable Packslicker™ rainfly, and you’ve got a pack that’s ready for a January backcountry hut trip or a sizzling August hiking trail.

“Spending time outdoors and talking to people directly about what they want in a pack is what inspires our designs,” Popp says.

Outposts from Oregon to Vermont carry MHM, including big hitters like REI and Moosejaw. They’re also on backcountry.com, campsaver.com, abovetheridge.com and others. International distributors span Europe, Japan and Taiwan and they’ve teamed up with another backpack purveyor, Co.Alition, to open their Denver flagship store.

Told ya they’re killing it.

The best part? When the guys see someone swaggering through the airport, peering from the tippy-toe top of a 14’er, or staking claim on an impossibly beautiful secluded campsite while wearing an MHM pack.

“It’s one of the greatest compliments I can imagine,” Popp says. “I’ve seen many of our bags miles deep in the middle of the backcountry and on the slopes and it still gives me a rush.”

Get There: 4405 W. 43rd Ave., Denver, 303-750-6100, mhmgear.com

Not Your Typical Book-Hauler

MHM packs carry a long list of user-friendly wow features:

  • Perforated foam backpanel, shoulder straps and hipbelt
  • Pivoting/adjustable/removable hipbelts
  • Large circular heavy duty #10 zipper opens entire face of pack
  • VersaHaul™ snowboard and ski carry system
  • Ballistics reinforced front and side-panels
  • Quick-release shoulder straps
  • Soft-lined goggle pocket
  • Organized shovel and snow tools pockets
  • Deployable ice-axe straps
  • 10 pockets + main compartment
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