Shopping for a decent backpack can be exciting these days. 

There’s fun in checking out numerous modern designs from a  plethora of brands, even if finding the perfect one is a challenge. 

But if you are also concerned about the impact of your backpack purchases on the environment, this presents an added layer of challenge. 

I mean, where you find backpacks that are durable, versatile, cool, and environmentally-friendly?

Eco-friendly backpacks aren’t mainstream yet and it is not always clear which brands to trust as there is a lot of greenwashing going on these days. 

Eco friendly backpack review: a male carrying save the earth bag

Well, if you are passionate about eco-friendly backpacks that are just as reliable, well-made and versatile for any occasion, then you’ve come to the right place.

After some extensive research, I’ve compiled a list of favorite brands making gorgeous eco-friendly and ethical backpacks for everyday use, summer travels, and beyond.  

Hopefully, you will find at least a preferred option among my list of 10 best eco-friendly backpacks for a greener, better planet in 2021.

Let’s dive in.

Table of Contents

Best Tech Friendly: Solgaard Lifepack Backpack

Eco friendly backpacks review: Solgaard Lifepack Backpack
Credit: Solgaard

Summary: Eco- conscious, solar powered and thoughtfully designed to protect your tech from thieves or drops: the Solgaard Lifepack is a gem. 

Eco friendly backpack review: Solgaard Sustainability mission statement

Eco friendly

The Lifepack is an excellent answer to someone looking to snag a premium bag that’s dedicated to the environment. Made from 100% recycled material called Shore-tex, this bag pulled 5 lbs plastic waste from the oceans! Don’t you just love that?

What we also love

Bursting with extra features and useful accessories, there’s a sleek design, a well- positioned laptop compartment, a Bluetooth speaker, charger, a solar panel and anti- theft features.         

Also, the organization is top notch: featuring two main compartments with four hidden pockets and a drop proof laptop section for ultimate protection of your device.

What’s not great

It’s not large enough to be a long-term travel backpack (it’s only 18 liters), and is heavy at 4 lbs.

For the Eco conscious Fashionista: Terracotta Backpack

Eco friendly backpacks review: Opus Mind Terracotta backpack
Credit: Opus Mind

Summary: The Terracotta Backpack’s combination of luxury and sustainability is something to behold.

Eco-friendly

Founded by Kathleen Kuo, a fashion veteran who left high-end industry to focus on sustainable products, Opus Mind help reduce the industry’s environmental footprint and develop products for the eco-conscious consumer.

Made entirely from 100% recycled leather, the Terracotta bag is beautifully minimalist in design, repairable and made to last for a long time to come.

What we also love

I like this eco-friendly backpack because it features waterproof leather, adjustable straps, YKK zippers, 13″ laptop compartment and two pockets for better organization. 

What’s not great

The pack might seem expensive to the average shopper, but it’s the price to pay for high quality craftsmanship.

For the minimalist: Everlane ReNew Transit Backpack

Eco friendly backpacks review: Everlane ReNew Transit Backpack
Credit: Everlane

Summary: This unisex backpack combines a recycled polyester and water-repellent finish to create a sleek, minimalist look. 

Eco friendly backpack review: Everlane Sustainability mission

Eco friendly

A firm believer in sustainable and environmentally responsible supply chain, Everlane incorporates ethical manufacturing practices with products created from recycled plastic bottles to reduce landfill waste.

One of the best things about the ReNew Transit backpack is the environmentally conscious material it’s made of – 100% recycled polyester with CO water-resistant finish. 

If you want to know more about the Everlane Renew Backpack and their substantiality goals, I have written a detailed review on it. 

What we also love

Stylish and water-resistant, it has pockets to keep all your essentials separated—including a 15” exterior laptop sleeve and water bottle pockets, and is available in four neutral colors.

What’s not great

The shoulder straps are not decently padded to be comfortable for long wears and the laptop pocket doesn’t have a padded (false) bottom to protect your laptop from impacts. 

For the outdoor enthusiast: Patagonia Black Hole Pack

Summary: The Black Hole backpack combines versatile styling with outdoor functionality, offering a bag that can works for EDC, outdoor and travel use. 

