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The Best Eco-Friendly Backpacks for Your Sustainable Adventures

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The 11 Best Eco-Friendly Backpacks for School, Work, or Travel

Whether you’re going on vacation or you have kids heading back to school, you need a backpack to hold all of your important items. Fortunately, it’s easy to make the switch to a backpack that’s ethical and sustainable when you check out this list of the best eco-friendly backpacks!

What to Look for in an Eco-Friendly Backpack

When you’re shopping for eco-friendly clothes for the entire family, there are certain characteristics you need to look out for to make sure they’re sustainable. The same goes for backpacks.

When you’re looking for a sustainable backpack, here are some key considerations to keep in mind:

Quality and Durability

Many traditional backpacks are made with cheap materials that don’t stand up to daily wear and tear. This means they fall apart quickly and end up in the landfill after only a year or two of use.

On the other hand, eco-friendly backpacks are made with quality materials that will stand the test of time. Not only does this mean you save money in the long run since you won’t have to keep buying backpacks over and over again, but it also reduces the amount of waste that ends up in landfills.

Sustainably Sourced, Recycled, or Natural Materials

The best eco-friendly backpacks are made from either recycled materials or natural materials, such as organic cotton or cork. These types of materials are typically renewable, non-toxic, biodegradable, and less demanding on the environment.

Ethical Labor

Part of living a sustainable life means making sure our fellow humans are treated fairly no matter where they live. Always look for backpacks that come from companies focused on providing fair wages and ethical labor.

Repair Programs or Guarantees

Your eco-friendly backpack is an investment in keeping excess waste out of landfills. One great way to ensure this happens is to look for brands that offer take back programs, repair programs, or lifetime warranties.

1. tentree

Tentree backpack

Not only does tentree make a variety of eco-friendly clothes for kids and adults, but they also have a great selection of eco-friendly bags and backpacks designed with sustainability and functionality in mind.

Their Mobius backpack is made with 100% REPREVE recycled polyester. This innovative fiber offers both durability and protection.

The backpack features multiple compartments to hold all of your essentials. For convenience, it also has a roll top opening, clamshell opening, back opening access, and an exterior water bottle pocket.

If you need something a little more compact, you can also check out the daily backpack. It offers all of the same sustainability features in a slightly smaller size.

Best of all, tentree plants 10 trees for every purchase. Thanks to customers just like you, tentree has been able to plant over 79 million trees!

Related: How to Plan a Zero Waste Disney Vacation


Alem Backpack - Cognac

ABLE has several styles of backpacks to suit different needs, including a mini backpack, a convertible backpack, and the Alem backpack, which is one of their most popular options.

Although the Alem backpack is sleek and stylish on the outside, it offers maximum storage on the inside. It features two interior compartments, one interior slit pocket, and two side pockets.

ABLE has high-quality, durable products that will last for years to come. That’s why all of their products are guaranteed for life.

Additionally, ABLE is a woman-run company on a mission to help empower other women. Every woman who works at ABLE receives a living wage, ownership in the company, the option for 100% paid healthcare, a flexible work schedule, full maternity coverage, and infertility and adoption assistance.

3. GULU Made

GULU Made backpack

From backpacks and totes to laptop bags and slings, GULU Made has just about every type of eco-friendly bag you can imagine. The handmade backpacks from GULU Made are designed to handle school, work, or travel.

Every backpack has a padded laptop sleeve that can fit up to a 17-inch laptop. They’re also designed with an elevated false bottom to protect your laptop if you accidentally put down your bag a little too hard.

Plus, the abundance of pockets makes organizing all of your belongings a breeze.

These bags are ethically made in the small town of Gulu, Uganda. After the war in the country, many women in this community were trained as highly-skilled sewers. However, they still needed opportunities for sustainable employment.

When you purchase a GULU Made backpack, you know you’re getting a bag that has created a profound difference in the lives of the team in Uganda. Additionally, because these bags are made with pride and quality, you’re also getting a lifetime guarantee.


GOT Bag daypack

You can be ready for every type of adventure when you carry a GOT BAG. That’s because these lightweight bags are made from 100% recycled ocean plastic.

The water-resistant fabric and the inner laptop compartment keep your valuables safe and dry. You’ll also find a variety of styles to suit everyone’s needs.

The mini daypack is perfect for children, while the rolltop backpack has enough space to carry everything you need while hiking. Or you can get the daypack to hold your essentials when you’re running errands.

If your GOT BAG is ever damaged, the company will repair it to make sure none of it ends up in the ocean again.

Plus, GOT BAG has its own clean-up program in Indonesia that uses over 2,000 fishermen to help them recover by-catch ocean plastic. Each backpack helps recover around 7 pounds of ocean plastic!

Related: 55+ Genius Alternatives to Plastic You Can Start Using Today

5. Citi Collective

Citi Collective Citi Explorer diaper bag

Although these bags from Citi Collective are technically diaper bags, they’re so stylish you can easily keep using them as a backpack long after you need to stop bringing along all those eco-friendly essentials for your baby.

