Return of the Backpack
I got my backpack back from Jansport yesterday, and I must say that I am more than impressed with the quality of the repairs. In fact, I’d say that they went well above and beyond the repairs I sent it in for. In the letter that I included with the backpack when I sent it, the only repairs I mentioned were that it needed the main compartment zipper replaced, and I needed the straps replaced. The zipper had contracted the dreaded “zipper disease,” and the foam in the straps had compressed so much that it might as well not have been there anymore. (Provided, these problems had occurred after about eight years of continuous use, which I think is pretty damn good.) Not only did they fix these things well beyond my satisfaction, they also replaced the handle on the top of the bag, the zipper pull that had broken off the front pocket, and the fraying of the fabric on some of the inside seams of the bag. None of those things bothered me, but I am beyond pleased that their repair center apparently takes time to assess the returned bag for everything that needs fixing rather than just relying on what the customer tells them.
So, to get down to specifics, the zipper that they replaced the original with is a heavier-duty zipper than what was on the bag to begin with. I think that at some point in the last decade, they switched over to using these heftier zippers on all of their bags due to the propensity of the zippers like those on mine to get zipper disease. So, on one hand, the zippers don’t match anymore, but on the other hand, it’s a lot less likely I’m going to have this problem again. Also, the zipper pulls on the new zipper don’t have the spiffy ‘JS’ that the rest of my zippers have (and that the old zipper had), but again, I’d say that the minor aesthetics are a small price to pay for a fully-functional backpack. The zipper pull that they replaced on the front pocket, however, does match the old ones, and that is more important than the main compartment zipper pulls matching, as the one on the front is most visible. In addition, they tied new leather bits to the ends of the replaced pull and one of the pulls on the new zipper, so when it was returned to me, it looked more-or-less the way it would if I’d bought it new in the store (except mine has decorative patches on it :)).
I am also incredibly happy with the new straps. I honestly don’t remember the original straps being this nice. Again, I’m thinking that the straps have beein improved on Jansport bags in the decade since I bought mine. The foam is thicker and firmer than I remember the original straps being when my bag was new. The adjustment clips on the straps are different than the original ones as well — they have a more rounded profile. Again, likely a change/improvement in their bag construction. I also find the way that they replaced the straps to be interesting. I suppose that since they had to open up the top seam where the handle is to put in the new straps, they put in a new handle as well. The old one was just fine, in my opinion, though it was a little worn from having been used to hang my backpack from the latch on my locker in high school. What they did leave as original, however, were the lower mesh adjustment straps, which makes sense since there was nothing wrong with them, and they’d have had to take the whole bag apart just about to replace them. So their repair process is quality and efficient.
So, in short, I highly recommend Jansport’s warranty repair service for anyone who has a Jansport or Eastpak bag that needs to be fixed. Their turnaround is just about exactly what they say it is, the work is just about perfect, and it’s about as low-hassle as it gets. They don’t require receipts, product registration, proof-of-purchase…nothing. I am incredibly happy with it. I just can’t say that enough.