Backpacks are a staple for many types of people: working professionals, travelers, hikers and, most of all, students. While the idea of strapping your gear to your back is older than we can say, the modern student backpack is quite young—only about 44 years old—and has seen many new fads and changes in a short amount of time. From leather straps to JanSport packs, here’s a look at how students have carried their books through the years.
The first vessels for students’ books weren’t pack-like at all, but rather a strap of leather or cloth (basically a belt) that was fastened around a stack of books to make them easier to carry. Straps remained in use for many decades (viewers of Netflix’s The Get Down, which is set in the 1970s, may have noticed that Ezekiel carries his books to school with a book-strap), but they eventually went out of fashion.
In 1938, when Gerry Outdoors invented the first backpack with a zipper, backpacks were still primarily in use for hiking, camping and alpine recreation. Between the 1930s and ‘60s, some kids also made use of canvas or leather bags with a single strap, miniature briefcases that were usually called satchels, for trips to and from school. Some students could also be seen carrying their academic luggage on their backs in squared leather bags, fastened shut with buckles.
But by and large, students were stuck toting their supplies by a strap or by hand. In the book The Hippie Guide to Climbing the Corporate Ladder and Other Mountains: How JanSport Makes It Happen, the original JanSport salesman Skip Yowell wrote that in 1972, “students had no choice but to tote their textbooks and notebooks around campus with their hands. Some tied a belt around them or clutched them to their chests as they walked.”
Since then there is no looking back. Backpacks became a necessity than a novelty. Be it high school, office, college or trips one gets attached to one’s backpack.
Reasons to love a Backpack
- Backpacks are attractive. They come in many shapes, forms and sizes. You can find your best match. Leather backpacks suit almost anybody. Once you wear them, they shed any dowdy appearance and give you a look that can only belong to a fashion idol. They make all heads turn towards you.
- Leather backpacks are biker’s best companion. Abrasion-free, water-resistant, heat-resistant and durable as they are, they can survive any harsh climate and thus do not cause any wear and tear. They keep your things safe. They are sturdy and extremely reliable.
- Leather backpacks can hold a million things. Unlike sling bags/ messenger bags, which are used to carry only a laptop or a few books, backpacks can carry almost anything and everything ranging from books to clothes. They never say no to fit in anything.
- A variant of the leather backpacks called the leather rucksacks are an irreplaceable travel assistant. They are used for mountaineering, hiking, trekking, casual country-side tripping and what not. If you are looking for one bag for all these trips then hands down leather rucksacks have no competition.
- Backpacks are a rescue from the lopsided back pain caused by other bags. Side bags, sling bags and messenger bags, cause a lot of strain on just one side of your body, sometimes even leaving an impression on your skin. Who doesn’t want a way out of this? Of course all of us do, and the streamlined way out is the use of backpacks that distribute load evenly across the shoulders.
- It is an epitome of beauty and utility. Multi-pocketed, spacious, compartmented yet sleek classy and chic, leather backpacks win everybody’s attention in a fraction of a second. For many, it is lo0ve at first sight. They just know by the first glance that this bag is their most suited match measured both in terms of usage and appearance.
There is one leather backpack for everyone’s need and taste. Backpacks have become such an inevitable product of necessity that they are available in all shapes, sizes and colors. Due to its durability, sturdiness and chic designs, leather backpacks are the most sought after. Their colors range from brown to black.