Frequently Asked Questions


The mission of IVAR has always been to deliver “comfort and organization” via our patented design. Our founder, Ian Ivarson, observed how typical backpacks are basically “open sacks”, letting everything fall to a disorganized mess at the bottom with all the weight on your lower back. Realizing there was a better way to design a backpack, Ian developed what became the IVAR-LIFT Design — an internal structure made of foam and fabric that delivers ideal weight distribution, load balance, and compartmentalized organization. The IVAR-LIFT does not let everything sit on the bottom and on your lower back. Instead, your cargo is more evenly distributed, comfortable, and perfectly organized.

IVAR’s first backpack model began shipping in July 2006 from a warehouse office space in San Anselmo, California, just 20 minutes north of San Francisco in Marin County. Today, our warehouse is in Vacaville, California, and our primary office is in the Cow Hollow neighborhood of San Francisco. At one point over the years, the brand reached a distributional height of over 300 retail doors throughout the world. Today, as a specialty and independent brand, IVAR sells through a network of retailer partners and online.

We are a privately owned family company. We care about great product. Additionally, we’ve given back in a significant way. Since our founding, we’ve donated over 2,000 IVAR backpacks (over $120,000 in value) to in-need youths primarily in Africa.

Learn more on our Our Story page. Thank you for your interest.

IVAR is an everyday, urban travel backpack collection. Use an IVAR for urban commuting, travel, school, and business. However, IVAR isn’t just a backpack — it’s your answer to comfort and organization.

We are committed to quality and don’t make cheap backpacks. We use high quality polyurethane coated nylon fabrics, including 420 denier in our backpack’s main body and a “ballistic” 1680 denier on the bottom. Zipper performance is also important. All our backpacks are equipped with Japanese YKK brand zippers with an ultra durable (and large) #10 size zipper on all main compartments. Finally, our manufacturing standards are of the highest level in the industry.

View all our backpacks on our Shop page. Allow us to help you understand and compare on our Size Guide page.

Our 2019 IVAR Collection offers a simple selection.

First, every one of our backpacks is based on our patented IVAR-LIFT Design for weight distribution, comfort, and organization. They’re all manufactured under the same high-quality standards, and the best fabrics and materials.

Second, please view our Size Guide page. This will give you our backpack’s dimensions and other details. Ultimately, your choice will come down to your preferences regarding product size, amount of additional pockets, the price points and aesthetic design.

Giving back is part of our mission. Since 2006, we’ve given over 2,000 backpacks to in-need youths primarily in Africa. The value of our donated product exceeds $120,000. All donations are of high-quality IVAR production backpacks. The charities we’ve supported, both past and present, include:

  • Mike’s Bikes Africa Program

  • The Guardsmen of San Francisco

  • The Ritter Center (San Rafael, CA)

  • The San Pedro School (San Rafael, CA)

  • The Breast Cancer Emergency Fund, “This Old Bag” (San Francisco)

  • Ivarson USA LLC Charitable Giving (San Francisco)

Requesting a Donation

Our charitable giving is organized by a separate party that’s independent from the one managing IVAR and our website. We receive requests for backpack donations from time to time — and such requests are sincerely appreciated and respected. However, donation requests received via our Contact page do not reach those who organize IVAR’s charitable giving.

Shipping is free to USA destinations via Standard Ground service. For reliability, we primarily ship via UPS. See Shipping.

Returns are accepted within 14 days of receiving your order. See Returns.

Cleaning your backpack. Use a towel, soap, and warm water to wash your backpack. While we can’t recommend it, some customers have reported the successful washing of their backpacks in their clothes washer. We can’t recommend this for liability reasons and because one customer said their clothes washer “ripped” the shoulder strap off their backpack. Nonetheless, proceed at your own risk. If you use your clothes washer, empty the backpack completely, keep all pocket zippers open, and wash on cold. Do not dry in your dryer. Hang dry. Again, if you use your clothes washer to clean your backpack, proceed at your own risk.

We don’t repair backpacks. The cost of shipping the product back and forth, labor, and materials is too high. If your backpack has a simple tear, we suggest you locate a local luggage repair shop. This is the most economical option. Search Luggage Repair in Google and call the local results.

Please visit our Wholesale page for more information.