Women in firefighting have been battling wildfires since the turn of the 20th century when men were called away to U.S. military engagements and when a large number of fires stretched the abilities of male-only crews.
According to the National Forest Foundation, The first evidence of women fighting fires in National Forests was in 1915, when photos show wives of Forest Service rangers trained to help battle fires in what is now the Mendocino National Forest in California.
However, it wasn’t until the 1970s that women were known to have been paid by the Forest Service for fire suppression on an all-women wildland firefighting crew in the Lolo National Forest in Montana.
Introducing Mystery Ranch Wildland Packs for Her
Today, brands like Mystery Ranch are creating wildland packs specifically designed to enhance comfort, fit, and functionality for women. The Women’s Hotshot, Hotshot TL, and Hot Speed are three advanced wildland packs sold to women firefighters across the nation.
Our new line of women’s packs features ergonomic harnessing designed specifically for the female form, alleviating friction points so firefighters can operate safely and effectively in the most hazardous and intense incidents.Mystery Ranch
Mystery Ranch Women’s Hotshot
Now made with fire harnessing specifically for a woman’s form, the Hotshot has stood the test of tens of thousands of overtime hours and allows the wearer to maintain agility and mobility while carrying more than 50 pounds for days at a time. The straps have a more ergonomic curve to alleviate friction points, compared to standard harnessing. In addition, the Hotshot has a narrower shoulder pad to enhance comfort.
The Mystery Ranch Women’s Hotshot wildland pack stands out for its superior framing, structure, support, durability, and adjustability. The fire-specific yoke is made with the brand’s patented adjustment system that adjusts to the wearer’s torso length. The framesheet has an aircraft-grade 7075 Aluminum stay that is pre-curved to naturally match the contour of the upper back.
The body of the bag has HDPE plastic backed by a vertically-mounted fiberglass rod that forms the foundation of the framing and acts as the bridge between the yoke and structure of the Fire belt. The Hotshot also has a patented lumbar system that ties into the structured wings of the belt, helping to optimize load transfer.
Key features of the Hotshot include:
- External detail pocket offers easy access to items like flagging, headlamps, and batteries
- Wing pockets can hold up to three fuel bottles, three water bottles, or one 64oz Hydro Flask® growler per side
- High-wear areas have double-layering and additional reinforcement
- Body-facing components are made with spacer mesh materials to support moisture transfer and body heat dispersion
Mystery Ranch Hotshot TL
The Women’s Hotshot TL (Top Load) is a simplified alternative to the Hotshot. The wildland pack offers draw-cord shroud access to the main compartment for maximum volume, extreme overload, and limited internal organization. Like the Hotshot, the TL is made of 500D and 1000D CORDURA® with Teflon® and PU coatings, AQUAGUARD® coated YKK® #10 Zippers, Nylon 6,6 hardware and webbing, and fiberglass stays. The TL weighs just 5.6 pounds, compared to the 6.2 pound Hotshot.
The Hotshot TL has a structured belt that is compatible with MOLLE- or buckle-attach accessories, providing additional support for equipment. Wearers will also appreciate the daisy chains over the shoulder pads that allows them to hang accessories and other items. The TL is available in standard pack sizing from XS to L, with unconventional sizing also available upon request.
Mystery Ranch Women’s Hot Speed
The Hot Speed was designed for women conducting hot, fast Initial Attack. With a lumbar hydration reservoir, the Hot Speed maximizes ventilation while freeing space in the upper back for saw packs, hosepacks, and bladder bags. Like the Hotshot packs, the Hot Speed is made with ergonomic harnessing to alleviate friction and a narrower shoulder pad for greater comfort.
The wildland pack has a double-layered fire shelter compartment built with additional reinforcement at key points. In addition, body-facing components are made with spacer mesh material to promote moisture transfer and body heat dispersion. The pack is Hotshot Lid compatible for an additional 300 cubic inches of storage.
The Hot Speed is made of 500D and 1000D CORDURA® with Teflon® and PU coatings, AQUAGUARD® coated YKK® #10 Zippers, and a 6,6 Nylon web external seam finish for maximum durability.
The Mystery Ranch Study
Mystery Ranch conducted a fit and sizing study of over 150 men and women to create a women-specific harnessing and yoke. The Hotshot, Hotshot TL, and Hot Speed have a narrower crest between the shoulder straps, improved contour to allow more room in the chest area, and a slightly shorter and narrower shoulder strap. The women-specific yoke can also be purchased separately to replace an existing yoke on a wildland pack.