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16 Eco-Friendly Backpacks for Hiking, Travel and Everyday Life

We’re ready to go with our solar-powered outdoors gear and sustainably sourced clothing, but what about the backpack? The most important item on our kit list. It’s easy to forget that our backpacks can be eco-friendly too. Nowadays, you can find backpacks made from a wide range of sustainable materials such as organic cotton, hemp, or cork. There are also backpacks that are PFC free, and backpacks made from recycled bottles, vegan leather, or even upcycled materials.

As eco-conscious outdoors enthusiasts, we couldn’t resist putting together a list of the best eco-friendly backpacks of 2019. To make it even easier to choose the right eco-friendly backpack for you, we’ve divided our list into six categories.

Whether you’re hiking into the mountains or just need a comfortable bag for your books and electronics, take a look at our top choice of sustainable backpacks.

The most versatile eco-friendly backpacks

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Patagonia Black Hole Pack 25L

Patagonia Black Hole Pack 25L

Fitted with everything you need to carry your everyday items but tough enough to use on a day hike, the 25 litre Black Hole Pack from Patagonia is one of the most versatile backpacks on our list. Inside you can find a 15” laptop sleeve and organiser pockets. Meanwhile, the exterior features two water bottle pockets and multiple attachment loops. The outer fabric is hard-wearing and highly weatherproof so your laptop, books, or packed lunch should stay dry on rainy days.

The Black Hole Pack is also fitted with a chest strap and comfortable air mesh back panel which allows for ventilation. In terms of sustainability, the combination of 100% recycled polyester ripstop and 100% recycled nylon makes this one of the most eco-friendly of the high performance backpacks on our list.

Eco-friendly features:

  • The main fabric is Blue Sign approved
  • Made with 100% recycled polyester external fabric, 100% recycled polyester lining, 100% recycled nylon webbing

Other key features:

  • Water-resistant
  • Comfortable back system
  • Spacious main compartment with 15” laptop sleeve

Find the latest price at:
REI | Patagonia


United By Blue 45L Range Daypack

United By Blue 45L Range Daypack

Designed for both the city and the trail, the lightweight 45 litre Range Daypack from United by Blue is made from 100% recycled polyester and vegetable-tanned leather. The outer fabric is treated with DWR which repels moisture and is easy to clean.

The main compartment is secured with a top zipper and folding flap. This has internal pockets, but our favourite feature is the front access zipper. This allows you to access your gear from the bottom of the main compartment. We also like that the pack has plenty of external attachment points for a sleeping pad or other gear. Whether you’re using the Range Daypack on a hike or for commuting, the adjustable straps and hip belt help to spread the weight evenly. Additionally, on the back panel, there’s a secure zippered pocket which can hold a laptop of up to 17”.

Eco-friendly features:

  • Made with 100% recycled polyester (REPREVE Material)

Other key features:

  • Water repellent
  • Multiple zippered pockets
  • External attachments
  • Lifetime guarantee

Find the latest price at:
United By Blue


Millican Oli Zip Pack 15L Backpack

Millican Oli the Zip Pack 15L Backpack

A blend of practical features and a minimalistic design, the Millican Oli Zip Pack is as useful in the great outdoors as it is in the city. The main canvas fabric is 35% cotton and 65% recycled polyester with a water repellent finish. Perfect for drizzly hikes as well as rainy commutes to work. The padded shoulder straps also make it comfortable for extended periods of wear. There’s even a reinforced top handle so you can grab it as you head out the door.

Inside, the lining is made with 100% recycled polyester. There’s space for a laptop of up to 13”, organisation pockets, and an external zippered pocket. The Oli Zip Pack is also a smart choice for cyclists. The rear of the bag is equipped with a fold-away reflective strip and a space for a bike light.

