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If you’re on the hunt for your next sustainable backpack, you’ll have high expectations. Ideally, you’ll want it to:
- Have enough room for all of your essentials
- Be durable enough to last more than six months
- Not hurt people or the planet during the production process
It’s easy to find cheap, poorly made backpacks from brands that aren’t investing in sustainability. Unfortunately, that’s not what you’re looking for.
That’s why we put this guide together. We’ll show you some of our favorite eco-friendly backpack brands that are using sustainable materials, ethical production methods, and a range of innovative eco-friendly practices.
|Quick Summary: Best Sustainable Backpacks
|Best for backpackers: Tropicfeel Shell
Best for durability: Patagonia
Best for luxury: Troubadour
Best for school: Terra Thread
Best canvas backpack: Bearmade
Best recycled backpack: Tropicfeel Nest
To help you choose, we’ve added some key details at the start of each section, with details on the brand’s sustainability practices, their bag sizing options in Liters, who they’re best for, and pricing guides.
Let’s jump right in.
Our Eco Friendly and Sustainable Backpack Picks
Sustainability: Recycled packaging, Bluesign Certified supply chain, and transparency into every step of the production process, Climate Neutral Certified partner.
Size options: 20L to 40L
Best for: Backpackers and one-bag travel
Pricing: $49 to $249
Tropicfeel are a cult travel brand who have launched several wildly successful Kickstarter campaigns for their range of travel products. Their most recent product range is travel backpacks.
They offer smaller and larger packs, with a focus on versatility. Their Shell Backpack system comes with multiple packing cubes, and even an expandable wardrobe insert that you can use to pack all of your clothes. It’s ideal for backpackers or anyone looking to travel using a single bag.
The backpack can expand from a 22L day pack into a larger 40L pack when you take advantage of the extendable pockets.
We’ve tested the Shell Backpack and can thoroughly recommend it from a size and quality perspective.
They also offer a smaller, waterproof backpacks, which are ideal for a day trip or shorter adventure.
The brand only works with bluesign certified suppliers, incorporates recycled materials like recycled spandex, and regenerated nylon. As well as that, they’ve partnered with Climate Neutral to offset all of their carbon emissions.
Sustainability: Donate 1% of profits to nature conversation projects, Certified B Corp, support climate action groups, use a variety of innovative sustainable materials
Size options: 18L to 55L
Best for: Durable day packs and technical backpacks
Pricing: $79 to $179
Patagonia doesn’t need much introducing. If you’re looking for a sustainable bag that’s durable, robust, and looks good, it’s hard to go wrong with Patagonia backpacks.
The brand offers a range of eco-friendly packs ideal for a short day out or with enough room for a longer trip away.
The bags use materials like 100% recycled polyester, 100% recycled nylon, all of which come from bluesign certified factories.
Their rucksacks always have multiple pockets, often including a laptop slot, and outside pockets to easily access your essentials.
Sustainability: Seahive partner, fabric from recycled single-use plastics, Climate Neutral certified
Size options: 30L
Best for: Minimalist travel backpacks
Pakt make high-quality backpacks that are perfect if you’re looking for a large and versatile travel backpack but with a minimalist, modern look.
Pakt is working to eliminate single use plastic from their supply chain, and have partnered with Seahive, an organization helping companies replace plastic packaging with sustainable alternatives.
The backpacks and duffels come with a lifetime guarantee, so no need to worry if something goes wrong.
The classic Pakt Travel Backpack is 30L, giving you enough room to pack most of your essentials. There’s a range of compartments both internally and externally, and the outer material is waterproof, made from rPET (recycled polyethylene terephthalate). The backpacks are carry-on approved, so no need to worry about having to check them into the hold when you fly.
Sustainability: Recycled nylon, recycled plastic, and natural rubber. Trees planet in the Amazon through every purchase. B Corp Certified.
Size options: 25L
Best for: Storing your laptop
Meet the Javy Ju “JJ” backpack, the latest offering from sustainable sneakers brand Cariuma. The brand has its roots in Brazil, and Javy Ju represents the word for Good Day in Tupi-Guarani, the Indigenous Brazilian language.
The JJ rucksack is made entirely from recycled and natural materials, including a recycled nylon outer, which reduced GHG emissions by 92% compared to virgin nylon.
The JJ recycled backpack features a laptop sleeve to fit any laptop between 13-17”, a reusable water bottle sleeve, and a supportive chest strap.
Currently, the JJ comes in three cool colors. Plus, Cariuma will plant one tree for every backpack sold as part of its reforestation initiative.
Read our full guide to Cariuma’s sustainability here.
Sustainability: Sustainable leather sourcing, use recycled plastics, recycled packaging, lifetime repairs to keep products out of landfill
Size options: 10L – 34L
Best for: Everyday city backpack
Pricing: $195 – $745
Troubadour makes stylish backpacks and rucksacks for men and women. These packs are minimalist, and stylish.
Despite the focus on aesthetics, there’s no compromise when it comes to performance. Troubadour’s backpacks use vegetable-tanned waterproof leathers, have robust and concealed zips, and incorporate multiple compartments for laptops, water bottles, books, and electronics.
The leather used is a byproduct of the farming industry, and other fabrics, including vegan leather, are made from recycled plastics.
There’s a variety of size options, and if you’re looking for a luxury but sustainable backpack that will last years, it’s hard to go wrong with Troubadour.
