Three Old Bags

The title of this post is not meant as a euphimism. Quite by accident I have started a collection of old backpacks. For Christmas, my father gave me one of his old canvas and leather backpacks (with felt shoulder strap padding!). I decided to document some of my vintage backpacks here.

MEC Klettersack 40th Anniversary Edition

Okay, this is not actually an old bag. It’s a new bag in a retro design celebrating the 40th Anniversary of Canada’s member-owned outdoor equipment cooperative — Mountain Equipment Coop. I have fond memories of visiting MEC’s second Calgary location as a young child with my father. By the time I was in junior high I was riding my mountain bike downtown the MEC’s third-location when I wasn’t yet old enough to own my own member share and had to use my mom’s member number. I still have the MEC backpacks I used in junior high and high school (the latter is ’90s stylish in green and purple with fluorescent yellow 3M reflective stripes I added myself). For their 40th anniversary, MEC created this retro-styled Klettersack complete with leather attachment points. I love the simplicity of this bag. No bells and whistles.

MEC Klettersack 4th Anniversary Edition label

Lafuma Rucksack

This is the bag my father gave me for Christmas. He says he got it in the early ’70s but’s materials and styling make me think more of the early ’60s. It is in mint condition. It is not for sale. If you have something similar, I’d love to hear more about it.

Dad, maybe next year you can give me your light blue canvas backpack (the one with the rubber bottom that we used to take cragging at Wasootch Slabs). I’d really appreciate it. Thanks.

Lafuma Rucksack Lafuma Rucksack label

Great Pacific Iron Works Ultima Thule Backpack

Great Pacific Iron Works was a spin-off Yvonne Chouinard’s Chouinard Equipment, the proginator of Black Diamond Equipment, and later, Patagonia. I’m not sure of the provinence of this particular frameless backpack. I found it last summer, laying in the alley behind my home. Other than a small tear it is in great shape, though it has taken on that wonderful vintage polyurethane smell (which is nice if you are into that sort of thing). I found a photo of it in a 1975 Great Pacific Iron Works catalog. I’m not sure how long the GPIW brand was in existence, but I’d say this pack can’t me much newer than that. In other words, it is only slightly younger than I am.

Great Pacific Iron Works Ultima Thule Backpack label