History Of The Backpack


The idea of ​​strapping your gear to your back is older than you can tell. But the backpack , as we are used to nowadays, appeared not so long ago. Here is a brief history of the backpack.

In 1991, in the Tyrolean Alps, on the Similown Glacier, the frozen body of an old man who lived around 5300 years ago was found frozen, and with him the oldest of the backpack frame that have survived to this day.

It was a leather bag mounted on a U-shaped frame made of walnut sticks and two larch planks.

In Russia, hunters of the indigenous tribes of Transbaikal Siberia – Evenks, Nivkhs, Tungus – used and continue to use the prototype of a backpack with an outer frame.

The U-shaped frame can be covered with a birch leaf to create a more comfortable backrest. The luggage or bag is attached to the arch of the foot with string and placed on the back using straps.


Who was the first person to invent a backpack?


The first widely used backpacks were received in the late 1800s in Norway.

In 1886, Colonel Merriam invented and patented the design of the backpack frame . It’s a military backpack typical of the time. The most important thing is to try to transfer some of the weight from the shoulders to the hips.


The second patented design of the backpack was developed by Norwegian Ole F. Bergans in 1909. It uses the same design as the backpack and adds a metal frame instead of a wooden frame.

The metal frame was shaped like a shell, so the curved waist portion allowed at least a slight transfer of weight to the hips.

Where did the word backpack come from?


In 1910, the word backpack was added to the dictionary.

In 1938, the first zippered backpack was invented. During this period, people mainly use backpacks for hiking , camping, and alpine vacations.

Between the 1930s and 1960s, some children also used canvas or leather bags with a strap, miniature briefcases that were usually called backpacks .

It was also noted that some students carry their school luggage on their backs in rectangular leather bags , attached with buckles.


What is the history of the backpack?


The main users of the city’s backpacks are students. They must have moved their books somehow. The first backpacks of this type looked more like leather straps that were attached to a stack of books.

In 1950, the military design replaced the backpack frame with a lighter aluminum alloy frame.

1952. Usher “Dick” Kelty and Nena Kelty produce backpacks in their garage for $ 24. They had a full-length aluminum outer frame and a waist belt that allowed them to carry weight on their hips.



In the 1960s, Kelti began offering a soft trim around the waistband as an option on their backpacks .

1967. Greg Lowe creates the first backpack with an inner frame in his garage in Colorado. This revolutionary design innovation has made it possible to minimize load shifts.


When did the backpack become popular?


The first backpack nylon was created in 1967. Now, backpacks are more and more popular .

In the 60-70-ies of the XX century in the USSR were produced Abalakovskie backpacks.
Abalakovskiy backpack borrowed advanced European experience in the development of equipment – in the pre-war years in the Caucasus often came German and Austrian mountaineers, so our mountaineers had the opportunity to study their experience.

Dick Kelty designed and produced the first stainless steel belt buckle, which was used in the backpack in 1970.

In 1985, a mesh pattern was invented that kept the back from sweating.

The first backpack was created in 1990.

In 1992, the waterproof was invented on the backpack .

In 2002, the world’s first camera backpack came out, completely waterproof.

The history of backpacks does not end there. There will probably be a lot of comfortable and functional backpacks invented.


Resource used for this article:

History of backpacks design, Bravamoda, September 28, 2019.