Remember when backpacks were only to lug books, and you couldn’t wait to get the thing off as soon as you got home from school? At some point, the backpack became the universal carryall that went everywhere, and was on everyone—even those who hadn’t been in school for decades.
In the old days, there were few choices for your backpack: grey, blue or black bulky packs were little more than big squares attached to your back via two straps (if you were lucky, they were padded). Now, technology is the key: high-tech fabrics, back support infrastructure, multiple pockets for cell phone, CD-Roms and headphones, water bottle…but where to put the books, papers and pencils?
During the 80’s, backpacks were status symbols for the preppies, tossed over one shoulder (never two) so as not to disturb the carefully wrapped sweater around the shoulders. Geeks were recognizable because of the ‘two-strap’ style they wore, heavily weighted with books but balanced perfectly on their back just like the instructions ordered. For the fringe groups of skaters, goths, and new wavers, backpacks were walking billboards, plastered with ‘Skateboarding is NOT a Crime’ stickers and pen drawings of DK or Anarchy. And for the real rebels, military surplus satchels were always an option.
Then something happened in the 90’s, and the backpack became the only thing to carry both in school and out. The backpack became a security blanket to the person always on the go. They didn’t hold just books anymore, but extra clothes, organizers, snack foods, laptop computers… with your backpack, you’d never have to go home again. And of course, carrying your life with you demanded a back-friendly product, and the backpack was it.
Then backpacks hit the shrinker rays and came out miniature. Baby (or mini) backpacks, barely able to hold a wallet, were all the rage after the early 90’s fad of backpack purses. Overnight, stuffed animals made an appearance, and teddy bears and other childhood friends were hijacked and strapped on backs. Winnie the Pooh’s stomach opened up via a zipper, ready to be stuffed with all of life's necessities. Just be sure to put a little hunny in.