JanSport is an American brand of backpacks and collegiate apparel, now owned by VF Corporation, one of the world's largest apparel companies. JanSport is the world's largest backpack maker, and together, JanSport and The North Face, additionally owned by VF Corporation, sell nearly half of all small backpacks sold in the United States.
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. JanSport innovated with a panel-loading daypack, unlike traditional top-loading packs.
In 1975, JanSport introduced the first convertible travel pack, as well as its signature daypack.
In 1986, VF purchased JanSport's then parent, Blue Bell.
JanSport's corporate headquarters is based in Alameda, California, 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 additionally has a warehouse in Appleton, Wisconsin, which houses its collegiate apparel division.
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.