An eco-friendly backpack is one of the 10 must-have eco-friendly travel products for anyone seeking greener and more sustainable adventures.
Unlike conventional backpacks made with polyester from petroleum, eco-friendly backpacks are made using materials that have less negative impact on the planet.
Furthermore, eco-friendly backpacks are specially designed to last, reducing consumption of natural resources and minimizing wastes in landfills.
But out of the hundreds of advertised eco-friendly backpacks today, which one should you get?
Below are 11 of the best eco-friendly backpack brands based on overall quality, material sustainability, and average feedback from eco-conscious backpackers.
Let’s check them out.
1. Terra Thread Sustainable Backpacks
- Made with heavy-duty, organic cotton canvas
- GOTS and Fair Trade Certified backpacks
- Lead-free and plastic-packaging free
- Terra Thread helps fund social and environmental projects
Advertised as the best backpacks for the people and the planet…
Terra Thread eco-friendly backpacks are made using certified Fairtrade organic cotton.
They are heavy-duty and come in many vibrant colors as well as limited edition textile designs.
Terra Thread backpacks are also produced in a certified Fair Trade factory that imposes the highest standards on safety and health, the advancement of people, and the protection of the environment.
The company’s organic cotton is also GOTS certified.
GOTS or the Global Organic Textile Standard is a recognized global entity that certifies fabrics proven to be at least 70% organic and meets strict social and environmental standards.
But that’s not all!
Terra Thread is also a Certified B Corp and supports various projects in renewable energy and reforestation.
They also help movements that reduce carbon emissions and meal programs providing nutritious food to children, families, and seniors.
All Terra Thread accessories, including zippers, are lead-free.
Their products are also plastic packaging free.
2. Solgaard Lifepack Backpack
- Made from recycled ocean plastic trash
- Patented anti-theft lock with coil design
- Features a front pouch for charging solar power banks
- CNET’s best laptop backpack for 2019-2021
Solgaard’s Lifepack is made with Shore-Tex, the company’s very own fabric made from recycled ocean plastic.
But what makes this eco-friendly backpack interesting is it can collect solar energy while you’re out and about.
Each of Solgaard’s Lifepack comes with a Solarbank, a charger with solar power.
The Solarbank automatically charges in the sunlight, enabling you to collect and store energy so you can charge your phone and other devices later.
Besides storing solar energy, this eco-friendly backpack is also equipped with a patented anti-theft integrated and retractable cable lock.
This way, you can keep both your bag and its contents completely safe.
Moreover, Solgaard’s Lifepack has four secret passport/card pockets, drop-proof laptop storage, plush shoulder straps, and a water-resistant bottom section.
Solgaard’s goal is to help cut ocean plastic trash in half by 2025.
The company partnered with groups in The Philippines, Indonesia, and China, creating jobs for locals to pull the plastic trash out of the ocean.
The collected plastic trash is then sorted and recycled into valuable goods, such as eco-friendly backpacks.
And for every item Solgaard sold, they pledge to remove 229 ocean-bound plastic bottles.
3. JEM & BEA Eco-Friendly Backpacks for Kids
- Made using 100% ECONYL fabric
- Features chunky nylon zippers and adjustable shoulder straps
- It comes with non-toxic, water-repellent lining
- Durable and comfortable backpacks for kids
JEM & BEA’s eco-friendly backpacks for kids are made using 100% ECONYL regenerated nylon fabric.
ECONYL is a synthetic fabric derived from waste materials such as industrial plastic, nylon, and discarded fishing nets from the oceans.
ECONYL is also produced in a closed-loop system which uses less water and creates less waste than traditional nylon production methods.
JEM & BEA’s Econyl backpacks are durable, stylish, and comfortable to wear.
They also have chunky nylon zippers that are easy for little fingers to grip.
Furthermore, they come equipped with non-toxic water-repellent lining for easy cleaning and maintenance. (you know how rowdy kids can get)
No doubt, JEM & BEA’s kids’ eco-friendly backpacks are your child’s perfect travel buddy for school and getaways.
