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history Parachute backpack

The original parachute backpacks were developed at the last turn of the century – but it is especially a model used by the Czechoslovakian army in the 1970s that has been the source of inspiration for contemporary designs. Like most parachute bags, it featured a roomy main compartment and long adjustable webbing straps on the sides to ensure a steady fit close to the body.

history Parachute backpack

History Parachute backpack

Although parachutes can be traced back to the 15th century, their modern versions – designed for jumping from a modern aircraft – were developed for military use at the last turn of the century. Great progress was made with the introduction of the first specially designed parachute backpack, which freed the parachutist’s hands and allowed a quick release of the equipment.


The distinguishing feature of the original parachute backpack was its custom fit. Long, adjustable webbing straps at the shoulders ensured a steady fit close to the body. Similarly, adjustable straps were attached to the front and sides of the backpack to keep the contents tightly secured. Commonly made from durable olive-drab cotton canvas, parachute backpacks evolved continuously – and with local variations – during the 20th century, but the adjustability was always recognised as a core functional value.


A model that inspired many contemporary backpack designs is the 1970s’ iteration used by the Czechoslovakian army. It featured a roomy main compartment and two smaller external pockets, all outfitted with a buckled strap. Pairs of webbing loops were sewn onto the sides to guide additional belts horizontally across the body of the backpack.