Traveling can be lots of fun-- but it can also be frustratingly difficult to prepare for. We’ve all had the experience of struggling to cram enough clothing into a suitcase for a trip, or having to throw out a backpack after only a few uses because it wasn’t durable enough or big enough for your needs.
This can be extremely harmful to the environment. Most luggage manufacturers don’t pay much attention to the materials and processes used to make their backpacks-- and these processes require high carbon emissions and can cause water pollution. And, since those backpacks are made cheaply, using fragile, non-eco-friendly materials, they don’t even last very long. This results in a lot of waste as non-sustainable bags are thrown out and replaced with more non-sustainable bags.
Luckily, there are also plenty of manufacturers out there whose goal is to help you travel more sustainably by producing sustainable, durable backpacks made from eco-friendly or recycled materials. So if you’re in the market for a travel backpack that’ll last you a long time -- whether you're heading off on a worldwide adventure or an affordable beach vacation -- consider investing in one of the options on this list!
With its numerous interior pockets, optional roll-top closure, and 35L capacity, the Mobius backpack from Tentree is an excellent choice for travelers to take with them on their next adventure. This backpack is made entirely from recycled polyester-- which Tentree manufactures from recycled water bottles-- so it’s doing its part to clean up the environment. Even better, Tentree makes a point to plant ten trees for every one of their products sold, so purchasing from them helps beautify the earth while also removing plastic waste from the environment.
If you travel frequently and need a versatile backpack, the Shell Backpack from Tropicfeel is certain to more than meet your needs. This backpack has a capacity of anywhere from 20L to 42L and comes with a top pocket, kangaroo pocket, padded laptop sleeve, and a wardrobe system to help you organize and condense your clothing while packing. It’s a solid sustainable option, too-- this backpack is mostly made of recycled nylon and polyester, and since it’s so versatile, it should last you a good long while, too.
The Lifepack Endeavor from Solgaard is another excellent travel backpack to look into. With a capacity of anywhere between 27L and 35L, this backpack is a good size, and it comes with a removable “hanging closet” to help organize and condense clothing for bigger trips. This bag is made entirely of recycled plastic, making it plenty eco-friendly-- each bag made prevents 6 pounds of plastic from reaching the ocean.
"The Backpacker" Backpack from Salkan is an excellent investment if you need lots of storage space in your travels. This is actually two backpacks, which can be used separately for day-to-day use or attached to each other while traveling. With respective capacities of 45L and 20L, they provide plenty of storage space and several organizing pockets. This backpack is made entirely out of recycled polyester and nylon, and to keep things even more sustainable, it comes with a lifetime guarantee-- if it ever breaks, you can send it back to Salkan and have it replaced for free instead of throwing it away.
This Travel Backpack from WAYKS has a capacity of between 25L and 45L, making it adaptable for day-to-day use or travel. With several organizing pockets and a detachable bottom compartment, this backpack will keep you organized in your adventures. The Travel Backpack is made entirely of recycled polyester and nylon-- manufactured from recycled plastic bottles-- and is coated with an eco-friendly, PFC-free water repellent finish.
If you’re looking for a backpack that will help you protect your belongings while traveling, the Eco 25L Anti-Theft Backpack from Pacsafe is one you should definitely look into. Made of cut and scan-resistant materials to prevent your card information or personal items from being stolen, this backpack has a capacity of 25L and plenty of internal pockets for organization. It’s also designed for comfort, with ergonomic shoulder straps and an ergonomic back panel. This backpack is part of the Pacsafe Eco collection. For this collection, recycled plastic bottles, fishing nets, fabric scraps, and industrial plastic are used to produce the polyester and nylon for every bag-- making this one of Pacsafe’s most eco-friendly collections to date.
With its adaptable straps enabling you to carry it as a tote or a backpack, this Simple Holdall from QWSTION Bags is a great bag to keep in mind if you need a versatile backpack for both travel and day-to-day use. Its internal organizing pockets and hidden outside pocket will help you keep your belongings organized-- up to a capacity of 30L. Plus, this bag is plenty eco-friendly. The body is made of organic cotton and recycled cotton and treated with an eco-friendly water repellant, and all leather on the bag is vegetable-tanned-- so you won’t have to worry about polluting the environment with this one.
This Sails Backpack from GRÜNBAG is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a durable, sustainable backpack to accompany you on your travels. With a capacity of 20L, this bag has one large main compartment and two smaller ones to keep your belongings organized. It’s made entirely from recycled materials-- the outside is made of recycled sails, the lining is recycled tarpaulin, and the straps are made of other recycled materials, such as plastic bottles. This means that the Sails Backpack is both extremely eco-friendly and extremely durable-- a great investment.
The Wanderer Backpack from Duluth Pack is a must-have if you’re looking for sustainable, durable, American-made products. With a capacity of 24L, this backpack features several external pockets to give you easy access to your belongings. It is made to last-- the body is made of durable canvas and reinforced with hand-cut and riveted leather, so it’ll last a long time. If your bag does acquire some wear and tear, you can send it back to the company to have it fixed for a small fee-- so you don’t have to throw it away.
With its 42L capacity, variety of inner pockets for organization, and waterproof cover, the Adventure Bag from Stubble & Co is an excellent travel companion. It’s sized to qualify as a carry-on on most flights, and its main compartment is easy to access, making it extremely useful while flying. Stubble & Co also aims to create sustainable and durable products-- and although the company prioritizes durability over sustainability, this backpack is made entirely from recycled PET. You can rest assured, then, that your bag will last a long time and will not harm the environment.
Patagonia has a great reputation for making eco-friendly and durable backpacks, and the Black Hole MLC is no exception. This bag can be carried as a backpack, a shoulder bag, or a duffel, and all straps can be tucked away when you’re not using them so that they don’t get in your way. With a large main compartment and two smaller organizing pockets, it has a capacity of 45L-- plenty of space for you to organize your belongings. This backpack was made in a Fair Trade Certified factory, so you can be sure that the people who made it were fairly paid for their work, and it’s made entirely of recycled fabric.
The Kånken Backpack from Fjallraven may not have the capacity of some of the other backpacks on this list, but it’s still a great, durable bag to have on hand if you’re traveling. Fjallraven is known for seeking to make sustainable products, and in the case of the Kånken Backpack, the company accomplishes that through durability. This backpack is made of Vinylon F, which is a synthetic material-- but it does not fall apart or tear easily. It’s also naturally water-resistant-- when the fibers of the fabric get wet, the weave of the material tightens, which naturally protects the backpack’s contents from getting wet without having to use a water-repellent treatment.
Although we love traveling and seeing the world, it’s hard to deny that it can be difficult to do so sustainably. However, even small steps toward making our travels and luggage more sustainable can do wonders to help the environment. Investing in backpacks made of durable, recycled materials both helps clean up plastic waste and water pollution and can help your wallet in the long term-- and it’s just one of many ways to improve the sustainability of our travels.
If you’re in the market for a good, sustainable, durable travel backpack, then, make sure to investigate the options on this list!