Last updated
Product type Backpacks
Owner VF Corporation
Introduced1967;55 years ago (1967)
Seattle, Washington, U.S.
Previous owners Blue Bell Overall Company
Website jansport.com

JanSport is an American brand of backpacks and collegiate apparel, now owned by VF Corporation, one of the world's largest apparel companies. [1] JanSport is the world's largest backpack maker, and together, JanSport and The North Face, also owned by VF Corporation, sell nearly half of all small backpacks sold in the United States. [2]



JanSport was founded in 1967 in Seattle, Washington, United States by Murray Pletz, his wife Janis "Jan" Lewis (for whom the company is named), and his father Norman Pletz. [3] [4] [5] JanSport innovated with a panel-loading daypack, unlike traditional top-loading packs. [6]

In 1975, JanSport introduced the first convertible travel pack, as well as its signature daypack. [6]

In 1972, the founders began inviting their friends to join their climb on Mount Rainier to what is now known as the longest consecutive group climb. [7] To this day, Jansport still holds the record of the most consecutive annual group climbs. [8] In 2018, was their 46th annual Jansport Mount Rainier climb consisting of a team of 16 employees, retailers, international distributors, non-profit partners and media. [8]

In 1986, VF purchased JanSport's then parent, Blue Bell. [9]

JanSport's corporate headquarters is in Denver Colorado, at VF Outdoor headquarters, where it shares offices with divisional siblings The North Face, Smartwool, Altra Running, Icebreaker, and Eastpak. A distribution facility in Everett, Washington, which had opened in 1971, closed in March 2012. JanSport's collegiate apparel warehouse in Appleton, Wisconsin closed in 2017. [2] [10]

An early 1990s JanSport D-3 Jansport D-3 backpack.jpg
An early 1990s JanSport D-3

JanSport started by developing the external frame backpack which used a metal frame with a cloth packsack attached to it. The products made include technical day packs and internal frame backpacks. Up until the early 1990s all JanSport packs were made in the United States. [11]

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Backpack</span> Bag carried on ones back

A backpack—also called knapsack, schoolbag,rucksack, rucksac, pack, sackpack, booksack, bookbag or backsack—is, in its simplest frameless form, a fabric sack carried on one's back and secured with two straps that go over the shoulders, but it can have an external frame, internal frame, and there are bodypacks.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Webbing</span> Strong fabric woven as a flat strip or tube used instead of rope

Webbing is a strong fabric woven as a flat strip or tube of varying width and fibres, often used in place of rope. It is a versatile component used in climbing, slacklining, furniture manufacturing, automobile safety, auto racing, towing, parachuting, military apparel, load securing, and many other fields.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">MOLLE</span> Load-bearing equipment and backpacks used by a number of NATO armed forces

MOLLE is an acronym for Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment. It is used to define the current generation of load-bearing equipment and backpacks used by a number of NATO armed forces, especially the British Army and the United States Army.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jet pack</span> Device worn on the back which uses jets of gas or liquid to propel the wearer through the air

A jet pack, rocket belt, or rocket pack is a device worn on the back which uses jets of gas or liquid to propel the wearer through the air. The concept has been present in science fiction for almost a century and became widespread in the 1960s. Real jet packs have been developed using a variety of mechanisms, but their uses are much more limited than their fictional counterparts because of the challenges of the Earth's atmosphere, gravity, the low energy density of utilisable fuels, and the human body not being suited to flight, and they are principally used for stunts. A practical use for the jet pack has been in extra-vehicular activities for astronauts because of the apparent weightlessness and lack of friction-creating atmosphere in orbit. The term jet suit is used for a system incorporating a jet pack and associated jets attached to the arms to increase manoeuvrability.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Fruit of the Loom</span> American clothing manufacturer

Fruit of the Loom is an American company that manufactures clothing, particularly casual wear and underwear. The company's world headquarters is in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Since 2002 it has been a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">The North Face</span> Outdoor recreation products company

The North Face is an American outdoor recreation products company. The North Face produces outdoor clothing, footwear, and related equipment. Founded in 1968 to supply climbers, the company's logo draws inspiration from Half Dome, in Yosemite National Park. By the late 1990s, the label had expanded beyond outdoor enthusiasts by focusing on street couture and since the 2000s it is regarded as a streetwear style symbol label. In 2000, it was bought by VF Corporation.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">VF Corporation</span> American apparel company

VF Corporation is an American global apparel and footwear company founded in 1899 and headquartered in Denver, Colorado. The company's 13 brands are organized into three categories: Outdoor, Active and Work. The company controls 55% of the U.S. backpack market with the JanSport, Eastpak, Timberland, and North Face brands.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Arc'teryx</span> Canadian high-end design company specializing on technical apparel and outdoor equipment

Arc'teryx is a Canadian high-end design company specializing in outdoor apparel and equipment headquartered in North Vancouver, Canada. It focuses on technical apparel for mountaineering and Alpine sports, including related accessories. The company's name and logo reference the Archaeopteryx, the transitional fossil of early dinosaurs to modern dinosaurs (birds). Arc'teryx is known for their water-resistant Gore-Tex shell jackets, knitwear, and down parkas.

