One Strap or Two: The Gradual Shift in Backpack Wearing As Determined by Time, Pop Culture, and Some Dude Named Tom Ferguson
Forrest Wickman has written a hilarious and surprisingly in-depth article on the literal shift in how people are wearing backpacks. When Did Two-Strapping Get Cooler Than One-Strapping? is an awesome exploration into how the notion of “cool” can change over time.
For me growing up, it was always about the one-strap method. Even when I was loaded down with books in high school and college, I’m pretty sure I always resorted to just the one-strap. I don’t think it was ever a conscious decision – it was just the un-stated way one went about carrying a backpack.
Taking an informal survey of ex-students across the country spanning 48 years (1965 – 2013), Wickman charts the dominance of one-strapping and its slow decline, as two-strapping took over circa 2000.
The article has a ton of great, quotable segments, like this one:
Beyond the surveys Wickman breaks down several movies, as to how they portray people who one-strap versus those that two-strap. A little after 2000, many of the movies no longer depict everyone one-strapping, and show that two-strapping is the norm. Those that one-strap do so to highlight a particular character trait (or flaw).
When I was reading this article, I was reminded of this great quotation from magician Teller:
It’s hard to imagine someone putting this much time and effort into a topic this silly, but I’m so glad Wickman did so. This article very much fits Teller’s sentiment about magic, and definitely explores this topic to a ridiculous and delightful depth.