The backpack is a somewhat divisive item. For school, there are few things better. Toss in your Trapper Keeper, strap that shit up and go off, bitch. But if you're a grown ass man child, it's maybe not the best look. Either way, the origins of the backpack didn't start out like that so NPR took a look at the evolution and history of the backpack as we know it today.
First there were book straps—literally belt-like straps of leather that went around your books at school—that weren't really backpacks at all, but provided a good starting point in the 1900s. An outdoor enthusiast came along in the '30s and gave us the most important pieces of the modern backpack: zippers and nylon to help make pockets for easy access during rock climbing. By the time the '60s rolled around, we were graced with the most important backpack brand of all time, JanSport, which was named after a cofounder's girlfriend, Jan Lewis. To be honest, we could stop there. JanSport is more or less the be-all and end-all of backpacks. I mean, shit's been almost exclusively a JanSport and, okay, L.L.Bean party ever since. Real Beanheads remember those monogrammed joints. That iconic design with the reflective panel dropped in 1982. Stay strapped, kids.