10 Eco Friendly Backpacks for Travel, Work and School

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If you’re looking for a new backpack, why not make it sustainable with one of the eco friendly backpacks in our list?

Eco friendly backpacks are much better for the environment. They have a smaller impact on our world, because they are made of alternative materials like recycled plastic, organic cotton, recycled polyester, and other materials that would otherwise end up in landfills. Some of these backpacks are also designed to be 100% recycled once the backpacks themselves have become too worn out for further use.

In this guide, we are going to take a look at some of the best environmentally friendly backpacks to get for work, travel, school, and other activities.

Benefits of Investing in Eco Friendly Backpacks

Buying Eco friendly products is tremendously beneficial to the environment and for humans. Even you as a consumer get to enjoy some added benefits. Here is a quick look at some of the top benefits of investing in these sustainable backpacks:

Feel Good About Yourself

Many of us feel guilty about the impact we have on the world. Sadly, in most cases, you don’t have much choice but to cause pollution because you need to travel or use products that contain waste such as water bottles and backpacks. By investing in sustainable products, you can at least feel good about making even a small difference.

These Backpacks Are Cost-Effective

You might think that backpacks with alternative materials are expensive because they produce less waste. In truth, these backpacks can be just as affordable, if not cheaper. Products produced from newly harvested materials are sometimes more expensive compared to those that are made from recycled materials. This is because less water, energy and resources may be required for turning recycled materials into new products.

They Are Strong

Just because your backpack is made from repurposed materials such as recycled plastic doesn’t mean that it is weaker. We have advanced modern recycling practices that often produce materials at least as tough and water-resistant (as it applies for backpacks) compared to non-recycled materials.

Eco-friendly products also last much longer, which means your sustainable backpack will probably last a lot longer than that might end up in a landfill.

Health and Environmental Benefits

Backpacks that are made of vegetable tanned or organic cotton materials are better for your health since your skin isn’t exposed to toxins when you touch these materials. These backpacks are also healthier for the environment because they do not pollute landfills the same way that non-sustainable materials might.


Today’s manufacturers design environmentally friendly backpacks to be just as stylish as other backpacks. Some even feel that their natural earthy look and design charm makes them look better and more luxurious compared to your more average backpacks. The bags we included on our list are especially charming and ideal for those who love to look as good as they feel.

Sustainable and Eco Friendly Backpacks

Whether you’re commuting to work or are an eco-friendly traveler, our list of 10 eco friendly bags are perfect for school, work or adventures near and far.

1. United by Blue Backpacks

Made from 100% recycled polyester with an accompanying laptop sleeve and zipper pockets, the Transit Pack from United by Blue is perfect for everyday life.

With a water repellent finish, there is no need to get worried about getting caught in the rain. Oh and if you’re thirsty, no worries. This pack has a place for your water bottle too.

With its vegetable tanned leather details and different colors to choose from, the Transit Pack has a lifetime guarantee. Plus, with every United by Blue purchase, United by Blue removes a pound of waste from our oceans and waterways.

A great ethical backpack if you ask us.

Top Pros

  • The backpack is made from recycled plastic bottles
  • It has a beautiful design and is available in various colors
  • The travel backpack has a large compartment and lots of smaller pockets so you can stay organised with ease
  • It is ideal for students since it includes a 17 inch laptop sleeve
  • The backpack is made from durable materials
  • The water repellent finish keeps your items dry and helps the backpack stay cleaner for longer
  • The side pockets are ideal for keeping your water bottle close by

Top Cons

  • The backpack is a bit more expensive than some mass produced bags
  • The side pockets might be too small for large water bottles
eco friendly backpacks - united by blue backpack

| Shop Transit Pack |

Browse more United By Blue eco friendly backpacks here.

2. Patagonia Eco Friendly Backpacks

The Arbor Classic Backpack from Patagonia is sporty, comes with a padded laptop sleeve and pay homage to the retro packs of the past. Made from 100% recycled materials, this sustainable backpack is designed with easy to access pockets and curved shoulder straps for carrying comfort.

If carrying a laptop isn’t your thing, no worries. The laptop sleeve can hold a hydration reservoir for when you head out on your hiking adventures.

Patagonia is a house-hold name in the outdoor apparel world. From their activism to charitable environmental donations, Patagonia puts first their people and our planet.

