New backpacks offer more

Campus Times
October 3, 1997


by Amy M. Boyle
Staff Writer

JanSport. Eastpak. Outdoor Products. These are some of the popular names that college students everywhere rely on to keep track of their books, notes, pens and pencils.

The new trends in student backpacks this year have made the market even more popular.

"It is the best year ever for backpacks because of the latest trends and speciality packs that have become available for students to use," said Jerry Parker head of product development for JanSport.

According to Rhonda Lewis, public relations manager for JanSport, the largest maker of backpacks, "bigger is better" with students this year. JanSport has increased its size of packs from 1,800 to 2,400 cubic inches to fulfill student needs.

Two of this company's most popular packs include the "Big Student Pack," which is about 25 percent larger than the traditional backpacks. "The Lap Top Transit," features a padded computer compartment and double padding on the bottom for added protection. For extra strength, these packs are constructed of Dupont plus nylon.

At 3,280 cubic inches, another backpack company, Eastpak, offers an oversized capacity in its newest pack called "The Ultimate." This pack features leather grip handles and bottom with extra compartments.

Eastpak also features a reflective strip on some of its packs which provides an added sense of security for students who are on campus at nighttime.

Since many of these packs are bigger than those of the past, students tend to cram their packs with even more things. There is a need for these packs to be sturdier. That is one reason manufacturers use bound seams, self-repairing zippers and durable lightweight material.

"We did a survey where we took away students backpacks for a week, and the results were clear that backpacks are a mandatory item for all students,"said Parker.

"I'd be lost without my backpack. It carries everything I need, especially my books," said junior Cameron Price.

"We get most of our suggestions from students who visit our Website []. They let us know what kinds of features, colors, etc. they are interested in us making for them," said Parker.

JanSport packs range in price from $30 to $60, with the technical, speciality packs starting at $250.