• How the Backpack Evolved?

    The backpack has been an ideal means for carrying around a heavy load. They have been known to be used for school, work or other activity such as fishing, hiking or camping. This type of bag provides a convenient hands free method, which cannot be found in other bags.

    Who invented such an amazing bag that has been loved for centuries? Who was the genius who came up with a hands free way of carrying a bag? The history of the backpack just may surprise you.

    The Many Names of a Backpack


    Backpack is a widely used word that everyone knows. It is simply a pack that is carried on ones back with two shoulder straps or a cross body strap. However, there are a few other names this pack goes by, such as rucksack, knapsack or packsack.

    Backpacks are used for a variety of reasons, including hiking, carrying laptops, traveling and school. However, backpacks were invented to accommodate all of a hunter’s tools that they needed to dissect large prey. The hunter would cut his prey into smaller manageable pieces to carry back home. If there was more than one hunter, the meat would be distributed among them to carry back in their packs.


    The first backpacks were made of animal skin, and the type of skin used would vary upon which animals were available in the area. For those who have weak stomachs don’t read this next sentence. Strong thread was not widely available, so the intestines of the animal were used to sew the packs together. These packs were very sturdy and robust. A perfect way to haul heavy game back home.

    What’s In The Term ‘Backpack’

    In 1910, the term backpack was born within the United States. The word rucksack is a German word, but is mostly used in the US and UK. Rucksack is a loanword, and means ‘der Rucken’ in German, which translates to ‘the human back’.

    How the Backpack Evolved


    Although, these packs had a rugged beginning for carrying animal meat, we now live in a more civilized world. Over the decades, backpacks have evolved to provide more functionality, organization, and style. While they are no longer used to carry meat, their purpose is still to carry a load. Backpacks have always been known for their comfort and convenients.

    Dick Kelty is the person responsible for the birth of the backpack. His early vision of the pack was one that was compact, lightweight and sturdy. From that single idea, the backpack was constructed, and forever changed the lives of those who would carry them.

    Kelty’s Inspiration


    Kelty used to hike the Sierras countryside. He was known to be an avid hiker, and carrying gear was hard. Kelty became inspired to design a pack that would efficiently carry all the hiking gear he needed, and provide durability, comfort, and not add weight to his already heavy load.

    He began looking at all the options that were currently available. The packs found at military surplus stores were very heavy, which would make it hard to hike. Kelty required the help of his friend Clay Sherman in 1951. They evaluated all the hiking equipment, and determined that it would be best to put the majority of the weight on the hips and shoulders. For this to be accomplished, the pack board would have to rest in the back pockets of their jeans.

    Kelty continued to perfect the design. He added a hip belt, and changed the original wood frame design to a lighter aluminum design. He also changed the material of the pack to nylon. Kelty recruited his wife to sew the pack to the frame, and by 1952 he sold 29 of his backpacks for $24 a piece. He continued to perfect the design. By the 1970’s, Kelty’s pack became very popular among hikers.


    From hunting packs to hiking rucksacks, the evolution of backpacks has come a long way. There are so many varieties available, and some are even specialty designed to carry laptops or cameras.

    If you are looking for a durable backpack, that will provide you with loads of organization and functionality, check out Serbags line. They have packs for every occasion, including hiking, school, or casual carry. Serbags designs their bags with vintage flare, which will provide a rugged edge that will bring personality to your style. From the olden days to modern times, the backpack is a trend that is here to stay.

    Written by Jennifer Ogden

    Jennifer Ogden

    My passion comes from the words I pour upon a page. Writing is something that has carried me through my life, and it fills me with joy each time a reader hears my voice. My writing obsession started in fourth grade, and it has now become my full time job. I wake each morning overjoyed knowing that I get to share my passion with the world.

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