Co-Founder of Jansport Speaking Feb. 14 at Southeast


Photo of book by Skip Yowell

Skip Yowell, author of The Hippie Guide to Climbing the Corporate Ladder & Other Mountains and co-founder of JanSport, will speak at Southeast Missouri State University on Feb. 14.


Jan. 29, 2007 – The man behind the world’s most internationally recognized backpack brand, JanSport, will discuss his journey from small-town Kansas to adventure-junkie to the top of the outdoor industry Feb. 14 at Southeast Missouri State University.

Skip Yowell, vice president of global public relations at JanSport, is scheduled to speak at noon in the University Center Ballroom. During his presentation, Yowell will slow a slide show of his experiences in the outdoors, chronicling his voyages around the world. The event, which is sponsored by Southeast Bookstore and JanSport, is free and open to the public. The first 100 participants will receive a free T-shirt, said Jan Chisman, manager of Southeast Bookstore.

Following his presentation, Yowell will sign copies of his just published first book, The Hippie Guide to Climbing the Corporate Ladder & Other Mountains. Larry Burke, editor-in-chief of Outside Magazine, has said “Skip’s account of the founding of JanSport is full of honesty, humor, and enough anecdotes to stir a memory in almost anyone who has spent time outside.”

Yowell, along with two other colleagues, founded JanSport in 1967, while searching for the perfect hiking pack.  His passion for climbing and hiking turned into the number one selling day pack in the world. Yowell is also credited with creating the first dome tent, waist-suspension flexible frame pack, travel pack, and the panel-load daypack.

In an effort to share with the world his love for climbing and the outdoors, in 1971, Yowell and famed mountaineer Lou Whittaker began an annual celebration called the “Mount Rainier Climb” in the state of Washington. The climb was designed to familiarize JanSport dealers and suppliers with JanSport products and allow them to experience the joys of mountain climbing firsthand. It was a huge success and continues to be a part of JanSport’s many traditions, for more than 35 years.

Yowell currently serves on the board of the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) and the Big City Mountaineers. OIA is a trade organization that creates opportunities to promote the outdoors in a positive way, and Big City Mountaineers is a non-profit organization that encourages underprivileged youth to better their lives through nature’s magnificence.

Today, Yowell consults with JanSport International businesses in Europe, Asia and South America.  He travels the world giving presentations and slide shows on the history of JanSport which include expeditions and adventure travel to Tibet Everest, Kangchenjunga, Kilimanjaro and many other destinations around the globe.

Yowell lives in Pleasanton, Calif., with his wife Winnie.