Ecofriendly

Aside being known for their durable outdoor gear, Patagonia are especially appreciated as a maker of eco-friendly backpacks that are sustainably and ethically made.

The Black Hole is made with 100% recycled body fabric, lining and webbing that’s bluesign® approved.

Also water resistant, if ever faced with the elements at the most unpredictable times, you never have to worry.

What we also love

A pack you’ll love and use for years to come, the Black Hole even come with lifetime warranties and repair program.

It’s equipped with a padded 15-inch laptop sleeve, and is thankfully crafted with padded shoulder straps and a fully adjustable harness to keep your shoulders happy throughout your hike.

What’s not great

You may find its price tag too hefty. 

For the everyday carry: Fjallraven Re-Kanken

Eco friendly backpack reviews: Fjallraven Re-Kanken
Credit: Fjallraven

Summary: An iconic piece, the Fjallraven Re-Kanken is a sustainable bag great for work, school, commute and everything in between.

Eco friendly backpack review: Fjallraven Sustainability mission

Ecofriendly

You’ll like to know that Fjallraven -which actually means arctic fox in Swedish- is part of the Arctic Fox recovery program which is committed to preserving arctic fox from extinction. 

Dedicated to sustainability, the Re-Kanken backpack is made from polyester recycled from 11 used plastic bottles, with lesser use of water and energy in the production process as well!

Did I mention that the polyester material used in the pack is hardwearing and water resistant? Yeah, your device is safe even if you are caught in a slight rain.

All in all, whenever the Re-Kanken reach the end of its life, it is completely recyclable. Sounds great, right?

What we also love

It is comfortable, has a lifetime warranty and comes with plenty of colorways to suit diverse tastes.

What’s not great

There aren’t enough pockets and compartments in the bag to enable you arrange and separate your items as you’d like.

To know more about the Fjallraven backpack, check out my detailed review on the brand and some of their offerings.

For the conscious globe- trotter: Bellroy Transit backpack

Eco friendly backpack reviews: Peak Design Everyday Backpack
Credit: Bellroy

Summary: The Bellroy Transit Backpack has it all – quality eco-friendly materials, dedicated laptop compartment, stylish vibe and is equipped for travel! 

Eco-groovy

The Bellroy Transit Backpack is designed to meet your every travel needs and features recycled fabric that keep plastics out of landfill and oceans.

You can pick up this pack in different recycled fabrics depending on the color you choose—The Black is made with a durable nylon material; the Ink Blue  spots a recycled Venture Weave polyester while the Charcoal is made with recycled soft-woven polyester.

By the way, check out this detailed review on the Bellroy Transit backpack, if interested.

What we also love

This 38L one-bag travel solution is stuffed with features: a protected 16-inch laptop compartment for easy airport check, sternum strap & waist belt for weight distribution, and contoured back panel with padded straps for all day comfort.

What’s not great

At well over $200, this backpack is not cheap and the side pockets isn’t stretchy enough to fit large water bottles. 

Photographer-friendly camera backpack: Peak Design Everyday Backpack

Eco friendly backpack reviews: Peak Design Everyday Backpack
Credit: Peak Design

Summary: If you want a sturdy eco- friendly tech bag for your camera, laptop, tablet, and other everyday accessories, this is the bag you go for.

Ecofriendly

An environmentally sustainable company, Peak Design products are carbon neutral, B Corporation certified, and a member of the 1% For The Planet membership whereby they give 1% of their revenue to environmental nonprofits. 

The Peak Design Everyday Backpack V2 is made of waterproof 400D nylon shell which is DWR impregnated and double PU coated.

You’ll be happy to know that all the other colors except the black version is made with recycled and Bluesign-Approved materials, meaning they’re produced much more sustainably. Thus, creating less harmful effects on the environment without sacrificing any durability. 

If you’re looking for a vegan option, it’s the black you want to go for because it has Hypalon accent instead of leather.

What we also love

It comes with features you’d love- clean silhouette, minimal dangling straps, smart organization, waterproof shell and protections for all of your tech gears.  

