Back to School: A Brief History of the Backpack

What do you and millions of other kids around the world have in common? You carried a backpack to school. And it's been that way since, well, since a very long time. Kids have always been cute. However, the 'backpack' as we know it today is not the same bag it was 20, 30, even 80 years ago.

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Backpacks have been a fundamental companion of many types of people: students, hikers, and of course, travelers. Our brand is travel and we wanted to discover more about favorite travel companion.  When did backpacks become something you travel with? What's the history of the backpack? Learn more about their history.

Huffington Post, TIME, and NPR took a dive back in time to help all of us unpack its history. From a 'book strap' to a 'burrito' to a 'backpack' as we all know it, here's the cute and quirky look back at the history of the backpack.

Brief History
Before we carried our laptops, Kindles, iPads, etc. (also, remember when we carried books), our backpacks weren't backpacks at all. The formal student backpack as we know it was designed just about 50 years ago. The first conception of a bag wasn't even a bag at all -- it was a leather strap. Kids carried school supplies with a leather strap that wrapped around the books and fastened like a belt. For all those decades your parents or grandparents complained about how they walked to school uphill both ways in the rain, snow and sleet, they used this concoction to carry their books. How did they keep it all dry is the real question? So, spare them this winter holiday season. Life was tough for them. 

For hikers and travelers and even the military, options for travel bags afoot other than the standard issued military duffel "Sea Bag" were slim. Luggage was the name the of the game (more to come on the history of luggage in a future blog).

Vintage military

The satchel or brief case of sorts followed the leather book strap in the 1960's. The next two decades rocked our with tragedy and war only to grace us with the style of the 80's, 90's and early 00's. As time moved forward, Graphic Novelty Bags, JanSport's vintage backpacks, (every kid had one of these...or still does), and Nylon backpacks became the "in" wear for students. Take a look back at the evolution of backpack.

A Look Back

1930's
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The 'Book Strap'

1950's
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A one-strap briefcase of sorts. Kid is too big for his brithces.

1960's
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The one handle Leather strap bag + a lot of good vibes and style.

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BFFs circa 1960

1980's
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A pair of Princes clutching their Graphic Novelty bag and knapsack.

1990's
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Almost gave Abbey Road a run for its $$!! Kids in the 90's started to rep Nylon bags to school.

Saved by the Bell
Our favorites Lisa, Kelly and Jessie. Ms. Turtle rocking the LV look-alike handbag for her school supplies. 

2010's
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JanSport bags were big prior to the early 2010's, however kids still rocked them over this decade.

Burrito
The Burrito patch from JanSport wraps up all you need.

Res Ipsa Kilim Backpack
In 2015, Res Ipsa introduced something one-of-a-kind for you to travel with. Be it backpacking across Europe, going to the local coffee shop, class, a hike or a weekend getaway, or Kilim Backpacks quickly became one of our most popular kilim goods.


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