I just received an email from JanSport Customer Service (after I had sent them the pictures you see below). They still maintain that the subject backpack is a Cascade model. I'm not totally convinced, but have to accept their verdict unless someone here comes up with some clear photos that will prove JanSport wrong. If and when such evidence arrives, I will award that post as the best answer to this question...


I acquired a JanSport external frame backpack in the early 90's from a thrift store - it was used.

I recently hiked a few sections of the Colorado Trail and said backpack attracted lots of interest, since it was so old. I got several questions about it, but was unable to provide much information.

Here are some pics of my backpack.

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I've asked JanSport Customer Service about this. While they were very helpful, and even shipped a part I needed for the backpack, they've been unable to correctly identify the backpack. They guessed that it was a Cascade model, from the early 80's. They scanned a page from a 1983 JanSport catalog and sent it to me:

enter image description here

As you can clearly see, my backpack is not one of the three pictured on said scanned catalog page. Of the three backpacks pictured on said page, mine is closest in appearance to the one on the left, as that one has a straight upper-most crossbar. It is interesting to note that, of the two Cascade models depicted (the two left-most backpacks pictured on said catalog page), the one for the larger torso has a straight, vice curved, upper-most crossbar. One wonders if that would be true for my backpack, as well.

Can anyone provide the model name and year of this backpack?

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    Thats a very specific question and you asked the customer support already. I doubt anybody has more knowledge than the support of that brand. But who knows... ;) – Wills Sep 25 '17 at 5:30
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    A vendor on Etsy is selling this pack and dates it to 1979, but doesn't give a model name. My guess is that they mixed and matched packs and frames, so you'd have to identify both. – Tullochgorum Sep 25 '17 at 7:58
  • @ErikvanDoren I did some browsing. The D3 and D5 information I've been able to find indicates that they featured "hip hoops," which were frame extensions which allowed the pack to be stood upright, freestanding, on the ground. My pack does not have these... – Digger Sep 27 '17 at 19:24
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    In case a reader finds some of these comments to be confusing, let me state that I, when first posting this question, did not include pictures of my own backpack. Instead, I posted pics I found online of a backpack that was just like mine, but in much better condition. On October 20, 2017, I changed my mind and removed said online-found pics, replacing them with pics of my own backpack. Sorry for any confusion! – Digger Oct 22 '17 at 2:52
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    Er, I should say, I magnanimously acceded to the expertly crafted edits so generously contributed by @CharlieBrumbaugh... – Digger Oct 27 '17 at 18:44

Type Cascade (D) 1 from the second half of the 70ies. I bought mine (complete khaki) in 1980. The cascade (D) 2 had larger side pockets and a large square sized leather "badge" with the JS logo sewed on the lower bag. In 1980 I spent approx. 300, - Deutsche Mark in Germany for the Cascade 1 which was quite a lot at that time.

B.t.w. I found the same one as yours in much better shape today on a local "flea market" or 5 EUR. Any idea how to get spare parts? Especially the shoulder straps easily tore out.

  • Welcome! Thanks for your answer, and confirming the identification of that bag! I took your personal name and website out. We don't like to publish those things. Feel free to tell us all about yourself on your Profile page! – Sue Saddest Farewell TGO GL Jul 28 '19 at 22:02
  • FYI, I've been able to get some parts from JanSport Customer Service here in the States. I've found them to be quite helpful. Good luck! – Digger Jul 30 '19 at 15:17

Edit: It is a McKinley. The difference is the padded hip belt vs the frame extending to the side of the hips. The backpack in OPs picture features the padded hip belt.


Previous post: It is the D2 or McKinley. I can not spot a difference in the picture and description below. I think they revamped the pack at some point, newer images of the D2 show a slightly different version of the backpack.

  • I will contact JanSport and ask them for information about the McKinley backpack. My hunch is that you are correct! Will report back... – Digger Sep 27 '17 at 19:35
  • or a supreme or explorer or appalachian... the list grows – Erik vanDoren Sep 27 '17 at 20:12
  • @ErikvanDoren not an Appalachian - wrong side pockets. And I can't find a model of Explorer oder Supreme that looks even remotely like the backpack in OPs pictures. – Peter1807 Sep 28 '17 at 12:39
  • @Digger any updates? I am curious :) – Peter1807 Oct 19 '17 at 7:11
  • @Peter1807 Inspired by your question, I just re-queried JanSport Customer Service on this issue - they did not reply to the query I sent three weeks ago. So, still waiting. I've not yet seen anything, however, that convinces me that my backpack is NOT a McKinley model, however... – Digger Oct 19 '17 at 18:25

I know this is a late post but i just ran across it as I want to depart from my pack. This sure likes like my Cascade from late 1970's, so I side with Jansport support. I still have mine. My wife has a smaller version, which I believe was called the Scout. Purchased from REI.


In the absence of any overwhelming evidence to the contrary, I'm obligated to go with the last bit of information I was ab le to glean from the manufacturer:

Hello Digger,
Thank you for sending the pictures. I've had a couple of people here look at it and they are still saying it is a Cascade. However, the only way we can be 100% sure is if the pack is sent into our warranty center. If you would like to I can provide a prepaid label to have it sent in for identification.
Anna K.

I'm not gonna send it in, so there you are...wish I could credit this "solution" to JanSport...


I don't have a photo readily available but it looks like my wifes Cascade in design. They made a smaller frame size for women but unlike my D3 hers is like your pictured without any lashes straps on the bottom of the bag. I was always a challenge to secure you sleeping bag on there because of it. The only thing that makes me think it might be the McKinley is those 4 separate pouches on the side. Maybe because my wifes is smaller it only has 2 on one side and one on the other or just two total. I'll have to go check it up in the attic of my garage.

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