Delving into the archives: backpacks
1996 backpack featuring the original Animal logo
The history of the Animal backpack
People have carried loads on their back for centuries, it’s even thought Otzi the iceman may have had some form of backpack in Copper Age Alpine Italy. However, the modern rucksack, designed to transfer the weight from shoulders to hips, is a relatively recent invention and it wasn’t until after the Second World War (with the advent of the nylon backpack), that the style we recognise today made its first appearance.
As a brand that lives for adventure, exploring the beautiful environment of the British Isles and beyond, the evolution of the Animal backpack has been a fundamental part of our story. Since the early days, it’s been important for us to create durable and travel-ready packs, using the latest designs and fabrications and of course embodying the trends of the day! With Animal hitting its 30th Anniversary year, we thought it might be fun to take a little trip through the archives and rediscover some of our favourite backpacks from times gone by.
1996 - 1997
There’s nothing we like better than packing up and heading out on a whim and we have been advocates of the lightweight daypack from the beginning. Early designs kept it simple, with single block colours in hard-wearing nylon.
1997 backpack and sticker collection
1997 Baby Technical backpack
Backpack shapes have evolved over the years but in 1997 it was all angular corners and solid square shapes. The original Animal logo can be seen on the Baby Tech pack (1997/8) and in a true blast from the past, is about to be reborn across our limited edition 30th Anniversary Collection (landing in May). Creating multi-functional backpacks has always been an important part of our remit and this can be seen in the product description for the Medium Backpack, dating to 1997.
In-keeping with our boardsports heritage, the 1990s saw a concentration on producing specific technical bags alongside our daypacks. This stretched from snowboard-ready rucksacks to deluxe technical designs complete with ‘bike pump retainer...external compression system and bike light webbing loop.’ Our ‘rider refined ‘ programme meant we had a constant flow of performance feedback, allowing us to tweak and perfect our range every year.
1999 Pro-Tech backpack
In 1999 the mobile boom was hitting and an increasing number of us could no longer function without our trusty phone by our side. This addiction was reflected across bag design and saw the advent of the ‘mobile pocket,’ (it was all about the Nokia back then) often attached to a bag’s strap. It also seemed to be the year for experimentation in bag shapes, with the classic rucksack design superseded by single strap triangular designs.
Nokia, the phone of the 90s
1999 Neutron backpack
With the dawn of the new millennium, designs became more streamlined, corners were rounded and pockets kept to a minimum. We introduced a specifically urban line, featuring the on-trend pod shaped backpack. Highlights included stash space for the all-important personal CD player!
Medium Pod backpack
Not forgetting the personal CD player
2002 - 2005
Between 2002 and 2005, girl power rushed in on a distinctly pink wave, with floral patterns and more lifestyle shapes targeted at the female market, whilst for 2007-2008 the in-vogue colour was most definitely brown.
The year girl power went pink
Pantone 18-1238 tcx
2009 - 2010
We’ve consistently designed backpacks that are ready for adventure, inspired by our love of the ocean and the great outdoors. In 2009-2010 you’d have found us loading our bags with a wetsuit or two and making use of the latest skate deck-carry designs.
Tech packs: 2009 - 2010
This was also the time of eye-catching prints. Minimalism was out and full-on colour was the name of the game, from zebra stripes to photo montages and complete matching sets.
A time for bold statements
Back to today and our focus remains to create beautifully functional backpacks, at home on the mountain or the city commute. For summer 2017, our range features tech-ready packs, disguising padded lap top sleeves and tricot lined stash pockets behind streamlined designs or bolder summer patterns. As the demand for multi-functional products increases we seek to combine everyday needs with enhanced features —thus the Freefall backpack mixes A4 sizing with internal laptop sleeve and hydro-pack compatibility. Quality and durability are tenants of the Animal brand, hence all our backpacks come with a two year warranty. Time to pack up and head out!
Burst backpack: £28