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What is the purpose of these rhombus patches on backpacks?

Posted January 7, 2019

Have you ever noticed that backpacks usually have this rhombus-shaped patch with two elongated slits in them? It may look like just a small design detail with no particular function, but it is actually there for a reason. Furthermore, it is not entirely new, but its function has nothing to do with your headphones or other electronics.

Have you ever noticed these rhombus-shaped patches on backpacks? Image credit:

These patches are usually sewn onto the outer exterior surface of the backpack, but sometimes you can see them on shoulder straps as well. And they are definitely not new at all. In fact, modern backpacks have them to enhance their retro-inspired look. These rhombuses were particularly popular in the middle of the previous century, but you can find something similar as far back as 19th century. Of course, back in the day they were made from natural leather, but nowadays faux leather is used or some kind of thermoplastics. These materials are cheaper and do not require any care. They are also waterproof straight from the factory.

Usually these patches are situated in the middle of the rear surface of the backpack. Image credit:

These patches were once created as an additional attachment point for various equipment and objects. Of course, the most important items were secured with straps and carabiners, but some lighter ones could be tied down to that little leather patch. Despite its appearance, it is actually relatively strong. That is also why it is a rhombus and not a square – it is more difficult to tear off a rhombus by pulling down as there is more seam in vertical direction. But, of course, this little patch was designed for lighter loads. Like what?

For example, if you went camping, you could keep your water bottle tied down to it. Or your binoculars if you went birding. Because these patches were on the outside of the backpack, they were very useful for drying some items, such as shoes – by staying outside they dried in the sun while also not moistening your other belongings. With time, some equipment was specifically designed with these patches in mind. For example, some walkie-talkies actually fit them very well. You can also fit an exterior antenna to it or even a solar panel.

These slots are very useful for tying wet shoes or clothing when hiking – they dry quicker. Image credit:

However, nowadays these patches are more of a nod to the backpacks of the past. They were definitely not as functional as they once were and that is the reason why most people don’t even know their purpose. On the other hand, no one is preventing you from using them. Various backpacks, such as „Augur“ backpack for men, have such patch right in the middle. Meanwhile others, like the smaller „Couple“ backpack, have it in the bottom corner.

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