10 Sustainable backpacks you will not want to put down
Looking for a new backpack that has a minimal impact on the environment? This list contains 5 ethically made backpacks that can be used for everyday use 5 backpacks made from recycled materials that are perfect for traveling!
What to look for when purchasing
a sustainable backpack?
The days where sustainable products where hard to find are over. It seems everyone – small and large brands – have started jumping on the sustainable bandwagon!
Good news, right? Yes and no. While more focus on the message of sustainability, use of recycled materials and ethical production are great, as a consumer it is important to be weary of greenwashing (when products are portrayed as being a lot more eco-friendly than they are in reality).
Before you press that “purchase now” button, have a browse through the mission statement of the brand and any additional information you can find on the materials that are used.
Be on the lookout for the following information to check if the workplace where the products are produced is ethical:
- Where is the product produced?
- Do they mention transparency of the production location
- Ethical Labour Certifications ex: SA8000; WRAP; Fairtrade; B Corp; Fair Wear Foundation
Be on the lookout for following information to ensure the product is produced sustainable:
- Certifications for the use of organic materials: Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), Oeko-tex
- Certifications for environmental health and safety: Bluesign®
- Do they mention what their packaging is made from?
- Is there any mention of which materials are used to produce the product (e.g. x% recycled materials)?
Top 10 eco-friendly backpacks
Sustainable backpacks for everyday use
Reason to Purchase | Sustainable & recycled materials , part of Sustainable Apparel Coalition & Fair Labor Association, climate-compensation
Price Range | $129
Fjällräven is a sustainable outdoors brand that is trusted by conscious travellers worldwide. The brand uses sustainable materials where possible, and invests in climate compensation to offset their footprint.
The Kånken is one of the brands most iconic designs, dating back to 1978 and still much loved! Fjällraven has reissued the model, this time around more sustainable than the original one: Made from wood-based cellulosic fabric called Pine Weave and using up to 60% less water and 40% less energy in the production process. The newer model goes by the name Tree-Kånken.
The perfect companion for a day hike or a shopping outing in town.
Purchase your Tree Kånken
Nae Vegan Backpack
Reason to Purchase | Ethically produced in Europe (Portugal), Recycled, sustainable & vegan materials
Price Range | $98 – $165
Nae shoes an apparel is designed and produced in certified factories in Portugal. The company does not use any animal products in the materials used for their products. Their backpack line is made with sustainably sourced or recycled materials.
Products are shipped from Portugal in eco-friendly packaging.
Perfect to be used as an everyday backpack.
Purchase your Nae
Matt & Nat Vegan Backpack
Reason to Purchase | Recycled & sustainable material, Ethical production
Price Range | $110 – $180
Matt & Nate is a Canadian based brand committed to using sustainable materials to create timeless pieces. Their products are made with vegan leather and using 100% recycled plastic bottles for lining.
Products are produced in audited factories, one of which currently holds the SA8000 standard and the aim is to expand this to every single factory.
Matt & Nate is perfect for a trip to the city!
Purchase your Matt & Nat
Pinqponq Recycled Backpack
Reason to Purchase | Member of Fair Wear Foundation, bluesign® partner, recycled materials
Price Range | $90 – $190
Pinqponq is a German brand committed to both sustainable and ethical manufacturing and supply chain. Their products are made with 100% recycled PET materials in audited factories in Vietnam.
The company produces products that have a timeless and minimalist design. Perfect to use as a stylish bag for a city trip.
Purchase your Pingpong
Grünbag recycled backpack
Reason to Purchase | Upcycling & use of recycled materials, zero-waste approach, ethical production in Europe, eco-friendly packaging
Price Range | $140 -$210
GRÜNBAG has a zero-waste policy when it comes to their production, using recycled products or products that would otherwise go to waste. Their backpacks are spacious (come in two sizes 18L and 20L) and best of all, have a lot of pockets to store your items in!
Perfect for a day hike or to use as a daypack while traveling.
Purchase your GRÜNBAG
Sustainable backpacks for travel
Reason to Purchase | Certified B Corp, recycled & sustainable materials, fair trade, bluesign® approved (certain models), Forest Stewardship Council
Price Range | $65 – $ 350
Patagonia has a host of outdoor materials, with a large section dedicated to (sustainable) backpacks. Backpacks come in all shapes and sizes as well as a range of colors.
Patagonia gives 1% of sales to environmental non-profits. The company uses 90% recycled materials, 100% traceable down and 100% organic cotton to produced their range of outdoor gear. Products are produced in ethical factories that pay a fair wage to their workers.
Perfect for outdoor activities or as a daypack while traveling.
Purchase your Patagonia.
Reason to Purchase | Ethically made in Germany, recycled materials, advocating sustainability also to third parties (through courses), eco-friendly packaging; bluesign® system
Price Range | $120 – $220
Vaude produces a range of sustainable backpacks that are great for both outdoor activities and extensive backpacking. Products are made in Germany with sustainable, recycled and natural materials after which they are shipped in eco-friendly packaging.
Vaude has recently launched an online academy for sustainable management where they share a host of useful information about the environment and their steps towards becoming a more carbon neutral company.
Perfect as a hiking pack or for other outdoor activities.
Purchase your Vaude
Reason to Purchase | Recycled materials, carbon neutral, ethical production, bluesign®-certified manufacturers
Price Range | $120 – $250
GROUNDTRUTH backpacks are made with 100% recycled plastic removing a reported 120 plastic bottles per backpack from the environment. The company is 100% Carbon neutral along every part of their supply chain.
Products are made with bluesign®-certified and Global Recycled Standard manufacturers which ensure the highest sustainable and ethical production process. The end product is packaged in 100% biodegradable cassava bags.
The RIKR-range consists of a 24 L eco-friendly backpack, a technical backpack and a sustainable camera bag. Available in one color – black.
Purchase your GROUNDTRUTH
Reason to Purchase | Recycled materials, eco-friendly packaging, gives back
Price Range | $180 – $ 295
Pakt. has a range of backpacks made from recycled materials (recycled PET plastic). The design is sleek and minimalist and they consciously carry a small line of products that can be used for a variety of different uses.
Products are shipped in eco-friendly packaging (plastic free). The company has set up a separate organisation (Seahive) dedicated to fighting environmentally harmful plastic packaging, helping others to eliminate it from their supply chain.
The Pakt. backpack comes in two colors in 30L size and is perfect for the eco-conscious traveller that travels light.
Purchase your Pakt.
Reason to Purchase | Sustainable & recycled materials, certified B Corp, carbon neutral + carbon offset, gives back (planting trees)
Price Range | $78 -$128
Tentree is a Canadian outdoor brand known to use 100% REPREVE Recycled Polyester for their backpacks. For every product purchased Tentree plants 10 trees in companies with a damaged biodiversity.
The company has a very transparent policy when it comes to its labour force having a host of certificates: WRAP, BSCI, SA8000, Fair Trade, and/or Fair Wear Foundation. Tentree is climate neutral and even goes a step further to carbon offset providing their customers with a host of initiatives to invest in.
Perfect to use while hiking (outdoor).
Purchase your Tentree