JanSport is an American brand of backpacks and collegiate apparel, now owned by VF Corporation, one of the world's largest apparel companies.[1] JanSport is the world's largest backpack maker, and together, JanSport and The North Face, also owned by VF Corporation, sell nearly half of all small backpacks sold in the United States.[2]

Product typeBackpacks
OwnerVF Corporation
Introduced1967 (1967)
Seattle, Washington, U.S.
Previous ownersBlue Bell Overall Company


JanSport was founded in 1967 in Seattle, Washington, USA by Murray Pletz, his wife Janis "Jan" Lewis (for whom the company is named), and his father Norman Pletz.[3][4][5] JanSport innovated with a panel-loading daypack, unlike traditional top-loading packs.[6]

In 1975, JanSport introduced the first convertible travel pack, as well as its signature daypack.[6]

In 1986, VF purchased JanSport's then parent, Blue Bell.

JanSport's corporate headquarters is in Greenwood Village, Colorado, at VF Outdoor headquarters, where it shares offices with divisional siblings Lucy and The North Face. A distribution facility in Everett, Washington, which had opened in 1971, closed in March 2012. JanSport's collegiate apparel warehouse in Appleton, Wisconsin closed in 2017.[2][7]

JanSport started by developing the external frame backpack which used a metal frame with a cloth packsack attached to it. The products made include technical day packs and internal frame backpacks. Up until the early 1990s all JanSport packs were made in the United States.[8]


  1. "Lizzie Jagger teams up with Wrangler for Denim Spa moisturizing jeans". Daily News. New York City. January 17, 2013. Retrieved 2013-02-01.
  2. Horovitz, Bruce (2007-08-20). "New 'badge' of cool: High-tech, high-fashion backpacks". USA Today. p. 1A. Retrieved 2009-09-01.
  3. Netherby, Steve (December 1973), "Who Is Jan Sport?", Field and Stream, 78 (8): 116–118
  4. Rachel Abrams (October 17, 2015). "Skip Yowell, JanSport Co-Founder Who Blazed Trail for Backpacks, Dies at 69". New York Times. Retrieved October 18, 2015.
  5. "JanSport: Unique and Fun, a Company with Personality". Retrieved October 18, 2015.
  6. "JanSport, Inc". fundinguniverse.com. Retrieved 2011-06-15.
  7. FOX 11 News (April 4, 2017). "JanSport facility in Appleton closing". WLUK. Retrieved May 27, 2019.
  8. "JanSport Backpacks into Cost-cutting era". Milwaukee Business Journal. Retrieved January 29, 2018.
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