Top Pros

  • The backpack is made from recycled materials
  • The 25l main compartment is ideal for carrying lots of items
  • The bag includes a laptop sleeve to keep your equipment safe
  • You can also use the laptop sleeve for a hydration reservoir
  • There is a lot of small pockets where you can stash items and stay organised
  • The backpack is available in a huge variety of colors to choose from
  • Patagonia also donates to environmental friendly companies and causes

Top Cons

  • The backpack is a bit more expensive compared to mass produced bags
  • No side pockets for water bottles
  • More small pockets would have been preferable.
eco friendly backpacks - Patagonia backpack

| Shop Arbor Backpack |

Browse more Patagonia eco friendly backpacks here.

3. REI Day Packs

Whatever gear you want your pack to hold – be it electronics, snacks or a journal – the Trail Pack from REI will keep your gear well organized.

Perfect for commuting, day hikes or as a carry-on bag, the Trail Pack consists of recycled ripstop nylon and recycled nylon. The back and straps of the backpack come padded to keep you cool and comfortable. pocket with elastic closure offers quick access

Elastic and zipper pockets are perfect for items that either need to be secured or items that need to be accessed easily. The Trail Pack by REI keeps waste out of landfills and uses bluesign®-approved materials to conserve resources and protect our environment.

Top Pros

  • The backpack is made from recycled materials
  • It has a stylish design
  • The 25l capacity is ideal for carrying lots of items with you
  • It is available in three different colors
  • Lots of pockets will help you stay organised
  • Side fitted pockets allows you to store your water bottle close by
  • The laptop sleeve doubles as a pocket for a hydration bladder with a easy-sip pocket for the bladder spout
  • It is relatively affordable compared to other recycled bags

Top cons

  • A water resistant layer would have been great
eco friendly backpacks - REI Co-op Trail 25 Pack

| Shop Trail Pack |

Browse more REI eco friendly backpacks here.

4. Cotopaxi Travel Pack

Allpa Del Día Travel Pack is made with 100% repurposed fabric. The Del Dia Bags by Cotopaxi utilize a suitcase-style opening and are carry-on compliant making it a great eco travel backpack.

If organization is an area of improvement for you, the Del Día Travel Pack has see through mesh compartments for easy organization.

Coming equipped with a rain cover, removable waist belt and theft-proof zippers, this recycled backpack keeps fabrics out of the landfill and puts them to good, second use. A win for you and a win for mother earth.

Top Pros

  • The bag is made from recycled materials
  • It has a suitcase-style opening so you can easily see and access everything in your bag
  • It includes a rain cover
  • You can take away the straps
  • The zippers are theft proof
  • The 35 liter backpack is ideal for storing lots of items
  • The colors are unique and very beautiful

Top Cons

  • Not everyone likes the way the backpack front looks
  • No pockets for water bottles
  • No exterior pockets to store small items
cotopaxi allpa travel pack

| Shop Del Dia Packs |

Browse more Cotopaxi eco friendly backpacks here.

5. Terra Thread Earth Backpacks

Terra Thread earth backpacks are stylish making it the perfect backpack for work, school or travel. Coming in a handful of colors, Terra Thread backpacks comes with durable padded straps and easy-to-access zipper pockets.

Made of organic cotton and free of harmful chemicals, each backpack is handmade with love. Plus, for every Terra Thread backpack sold, 20 meals are provided to Feeding America.

Amazing, right?

Top Pros

  • When you buy this bag, 20 meals are provided to the hungry
  • It is compatible with a 13 inch laptop
  • The bag is eco-friendly and chemical free
  • It is a stylish little bag
  • It includes various storage compartments to help you stay organised

Top Cons

  • More colors would have been great
  • There are no water bottle pockets
  • The bag might look a bit earthy to some
Terra Thread Backpack

| Shop Terra Thread |

Browse more eco friendly apparel by Outerknown here.

6. Osprey Eco Friendly Backpacks

Whether you’re running around town or looking to get out into nature, the Osprey Arcane is a great day bag.

Made from Global Recycle Standard certified materials like recycled polyester, this eco friendly backpack comes with a breathable back panel, padded internal sleeve and a water bottle pocket.

The Osprey Arcane is a responsibly-made backpack that has a self-locking hook to secure your pack and prevent your belongings from disappearing. Who doesn’t like a little added sense of sustainable security?

Top Pros

  • The backpack is very beautiful with its dark colors
  • Secure back pockets keeps your expensive items safe
  • The main compartment has various pockets and compartments to help you stay organised
  • The bag is nice and large so you can take along lots of itms
  • The bag includes a padded internal sleeve where you can store yoru water bottle
  • It has a self locking hook to prevent theft


  • More pockets would have been great
  • It is a bit pricey
Osprey Arcane Day Bag

| Shop Arcane Pack |

Browse more Osprey eco friendly backpacks here.