Eco-friendly features:

  • Made using recycled polyester

Other key features:

  • DWR treated
  • 15-litre capacity
  • 13” Laptop sleeve
  • Available in two sizes and four colours

Find the latest price at:
Cotswold Outdoor | Millican


The best eco-friendly backpacks for hiking

Vaude Green Core Backpack

Vaude Green Core Backpack

Vaude is a leading brand for sustainable outdoors gear but their Green Core Backpack is suitable for regular daily use as well as hiking, cycling, and mountaineering. The bag is fitted with a padded back panel, adjustable shoulder straps, and removable hip and chest straps. The interior offers a 30-litre capacity which can extend to 40 litres using the roll-top system. The large main compartment is easily accessible via a two-way zip, while the zippered front pockets with internal organisers provide a space for keys and wallets.

This model is part of the Green Shape range and its main materials are organic cotton, castor oil-based plastic, and milk-based felt. The fabric has a water repellent finish and Vaude even provide a removable drybag for those extra wet and rainy days. When it comes to eco-friendly and fair-trade products, the Green Core Backpack is one of the most sustainable on the market. The only drawback is its high price tag, but one we think is worth every penny.

Eco-friendly features:

  • Manufacturing materials include organic cotton, bio-plastic, and QMilk Felt
  • Uses recycled materials
  • Part of the Green Shape product range

Other key features:

  • Expandable capacity
  • Water repellent finish
  • Ergonomic and adjustable design

Find the latest price at:
Vaude


Ecogear Water Dog 2L Hydration Backpack

EcoGear Water Dog 2L Hydration Backpack

Fast and light hikers and bikers who like to get the miles in on single day trips often only need a backpack to carry water and a few essentials. The EcoGear Water Dog is an ideal option as it comes with a 2-litre water bladder and a built-in insulated pouch. This keeps your drinking water cool on hot hikes. The Water Dog also provides two external zippered pockets for your hiking essentials. The backpack itself is lightweight and made from water-resistant REPREVE fabric. It features a breathable back panel and adjustable hip, chest, and shoulder straps.

Eco-friendly features:

  • Made with REPREVE materials (100% recycled plastic bottles)

Other key features:

  • Comes with a 2-litre bladder bag
  • Ventilated back system
  • Water-resistant

Find the latest price at:
Eco Gear | Amazon


Pinnacle 60L Hiking Backpack

EcoGear Pinnacle 60L Hiking Backpack

If you’re looking for eco-friendly hiking backpacks for multiple day hikes then the Pinnacle 60L from EcoGear is our top choice. Made from recycled water bottles, this eco-friendly backpack has a classic top-loading design and is the largest pack on our list. It’s divided into two compartments; a large upper compartment and zippered sleeping bag compartment.

The Pinnacle 60L features an Air-flow back system, comfortable hip and back padding, and fully adjustable straps. There are also two zippered hip pockets for your camera and GPS, as well as tent straps and water bottle pockets.

Eco-friendly features:

  • Made from recycled water bottles

Other key features:

  • Ventilated back system
  • Classic top-loading design
  • Built with external pockets and attachments

Find the latest price at:
Eco Gear


The best water-resistant eco-friendly backpacks

Alchemy Goods Brooklyn Backpack

Alchemy Goods Brooklyn Backpack

Made from upcycled inner tubes, nylon, and foam, the Brooklyn Backpack from Alchemy Goods has a rugged appearance and a highly water-resistant exterior. On the outside, there are two zippered pockets with protective flaps while the main compartment is fitted with internal organisation pockets. Despite its rugged appearance the Brooklyn Backpack is best for city use and bike commuters. The backpack is available in four colours and the main compartment can hold a laptop of up to 11” x 2” x 14”.

Eco-friendly features:

  • Made with upcycled inner tubes

Other key features:

  • Water-resistant
  • 16-litre capacity
  • Comfortable shoulder straps
  • Limited Lifetime Warranty

Find the latest price at:
Alchemy Goods | Amazon


Mafia bag

Mafia Deep Blue Bag

The Deep Blue Bag from Mafia is designed with water sports in mind. The bag is fitted with waterproof zippers and a water-resistant pocket for storing your wet sports gear. There are hanging loops for easy drying and a unique bottle holder made from upcycled dry suits. In fact, the entire backpack is made from upcycled materials including water sports clothing, sails, and climbing ropes. Another useful feature is the secret internal pocket for valuables.