Macpac Wilderness Equipment is a brand specialising in outdoor recreational equipment. It is best known for camping and travel equipment including backpacks, sleeping bags and technical clothing. Macpac was originally a New Zealand company, but is now owned by the Australian company Super Retail Group. Macpac was founded by Bruce McIntyre in 1973.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Fjällräven</span> Swedish company specialising in outdoor equipment

Fjällräven is a Swedish brand specialising in outdoor equipment—mostly upscale clothing and luggage. It was founded in 1960 by Åke Nordin (1936–2013). The company went public in 1983 with an over-the-counter listing in Stockholm. Since 2014, Fjällräven has been a subsidiary of Fenix Outdoor International AG, which is listed on the Stockholm Stock Exchange. The group also includes the Tierra, Primus, Hanwag, Brunton, and Royal Robbins brands. The CEO of Fenix as of March 2018 was Martin Nordin, the oldest son of Åke Nordin.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Eastpak</span> American worldwide lifestyle brand

Eastpak is an American worldwide lifestyle brand founded in Boston, Massachusetts, specializing in the design, development, manufacturing and worldwide marketing and distribution of a range of products including bags, backpacks, travel gear and accessories. The company began as Eastern Canvas Products USA, Inc. in 1952, producing bags and packs for the U.S. military before focusing on the consumer market under the brand name Eastpak as of 1976. It is part of the VF Corporation brand portfolio.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Packhorse</span>

A packhorse, pack horse, or sumpter refers to a horse, mule, donkey, or pony used to carry goods on its back, usually in sidebags or panniers. Typically packhorses are used to cross difficult terrain, where the absence of roads prevents the use of wheeled vehicles. Use of packhorses dates from the neolithic period to the present day. Today, westernized nations primarily use packhorses for recreational pursuits, but they are still an important part of everyday transportation of goods throughout much of the developing world and have some military uses in rugged regions.

GoLite is an outdoor hiking and backpacking gear company that relaunched as an apparel manufacturer under new ownership in 2018. Humanitarian and environmental initiatives are a key part of the new ownership. As of 2018, GoLite has donated 14,000 uniforms to help health care workers in Uganda and Guatemala using company fabric resources. The new sustainable clothing collection is intended to combine outdoor performance and athletic functionality. GoLite is headquartered in Seattle, WA.

Red Kap is an American company headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee that manufactures and distributes work-related clothing and outerwear.

Bulwark FR is an American company that manufactures and distributes flame-resistant protective apparel to the North American industrial market, primarily serving the electric, utility and petrochemical segments. The company is headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee and currently owned by Workwear Outfitters. It was previously owned by VF Corporation, the world's largest apparel company, until 2021. It was ranked among the top industrial protective clothing industry players in 2017.

Outdoor Research is a Seattle-based manufacturer of technical apparel and gear for outdoor sports, including alpinism, rock and ice climbing, backpacking, paddling, and backcountry skiing and snowboarding.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kipling (brand)</span>

Kipling is a brand selling handbags, backpacks, totes, luggage and other accessories. It was founded in 1987 in Antwerp, Belgium. Kipling has been a part of VF Corporation since 2004. Today, Kipling has 250 employees across its corporate offices in Antwerp, New Jersey, São Paulo, and Hong Kong. Kipling bags are sold in more than 80 countries internationally and can be found in more than 7,500 stores.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Paradise Historic District</span> Historic district in Washington, United States

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Napapijri is an Italian premium clothing brand owned by VF Corporation. Originally a producer of alpine travel bags, Napapijri now markets apparel, as well as fashion accessories, footwear and bags. The Napapijri brand is most widely associated with its Skidoo jacket.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Osprey Packs</span> American outdoor company

Osprey Packs, Inc, commonly known as Osprey is an American brand that manufactures outdoor backpacks. It was founded in 1974 by Mike Pfotenhauer. It was purchased by Helen of Troy Limited in 2021 for $414.7 million.


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  2. 1 2 Horovitz, Bruce (2007-08-20). "New 'badge' of cool: High-tech, high-fashion backpacks". USA Today . p. 1A. Retrieved 2009-09-01.
  3. Netherby, Steve (December 1973), "Who Is Jan Sport?", Field and Stream, 78 (8): 116–118
  4. Rachel Abrams (October 17, 2015). "Skip Yowell, JanSport Co-Founder Who Blazed Trail for Backpacks, Dies at 69". New York Times. Retrieved October 18, 2015.
  5. "JanSport: Unique and Fun, a Company with Personality" . Retrieved October 18, 2015.
  6. 1 2 "JanSport, Inc". fundinguniverse.com. Retrieved 2011-06-15.
  7. "About Us - Company History | JanSport". www.jansport.com. Retrieved 2020-03-04.
  8. 1 2 "45th Annual JanSport Mount Rainier Climb". www.jansport.com. Retrieved 2020-03-04.
  9. Schmitt, Eric (1986-07-28). "Vf and Blue Bell Agree to $378 Million Merger". The New York Times. ISSN   0362-4331 . Retrieved 2020-01-17.
  10. FOX 11 News (April 4, 2017). "JanSport facility in Appleton closing". WLUK . Retrieved May 27, 2019.
  11. "JanSport Backpacks into Cost-cutting era". Milwaukee Business Journal. Retrieved January 29, 2018.

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