Celebrating 25 Years with the Backpack of a Lifetime

As we mark the silver anniversary of our Deluxe Book Pack, we’re thrilled to know that some members of the 1989 “freshman class” are still getting regular use. Here’s the story of one such pack and the customer who has relied on it for 25 years and counting.

L.L.Bean Deluxe Book Pack in Royal 

Time for an upgrade

When he began his freshman year of college in Washington, DC, Ung C. decided it was time for a new backpack. He was ready for an upgrade from the small L.L.Bean pack he’d used in high school. When he saw an all-new, larger-capacity model in the Fall 1989 catalog, he hoped it would last him until senior year.

Little did he know he’d still be carrying his trusty L.L.Bean Deluxe Book Pack 25 years later.

Deluxe Book Packs 

Around the world and back again

In the years after graduation, Ung moved around a lot – and his backpack moved right along with him. It was a dependable travel companion everywhere he went: “in the Canary Islands of Spain, through a traumatic and dramatic breakup; in Madrid, navigating the crowded cafes of Chueca and Gran Via; in the heat of Andalucia in a small mountainside town; as my de facto grocery bag in Montmartre and Le Marais in Paris” and on countless other trips throughout Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas. It accompanied Ung on shopping trips to “the used clothing stores of Georgetown” as well as “haute designer boutiques of Manhattan, Bal Harbour and Paris…and felt at home in all settings.”

L.L.Bean catalog from Fall 1989

The Deluxe Book Pack first appeared in our Fall 1989 catalog.

Over the next two decades, Ung carried that same pack to and from homes in Atlanta, New York, Washington, DC, and Kentucky before finally settling in Florida. Even today, “I still use it to carry my laptop, my magazines, my gym gear and sometimes my tennis racquets as I ride my Vespa to the beach or the courts around Fort Lauderdale.”

Ung and his pack

Ung C. and his trusty green Deluxe Book Pack

Living on in semi-retirement

Twenty-five years will take its toll on even the toughest pack, and Ung admits it’s now starting to show signs of wear. So this year, he finally broke down and ordered a new L.L.Bean backpack – but he still breaks out the old green Deluxe now and then and says it will always hold a special place in his life.


“It has been with me for 25 years, and it has been, truly, all over the world. Given so much shared history, how could I give it up now?”


We trust Ung’s new backpack will serve him well for years to come ­– and we look forward to hearing more of his stories in 2029.

L.L.Bean Deluxe Book Packs

Do you have a story to tell about your L.L.Bean backpack? Share your story or let us know in the comments!



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