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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
4 Years. 5 Murals. And 1 Crazy Road Trip.
Bringing street artists and musicians together
in cities around the world.
JanSport joins the Stone Foxes and friends as they take a road trip from San Francisco to Austin, Texas for SXSW.
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.
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.