Versatile too, you can use this ecofriendly backpack  as a camera bag, an everyday carry and even for travel.

What’s not great

For one, it can get quite heavy. The good news is that the brand has a hip strap to help mitigate this problem. The bad news however is that it comes at an extra cost to you. 

Most versatile: Day Owl Backpack

Day Owl Backpack
Credit: Day Owl

Summary: A great backpack with sophisticated design and eco-friendly materials, this is one cute and functional pack that you can use for pretty much anything you want!   

Eco friendly backpack review: Day Owl Sustainability mission

Eco friendly

The Day Owl is a certified BCorp brand that uses sustainably sourced materials to produce bags in such a way that eliminate environmental waste and also employ ethical labor practices for its employers.

The bag features First Mile material, which is comprised of waxed canvas produced entirely of 100% recycled post-consumer plastic bottles, with LWG certified leather and 100% recycled polyester lining and trim that limits environmental waste in a huge way 

Another amazing feature of the bag is the free repairs for life warranty! Day Owl promises free repairs for life and free end-of-life recycling. 

What we also love

Water and abrasion resistant as well, it has a total of ‘5 sneaky pockets’, a dedicated laptop compartment, is carryon sized with a luggage sleeve and a 21L capacity for all your everyday necessities. 

By the way, you can check out my comprehensive  review on the Day Owl backpack.

What’s not great

The pack doesn’t have a false bottom to protect your laptop from hard surface impacts and comes with a triple-digit price tag.  

Tentree Mobius Backpack

Tentree Mobius Backpack
Credit: Tentree

Summary: If you’re looking for a bag that looks great, feel comfortable and are sustainably made, the Tentree Mobius backpack ticks all the boxes. 

Eco friendly backpack review: Tentree Sustainability goals

Here’s a little fun fact: If you buy the Modius backpack which is made out of 31 plastic water bottles, ten trees are going to be planted somewhere around the world.

Beautiful and eco-friendly, the Tentree Mobius backpack is a triumph. It’s made with sustainable materials including 100% REPREVE Recycled Polyester, BLOOM algae, and post-industrial that includes even the buckles, zippers and trims.

What we also love

A 4-in-1bag for daily commute, daytrip, weekend getaway, and carry-on size, you can convert the bag from a 16L to a 35L bags if you ever need the space.

From a padded 15” laptop sleeve, easy access clamshell opening, disguised water bottle pocket, roll top closure and a tough high-quality build, this bag will last you for years and years.

What’s not great

The major con would be that it has no waist strap to get the weight off your shoulders and back when it’s stuffed up and heavy.   

Westward 23L Rolltop backpack

Eco friendly backpack review: Westward 23L Rolltop backpack
Credit: United By Blue

Summary: An eco-friendly backpack that holds your necessities and helps save the oceans. 

It’s comforting to know the backpack you’re carrying have been constructed to have as minimal impact on the environment and that’s exactly what the Westward 23L Rolltop backpack is.

Made entirely from recycled polyester and plastic gotten from the oceans or landfill, this eco-friendly backpack comes with a sweet catch: for every product sold, United By Blue removes one pound of trash from oceans and waterways around the world!

What we also love

The Westward has a lot of great features that makes it work for commute or hikes, including a padded 15” laptop sleeve, durable water-repellent finish, and tons of pockets to stash your essentials.

There’s the leather accent to give it a pop of color and vintage style as well as adjustable, padded shoulder straps that won’t dig into you.

What’s not great
I would not recommend for small people because the straps on this backpack were really wide. If you’re not on the hefty side, or above a certain height, it won’t make for a comfortable wear. 

Bottom Line

Backpacks are serious important investment, whether you use them for running errands around town, hiking, work, or travel ready for wherever adventure takes you.

But beyond just getting a well-made and durable backpack, a responsible consumer has to search for Eco friendly backpacks from eco- conscious companies.

With ethical labor practices, natural and recycled fabrics, and conscious production, these backpacks are not only well rated but also save for the environment.

What do you think of my guide on eco-friendly backpacks? Are there any that you would have liked to see or recommend?

