10 Best Eco Friendly Backpacks for Every Occasion

Written by • Last Updated March 2, 2021

Eco friendly backpacks are quickly becoming the go-to accessory for travelers, students, and commuters alike. Whether you’re nomading across Europe or hauling your laptop across campus, a sustainable backpack will carry your stuff in sustainable style.

I used to think that living sustainably meant a life of bland, minimalistic accessories. But that couldn’t be further from the truth!

After learning more about slow vs. fast fashion and researching ethical companies and manufacturing processes, I’ve discovered some awesome eco friendly backpack brands. No more carrying my things around in a decade-old canvas tote in the name of sustainability!

Buying a good, sturdy backpack may cost more than the average mass-market variety. But if there’s one accessory that’s worth a few extra bucks, it’s the one that hauls your important stuff around all the time.

All of these sustainable backpacks are designed to last, which means you’ll save money on replacement bags. Plus, you’ll stop more waste from going to the landfill.

Bottom line: investing in products from companies that use sustainable materials will save your wallet AND the planet a whole lot of resources.

P.S: All of the brands included in this post make fantastic products. So if you like the brand’s ethos but not my recommended backpack, it’s worth checking out their other options!

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RELATED: 11 Eco Friendly Travel Tips Anyone Can Use

Woman wearing yellow jacket and blue eco friendly backpack.

Best Eco Friendly Backpacks for Everyday Use

The great thing about eco friendly daypacks is their versatility. These backpacks work well as carry-on bags, hiking day bags, and  even school bags for teens or college students.

Fjällräven Re-Kånken Backpack

Fjällräven backpacks have taken the world by storm. They’re easily the most common brand I see during my travels, and it’s no surprise why–they are super stylish and sustainably made.

While all of Fjällräven’s backpacks are made using sustainably sourced materials, the Re-Kanken are their most eco friendly backpacks. That’s because they’re made entirely from upcycled materials!

Re-Kanken backpacks are constructed with polyester Vinylon F fabric, which is made from recycled plastic bottles. This means the bags are water-resistant without the need for a chemical coating.

All of Fjällräven’s backpacks are built to last, with ultra-strong stitching and tear-resistant fabrics.

If you’re looking for something small and environmentally friendly, buy one of their mini Kankens with rainbow straps. 1% of the proceeds goes towards protecting the endangered arctic fox.

ChicoBag Travel Pack

Isolated blue and back ChicoBag travel pack.

I absolutely love these little eco backpacks from ChicoBag. They are ideal for a day out hiking or cycling, or wandering around the city.

It can easily fit in everything you need for the day, including a jacket, water bottle and your favorite snacks. When you’re done using the backpack, it folds down into a built-in pocket to take up even less space. 

ChicoBag is dedicated to reducing plastic waste, and they fit as many recycled plastic bottles and other recycled materials as possible into all their products. These bags are made from 56% recycled materials, and when they reach the end of their life, you can send it back to ChicoBag to repurpose into something else.

Recover Biketube Backpack

Isolated black Recover Bike Tube eco backpack.

Upcycling is a key part of the zero waste movement. And if you are looking for eco friendly backpacks made from recycled materials, look no further than Recover’s bike tube backpacks.

The outside is made from upcycled bicycle tubes and Recycled PET aerospace mesh, while the lining is 100% recycled PET fabric.

Recover is dedicated to making sustainable backpacks and other products. They love repurposing materials otherwise destined for landfills and turning them into useful, durable products. On average, their t-shirts save 8 plastic bottles from landfills.

Recover also works closely with local communities in North Carolina (where they’re based), Haiti, and Guatemala to source sustainable materials and to provide support and employment opportunities.

Canopy Verde Backpack

If you think being ethical means giving up stylish bags, then you’ll be overjoyed to discover these chic eco friendly backpacks from Canopy Verde.

Created by Linda, a Brooklyn native, Canopy Verde is all about combining Linda’s knowledge of the fashion industry, eco friendly and sustainable practices, and her love of Danish design.

Their Greenpoint Vegan Backpack is the perfect embodiment of all these things. These eco backpacks are water resistant, made with sustainably sourced and certified organic materials, non-toxic dyes and, of course, are 100% cruelty free.