Eco-friendly features:

Other key features:

  • Separate waterproof pocket
  • Waterproof zippers
  • Stylish design

Find the latest price at:
Mafia Bags


Truce Designs Dacron Sailcloth Drop Liner Backpack

Truce Designs Dacron Sailcloth Drop Liner Backpack

Another eco-friendly backpack made with recovered water sports gear is the Dacron Sailcloth Drop Liner Backpack from Truce Designs. The outer panels are cut from recycled sailcloth while the interior liner, available in three vibrant colours, is made with scraps from a diving suit factory. This backpack is waterproof (though not submersible) and available in three sizes — ideal for cycling, camping, and general outdoor use in wet conditions. Plus there are two external zippered pockets for small items while, on the inside, there is space for a laptop.

You can’t beat upcycling when it comes to minimising environmental impact right through the production process of new items. So, together with the Mafia and Alchemy Goods options, this Truce Designs backpack is the most eco-friendly backpack on our list.

Eco-friendly features:

  • Made with upcycled and recovered materials

Other key features:

  • Waterproof
  • Fitted with external pockets
  • Available in three sizes and colours

Find the latest price at:
Truce Designs


The best eco-friendly backpacks for travel

Tentree Mobius 35l Backpack

tentree Mobius 35l Backpack

The Mobius Backpack from tentree features a multi-litre system which allows the bag to be adjusted from 16 litres to 35 litres. It’s ideal for weekend trips as well as shorter adventures. The interior features multiple sleeves and zippered pockets for organising your kit. There’s also a built-in 15” laptop sleeve. For easy packing and quick access, the Mobius Backpack is constructed with a clamshell opening, 4-way zipper, and hidden back opening. This backpack is ethically produced in Vietnam and the main material is made from recycled polyester and algae-based foam.

Eco-friendly features:

  • Made from sustainably sourced REPREVE fabrics
  • Uses BLOOM Algae Foam

Other key features:

  • Multiple pockets and zippers
  • Expandable capacity
  • Available in four colours

Find the latest price at:
tentree


ChicoBag Travel Pack rePETe Poseidon

ChicoBag Travel Pack rePETe Poseidon

Need a compact backpack to tuck into your travel kit? The ChicoBag Travel Pack rePETe Poseidon folds away into its front pocket and weighs just 7.2 oz. Despite its compact pack size, this backpack offers a 15-litre capacity. It’s made from a durable and recycled fabric which is machine washable and lightweight. The backpack is also hydration pack ready and features breathable shoulder straps. This makes it suitable for day hikes and sports as well as sightseeing and city use.

Eco-friendly features:

  • Made from 100% post-consumer recycled bottles

Other key features:

  • Lightweight and compact
  • Hydration pack ready
  • 15-litre capacity
  • One-year warranty

Find the latest price at:
Chico Bag | Amazon


The best eco-friendly daypacks

Jack Wolfskin Croxley Backpack

Jack Wolfskin Croxley Daypack

if you’re looking for a super stylish eco-friendly backpack then you’ll love the classic design of the Croxley Laptop Backpack from Jack Wolfskin. Its main fabric has a cotton-like appearance but is actually made 100% PET recycled bottles. The reinforced based is made from synthetic leather to give a suede-like feel and appearnace, and the front organiser pocket contains small pockets and pouches to keep everything nicely in order. For comfortable wear, the Croxley is fitted with narrow and adjustable straps. That, together with a 24-litre capacity, make it suitable for a day in the city or a weekend away. Plus, the Croxley has 15” internal laptop sleeve and two side pockets for carrying your water bottle.

