The modern backpack was invented by Dick Kelty in 1952. Kelty, who was an avid hiker, came up with the design as a more efficient and comfortable alternative to the military gear that was generally used for hiking at the time.
Kelty went on to further refine his invention by using increasingly lightweight materials in the construction of his backpacks and adding straps, padding and outer zippers. Kelty's backpacks gained in popularity during the 1970s when a renewed interest in outdoor activities such as hiking and mountain climbing created an increase in demand for Kelty's lightweight backpacks. In 2014, Dick Kelty's legacy lives on in a line of backpacks and hiking gear bearing his name.