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15 Best Backpacks Made from Recycled Material: Buyer’s Guide

15 Best Backpacks Made from Recycled Material – A Buyer’s Guide

A Guide to the Best Sustainable Backpacks from Recycled Materials for Women and Men

Sustainable fashion and outdoor gear are not only fashionable anymore; it’s a necessity. Backpacks represent often an important investment and that’s why you should consider the positive impact of your purchase.

In this post, I provide you with an overview of my favorite and best backpacks made from recycled material.

Backpacks should always be sustainable and durable as this increases the life of the product. The backpacks are generally made up of synthetic materials but nowadays, they are also being made of vegan-based products.

The biggest advantage of using vegan backpacks is the environment protection. By the use of such bags, you are actively participating in decreasing the amount of methane in the atmosphere.

best eco-friendly backpacks made from recyclable material, man with sustainable backpack hiking in the mountains
Invest in the environment!

Demand for these products is at an all time high. There are a growing number of awesome recycled clothing brands, and many of them are also including bags in their product line. Even big brands are getting involved and starting to make eco-friendly backpacks made of recycled materials.

Because some of the best brands in the industry are making these sustainable backpacks, that means you don’t have to compromise on design and quality. These backpacks made from recycled materials still have plenty of space to carry all your essential gear, like the best water bottles for hiking, or vegan hiking boots.

Vegan leather and its processing require far fewer resources as compared to the traditional methods, making these ethical backpacks in demand.

If you are looking to buy a new backpack, recycled material ones are a must! Whether you are looking for women’s or men’s bags made with recycled materials, I hope you find one you love amongst some of my favorite recycled backpack brands!

Thanks to affiliate links, I pay my bills. If you make a purchase through them, I may receive a small commission (for which I’m deeply grateful) at no cost to you. All opinions are always mine. Merci!

What to look out for:

Some of the important features you should look for when buying a backpack are as follows:

  • Waist strap: Distribution of weight all over the body is very important. It overcomes sore shoulders and back issues. Waist straps are front-loading and a must-have part of the backpack that you choose.
  • Laptop compartment: This isn’t just the laptop compartment must-have as it can also be used to keep the journals and books. It makes sure that the electronics are secured from damage. This is a zipped compartment to keep your belongings safe.
  • Front-loading: Top loading is annoying and it is a fact. When you buy a front-loading backpack, you’ll be able to take the top face of the bag off. You can pack and unpack much easier!
  • Water-resistant: It always makes sure that your products within the bag are protected. It should have a rain cover so that the water never leaks in.

What Backpack Size to pick?

Small Size: 10 – 30 lIf you are a regular commuter, then this bag is for you. It can also be used for short and weekend trips.
Medium Size: 31 – 50 lIf you know how to pack perfectly for trips that last for several weeks, then this bag is for you. It is carry-on luggage and you also save time on check-in. 
Large Size: 51-75 lIt is used to store the large gear such as camping tents. It is also important if you are going on trekking or camping trips that last for several days and even weeks.

Best Backpacks Made from Recycled Material for Women

best backpack made from recycled material, sustinable backpack, outdoor gear, sustainable fashion

Small Backpacks Made from Recycled Material for Women

1. Patagonia – Patagonia Tamangito 20L Pack

Best Backpacks Made from Recycled Material for Women - Patagonia-Womens-Tamangito-Backpack-20L.

Highlights:

  • Shaped to fit the female torso
  • 2 side pockets
  • Awesome heat venting system
  • Many internal pockets

What Recycled Materials have been used?

Both nylon and polyester are used in the making. The nylon is 50 % recycled and the other half is general. The plain weave is used to make sure that the smoothness of the bag remains.

It also has DWR (Durable Water Repellent) which makes it one of the most sustainable backpacks and best eco-friendly backpacks you can get.

Why it is a perfect fit?

Due to its small capacity, the Patagonia – Women’s Nine Trails Pack 18L is a perfect fit for day to day activities. The main compartment is spacious and has also been designed to keep things in order.

It ensures that everything is in reach as soon as the backpack is opened. The side pockets can also be used to keep muddy and wet gear.

Patagonia make some of the best multipurpose women’s recycled backpacks, and they are extremely durable.

