The 8 Best Eco-Friendly Backpacks of 2022

Our top pick is Terra Thread Sustainable Backpacks.

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

Water bottle and backpack

 Getty

Sustainable fashion doesn't stop at clothes. When it comes to accessories like backpacks, you can look for bags made from recycled materials such as cloth or even plastic bottles. You also can look for companies and brands that emit fewer greenhouse gases, partner with environmental organizations, implement sustainable practices, or are certified fair-trade corporations.

The following list includes brands that use these different strategies to make their products greener. These bags do cost more than backpacks that you may find at the mall or stores online, but they're more sustainable, ethically made, and have a longer life cycle, which is reflected in the price.

Below, you'll find the best eco-friendly backpacks on the market.

Best Overall: Terra Thread Sustainable Backpacks for College and Everyday Use

4.8
Terra Thread Sustainable Backpacks for College and Everyday Use

Courtesy of Terra Thread

Terra Thread’s backpacks may just be the best one out there, with ample five-star reviews that tout the product's quality. The backpacks are made with 100 percent organic and Fairtrade cotton and are processed and manufactured to meet Global Organic Textile Standards (GOTS). GOTS is a worldwide textile processing standard made for organic fibers and takes social and ecological criteria into consideration. The dyes used for the backpack are also GOTS certified.

These backpacks are also carbon neutral. The company offsets around 52 pounds of CO2 by supporting reforestation and solar power projects in India. Every purchase also supports Feeding America, with one purchase contributing around 20 meals. Terra Thread’s parent company, Gallant, is a Certified B Corporation. The backpack is great for everyday use and comes in 14 different colors. There is also a laptop pouch that can fit a 15-inch laptop, and the bag itself measures 16 x 12 x 5 inches.

Best Budget: Ecogear Mohave Tui II Backpack

4.7
Ecogear Mohave Tui Backpack

Courtesy of Amazon

Ecogear’s Mohave Tui II backpack is ideal for those that are looking for an affordable, eco-friendly backpack. The pack has a rugged and sleek design that is good to use for both school or day travel. The pack is 18 x 12.5 x 6.5 inches, with mesh side pockets for water bottles, and padded straps for added comfort.

The backpack is made of Repreve recycled fiber. Repreve transforms recycled bottles into a durable yarn that is then used to create the fabric of Ecogear’s backpack. All of Ecogear's products come with a lifetime warranty.

Best for Kids: Apple Park Eco-Friendly Backpack

4.6
Apple Park Eco-Friendly Backpack

Courtesy of Apple Park

Give the kid in your life a :backpack pal." Apple Park’s Eco-Friendly Backpacks come in either a fox, raccoon, or owl and are made with 100 percent recycled PET water-resistant fabric, saving 24 plastic bottles from the landfill. Recycled PET is made by melting down existing plastic bottles and and respinning them into a new polyester fiber that can be used for a variety of items. Recycled PET also decreases greenhouse gas emissions in comparison to manufacturing virgin polyester. 

The backpack includes padded fabric on the shoulder straps, a name tag on the back of the backpack, and Apple Park’s signature heart-shaped apple on the zipper. The company also has matching lunch boxes and eco-friendly goodies that you could pack in the backpack, as well as larger backpacks for older kids.

Best for Laptops: Looptworks Kasum Upcycled Laptop Backpack

4.6
Looptworks Kasum Upcycled Laptop Backpack

Courtesy of Looptworks

This backpack by Looptworks is 100 percent upcycled, meaning this pack is made from materials that were previously designated for landfill or recycling. Since the backpack is a low-impact product, it comes with a ‘Loopt4Life’ guarantee that the products can last a lifetime.

The Kasum backpack has a separate compartment that can fit laptops or tablets up to 15 inches, as well as other slots and pockets to make storage and organization easier. The bag has padded handles and straps and measures 12 x 17 x 7.5 inches.

Best for Work: Solo New York Re:Utilize Backpack Briefcase

4.6
Solo New York Re:Utilize Backpack Briefcase

Courtesy of Amazon

Transform your backpack into a briefcase with Solo New York’s Re:Utilize hybrid pack. The Re:Cycled collection, which includes the backpack briefcase, is made from Recycled PET Polyester yarn, which uses 50% less energy, 20% less water, and emits 60 percent less air pollution than regular polyester yarn. The padded laptop compartment can hold laptops up to 15 inches. It has two strap options: An adjustable shoulder strap and hideaway backpack straps that are padded for comfort.

Solo New York has committed to reducing its carbon footprint by attempting to recycle 40,000,000 plastic bottles by 2024 and implementing solar energy in some of the company’s headquarters. They have even partnered with the National Forest Foundation to help restore the nation’s forests.

Best Waterproof: Fjällräven High Coast Foldsack

4.6
Fjällräven High Coast Foldsack

Courtesy of Amazon

Fjällräven’s High Coast Fold Sack is perfect for day trips or traveling, because it's light and 100 percent waterproof. Though the seams and zipper are not water-resistant, the main fabric is and offers good protection against rain. It also has detachable chest and hip straps.

The fabric itself is made from 100 percent recycled nylon. The fold-over top of this pack allows you to make more space in the main compartment of the pack. The pack allows space for a 15-inch laptop and has various interior and exterior pockets that are easily accessible. Fjällräven uses a number of sustainable manufacturing strategies and has a goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2025. It's a member of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition.

Best Vegan: United By Blue 15L Commuter Pack

United By Blue 15L Commuter Pack

United By Blue

Another pick from United by Blue, the commuter backpack is also 100 percent vegan and made from recycled plastic bottles. It's is a sleek and lightweight everyday carry. This backpack has a padded interior laptop sleep that has a flap and can hold a laptop up to 13 inches. 

The pack is also water-resistant and stain-resistant and comes with a lifetime guarantee. When a backpack is purchased, you must register the bag with United by Blue, that way if any problem occurs or you need a repair, United by Blue can take care of it (though general wear and tear are not included in this).

Best Drawstring: Baggu Drawstring Backpack

4.6
Baggu Drawstring Backpack

Baggu

If you are looking for a small backpack that can carry your essentials and is comfortable to wear daily, Baggu’s Drawstring backpacks are a great option. The bags are made from recycled cotton canvas, and the cotton fibers come from other cotton products, such as t-shirts or socks, that would have gone to the landfill.

If your bag wears out, you can recycle it by dropping it off at one of the store's locations or ship the bag to them. The company partners with American Textile Recycling Services, which is committed to keeping the textiles out of landfills, so any canvas bags they get will be recycled, repurposed, or donated.

Final Verdict

Treehugger’s top pick for an everyday bag is the Terra Thread Sustainable Backpack, which is made with organic cotton and is carbon neutral. If you need something inexpensive and lightweight, consider Baggu's Drawstring Backpack.  

Why Trust Treehugger?

To find the best sustainable backpacks, we looked for bags that use recycled materials, certified organic material, and manufacturing processes that conserve energy and natural resources.

Author Gabriella Sotelo is a journalist who covers the environment, climate change, and agriculture.

Arricca SanSone updated this article, comparing reviews and sustainability practices. She's been using the same backpack for more than a decade.