Eco-friendly features:

  • PFC Free
  • Made from recycled bottles

Other key features:

  • 15” Laptop sleeve
  • 24-litre capacity
  • Good storage options

Find the latest price at:
Jack Wolfskin | Amazon | Cotswold Outdoor


Fjallraven Re-Kanten Backpack

Fjallraven Re-Kanken Backpack

Fitted with adjustable backpack straps and top carry handles, the Re-Kanken is the perfect grab-and-go backpack. Based on the ever popular Kanken Backpack, this eco-friendly version is an excellent choice for carry-on luggage or for regular public transport users. The spacious main compartment with large zippered opening makes it super easy to pack and unpack. There’s also two side pockets and a zippered front pocket for storing smaller items. Plus, its square shape helps the bag to stand upright when placed on the ground. Another nifty feature is the seat pad which provides extra back padding whilst walking and a little extra comfort to sit on during picnics, at festivals or when resting on a hike.

Although the Re-Kanken isn’t as subtle on the colour-front as the Earlham, we like that Fjallraven use water and energy-efficient Spindye technology to produce the Re-Kanken in a wide range of colours. Additionally, the main fabric is produced from recycled plastic bottles.

Eco-friendly features:

  • 100% Polyester from recycled bottles
  • Spin dyed

Other key features:

  • 16-litre capacity
  • Large opening
  • Two-way carry system
  • Comes with a removable seat pad

Find the latest price at:
Fjallraven | Amazon


Parkland Academy Backpack

Parkland Academy Backpack

The Academy Backpack from Parkland is your classic back-to-school/work style backpack. Its 28-litre capacity with built-in 15” laptop sleeve and internal organiser pockets provide plenty of space for your everyday essentials. The external zippered pockets for keys and mobile, coupled with a water bottle pocket, balance security with accessibility.

The outer fabric is made from 100% recycled polyester and vegan leather details. Although we generally rate practicality over style, we do like that the Parkland Academy Backpack comes in a wide range of colours and patterns.

Eco-friendly features:

  • Made with 11 repurposed water bottles
  • Features vegan leather

Other key features:

  • 28-litre capacity
  • Built-in 15” laptop sleeve
  • Multiple internal and external pockets
  • Limited Lifetime Warranty

Find the latest price at:
Parkland | Amazon


Rawganique Connecticut Deluxe Hemp Backpack

Rawganique Connecticut Deluxe Hemp Backpack

The Connecticut Deluxe Hemp Backpack from Rawganique is a durable organic backpack for day to day use. It’s divided into two compartments: a spacious main compartment measuring 17” x 11” x 6” and a smaller zippered pocket measuring 9” x 8” x 2”. There’s also an internal zippered pocket for securing your valuables, and a luggage strap so you can fix it to a suitcase. This handmade vegan backpack has a simple yet attractive design which is available in two colours.

Eco-friendly features:

  • Made from organic hemp

Other key features:

  • Large main compartment
  • Can attach to a suitcase
  • Vegan-friendly

Find the latest price at:
Rawganique


Best eco-friendly backpack for kids

Kathmandu Hobbit Pack

Kathmandu Hobbit Pack

The Hobbit Pack from Kathmandu is designed for children aged between eight and ten, and packed full of adventure gear is a great way to encourage green habits at a young age. Its main material is constructed from recycled polyester which is REPREVE approved. The backpack has a 24-litre capacity and everything kids need on their first hike, including a kids-specific harness and adjustable straps. It’s also hydration pack compatible and built with external water bottle pockets. Another feature we like is the swivel hooks which allow the pack to be connected to a parent’s backpack.

Eco-friendly features:

  • Partially made with REPREVE material

Other key features:

  • Uses kids-FIT technology
  • Hydration pack ready
  • Fitted with useful features

Find the latest price at:
Kathmandu


With such a high quality and varied selection of eco-friendly backpacks on the market there really is no excuse but to go green when your old bag has come to the end of its life. But until then, be sure to try repairing what you already have before recycling or donating it. Read more about that in our guide to recycling outdoor gear.

About the author

author-beth

Originally from the UK and currently based in Turkey, Beth Carter is a full-time adventurer, former scout, and vegan traveller. When she’s not hiking long-distance trails with an oversized pack on her shoulders, you’ll probably find her peddling up and down scenic roads, or pitching a tent in a far-off mountain range. On the odd occasion, you might even see her sitting at a keyboard, coffee at the ready, typing about her latest outdoor pursuit.

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