It’s coming up on 3 years since I posted a blog entry titled, Following the cold trail of the JanSport D series packs. It was a niche-subject musing that I hoped a couple of people might find interesting, if not even somewhat helpful. Since then I’ve been pleasantly surprised as the feedback from readers has far eclipsed my expectations. I still get the occasional visitor leaving a comment, although lately the spam bots seem to have found me, which is annoying as hell.

My personal collection of D series packs has held firm at five for several years: I have three JanSport D3’s and two D5’s. Of the D3 packs, I have one each in blue, tan, and burnt orange. I have a blue and a tan D5, and never intended to expand my collection beyond that. But OCD is a strange thing, and after all 5 packs were hung on the display wall in my garage it became clear that I needed one more pack. I needed a burnt orange D5.

I haven’t actively sought out such a pack, but I have, on occasion, searched the various online marketplaces hoping to find a good candidate. Months would pass between searches and those quests have always come up empty, until just recently when I stumbled upon an eBay auction for a burnt orange JanSport D5. As is the case with nearly all sellers, the beholder of this pack had no idea what model it was. It was just another vintage JanSport external frame backpack but I knew exactly what I was looking at.

The condition sounded favorable and the price would be right if nobody else bid on the pack. The only downside to this particular pack was that it featured the second generation (straight) hip bars instead of the original “D” shaped bars on packs from the early to mid-late 1970’s. All of my other packs have the first generation hip bars and, while I would have preferred those, I decided that it would actually be pretty cool to have one example of the second generation design. So I placed a bid and, surprisingly (or not), nobody else did. A week later the pack showed up and I was not the least bit disappointed.

She’s a beaut, Clark!

It appears to have had very little wear from actual use. The zippers all work smoothly and the ample leather patches are all in good condition. The exterior of the pack bag is quite clean overall with just a couple spots of dirt/staining. The waterproof coating on the inside of the bag is not peeling or tacky.

Shoulder straps and hip belt are all sound and supple and the frame has minimal scratches or scuffs. Like my other JanSport D series packs, this one is a fine specimen that has survived the past few decades nearly unscathed.

Second gen hip bars. Better or not, these shaved a few ounces off the previous design

I put the manufacture date at 1979 or perhaps 1980 (based on the hip bars). But that concludes the history lesson here—I delved deep into approximate production dating and history in my post from December 2020.

My current quiver of JanSport D5 packs
And the entire stableof JanSport D5’s and D3’s

I’m just happy to now have 3 of each model, in the same colors. It creates order and strikes a nice balance on the display wall. And my wife is relieved.