Feature Stories


JanSport Celebrates 50 Years

Tags: Brand News

JanSport Celebrates 50 Years

May 10, 2017

For 50 years, JanSport® has provided high quality backpacks for a wide array of consumers, from students to adventurers to city dwellers. Focusing on durability and the ever-changing needs of consumers, JanSport has evolved many times to maintain its position as a leading brand in the backpack category and a foundation brand in the outdoor industry.

What started as three friends trying to find a way to escape the 9-to-5 grind, JanSport exploded as a prominent backpack brand.

“JanSport has always been a brand that prides itself on quality and innovation since the brand launched in 1967.  Our packs are responsible for carrying our consumers’ most important personal items so they need to be durable and dependable,” said Ann Daw, Vice President of Marketing for JanSport.  “Our variety of silhouettes and diversity of colors and prints allows consumers to self-express through their JanSport backpack of choice.” 

The founders of JanSport, Skip Yowell, Murray Pletz and Janis “Jan” Lewis, learned early on that adapting to the needs of different consumer groups meant a wider reach for the brand. Revolutionizing the outdoor adventure daypack, JanSport backpacks started popping up on college campuses across the country, as students in the 1970s found outdoor backpacks as the ideal vehicle for carrying their books and daily supplies. The brand recognized the additional use of its packs and today, JanSport’s SuperBreak is the reference backpack silhouette.

In honor of its 50th anniversary, JanSport is celebrating its rich outdoor heritage by reaching out to consumers to share their own JanSport story on social media with the hashtag #JanSportStory.

JanSport is also releasing two limited-edition backpack collections and will continue its grassroots presence through the LIVE OUTSIDE brand campaign, which joins companies with local street artists to create giant murals in markets around the world. 

The JanSport brand joined the VF portfolio in 1986 when the company purchased Blue Bell Holding Company, Inc. More information on the JanSport brand is available here.