The Gear Junkie Scoop: Vintage Backpacks

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By Stephen Regenold

Kelty and JanSport are taking a retro tilt with backpacksin 2011. Both companies recently unveiled new backpacks that look like modelsyour father might have worn when he hit the Appalachian Trail in 1964.

The JanSport D2 is an external-frame pack based on thecompany's original backpacking model from the 1960s. The company is marketingit as “tried and true old school with new school innovation bakedin.”

Enormous capacity to the tune of about 5,200 cubic inchesof space is a main feature. Set the D2 on the ground and it'll stayfreestanding, its compartments and square pockets accessible like drawers in achest.


The D2 has a big external frame that can adjust to fitbackpackers of most sizes. Despite its overgrown size, the D2 weighs just lessthan 6 pounds, which is a only bit heavier than modern-day, internal-framepacks of the same size.

The D2, one of several retro models JanSport now sells,will cost $275 when it ships to stores next year.

Kelty's to-be-released Vintage line includes five retropacks and a duffel bag. The company's product developers drew inspirationfrom classic '60s and '70s designs to build the Vintage line, which, like theJanSport models, is touted to blend old-school looks with modern functionality.

The Kelty Mockingbird model is a stand-out. It hasleather accents, metal hardware and exposed zippers. A classic 500D Cordurafabric is employed for the 1,725-cubic-inch pack.


Modern touches on the Mockingbird include cell phonesleeves and laptop-friendly sizing. The side pockets are removable on thistop-loading pack, which is made for outdoors or city use. The Mockingbird willcost $124.95 when it comes out in early 2011.

“There is a world-wide vintage trend going on,” saidSue Edmiston, a marketing director at Kelty. JanSport and Kelty know that evenbackpacks are not spared from the trend of borrowing looks from decades pastand making them new again.

–Stephen Regenold is founder and editor

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