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We’ve carried these sustainable backpacks everywhere, from school to weekend getaways — these are our top picks for materials, construction, and price.

Whether you’re heading back to school, running errands around town, or hiking a trail, there are lots of reasons a backpack can come in handy. And as functional as they may be, we love for them to be fashionable, too. But what’s most important to us is to find one that is ethically and sustainably made—a bag that is kind to its makers and the environment.

These bags are responsibly made and/or give back to communities in need, and as they come in different volumes and are equipped with all sorts of compartments, can take you from a workday to the weekend with ease.

Our criteria:

Our editors have worn, researched, and scoured thousands of customer reviews to select the best brands for sustainable backpacks. We regularly update this list with emerging favorites that meet the below criteria.

  • SUSTAINABLE MATERIALS | These backpacks are made using sustainable materials and recycled fabrics, minimizing waste and excess production in their manufacturing.
  • AFFORDABILITY | If you’re on a budget, you’re in luck, as we’ve made sure to include affordable, sustainable backpack options on this list.
  • ETHICS | Each of these sustainable brands is intentional about sourcing and manufacturing, employing cruelty-free practices, and ensuring safe and fair working conditions.

If you’ve got back-to-school vibes on the brain, check out our guides to online classes, shoes, and handbags.


Best Overall | Best For Commuters | Best For Kids 


1. Patagonia

1% for the planet
B corp
Fair trade
Recycled materials

Best For | Technical & casual backpacks
Ethics | Certified B Corp, recycled & sustainable materials, fair trade, gives back
Price Range | $89–$299

Patagonia is known for creating products that are versatile, and this is also the case for its extensive backpack collection. Carefully constructed for more conscious living, the Patagonia packs are made to meet all your needs. Find what you need by sorting the bags by volume, materials used (like recycled polyester and nylon), or features (like hydration compatibility and laptop compartments). Whether you use it for school, as a carry-on, or as an overnight bag, Patagonia backpacks are built for transition.


2. Girlfriend Collective

American made
Recycled materials
Size inclusive

Best For | Solid color backpacks
Ethics | SA8000 certified ethical production, recycled & sustainable materials, circular & take-back initiatives, inclusive sizing, recyclable packaging, eco-friendly dyes
Price Range | $82

Looking for an eco-friendly backpack that won’t clash with your carefully curated OOTD? TGT fave Girlfriend Collective makes a daily backpack that goes with any look. Coming in a range of neutral and muted gorgeous colors (fawn, moss, and rosewood are particularly swoon-worthy!),these monochrome packs are chic and functional. Gone are the days when a random neon zipper or brightly colored tag ruins your ‘fit’s palette. (Bonus: this eco-friendly backpack is made of recycled water bottles and is fully recyclable when you’re done!)


3. tentree

B corp
Climate neutral
Fair trade
Plant trees
Recycled materials

Best For | Long distance & travel backpacks
Ethics | Certified B Corp, sustainable & organic materials, ethically made in Vietnam, Climate-Neutral, environmental initiatives
Price Range | $128

For long distance travel and outdoor excursions, make tentree your go-to for foolproof sustainable backpacks. Considered one of the most eco-progressive bags out there, the Mobius 35L Backpack has a unisex design and is made with eco-friendly Repreve® fibers. (Derived from recycled plastic water bottles that are odor wicking and water resistant). Space and functionality are no issue for this bag, with a number of features including a padded 15” laptop sleeve, adjustable straps and even a water reservoir! Know your valuables are well taken care of in this durable, high performance backpack.

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4. STATE

B corp
Fair trade
Family owned

Best For | Personalized backpacks
Ethics | Certified B Corp, gives back, ethically made in China, nontoxic
Price Range | $65–$198

If you (or your kid) are into monogrammed bags, look no further than STATE, which allows you to personalize your backpack with both your initials or embroidered symbols. More than just style though, STATE has got substance: For every bag purchased, the company supports American families in need, including donating backpacks full of supplies to local students and partnering with schools and charities. With a variety of vegan, water-resistant, and recycled material options, you’ve got plenty to choose from.


5. Pixie Mood

Fair trade
Recycled materials
Vegan

Best For | Recycled backpacks that are work-friendly
Ethics | Sustainable & eco-friendly materials, ethically made, fair wages, vegan
Price Range | $85–$135

Love the sleekness of a leather moment but not the animal product? Pixie Mood’s recycled vegan leather backpacks are the chic, versatile alternative you’ve been looking for. These backpacks are lined with material made from 100% recycled plastic bottles, and most are tech-friendly and even convert into shoulder bags. Perfect for fashionable professionals looking for an efficient yet gorgeous backpack that will complement your work look.


6. Terra Thread

B corp
Fair trade
GOTS certified
Recycled materials

Best For | Everyday & mini backpacks
Ethics | Certified B Corp, fair trade, GOTS certified organic materials, gives back, carbon-neutral, eco-friendly packaging
Price Range | $60–$70

Made in fair trade factories using organic cotton, Terra Thread‘s affordable canvas backpacks are perfect for just about anything. With pockets and compartments for water bottles, laptops, and more, they’ll feel right at home when traveling or simply running errands. They’re also free of toxic dyes, lead, and any carbon footprint! Plus, in partnership with Feeding America, each purchase of a backpack provides meals to kids and families in need.


7. Quince

Budget friendly
Natural materials
Recycled materials

Best For | Sustainable children’s backpacks
Ethics | Eco-friendly & recycled materials, BSCI & Sedex Certified factory production, transparent manufacturing & pricing
Price Range | $64.90–$119.90

Back to school is upon us each year and Quince makes it easy to get organized with their collection of sustainable and child-friendly backpacks. These affordable and eco-friendly knapsacks are the perfect size and have all the necessary compartments needed for kids to keep all their essentials. Choose from recycled nylon, organic cotton or even neoprene options in a number of fun solid colors and patterns. Even better, these recycled backpacks are crafted from up to 29 recycled water bottles! Pair with a recycled lunch box for a perfect match. 


Featured image is from Quince