by Leoni

Backpacks help us carry our essentials and keep our stuff organized at work, on hikes or while traveling. It is therefore very important that we can rely on them to be strong and durable. In this article, we are going to present you the best eco-friendly backpack for every situation and activity in 2021.

Eco-friendly in this case means that the backpacks meet at least one (but usually more) of the following criteria:

  • the backpack is made from recycled materials
  • backpack and production process are vegan & cruelty-free
  • the company gives back
  • materials used are certified organic
  • the backpack is Fair Trade certified

Not all backpacks on this list are 100% vegan. If the backpack contains leather or other animal-derived ingredients, we will note it in the detailed product descriptions below. If you are looking for a vegan backpack, check out our top choices of best vegan leather backpacks in 2021.

Before we dive in, here’s a quick overview of our favorite eco-friendly backpacks:

BackpackBest For Price
Day Owl Laptop, TravelCheck Price on dayowl.com
Terra ThreadDaily life, Carrying (smaller) EssentialsCheck Price on terrathread.com
SolgaardLaptop, Travel, Solar ChargerCheck Price on solgaard.co
TentreeLaptop, Travel, BackpackingCheck Price on tentree.com

Day Owl Backpack

About the Backpack

  • Dimensions: 15.5″/ 39,4cm height x 11.5″/ 29.2cm width x 5.5″/ 14cm depth OR 17.5”/ 4.5cm height x 12.5”/ 31.8cm width x 5.5”/ 14cm depth
  • Capacity: 16 Liters OR 21 Liters
  • Weight: 2 lbs/ 907g OR 2.4 lbs/ 1088g
  • Laptop bag: 14″ OR 16″
  • Materials: waxed cotton made from 100% recycled plastic bottles and 100% recycled polyester, leather detailing (EWG certified), neoprene (water repellant), metal YKK zippers (conflict-free)
  • Note: this backpack is NOT 100% vegan
Day Owl backpack

About the Company

Day Owl works with First MileTM, an initiative that connects low-income communities with global brands through plastic waste collection networks. The resulting responsible supply chains tackle several social and environmental problems at once: Plastic is removed from landfills and the oceans, by local collectors who get paid fair wages. First Mile programs also help reduce child labor in landfills and support families transitioning to the formal economy.

In the production of the backpacks, Day Owl uses those post-consumer recycled plastic bottles to create weather-resistant and durable waxed canvas.

Certified B Corporation

Moreover, the company is a Certified B Corporation, which means that they meet the highest environmental and social standards in the industry.

Another thing we really like about Day Owl is that you can send them your used backpack and get a discount on another secondhand bag of your choice. Want to save some money on your backpack? Check out the Secondhand or Misfits section!

Why We Love It

Working remotely allows us to choose (almost) any beautiful location in the world, take out our laptops and enjoy amazing views, fresh air and great coffee while earning money. Sometimes that’s a cute cafe in a small town by the sea, sometimes it’s literally in the middle of nowhere.

Enter the backpack. No matter where we go and how far it takes to get there, we manage to bring laptops and chargers, books, headphones, a reusable water bottle, snacks and sometimes a bottle of wine. Day Owl’s eco-friendly backpack features several pockets (a spill-resistant bottle pocket, a laptop pocket, a front and top pocket, as well as sleeve pockets and cord straps in the inside) for items of different sizes and shapes.

When it comes to design, we dig the minimalistic approach. The backpack’s style is somewhere between professional and casual and can be worn with pretty much anything.

We can also confirm that the material is very durable. The backpack is of high quality and can be easily used on a daily basis without any issues.

Best For

Work/ School/ University, Travel, Keeping your essentials organized


Check the best price on dayowl.com


Terra Thread Mini Backpack

About the Backpack

  • Dimensions: Bag: 13″/33cm height x 10.5″/26.7cm width x 4″/10cm depth
  • Weight: 14oz/ 397g
  • Materials: 100% Organic and Fair Trade cotton, YKK metal zippers (lead-free), recycled kraft paper (hang tags)
Terra Thread eco-friendly Backpack

About Terra Thread

Terra Thread is absolutely people and planet friendly. Here’s an overview of the certifications they hold:

The Fair Trade certification ensures fair wages, safe working conditions, gender equality, and other benefits for all workers in the supply chain. It moreover promotes environmental responsibility.

Terra Thread is also Carbon Neutral, which means that they offset the emissions produced during the manufacturing of their products. They do so by supporting different projects that give back, through reforestation efforts and renewable energy generation.

Fairtrade Cotton Logo
Faitrade Certified Factory
Certified B Corporation
GOT Certification

Why We Love It

This beautiful piece is definitely the best eco-friendly backpack for an afternoon with friends, a picnic in the park, bike rides and so much more. It is smaller than the Day Owl backpack, yet it is spacious enough for your keys, wallet, journal, water bottle, phone, camera and whatever else you carry around on a daily basis.

The Terra Thread Mini Backpack is available in many different colors (which are made with low impact GOTS certified dyes).

The company’s efforts to make a difference makes wearing the backpack even more exciting – it’s a really great choice for you and the environment.

Best For

Keeping organized in every day life with style and while giving back to people and planet (yes, we are in love with this backpack).


Check the best price on terrathread.com


Solgaard Lifepack

About the Backpack

  • Materials: Shore-Tex™ (upcycled ocean plastic)
  • Features:
    removable solar powered battery and integrated USB port
    secret pockets
    anti-theft lock
    laptop storage (drop-proof)
    water resistant bottom
    optional: Bluetooth speaker
Solgaard Lifepack best eco-friendly backpack

About Solgaard

Solgaard claims to free our oceans from 5 lbs (2.26kg) of plastic for every item sold. In cooperation with The Plastic Bank, they create jobs for locals in the Philippines, who use the ocean waste to upcycle it into new goods.

Why We Love It

If we had to use one word to describe this eco-friendly backpack, it would be “innovative”. Solgaard has really revolutionized the way we travel by inventing a backpack that combines all the features you need: Safety, practicality, style, and comfort.

Secret departments throughout the backpack keep your passport and wallet safe, and (as you can see on the picture) the backpack has space for everything you’ll ever need on your travels and at work. We are very impressed with all the features this backpack has and can absolutely recommend it to every digital nomad out there and everyone else who balances a life between work and adventure.

Best For

Digital Nomads, Work/ School/ University, Travel


Check the best price on solgaard.co


Tentree Backpack

About the Backpack

  • Capacity: 35 Liters (can be converted to 16 Liters)
  • Materials: recycled polyester (REPREVE®), excess algae bloom (BLOOM FOAM®), recycled post-industrial factory waste (for zippers, trims and buckles), cork for brand patches
  • Features: 15″ laptop sleeve
tentree best eco-friendly backpack

About Tentree

Certified B Corporation

As the name suggests, Tentree plants ten trees per item sold. They also focus on ethical manufacturing, as well as minimizing their environmental footprint, which is underlined by their B-Corporation Certificate.

Why We Love It

Tentree has developed the best eco-friendly backpack for minimalistic backpackers. Pack your clothes, toiletries, books, your laptop and all the other essentials you need and travel to your destination, and once you are there, transform it into a daypack for hikes and city tours. Seriously, this backpack makes all other types of luggage redundant.

Best For

Backpackers, Work/ School/ University


Check the best price on tentree.com