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Breaking Barriers: JanSport Launches Adaptive Line for People with Disabilities


In a world where people with disabilities are often left out of the fashion conversation, heritage backpack brand JanSport is breaking barriers with its new adaptive line of bags. 

The JanSport Adaptive Collection launched nationwide last month and features two new bags that are versatile, fashionable, and durable, specifically designed for people with limited mobility. 

During a conversation with Monica Rigali, Vice President, Global Brand, at JanSport, the brand’s mission for the past 50 years has been to create backpacks, bags and accessories that are increasingly more inclusive, while still preserving the classic appearance that consumers are familiar and fond of. 

“JanSport from day one has been a brand for everyone and everyone’s invited,” Rigali told RETHINK Retail. “You’ll see a JanSport backpack on the quarterback at school and you’ll see a JanSport backpack on a theater kid — everyone, we are a brand for everyone. And we started talking to the adaptive community about how we can service young people in wheelchairs better with a bag that truly adapts to their wheelchair, is easy to get into, and is actually made specifically for their wheelchair.”

The JanSport Adaptive Collection is the result of three years of thorough research, product testing, and consultation with the members of the disability community, working alongside Disability:IN, the premier organization for promoting disability inclusion and equality in the business world. 

According Rigali, JanSport utilized focus groups consisting of people with mobility-related disabilities, such as wheelchair users, supplied by Disability:IN in order to do product testing and gain an insight into the difficulties they face with bags available on the market. 

The adaptive community sought more bags with a traditional appearance, as opposed to many of the other options that have a medical grade look and feel. 

“When we worked with models who are in wheelchairs, [their desire to normalize adaptive products] is what we heard from them over and over,” Rigali revealed. “Our models told us like, ‘Hey, we go beyond the wheelchair. Let’s normalize this conversation.’ And hopefully by making something that actually is something that every other kid wears—and just happens to be fitted to a wheelchair—we can help normalize that conversation.

The JanSport Adaptive Collection includes two stylish, durable, and versatile products, such as the Central Adaptive Backpack. This backpack is designed to fit snugly against the backrest of a mobility device for improved balance, reminiscent of the classic JanSport SuperBreak backpack. 

Users can easily reach items at the bottom of the bag due to its shortened height and decreased depth. For easier opening, a padded main body was created, complete with easy release buckles and finger loops to accommodate dexterity limitations. 

Backpack customization for all mobility devices is made easy with adjustable push handle loops located on the back. Ease of use is provided with anchor straps, which are designed to fit a range of chair types and sizes and secure the bag at the bottom of the frame or around the back of a mobility device.  

The Central Adaptive Crossbody is the perfect companion for any adventure, as it can easily attach to a variety of mobility devices and comes with a removable shoulder strap, easy release buckles, and finger loops for those with dexterity limitations.  

The Adaptive Collection is available now on jansport.com and at select retailers nationwide. For more information, please visit jansport.com.