9 of the best sustainable backpacks for travelers

Apr 19, 2020

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Editor’s note: The team at The Points Guy loves to travel, but now is not the time for unnecessary trips. Health officials note that the fastest way to return to normalcy is to stop coming in contact with others. That includes ceasing travel. We are publishing travel deals and destination content because we should all use this time to think about and plan our next adventures. TPG doesn’t advise booking trips for travel until summer or autumn — and even then be mindful of cancellation policies. 

If you’re wishing you were anywhere but stuck at home this April, you’re not alone in your travel wanderlust. Although there are ways to channel it, like organizing your travel photos or planning a future trip, another way to deal with quarantine is stocking up (online, of course) on some new travel items.

In honor of Earth Day this month, TPG has pulled together a list of the best sustainable backpackers for travelers. From ones made from recycled plastic to trunk tarpaulins to former billboards, there’s a backpack for everyone on this list. Keep in mind these aren’t super technical backpacks for extreme hikers or adventurers, but instead are best used for carry-ons, beach trips, tourism or daily use.

(Photo by Surasak Suwanmake/Getty Images)
(Photo by/Surasak Suwanmake/Getty Images)

When shopping from home, make sure to use an online shopping portal. Airlines, hotels and some credit card issuers have these portals that offer rewards when you sign up and click through to a retailer from the portal (rather than going to a store’s website directly). You can see our full guide to shopping portals here.

1. tentree Brooklyn backpack, $100

(Photo courtesy of TenTree)
(Photo courtesy of tentree)

This 20-liter chic backpack which was designed in Canada and ethically manufactured in Vietnam is ideal for navigating airports, tube stations or pretty much anywhere. With a 15-inch laptop sleeve and an interior key hook, the Brooklyn backpack is both practical and comfortable. For each backpack purchased, the company plants 10 trees (hence the name tentree).

2. M-24 Rogue backpack, $149

(Photo courtesy of M-24)
(Photo courtesy of M-24)

This tough, waterproof M-24 Rogue backpack may not look like a typical travel backpack but it can weather quite a bit. The bag is made of reused truck tarpaulin, featuring distinct spaces for your tech items like a 15-inch laptop and beyond. The tarpaulins are sourced in the U.K., as well as cleaned, cut and made into backpacks in the company’s Somerset facility.

3. RAREFORM Ace backpack, $75

(Photo courtesy of Rareform)
(Photo courtesy of RAREFORM)

RAREFORM takes old billboard vinyl destined for landfills and turns it into backpacks. Each ACE backpack has a one-of-a-kind, colorful exterior (choose from endless color and pattern options) made of the recycled vinyl and the interior has space for a 15-inch laptop and much more.

4. Lefrik Daily backpack, $90

(Photo courtesy of Lefrik)
(Photo courtesy of Lefrik)

One of the most fashionable backpacks on the list, Lefrik’s Daily backpack comes in unique colors like dusky pink or dark lake. Made from a combination of recycled polyester and recycled water bottles, the bag is entirely vegan. It also comes with a laptop space and a special handle to attach to your suitcase.

5. Solgaard solar-powered lifepack, $200-$228

(Photo courtesy of Solgaard)
(Photo courtesy of Solgaard)

Made from recycled ocean plastic, the Solgaard backpack has a special solar bank charger that also doubles as a speaker. With a special laptop slot, secret pockets for items like your passport and an integrated anti-theft lock, this eco-friendly backpack is also functional for someone on the go.

6. The Level Collective Winnats Roll Top backpack, $369

(Photo courtesy of The Level Collection)
(Photo courtesy of The Level Collection)

The Level Collective Winnats Roll Top backpacks are crafted in small batches in the U.K. — and you can choose to add on special features like a stash pocket or whether you’d prefer vegan or regular leather details. The 18-20 liter volume bags are made from organic canvas and the company donates 10% of its backpack sales to a local food bank.

7. GROUNDTRUTH Rikr backpack, $357

(Photo courtesy of Groundtruth)
(Photo courtesy of GROUNDTRUTH)

Made from 100% recycled plastic, the GROUNDTRUTH Rikr backpack has a special separate laptop compartment, trolley sleeve and comes with a detachable pouch. The pack is water-resistant with multiple compartments for storage. The GROUNDTRUTH company only works with bluesign-certified manufacturers who adhere to the Global Recycled Standard and its factories offer employees fair working hours as well as access to training, health care, dental care and education for family members and children.

8. Everlane ReNew Transit backpack,$80

(Photo courtesy of Everlane)
(Photo courtesy of EVERLANE)

EVERLANE’s ReNew Transit backpack are made in an ethical factory from recycled polyester — right down to the zipper pulls. With an exterior laptop pocket that makes it just a little easier to slip out your computer for airport security, two water bottle holders and a special strap to attach to rolling luggage, this backpack is decidedly traveller-friendly — and stylish too.

9. Paravel Fold-Up backpack, $65

(Photo courtesy of Paravel)
(Photo courtesy of Paravel)

Easily compacted and tucked into your trolley bag, this fold-up backpack by Paravel is perfect for travelers wanting to shop in their destination and bring back some extra home or have a backpack to use at their destination. Made from 15 recycled bottles, the bag is not only sustainable but functional, lightweight and cool, coming with an extra stand-alone pouch for added storage and organization.

Bottom line

Although we don’t recommend traveling just yet, you can prepare by purchasing the perfect luggage or accessories. Start by picking up one of these eco-friendly backpacks in honor of Earth Day on April 22.

Featured photo by Jordan Siemens/Getty Images

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