I love hearing from you, so make sure to leave us a message in the comments below.

If you’re interested in backpacks with great protection for your laptop, be sure to check out my guide to the best laptop backpacks.  

This article is not sponsored in any way by any company. These backpacks have been independently selected by myself and my team. And the only thing I receive is a small commission from our affiliate program if you buy any of them through the links and buttons on this page. It doesn’t cost you a penny. But it really helps me out as this money goes to paying for maintaining the website, editing software, my time, team and everything else that goes into preparing this post.  

9 thoughts on “10 Best Eco-Friendly Backpacks For a Greener, Better Planet in 2021”

  1. It’s hard to decide which one I love most. The first one I really liked was the Solgaard Lifepack Backpack, because it has a solar panel and a charger. So, I can connect my laptop or phone in the middle of nowhere, basically, do some work?
    The Day Owl backpack is also wonderful, I love that it plants 10 trees for every purchased backpack and that they are made of plastic bottles. All backpacks include recycled materials, and these companies set a great example for other companies that should follow suit.
    And I especially love that one brand even offers a vegan option!

    Reply
  2. I love these travel bags especially as they are all eco-friendly.

    They might have a high price tag but what companies are doing to clear up this mess as to be commended.

    It’s only in recent times that plastic has become an issue, well high on the agenda.

    I have seen rubbish trucks just backing up to the rivers and dumping their load with not a care in the world.

    If only governments would punish companies like this then the world would be a better place.

    Absolutely horrendous.

    Love the site, well done

    Reply
  3. We do need the one with the laptop components with it as a feature the eco-friendly backpacks are a great idea. They will be mainstream later and will be popular, we care about the environment and eco-friendly backpacks.
    By having one we are contributing to helping with not trashing the earth, this is what we think when we purchase this eco-friendly backpack. It has so many nice features to is and with many that we need as students and with a full-time job.

    Cheers,
    Mathew&Deloris

    Reply
  4. Great choice of products! There are a few that caught my eye. I love how they are all environmentally friendly and how proceeds of many go back into conservation. I’ll be back here often to check on your recommendations! I’m glad that you are doing your part to save our planet!
    Thanks for a great post!

    Reply
  5. Hi Femi,

    I love your website and I’ve came across some great articles with some great backpacks. But, I didn’t know that we had eco friendly backpacks that can help make the earth a lot greener and do it’s best to save it.

    My nephew is going back to school here in the UK and he is a huge eco friendly person. He wants to do his best for the environment, and so do his school mates. I am going to share this article with his parents and see if they want to get him one of these bags. I can imagine his school would love to see him with one of these backpacks, and he could become a bit of a trend setter.

    Thank you for sharing and I’ll let you know what his parents say.

    All the best,

    Tom

    Reply
  6. Hey there,
    Thanks for this amazing article about ECO-friendly backpacks. I am quite concerned about the plastic in the oceans, that amount is just not acceptable. So for this reason I loved the first one on your list, and I am going to review it once again, and I might just buy it. How does the charging solar panel works? Don’t know much about it…

    Reply
    • Hi Julius,

      Thanks for leaving a comment. Regarding your question about how the solar panel works – it is actually a solar power bank/battery with a solar panel side. If you watch this video from Solgaard you will be able to better appreciate how it looks.

      Cheers
      Femi

      Reply
  7. I’m very big on nature, and you have no idea how much your article has made things easier for me. I wanted to buy an eco friendly backpack for quite a while now, but all of the other sites I visited offered some silly-looking backpacks that honestly, no one would ever wear.

    I fell in love with the Tentree Mobius Backpack and I’m %99 sure that I’ll be going for that one.

    Thank you for taking the time to share these recommendations with me and the other readers of your blog. As always, you never seem to disappoint!

    Reply
  8. I’ve been reading Johnny Pitt’s Afropean and have become increasingly intrigued by the idea of backpacking across Europe with particular lens as I consider my academic research options. The Solgaard Life pack looks like a good option for me as I would need my laptop to log my thoughts and reflections. We all need to think so much more about our planet and the footprints we leave on it. Thanks for a great post!

    Reply

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