4. United By Blue Sustainable Backpacks
- Backpacks made using recycled polyester from recycled plastic bottles
- 100% vegan, water-resistant, and stain-resistant
- Made in GOTS-certified factories and facilities
- Zero-plastic policy packaging and shipping
United by Blue is committed to creating high-quality products using only sustainable materials that are environmentally and ethically sourced.
United by Blue products are also made in GOTS-certified factories.
The company’s vegan, eco-friendly backpacks are made using recycled polyester, one of today’s most eco-friendly fabrics.
United by Blue backpacks are durable, versatile, and excellent eco-friendly backpacks for school, travel, work, and outdoor adventures.
And guess what?
United by Blue also has a zero-plastic policy, and they shipped their products using eco-friendly packaging.
On a separate note, the company also sells some of the best eco-friendly face masks.
And for every product they sold, United By Blue removes one pound of trash from the oceans and waterways.
5. Bellroy Eco-Friendly Backpacks for College
- Made using recycled plastic bottles
- Durable and water-resistant
- Have multiple sleek and sophisticated designs
- Functions as a tote or backpack
Bellroy’s signature style bags are made from recycled plastic bottles.
They have innovative and sophisticated designed bags that can be worn as a backpack or carried as a tote – depending on your preference.
Bellroy backpacks are durable, water-resistant, have durable handles, expandable storage, and a secure laptop compartment.
This makes them excellent for carrying laptops, delicate documents, tablets, and travel-size items to work or school.
And if you ever need more room, some of Bellroy’s eco-friendly backpacks have expandable bottom portions.
Bellroy is a certified B Corp.
The company is recognized for limiting its impact on the environment.
They also participate in movements for animal welfare and donates a portion of their revenue to environmental projects.
Bellroy offers a 3-year warranty for their products.
6. Patagonia Eco-Friendly Backpacks
- Backpacks made with sustainable materials
- Plenty of designs and styles to choose from
- Ethical and Fair Trade Certified
- Patagonia is a member of the 1% for the Planet
Patagonia is recognized for its eco-friendly and sustainable product lines.
In fact, Patagonia also ranks in our list of the top hemp clothing brands.
They prioritize crafting durable products while consuming less energy, creating less water waste, and producing minimal trash.
Besides using only sustainable materials for their products, Patagonia also developed its unique performance materials by blending hemp with other eco-friendly materials.
Patagonia backpacks are crafted to cater to all the needs of eco-conscious individuals.
They are durable, sustainable, and superior in quality.
Moreover, over 82% of Patagonia’s product line is Fair Trade Certified sewn, meaning workers and laborers are treated well and paid proper wages.
Patagonia is also a member of the 1% for the Planet.
1% for the Planet is an organization of businesses that pledges 1% of their sales profit to fund projects that preserve, protect, and restore Earth’s natural environment.
7. Paravel Eco-Friendly Foldable Backpacks
- Backpacks made with Earth-friendly materials
- Features vibrant and durable adjustable straps
- Eco-friendly backpack for school or work
- Foldable and lightweight
Paravel is on a quest to create the perfect travel bag.
They have various travel bags and backpacks made using eco-friendly materials such as plastic water bottles and eco-certified leather.
Moreover, Paravel only works with suppliers that comply with ethical and environmental principles, practices, and regulations.
Another thing we particularly love about Paravel backpacks?
They are durable, feather-light, and foldable.
You can use a Paravel backpack daily for school or work or take it with you on trips as a reserve bag.
8. STATE Thoughtfully-Designed Backpacks
- Backpacks made using eco-friendly materials
- Vegan and water-resistant backpacks
- STATE donates backpacks to less fortunate children and families
- Certified B Corp
STATE’s mission is to make beautiful, well-made, and inclusively cool products.
They also sell backpacks that are made with vegan and recycled materials, such as recycled polyester.
STATE backpacks are stylish, durable, and water-resistant.
But what makes STATE eco-friendly backpacks interesting?
STATE allows you to personalize your backpack with both your initials or embroidered symbols.
Moreover, for every STATE bag purchased, the company will donate fully-packed backpacks to those in need through the company’s #WhatDoWeTellTheKids initiatives.
