John Peters New York: Past, Present, Future

Did you know that the modern backpack is only about sixty years old? As strange as it sounds, it’s true. Military rucksacks have been around for much longer, and “sacks” carried on the back for much longer than that, but they weren’t available for civilian use. Students carried their books for the most part.

It wasn’t until 1951 that Dick Kielty made the first modern backpack, and soon other inventors and engineers added their own touches. John Peters, the designer and driving force behind famous backpack brand Manhattan Portage and the self-named John Peters New York, was one of those.

His contribution was using industrial-strength, yet lightweight, cordura nylon for the backpack material, and switched out the heavy, metal finishings for plastic closures and zippers.

The result of these modifications to the original heavy duty camping backpacks was a lightweight pack perfect for more every day use, especially for students. Thus, in the 1980s, the original John Peters New York school bags were born. 

Despite the plethora of poorly copied versions of John Peters New York bags all over the world, we are fiercely committed to keeping the same quality or better of John Peters’ original, outstanding bags. We are always seeking improvement, but ensuring that the university and school bags that we sell have the same prestigious quality they deserve from their history.

These days, you find backpacks of all shapes and sizes, with any number of gadgets and add-ons and extras. But at John Peters New York, you can find the best quality university and school bags with a superb, fashionable design. We use only Cordura Plus Nylon and top quality plastic closures and zippers.

Because of this, we like to say that when you shrug on your John Peters New York backpack, you’re carrying the past, present, and future with you. 

To find out more and get shopping, head over to!



Spring into the new year with John Peters!
Spring into the new year with John Peters!