Since 1967, JanSport has been a part of your journey through life as you adventure with friends. Join us in celebrating 50 years of exploration and fun.
The 60s youth culture population, born between 1946 – 1964, was one that had strong opinions and a capable voice that demanded to be heard. They were coming of age during a critical crossroad when citizen activism intersected with the establishment. They leveraged music, art, and political and social activism to express themselves. It was during this dynamic era when JanSport was born.
In 1967, three friends were living in Washington state: Skip, an outdoor enthusiast; Murray, an engineer; and Jan, an accomplished seamstress. So, when Murray won a timely design award from the Alcoa Company for creating the first adjustable aluminum frame for backpacks, a bit of instant karma began to take flight. Murray asked his girlfriend, Jan, to create a backpack pattern for his new aluminum frame and promised her that if it was a success and it took off, he’d name the Company after her. It was, he did, and the JanSport® Brand came to life.
Quality & Durability You Can Trust
Trust is hard to come by, so for 50 years JanSport designed packs that last, to go everywhere you go, see what you see, and carry what you need. If your pack ever is worn down by the journey, we’re ready to repair it. We stand by the quality and durability of every pack we make, and since we’ve been doing that since 1967, that is a guarantee you can stand by.
Adventures on the Mountain
At 14,409 ft., having Mount Rainier in your backyard is an inspiration. For our cofounders Skip, Jan, and Murray, it was a place of excitement, where campsites are blown away in the wind, nights are spent freezing in snow caves, and an amazing sunrise is your reward at the summit. In 1972, they decided it was high time to invite their friends to come along to what is now the longest consecutive group climb on Mount Rainier. For the past 45 years, Mount Rainier has been our place to explore, test, and to share the mountain with friends.
The flower power pattern is a reflection of the 1960s hippie movement that promoted peace, love, and music, at a time of disrupted peace, challenged civil rights, and censored music. This pack was and remains the embodiment of the JanSport Brand.
JanSport Invents the Dome Tent in 1972
In 1971, after a harrowing and stormy adventure in a traditional JanSport A-frame tent, JanSport wanted to engineer a better tent based on an igloo. Jan worked on the pattern while Skip and Murray partnered with Easton Aluminum to develop the flexible pole system. After a few trial and errors and extensive product testing, the Dome Tent was invented. Soon it became the product that put JanSport on the map with orders coming in faster than we could deliver.
JanSport along with Lou Whittaker climbs Mount Everest.
JanSport climbs Mount Kangchenjunga.
Outdoor Pack Evolution
Adventures on Campus
Campus Packs are Born
Students in the early 70s walked around campus clutching their books in their hands, until a fateful day when students at the University of Washington found JanSport hiking packs and started using them to carry their books in the rain. There and then the school daypack was born.
Campus Daypack Evolution
Ski & Hike
Established in the late 60s, the ski & hike was the quintessential pack for trail hikes until students at UW found them and turned them into the first campus daypack.
The initial design featured vinyl leather confiscated from the seats on abandoned school busses and straps made from the seat belts on abandoned cars. Years later, the vinyl bottom turned to leather and the seat belt straps became padded.
The Right Pack is designed with its signature Cordura® and a suede leather bottom, inspired by the styles from 1970s and iconic ever since.
1982 Collegiate Apparel comes into the fold
When Downers joined JanSport, Collegiate Apparel is added to the permanent product selection at JanSport.
JanSport creates the revolutionary standard for school bags and it takes America by storm. Now the best-selling pack in the world.
Adventures in the City
A New Generation of Urban Explorers
In 2013, youth culture begins to seek adventure in the city vs adventure that begins at the trail head. Outdoor exploration becomes urban exploration—the gear they carry changes—hydration sleeves turn into laptop sleeves and gear pockets become cord pockets. JanSport develops the new Outside collection, designed to hold the gear you need as you explore the city around you.
Gear for a digital world
As cell phones are replaced by smart phones and laptops are replaced with tablets, a new need for digital protection and organization begins to take shape. In 2013, JanSport creates the Digital collection to meet the changing needs of our youth culture.
JanSport kicks off Bonfire Sessions in 2010
Bands and a Bonfire Under the Big Sky
The JanSport Bonfire Sessions are back to celebrate its 8th year bringing together good friends and good music. The idea is simple – a free outdoor concert featuring a locally adored band and the good vibes of a backyard bonfire.
Jansport Live Outside Timeline
4 Years. 5 Murals. And 1 Crazy Road Trip.
Bringing street artists and musicians together
in cities around the world.
SF & Booklyn
Sao Paulo & SF
JanSport joins the Stone Foxes and friends as they take a road trip from San Francisco to Austin, Texas for SXSW.
San Francisco & Brooklyn
San Francisco based street artists Amanda Lynn and Lady Mags create a huge mural at 8th and Market. Band Painted Palms performs live at unveiling.
Street artists LNY, Mata Ruda and NDA paint a block long mural in the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn. Band Rubblebucket performs live at the unveiling.
Sao Paulo & San Francisco
Street artists Lolo, Caratoes and Tatiana create a mural at Market and Van Ness. Band Bird Monster performs live at unveiling.
Street artists Arlin and Nove paint a long wall in Villa Magdalena and local band Boogarins perform live at the unveiling.
Street artists Mateo, Nine and Mari Mats paint a mural in Santa Teresa and Mari Mats DJ’d the celebration at the unveiling.
All along this journey, we have collaborated with our friends to create new and limited edition collections. Here’s a glimpse of some of the most recent partners.
Where we are Now
Now, 50 years later JanSport continues to innovate, grow, and change with the times. But our core values are the same today as they were in 1967. Seek adventure, have fun, and love the journey.
“Life is an adventure and the path is unknown.”
We’re celebrating 50 years of JanSport History with a collection of classics brought back to life. Explore the way our bags have evolved from their first design to now and shop retro-inspired looks that call back to JanSport originals. Styles like the Right Pack and SuperBreak have been with us almost since the beginning, while newer styles have been designed for the modern urban adventurer. Learn more about where we started, where we are now, and where we’re going in the future as JanSport continues to evolve and change.