The surprisingly useful reason for the patch on your backpack

Whether it’s the 20-something favourite, Herschel, or the seemingly ubiquitous JanSport slung over students’ shoulders, many backpacks have a diamond shaped leather patch somewhere on the bag.

Photo via Instragram/JanSport
Photo via Instragram/JanSport

And turns out, that patch isn’t just for decoration.

It’s called a lash tab — or a pig snout — and it’s actually extremely handy at extending your bag beyond its carrying capacity. The original purpose was to string extra gear through the openings of the tab via a cord.

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If you’re a rugged type out on a hike, you could string along some extra equipment that didn’t fit in your bag, like water bottles, pots, flashlights and basically whatever else you needed to survive the outdoors. You can also use it to string your backpack up on a tree branch to protect if from bears and other nosy animals.

If you’re travelling, the tab is great for tying up an extra set of runners that you need to carry but don’t want a second bag for, or for stringing up a damp swimsuit so it can dry faster and not touch the clothes inside the pack. It’s also great place to put a luggage label in case it gets lost.

Or, if you listen to music on your commute to work, try wrapping your earphones in the tab for guaranteed non-tangled cords when you need them again!

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If your backpack doesn’t have a lash tab they’re easy enough to buy online — you can easily sew one onto your favourite bag if you’re looking for a bit of extra storage.

Who knew?

That being said, most people don’t actually use the lash tab for any functional purpose but rather enjoy the fact that it looks vintage-y and cool – but it’s good to know the option is there.

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