The large capacity main compartment includes numerous organizational pockets so you’ll never lose track of your items. Plus, once you no longer need to use the built-in cooler pocket for baby bottles, it’s the perfect place to carry cold snacks for everyone to enjoy.

You’ll also appreciate that the vegan leather is durable, waterproof, stain-proof, and easily cleaned with a damp cloth and mild, biodegradable soap.

Related: 20 Genius Ways to Use Castile Soap Around Your House

6. Terra Thread

Terra Thread Everyday Backpack

Terra Thread creates mindfully-made backpacks, bags, and accessories that are eco-friendly, ethical, stylish, durable, and affordable. If you’re looking for a new backpack, consider one of their organic cotton backpacks.

These backpacks are perfect for school, work, or traveling since they can hold everything you need and more. They’re made with 100% GOTS Certified heavy-weight organic cotton that’s sustainable and strong.

Additionally, Terra Thread is a carbon-neutral and Certified B Corp company that’s committed to helping make this world a better place. Every purchase donates meals to kids and families in need through Feeding America.

You can find Terra Thread backpacks at EarthHero, which is one of the best online zero waste stores that ships eco-friendly essentials without any plastic waste. If you decide to try out one of these backpacks, be sure to use the code EARTHFRIENDLY to take 10% off your order!

7. Patagonia

Patagonia Refugio Daypack

Patagonia has been a leader in the sustainability movement for decades. When you get an eco-friendly backpack from them, you know you’re getting a quality product that will last.

From everyday backpacks and travel backpacks to technical backpacks, laptop backpacks, and daypacks, you’re sure to find the perfect bag that offers everything you need.

Most of their backpacks offer smart storage options, solution-dyed fabrics, and recycled materials. You can also rest assured you’re getting a quality product.

Patagonia guarantees everything they make. If you ever have a problem with one of your bags, you can return it for a repair, replacement, or refund.

Plus, if you’re picking one of these backpacks to do some hiking or other outdoor activities, you know you can also get sustainable and ethical activewear from Patagonia that can keep up with all of your adventures.

8. Solo

The Solo Re:Cycle Collection is giving plastic bottles a second life by turning them into sustainable backpacks and bags. So far, they’ve been able to repurpose over 15 million plastic bottles!

In addition to backpacks that are ideal for travel, school, and leisure, Solo also makes laptop bags, duffel bags, and suitcases.

You’ll find plenty of useful features in the backpacks, such as ample storage space, a quick access pocket in the front, adjustable padded shoulder straps, and water-resistant fabric that you can easily wipe down and sanitize with cleaning wipes.

Related: How to Make DIY Sanitizing Spray That’s Perfect for Travel

9. Tiradia

Tiradia Backpack

Tiradia offers gorgeous cork backpacks, bags, and accessories that combine elevated style with eco-minded values. In Portuguese, Tiradia translates to the process of extracting cork from trees.

Harvesting the cork bark in Portugal is a respectful and careful process. It uses only human-powered techniques to preserve the environment and maintain the health of the trees.

By using cork as the primary material for their products, Tiradia makes an environmentally conscious decision that respects the planet, people, and animals. Plus, cork has a lot of benefits.

It’s waterproof, hypoallergenic, antimicrobial, durable, lightweight, recyclable, biodegradable, cruelty-free, and vegan. Plus, for every purchase, Tiradia plants a tree!

10. United by Blue

United By Blue Sidekick Backpack

Not only can you find an excellent selection of ethical and eco-friendly swimwear from United by Blue, but you can also enjoy a fantastic selection of eco-friendly backpacks!

Most of the backpacks made by United by Blue are created from recycled polyester and recycled nylon, which makes them 100% water-resistant, stain-resistant, and vegan.

You’ll also find a variety of convenient features, such as padded adjustable shoulder straps, expandable open side pockets, and a padded interior tablet sleeve. Plus, for every product purchased, United by Blue is able to remove 1 pound of trash from our waterways.

Related: How to Prevent Microfiber Pollution From Entering Our Waterways

11. fluf

Fluf backpack

When Terra Kushner and Nathalie Butterfield were running their sustainable pillowcase company, they realized how few eco-options there were for lunch bags. That’s when the pair decided to shift their focus from bedding to bags.

Related: How to Easily Pack a Zero Waste Lunch (For Kids and Adults!)

Today, not only do they make eco-friendly lunch boxes, but fluf also makes sustainable backpacks. Their backpacks are made with GOTS certified organic cotton and padded with recycled polyester from plastic water bottles.

Since the bags are made from durable materials, you can simply toss them in the washing machine when they need cleaned.

Choosing the Best Eco-Friendly Backpack

It’s important to remember that the most sustainable backpack is the one you currently own. When that backpack wears out and it’s time to get a new one, you can use this list of the best eco-friendly backpacks to find one that’s ethical and sustainable.

More Outstanding Eco-Friendly Tips

Did you enjoy learning more about the best eco-friendly backpacks? Are you interested in checking out even more helpful tips? Then please be sure to take a look at some of our other popular posts:

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