Jeff Popp and Casey Lorenzen of Mile High Mountaineering say they’re often mistaken for brand reps rather than business owners. “They don’t assume that guys our age would be so involved with a new company and be the backbone,” Lorenzen says. “Or if they know that we’re the ones behind it, they’re kind of skeptical about the product.”
But MHM backpacks, with their innovative features and bright colors, are quickly correcting that image problem for Popp (founder and president) and Lorenzen (VP of marketing), both in their 20s. Popp and Lorenzen grew up in Colorado backpacking and snowboarding, and applied that experience to designing packs that range from 18 to 80 L. The resulting backpacks have components like integrated frame systems with a dual-pivot hip belt, front-loading zippers, and built-in rain flies and stuff sacks. Prototypes are designed and tested in Colorado, then manufactured in the Philippines. MHM will introduce the PowderKeg for backcountry snow travel this fall, followed by a line of daypacks next spring.
Mountain caught up with Popp and Lorenzen at MHM world headquarters—a single room in a south Denver office building—to hear how the company started and to get a look at MHM’s bestseller, the Divide 55 backpack. The newest member of the team, Sherman, also sits in on the interview. —Olivia Dwyer