LISTEN LIVE KPR - On Air: Listen Live to classical, jazz and NPR news Schedule LATEST
KPR 2 - On Air: Listen live to KPR's all talk-radio service, KPR2 Recordings

Share this page              

A Story Behind Every Backpack

This week we reported on the history of the school backpack, and it got a lot of you talking. If you missed the post, check it out here.

It turns out that most backpacks come with a story, and we wanted to hear some of those stories.

We asked for pictures of your first, current or favorite backpack using the hashtag #nprbackpack. Here are some of our favorites:

Some backpacks double as travelogues:

Other backpacks represent personal timelines:

All backpacks seem to represent their owner. Almost like an extension of their personality:

And we even got a short lesson on the history of school backpacks in Sweden:

On Facebook some of you tried to one-up my editor Steve Drummond with your own "in my day" experiences:

"No one used backpacks in later years (I'm 68), but in elementary school, when I rode a bike to school, I used an olive drab WWII surplus backpack, from my father, I think. He later told me it was actually the pack a paratrooper wore strapped to his front." - Marion Moïse, on Facebook

"Was recently telling my kids that if a boy liked you, he'd carry your books (I graduated from high school in 1986)!" - Kim Hallemann Crank, on Facebook

"We didn't use backpacks when I went to school. We carried our books on the backs of dinosaurs." - Eileen Noel, on Facebook

And a certain debate emerged in our comment section about whether you were a "one-strapper" or "two-strapper":

"Do you wear it over both shoulders or just swing it over one?" - Thorfinn Skullsplitter,

"I graduated HS in 1979, and used a backpack from middle school on. We would NEVER have put it on our backs - the cool way to wear it was slung over one shoulder. The only exception was while you were riding your bike, as long as said bike was a fancy 10-speed with the 'ram's horns' handlebars." - mayya,

"I think the two-strap thing came about because more weight was being carried in backpacks, too much to be comfortably carried on one shoulder." - Joseph,

"Oh, the contemptible double-loopers." - Denise Powers,

It turns out that Slate even wrote an article about the one-strap/two-strap phenomenon. Check it out here.

What inspired the article? A scene from the movie 21 Jump Street, which is definitely worth a look:

So, which one are you? One-strap or two?

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit

Tower Frequencies

91.5 FM KANU Lawrence, Topeka, Kansas City
96.1 FM K241AR Lawrence (KPR2)
89.7 FM KANH Emporia
99.5 FM K258BT Manhattan
97.9 FM K250AY Manhattan (KPR2)
91.3 FM  KANV Junction City, Olsburg
89.9 FM K210CR Atchison
90.3 FM KANQ Chanute

See the Coverage Map for more details

Contact Us

Kansas Public Radio
1120 West 11th Street
Lawrence, KS 66044
Download Map
785-864-4530 (Main Line)
888-577-5268 (Toll Free)