What I Didn’t Buy – Trapper Nelson Indian Board Backpack

As a collector of women’s sportswear, I’ve been very tempted to veer into the vintage sports equipment world.  A canvas golf bag with a few hickory shaft clubs would look great with that vintage golfing frock, wouldn’t it?  Or how about a nice pair of ice skates to go with the 1940s skating dress?

Thankfully, common sense continues to prevail here.  As of yet the only real equipment pieces I have are a pair of 1940s roller skates that were a gift, and my own 1970s tennis racket.

But I did love seeing this vintage backpack.  I know absolutely nothing about it, but I did find this old blog post in which a lot of people sang the praises of the Trapper Nelson.   Hopefully someone will stumble by with some  information.

According to the seller’s tag, this Pioneer Brand Trapper Nelson Indian Pack Board by the Jones Tent and Awning Company of Vancouver, dates from the 1920s.  Since this is a #3, it is possibly newer than that, as these were made for a very long time.    It was priced at a healthy $125, and I have no idea if that is a good or a bad price.  I do know that old canvas bags are currently in vogue, due partly to exposure in certain blogs that love that heritage, “authentic” look.

And speaking of which, in the past year I’ve noticed that flea market and antique booths are getting darker.  I mean that literally, as the omnipresent white painted shabby look seems to be waning.  Considering that Shabby Chic by Rachel Ashwell was published in 1996, and by that time the look was already quite popular, I’d say it’s time to move on.  But what the heck will happen to all that white painted furniture?



Filed under Camping and Hiking, I Didn't Buy...

16 responses to “What I Didn’t Buy – Trapper Nelson Indian Board Backpack

  1. I’d love to see the 1940s roller skates.
    Also, happy new year — looking forward to another year of your fashion blogging, it’s addictive!


  2. neat pack! I too wonder what will happen to the countless white shabby chic booths – I saw three in one small town over Christmas!


  3. Pingback: Hendersonville, NC Vintage Shopping | The Vintage Traveler

  4. Backpack Brands

    A very vintage backpack. It’s very nice to see a kind of backpack that was from a long time ago.


  5. Patte J.

    I have a Trapper Nelson Indian Pack Board #2. How old do you think it is? I also have a John Deere Weathervane that is very old. Woud like to sell both.


  6. Tony Broscomb

    I have a collection of these backpacks (Trager, Jones Tent & Awning and Edward Lipsett Co.) and have published a booklet about the history of Jones Tent and Awning. I am currently working on a third edition.


  7. Gary Tupper

    The number refers to size. A number 3 is larger than the #2.


  8. I appreciate all the additional information. So, was there a tiny #1 and a giant-sized #4?


    • Johnson Mapple

      No, they made neither but if they had, a #1 would have been a compact or glasses case and the #4 a women’s purse. :)
      P.S. Johnson and Tony are one and the same.


  9. Tony Broscomb

    Correction: I have just acquired a canvas “skin” that lashes around the wooden frame of a Jones Tent & Awning pack board. It is smaller than that of a #2 so has to be a #1. By estimating the size of a complete pack, I believe it was sized for children.


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