6. Terra Thread
Sustainability: B Corp, meal donating program, GOTS Certified organic cotton, Fair Trade certified production, carbon offset initiative
Size options: 8.5L to 15L
Best for: School and everyday usage
Pricing: $55 – $65
Terra Thread keeps things simple: two sizes of backpack in a range of vibrant colors designed for school, work, and everyday use.
The brand was started by a father-daughter duo, and today, Terra Thread is a Certified B Corp (under the parent company name, Gallant International), partners with Feeding America to help provide meals for people in need, and uses a range of sustainable materials.
We’ve tested the brand here, and love the quality of their bags.
The cotton these backpacks are made from is organic and GOTS certified, and completely carbon neutral as Terra Thread offset all emissions created.
The bags are Fairtrade Certified and vegan.
Overall, these bags are a perfect option if you’re looking for a durable, classic backpack that has a positive impact on the planet.
Sustainability: 100% vegan, sustainable and recycled materials, lifetime guarantee, ethical supply chain, Certified B Corp
Size options: 9L to 25L
Best for: Running errands or as a small cabin bag
Pricing: $78 to $98
The brand also removes one pound of ocean and waterway trash for every product purchased, which is an excellent initiative.
Their backpacks are made with almost all recycled materials, incorporating recycled plastic bottles and recycled nylon. There’s a range of extra straps for optimal support, and more than enough room inside the backpacks for all of your essentials, like a laptop or water bottle.
We also love that the bags come with a lifetime guarantee to avoid you needing to throw an old bag out when it could be fixed and re-used by you, or someone else in need.
Finally, it’s great to see that United By Blue recognize the importance of avoiding greenwashing, and they do this by publishing a detailed Impact Report every year.
8. Lo & Sons
Sustainability: Over 50% usage of eco-friendly materials, including recycled polyester fabric, organic cotton canvas. All leather is from a gold-rated status tannery.
Size options: 10.8L to 35.5L
Best for: Sustainable luxury backpacks
Pricing: $238 to $658
Lo & Sons is an Asian-American owned family business that was founded after Helen Lo couldn’t find any sustainable travel bags. She convinced her two sons to help her on the journey, and the rest is history.
They create a range of men’s and women’s sustainable backpacks in a variety of sizes, from 10.8 Liters to larger, but still compact 35.5 Liters. In terms of colors, you can choose from a range of bold but simple options that all look great.
Each one has a sleek, minimalist look, but doesn’t compromise on functionality. Most of the bags include a padded laptop sleeve, a range of small and large pockets, and most are waterproof.
They offer backpacks made from a variety of materials, including leather.
They’re on the more expensive side when it comes to pricing, but, the quality is second to none.
Size options: 12L to 42L
Best for: Bright vibrant colors and unique designs
Pricing: $75 to $200
Cotopaxi is a sustainable brand making vibrant, unique, and durable packbacks from eco friendly materials.
What makes them eco friendly? Well, Cotopaxi take leftover fabric from other companies’ production runs. Then, they turn them into one-of-a-kind, high-performance backpacks.
You can choose from small day packs to larger, 42L backpacks that will hold enough for a longer campaign trip or weekend away.
Cotopaxi is a Certified B Corp, and is fully transparent about which factories they use, even sharing the code of conduct they use to vet their factory partners so you can see if it aligns with your values for an ethical brand.
Sustainability: Ban on harmful chemicals, recycled and sustainable materials
Size options: 1.5L – 100L
Best for: Everyday backpacks for college or errands
Pricing: $30 – $425
Fjällräven are well-known for their Kanken backpack, but did you know their backpacks are eco-friendly?
The brand has a strict ban on harmful chemicals, and stick to using materials like recycled wool, TENCEL, organic hemp, and recycled polyester.
You’ll probably already recognize their iconic Kånken, which they’ve been improving since 1978, but they also offer a range of other smaller and larger backpacks for trekking, mountaineering, and general day-to-day use, ranging from 1.5 Liter hip bags to 100 Liter mountaineering backpacks.
Sustainability: Recycled backpacks from upcycled cement and feed bags
Size options: One size
Best for: Running errands, day trips, and standing out in a crowd
Pricing: $48 – $60
TORRAIN’s bags are made from upcycled feed, rice, malt, and cement bags that would otherwise be thrown to landfill. But, unlike other brands, TORRAIN’s designs don’t shy away from the origin of the materials. They lean into them, sticking with the original designs, cutting them into highly unique, standout bags.
The bags are assembled by Cambodian artisans, with a small selection being made in Portland.
For every purchase, $1 is donated to supporting sustainable initiatives and communities worldwide.
They stock a range of backpacks and sling bags (as well as wallets), which all have interior and exterior pockets to keep your valuables safe on the go.
We’re a big fan of both the concept behind the brand, and the designs.
Sustainability: Materials from eco-friendly sources including GOTS organic cotton and hemp. 20 Trees Planted for every product purchased+ 420 CO2e offset.
Size options: mini, medium 13-15L and large 18-23L
Best for: Crisp autumn hikes in the countryside, and/or communting
Bearmade hand-makes its robust eco-friendly, waterproof canvas backpacks in the UK from environmentally conscious materials such as GOTS organic cotton and hemp.
Their Gouthwaite backpack is perfect for taking on countryside strolls or commuting to the office.
To keep your gear safe and secure, this pack features a cool Cobra buckle – which is one of the strongest in the world.
Bearmade’s bags are built to last, and a lifetime guarantee covers each product.
Wrapping Up: Best Sustainable Backpacks
We hope you’ve found the perfect sustainable backpack from our list. Let us know your feedback in the comments below