Vermont Assistive Technology Program

Affordable Stylish Bags
Adaptable for Any-BODY

The adaptive clothing market, which is estimated to be worth some $490 billion by 2026 involves clothing and apparel that is designed to meet the needs of the disabled community.

The market of existing products is sterile, dour, overly medicalized and lacking the stylistic flair of mainstream products. The emphasis is always on functionality at the expense of style and individuality.

This January, one of the United States' leading bag and backpack brands JanSport entered the very limited adaptive fashion market when it launched its collection of highly accessible crossbody bags and backpacks aimed at consumers with disabilities.

The everyday observer may question why the need for an adaptive version of a relatively straightforward product needs to exist in the first place. After all, shouldn’t it be the easiest thing in the world to simply sling the shoulder straps of any old backpack onto the back of a wheelchair thus removing the need for a specialized product? The reason is simple – on account of our complex medical conditions, disabled folx tend to carry more gear around with them than non- disabled folx. This may include charging cords for medical equipment, extra clothing and assistive technology.


Resembling the iconic JanSport SuperBreak backpack, the Central Adaptive Backpack is designed to fit securely against a mobility device's backrest for better balance. The backpack features a shortened height and decreased depth to enable users to easily reach items at the bottom of the bag. A padded main body was created for easier opening, along with easy release buckles and finger loops for dexterity limitations.

Easy adjust push handle loops are located on the back of the backpack for customization for all mobility devices. Anchor straps fit a wide variety of chair types and sizes and secure the bottom of the bag to the frame or around the back of a mobility device with ease. The backpack also includes no dangle and hassle-free shoulder straps with finger loop adjustments, tuck away shoulder straps for alternative carry methods, dual water bottle pockets, a laptop sleeve with organization pockets.

Image Description: On the left, is a sketch of a manual wheelchair with the Central Adaptive Backpack attached to the back. Two loops secure the top of the backpack to the pushbar handles. The bottom of the backpack is secured with a strap around the backrest. This backpack is a typical size.

On the right side, is the same bag attached to a powerchair. The top of the backpack is secured with a loop that hooks around the base of the wheelchair headrest. The bottom of the backpack is secured with loops around the back of the armrest.


Geared for any adventure, the Central Adaptive Crossbody attaches to a variety of mobility devices and is equipped with a removable shoulder strap, easy release buckles and finger loops for dexterity limitations.

The bag features a structured front panel for ease of opening, a one-handed open/close and a “SaniStash “pocket for easy access to hand sanitizer. For versatility and added options, the Central Adaptive Accessory Bag includes tuck away adjustable loops and side attachment points for multiple carry and attachment methods.

Jansport Crossbody Bag described below.
Image Description: On the left is a sketch of a rollator walker. Attached to the front bar of the rollator is a black Jansport Crossbody bag. It is small and squarish. There is a front zipper. It attaches to the walker with two small loops at the top that are secured around the tubing.

On the right, the same bag is attached underneath the seat of a manual wheelchair. The straps are looped around the top of the leg rests, suspending it vertically beneath the seat. 

What I find amazing about the bags:

  1. Both bags are available in black, misty rose color, and tie-dyed themes. This allows you to really show your individual style!
  2. The actual function of the bag makes sense to somebody like me who is in a wheelchair and needs to access important things within their bag without struggling needlessly.
  3. During the development stage of the adaptable line, JanSport's adaptive collection was linked with disabled consumers and co-designed alongside the disability community in the United Kingdom. The start of the project to product launch took a whole three years as the company was keen to ensure it had fully got to grips with the market dynamics and needs of its customers.
The contents of this newsletter were submitted by our new Assistive Technology Access Specialist Joy Redington (they/them), who works within the Money Follows the Person program which helps folks transition from nursing home care to independent living. 

Contact the Vermont Assistive Technology Program by calling 1-800-750-6355 or by emailing For more information visit our website ( And if there is a topic that you'd like to see covered, please feel free to let us know!

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The Vermont Assistive Technology Program is part of the Vermont State Government’s Department of Disabilities, Aging, and Independent Living. The Vermont Assistive Technology Program partners with the HireAbility VT (formerly Division of Vocational Rehabilitation) as well as the University of Vermont’s Center on Disability and Community Inclusion to provide assistive technology services.
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Vermont Agency of Human Services, Department of Disabilities, Aging, and Independent Living
Center on Disability and Community Inclusion, The University of Vermont Education and Social Services College.
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Vermont Assistive Technology Program · 280 State Dr · N.O.B 1 North · Waterbury, VT 05671-1090 · USA

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