9. Lo & Sons Minimalist Backpacks
- Made using sustainable, eco-friendly materials
- 100% vegan backpacks
- Minimalist design backpacks
- Durable, sleek, and versatile
Lo & Sons is an Asian-American-owned family business on a mission to inspire people to travel while leaving a positive impact on the planet.
They have a range of high-quality, sustainable backpacks made using various eco-friendly materials, including plant-based fibers.
The company’s backpacks also contain no animal products and are 100% vegan.
Among Lo & Sons’ best-selling backpacks are the ones made using fabric from discarded plastic bottles.
Each bag in Lo & Sons Recycled Poly Collection can save up to 22 plastic bottles from entering the landfills.
Lo & Sons eco-friendly backpacks are designed to be comfortably used in work, travel, and workouts.
10. Osprey Eco-Friendly Outdoor Backpacks
- Well designed, durable, and eco-friendly backpacks
- Made with PFC-free DWR and BLUESIGN-approved materials
- Perfect eco-friendly backpack for camping and outdoors
- Osprey will repair any damage to their backpacks for free
Osprey backpacks are definitely among the best eco-friendly backpacks for the outdoors.
For starters, these backpacks are made with superior quality and durability using only BLUESIGN-approved materials.
BLUESIGN (aka bluesign®) is a system that traces a textile’s path along the manufacturing process to provide safer and more sustainable environments for people to work and live in.
Moreover, Osprey backpacks are made with PFC-free DWR (durable water repellent) coatings and waterproof membranes.
PFC (aka Per- and polyfluorinated chemicals) are fluorine-containing chemicals that make materials stain-resistant and waterproof.
Unfortunately, PFCs are incredibly resistant to breakdown so that they can pollute the environment for hundreds of years.
There have also been numerous publications that discuss the harmful effects of PFCs on human health (see reference below).
11. Fjällräven Eco-Friendly Backpacks
- Backpacks made using sustainable and eco-friendly fabrics
- Durable and designed to last
- Non-toxic and PCF-free
- Packaging is made from 100% recycled and are 100% recyclable
Fjällräven is a well-known brand for their high-quality outdoor gears that last for a long time.
Besides durability, the company made it clear that they consider nature in every part of their production.
The company made its mission to keep its environmental footprint as small as possible while creating superior quality products.
Fjällräven backpacks are made with various sustainable fabrics, including Tencel, organic cotton, organic hemp, recycled polyester, and ethically produced wool.
They work closely with their partners and suppliers at all stages of the production chain to maintain ethical and environmental standards.
Fjällräven is a Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) and Fair Labor Association (FLA) member.
In 2012, Fjällräven decided to switch to fluorocarbon-free impregnation to further protect the environment from toxic chemicals and pollution.
They also removed all foam packaging in their wallets, removed plastic coverings on most of their zipper pulls and used less plastic bubble filler when shipping products to customers.
Fjällräven is also supporting renewable energy projects.
We hope this list has given you excellent options on the best eco-friendly backpacks for all kinds of trips and adventures.
Anyways, which of the eco-friendly backpacks above fits your preference?
Do you know other eco-friendly backpack brands that should be included on this list?
Meanwhile, if you still can’t decide which eco-friendly backpacks above are best for you, here are some checklists to help you decide…
What to look for in eco-friendly and sustainable backpacks?
- What are you using it for: Are you buying an eco-friendly backpack for camping? Travel? Hiking? School? Knowing what you will be using your backpack is essential to deciding the kind and style of backpack to get.
- Backpack materials: The most eco-friendly backpacks are made using recycled or eco-friendly fabrics such as recycled polyester, organic hemp, organic cotton, Tencel, and others.
- Manufacturing process: Another thing that makes a backpack eco-friendly is how it is made. Does the company utilize sustainable and environmentally friendly manufacturing processes to create its products?
- Overall quality and durability: A high-quality backpack will last a long time, minimizing waste and consumption of natural resources. Moreover, if taken care of properly, a good quality backpack can be passed down to your children.
- Brand integrity: With so much greenwashing and false advertising today, make sure to take an extra step to research the eco-friendly backpack brand before you spend hundreds of dollars on their products.