Those Diamond-Shaped Patches On Backpacks Actually Have a Purpose

Have you ever noticed a diamond-shaped patch on the back of a backpack and wondered what it is? It turns out that it’s not just for looks, but actually has a purpose. Called a “lash tab,” it’s a way to hang extra gear on backpacks. Before backpacks were used to carry school books, they were workhorses for the military in 1914, holding ammo, canteens, and other equipment. In 1922, a redesigned backpack was used by trappers who traveled across Alaska. The first zippered backpack came in 1938 and was carried through the mountains by hikers. That’s when the lash tab came into play, and it was meant to carry an ice ax. What a hiker or climber would attach depended on what type of adventure they were on — it could have been a water bottle, a climbing rope, almost anything. The squares are often made of leather because it’s less vulnerable to freezing than cloth. In today’s world, you can tie up your running shoes on it or carry along a pair of headphones. At least now you’ll know when you see those patches that they’re not merely decorative.