7. Pacsafe Backpacks

If you’re looking for a perfect travel backpack, look no further than the Pacsafe MetroSafe LS350. This pack is made from a sustainable ECONYL material, recycled from nylon waste.

Aside from its environmentally friendly pedigree, the MetroSafe has features that protect you on a trip, including lockable zippers and an RFID-blocking pocket for your passport and credit cards.

Top Pros

  • It is a perfect bag for traveling
  • Eco friendly recycled material made from ECONYL fiber
  • Plenty of room for a 13 inch laptop with a padded sleeve
  • Cut-resistant anchor straps and lockable zippers protect you from theft
  • You can store water bottles in the side pockets
  • Can be taken on flights as a carry-on bag


  • It is a bit pricey
  • The 15 liter space might be small for some
Pacsafe MetroSafe ECONYL Daypack

| Shop MetroSafe Daypack |

Browse more Pacsafe eco friendly backpacks here.

8. Fjallraven Eco Friendly Backpacks

If you’re looking for a simple, sleek everyday casual backpack, check out the 20L Raven pack from Fjallraven. This durable eco friendly backpack is made from G-1000 HeavyDuty Eco Fabrics such as recycled polyester and organic cotton.

With its padded back panel and comfort carrying shoulder straps, the 20L Raven is perfect for carrying everyday supplies and essentials.

Top Pros

  • It is a perfect back to school bag
  • There are lots of colors to choose from
  • The 20l capacity is nice and large
  • The main compartment includes a padded laptop sleeve and pockets to keep items safe
  • You can store water bottles in the side pockets
  • The bag is affordable


  • It is a bit pricey
  • The 15 liter bag might be small for some
Fjallraven Raven Pack

| Shop Raven Pack |

Browse more Fjallraven eco friendly backpacks here.

9. Timbuk2 Knapsacks and Backpacks

While Timbuk2 backpacks are not made from recycled materials (yet), there Timbuk2 Lifecycle of guarantees, repairs and recycling are why we included them in this list of eco friendly and sustainable backpacks.

Backpacks should be durable to avoid rips and tears that immediately render them useless and get them thrown into our landfills. In an effort to create less waste, Timbuk2 backpacks are guaranteed for life.

If for some reason they rip, Timbuk2 offers backpack repairs to extend the life of your pack. Pretty cool, right? It gets better.

If and when the time comes that you want a new backpack, Timbuk2 will find your used backpack a new home through one of their non-profit partners.

Top Pros

  • It is made from recycled materials
  • The backpack is tough and rip resistant
  • It comes with an extended warranty
  • The bag is nice and large
  • It has anti-theft technology
  • Lots of pockets in the main compartments helps you stay organised
  • There are water bottle pockets and front pockets

Top Cons

  • The backpack is pricey
Timbuk2 Launch Pack

| Shop Launch Pack |

Browse more Timbuk2 eco friendly backpacks here.

10. Millican Sustainable Backpacks

Millican bags are responsibly-made sustainable backpacks that have discreet pockets for essentials like a water bottle, laptop and sunglasses.

The Maverick Collection are made from weatherproof Bionic Canvas (65% recycled polyester, 35% cotton) and all hardware is aluminum, no plastic.

Designed for a lifetime of conscious adventure or around the town fun, these backpacks are a perfect for those looking for a lightweight and minimal bag.

Top Pros

  • The backpack is weatherproof
  • It is designed to be theft resistant
  • A large front pocket is ideal for storing small items
  • The main compartment has lots of compartments
  • The front pocket also has small compartments

Top Cons

  • It is expensive
  • Not everyone love the rolled top design
  • Side water bottle pockets would have been nice
Millican Maverick Smith Roll Pack

| Shop Maverick Pack |

Browse more Millican eco friendly backpacks here.

Final Thoughts on Eco Friendly Backpacks

These are all terrific bags that will serve you well whether you’re traveling to work, off to school, or looking to explore the world.

These bags bring peace of mind knowing that you are helping the environment and they are more functional and durable compared to bags that are not designed with the environment in mind.


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For more travel tips, guides and awesome travel shots, be sure to poke around our site, follow us on Instagram @wanderingstusPinterest and on Facebook. Oh and if you have any questions, let us know in the comment section. We’re happy to answer. Or, just leave us a positive note!

Happy Travels,

– Lauren & Jesse Stuart (The Stüs)

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