The Trapper Keeper, 1978

The big thing when I was in school was a notebook with the most pages, the most divisions, and college ruled.

Kids get really competitive about weird things.

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Wow. I haven’t thought about those in forever. I, like others, tried to use these to be a better student, but instead of being better at math, I drew Micronauts, monsters from Space 1999, or starwars/black hole mashup spaceships on the paper and kept those instead of the notes I should have been taking.

The Trapper was pretty keen, though. I remember it fondly.


i loved trappers, but yeah, i’m definitely part of the PeeChee generational window. HAD to be PeeChee folders, because you could kill time in class drawing on them.

It’s insane that they still don’t sell 80s-style Trapper Keepers with the plasticky feel and illustrations of unicorns and fast cars on grids of laser beams that extend to the horizon, and such.

Better yet, come out with a line of iPad cases in Trapper Keeper 80s style. YES.


Hm. I might get on that. For laptops and such?

this idea will make a million dollars. [edit: make sure you hire Lisa Frank to design them]

god, what a nostalgia bomb. I had one just for the 6th grade. It was ugly. even as an eleven-year-old, i thought it was ugly, but it was in the sale bin with all the other design abominations nobody else wanted, so my mom would buy it at that price. it also didn’t describe me very well since I hadn’t made the jump from Nickelodeon to MTV at that point. despite mine’s looks, the utility of them appealed to me, and it was something popular at my school during the short period in my life when popular stuff seemed desperately important to me. i managed to destroy it pretty quickly due to my MO of being harsh on all my gear and switched to normal pocket folders

i couldn’t actually remember what mine looked like other than it was ugly and purple, so I googled “purple trapper keeper” and sure enough, second image result. the internet is insane.


Reminds me of this scene from Perks of Being a Wallflower. youtube

Just imagine showing up to a meeting with your iPad in this sucker:


I think it’s byoo-ti-fulllll!

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Good God. 1985 wasn’t actually that hideous… was it?

Hmm. Yeah, I guess it was.

Don’t get me wrong. 1985 Donald would have paid good cash money for your Video Rock Trapper Keeper, and thought it looked perfectly badass.


The Squeeeee! I squeeeeed! That is MY green kitten Trapper Keeper from 3rd or 4th grade. My teenage son is rightly horrified.


This is such a great topic. I remember I had a Trapper Keeper and I badly wanted a TRON one, so I … made it myself. I taped a TRON promotional book cover of some kind over my TK.


A] they missed a perfect promotional opportunity not using TRON graphics
B] going by what little I know of you, i can totally see you doing that as a kid.
did the other kids notice? what was the reaction?

Aw yeah. Good times.


Man, Google Images takes me right back to seventh grade. I can smell the ditto ink from here.


My mod Mead notebook, circa early '70s (5th grade). It was padded and glossy.


Yessss I remember this one, and how the super-cool thing in the early 90’s was the psychedelic GCI graphics. I wonder if that was kind of a spin off of Mondo.

I was still in school in 1978, but I guess Trapper Keepers hadn’t been around long enough to become a “thing.” Or maybe more of a thing for younger kids.

But even if they were a thing . . . we were a “thrifty” family.

My dad was a school teacher. At the end of the year, the students in his school would empty their lockers. Dad would pick up the most intact-looking notebooks and binders and bring them home for us. The designs were really varied. Most would just have a few pages of notes, and some doodles about KISS, and stoner-kid paeans to cocaine and pot. Later I used these to collect notes about RPGs and designs for board games and computers games. I bet I still have a binder from those days in my collection of Traveller campaign stuff.

I guess if I’d been in high school later I’d have my choice of scribbled-in Trapper Keepers to bring to school.


So they are basically a mix between filofax and ring binder? Or am I missing something?

Over here, the big thing was “what kind of fountain pen” or “what kind of Randoseru”.

Tell me about it. I wouldn’t describe the attitude as “competitive” per se, but I was a left-hander, and my mother bought me a spiral notebook with the spirals on the right-hand side of the page. I got so much flack about it I finally just tore the pages out and used them as loose-leaf paper.

I thought being left-handed was a pretty cool thing, but after that I kept that belief to myself.