1980s Trapper Keeper: Gateway to Kitten Videos

As the 1980s dawned, kids started to demand more of their school supplies. Sure, we still had our spiral notebooks and basic straight-pocket folders, but we wanted more. Organization … folders with 3-ring holes … kittens! Enter the 1980s Trapper Keeper, a marvel of modern science that would forever change the way parents budgeted for back-to-school.

To set the 1980s Trapper Keeper apart from its predecessors, it came in a variety of colors. Red and yellow were popular choices due to their brightness. But the real appeal of the Trapper Keeper was that they promised to “keep” all your school supplies and work handy and organized.

Here are just a few of the features that made the Mead contraption so irresistible:

Velcro Fastener

The outer cover of the Trapper Keeper (more below) had a flap with a Velcro fastener. This meant that you could open and close “notebook” with ease, and you could also generate the satisfying and annoying sound whenever you wanted to.

3-Ring Clasp

Inside the wrap-around cover, the Trapper Keeper concealed the engine of the whole thing — a three-ring clasp you could use to keep your materials tightly organized.

Pencil Pouch

Every 1980s Trapper Keeper had a pencil pouch that looped on to one or more of the rings inside. This was great for students who were using it as a school supply, but it was also handy for anyone who wanted to keep their pens and pencils together.

Labeled Paper Dividers

The 1980s Trapper Keeper was often filled with loose-leaf paper (thank, 3-ring!), along with labeled paper dividers that could be used to section off the hunk of pulp into subjects or crushes, or whatever.

Branded Spiral Notebooks

Inside, Trapper Keeper sported a series of branded spiral notebooks, usually wiht college rule because you were serious about this stuff by then. Designed to be used as both note-taking devices and forbidden note repositories, the spirals snapped right into the three-ring clasp and were branded and designed, allowing you to color coordinate and hide your love of ponies inside the larger notebook if you so desired.

Branded Folders with Vertical Pockets

Also inside the wrap-around cover, the Trapper Keeper housed a series of branded folders, each featuring vertical, as opposed to the traditional horizontal, pockets. The ideas was to make accessing papers and other materials easy and quick, but it also encouraged jamming paper inside the dark recesses, turning assignments into scrap paper.

The folders also came in various colors and designs, allowing you to coordinate with …

Designer Wrap-Around Cover

This cover, fastened by Velcro (see above), held the whole thing together and was the real selling point of Trapper Keeper. I mean, who didn’t want to carry around a big honking notebook with pictures of puppies on it?

Well, if such a heartless existed, he could opt for one of a myriad other choices of design. Like …

Plain Solid Colors

The base model of the Trapper Keeper featured a one-color solid background on the cover, accented by the Trapper Keeper and racing stripes.

Available colors included blue, green, and a REALLY 1980s purple.

Sports Themes

Mead also offered up a series of sports-themed Trapper Keepers, each displaying dramatic Atari-like artwork featuring scenes from the game in question.

Among the entries here were:

  • Baseball
  • Football
  • Basketball
  • Hockey
  • Tennis
  • Soccer


Here’s where the puppies come in, as part of a series of animal-themed Trapper Keepers. Among the cuties:

  • Puppies
  • Kittens
  • Horses

Nature Scenes

Trapper Keeper also let you carry around photos of palm trees on the beach, snowy mountain slopes, a hot air balloon against a rural landscape below, and other scenes from nature.

80s Stuff

If none of the above floated your boat, you could go for Trapper Keepers featuring very 80s graphics, artwork, and photos — colorful geometric patterns, unicorns, rainbows, outer space were among the many generic but eye-catching choices available.

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