P.S: For those in the UK looking for a fashionable vegan leather backpack, I highly recommend Matt & Nats cruelty-free backpacks, which are lined with 100% recycled materials.

Save me for later!

Sustainable Backpacks for Travel

Jack Wolfskin Men’s Denali 75 Excursion Backpack

If you are in need of a gigantic backpack for your travels, you can’t go wrong with this bag from Jack Wolfskin.

Capable of carrying up to 75 liters (16 gallons), it’s ideal for long term travelers or trekkers.

Jack Wolfskin makes some of the best products for hardcore travel. In fact, all of their backpacks are bluesign certified, which means the materials have been sourced sustainably based on strict criteria.

Cotopaxi Allpa Del Día Travel Pack 35L

Cotopaxi’s Allpa Del Dia 35L eco bag is the perfect size for a weekend trip away (or even a week if you’re a light traveler).

I love that it packs like a suitcase but carries like a backpack. However, you can also carry it with the side handle if that’s easier.

The Del Dia bags are made from 100% repurposed nylon left over from other companies’ waste. They’re manufactured in the Philippines, where Cotopaxi ensures safe working conditions for all employees, as well as liveable wages.

Plus, whomever makes each bag has full creative control, which means they’re all one of a kind! And all of their materials are ethically sourced, of course.

Cotopaxi donates 1% of their profits annually to multiple humanitarian aid organizations worldwide.

Osprey Fairview/Farpoint Travel Backpack 

It’s honestly hard to imagine more sustainable travel backpacks than Osprey. While many brands emphasize their use of recycled materials, Osprey takes it a step further: repairing your packs until they literally can’t be salvaged.

Lately it seems like all my travel friends recommend them, and I was dubious of the hype at first. But now I wish I’d listened sooner!

Osprey’s backpacks are designed specifically for travelers. They come with so many extra pockets and features I didn’t even realize I wanted–or needed–until I had them.

The Fairview (women) and Farpoint (men) are designed specifically for men’s and women’s bodies, so they’re incredibly comfortable to wear. Each bag is available in multiple sizes and comes with a detachable front backpack.

Osprey backpacks are the crème de la crème of travel bags. They only use durable, sustainable materials that last, and wherever possible use recyclable and recycled materials in their packaging and designs.

Did I mention all of their bags are also vegan and cruelty-free?

I mentioned this earlier, but Osprey’s “All Mighty Guarantee” means they will repair any damages for life, until the bag is literally falling apart.

If they can’t repair it, they will sometimes replace it depending on the circumstances. Osprey also provides buckles, zippers, and other components so you can make small fixes at home yourself.

Eco Friendly Backpacks for Kids

Bungalow 360 Animal Print Backpack

Bungalow 360’s backpacks prove that you don’t need to sacrifice ethics to make cute and affordable accessories.

These mini-backpacks come with adjustable straps, so they work for kids and fun-loving adults alike. They even make matching sustainable wallets!

Since all of their prints are animal-themed, it should come as no surprise that this company only makes vegan products. Additionally, all their canvas products are made with natural, unbleached cotton, and printed with water-based ink.

Bungalow 360 works closely with animal sanctuaries and no-kill shelters, including funding solar power installations for these organizations.

Apple Park Animal Backpack

Isolated blue backpack with raccoon print on front.

Apple Park’s racoon backpack is honestly the cutest bag I’ve ever seen. I would have been psyched to wear this to school every day!

Adorableness aside, these sturdy bags are great for kids thanks to their water-resistant and easy-to-clean fabric.

They also have padded straps that won’t dig into their shoulders. Plus, they’re amazing for the environment–every bag saves 27 plastic bottles from landfills.

LEGO® Brick Blueprint Heritage Backpack

Finding out that LEGO® makes eco friendly backpacks out of recycled materials made my heart sing with nostalgia. I wish we had these when I was younger!

These backpacks are made using 100% rPET recycled polyester fabric from post-consumer water bottles, saving approximately 13 plastic bottles destined for landfills. Using these eco friendly materials requires 50% less energy, 20% less water to create than standard polyester, and even generates 60% less air pollution! 

Looking for more sustainably made products? Check out these posts:

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