Gear Review — JanSport Reclaimed Series backpacks

The Gear Junkie Scoop: JanSport Reclaimed Series backpacks

Ever wonder what happened to that long-gone JanSport backpack you wore while climbing Rainier in the ’80s? At JanSport, discarded nylon and leather scraps from old backpacks have been given new life in the company’s Reclaimed Series, which includes hand-stitched day packs made from the remnants of well-used backpacks returned over the years to the warranty department in Everett, Wash.

The company made just 150 of these one-of-a-kind rucksacks for the initial run. They cost $125, if you can find them, and are not available online. (Before Christmas, the packs were for sale only at a few outdoor retailers, including Summit Hut in Tucson, Ariz.; Shoe Biz in San Francisco; and some Sport Chalet locations.)

The Reclaimed backpacks will be sold in stores nationwide beginning this month and into the spring. They come in six styles and use a combination of reclaimed Cordura nylon, leather, and printed fabrics.

JanSport Reclaimed Series backpack

My sample backpack, a two-pocket day pack with no hip belt, was reminiscent of the book bag I toted around in grade school. It’s a simple design, artsy and homemade-looking, with leather hatch panels and long zipper pulls.

The pack’s body has swooping white, brown and navy-blue fabric panels stitched together with orange thread. Inside, a tag vouches for the bag’s one-of-a-kind stature, as it’s autographed by the designer: Someone named “Ramona” used a silver pen to tag my bag.

Says Paula Kosmatka, a VP at JanSport: “The lifetime guarantee on every JanSport pack gives us a unique opportunity to collaborate with our Warranty Center to design these one-of-a-kind packs with our own reclaimed materials.”

An interesting concept, I’ll give them that. From the old backpacks come the new ones, and recycling meets found art on the floor of a warranty facility in Everett, Wash.

—Stephen Regenold writes the weekly Gear Junkie Scoop for and

Stephen Regenold

Stephen Regenold is Founder of GearJunkie, which he launched as a nationally-syndicated newspaper column in 2002. As a journalist and writer, Regenold has covered the outdoors industry for two decades, including as a correspondent for the New York Times. A father of five, Regenold and his wife live in Minneapolis.