Check prices & reviews here

2. REI Co-op Trail Hydro 20L Hydration Pack – Women’s

REI Co-op Trail Hydro 20L Hydration Pack - Women's - 2 Liters | REI Co-op

Highlights:

  • Quick load pocket
  • Hydrapak reservoir for water supply
  • Side pockets for water bottles
  • Soft pocket on top for mobile phone

What Recycled Materials have been used?

The thermoplastic urethane has been used to make this bag. The recycled nylon and seams that are joined together with RF (Radio-Frequency) are also used for long-lasting durability. This makes it one of the best ethically made backpacks on the market.

These seams also provide the elasticity to the mesh and the pockets, making the REI Co-op Trail Hydro 20L Hydration Pack one of the most wanted recycled backpacks.

 Why it is a perfect fit?

As a daypack, this recycled nylon backpack holds most of your essentials within your reach. It also ensures that durability is provided to make sure that the stuff inside remains safe and secure.

With a weight of only 770 grams, this backpack is perfect for women to carry with ease.

Check prices & reviews here

3. Johnny Urban MIA Rucksack – Women’s

Highlights:

  • Made 100% from recycled plastic bottles
  • Straps with high-quality rubber
  • Laptop pocket 

Shop here

What Recycled Materials have been used?

The outside material is made from recycled plastic bottles. This is not only sustainable, but means that the outer layer is also water-resistant, and they come in a variety of very pleasing colors.

Check prices & reviews here

Why it is a perfect fit?

Johnny Urban is a Hamburg-based label which only entered the fashion scene in 2016 but are already establishing themselves as quality accessory makers.

These backpacks made from recycled material are perfect for the young professional on the go and would be great outdoor gifts for women. Although only a 7L bag, it can carry your laptop, cables, notebooks and pens, water bottle, lunch, and even an umbrella quite comfortably.

Check prices & reviews here

Medium-Sized Backpacks Made from Recycled Material for Women

1. Patagonia – Black Hole Pack 32L

Highlights:

  • Extremely roomy main
  • Numerous internal zipped pockets
  • Back panel made of mesh for ventilation and comfort
  • Great shoulder support

What Recycled Materials are used?

It is made up of 100 % recycled polyester and TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane) film. The bag is abrasion-free and water-resistant, as the materials are highly durable.

The polyurethane coating is also used to add to the durability of the bag. It can rightfully be called one of the best fair trade backpacks.

 Why a medium backpack is a perfect fit?

If you are aware of packing perfectly, then you must go for medium backpacks. These can easily be used to make sure that the trips that are of several days are planned with perfection. 

The online shop of Patagonia offers a large selection of medium-sized backpacks (and many of them are eco-friendly!)

Why the Patagonia – Black Hole Pack 32L?

The main feature is the space and then come the advantages such as more stuff and easy packing.

As there is more space, you don’t have to compromise your favorite items for the sake of storing. There is ample space for you to get fit any medium item you desire in this backpack from recycled material.

Check prices & reviews here

 2. Patagonia – Women’s Refugio Pack 26L

Patagonia Refugio 26L Pack - Women REI Co-op- best backpacks from recycled material

Highlights:

  • Perfect customizable space
  • Huge main compartments for gear
  • Integrated zipper to keep small things as USB and wires organized
  • Side pockets for bottles

What Recycled Materials have been used?

It is made up of 630 denier nylon which is 50% recycled. The polyester lining is also very much durable as it comes with DWR (Durable Water Repellent).

The polyurethane coating is also used to add to the durability of the product. Among the backpacks made from recycled materials, this one is long-lasting and durable.

Why a medium backpack is a perfect choice:

The medium backpacks are light and easy to carry. They also make sure that you get the exact space that you require on the move.

Check rates and reviews

Why the Patagonia – Women’s Refugio Pack 26L?

It is perfect if you are looking for women’s recycled backpacks that can carry more luggage and have additional compartments for you to get comfortable packing.

Made up of durable materials, it is a must-have for your trips and for the conscious traveler.

Check prices & reviews here

Large Backpacks Made from Recycled Material for Women

1. REI Co-op Traverse 65 Pack – Women’s

REI Co-op Traverse 65 Pack - Women's | REI Co-op - best backpacks made of recycled material

Highlights:

  • Robust internal frame to protect your back
  • Perfect fit on the torso
  • Activ-motion has been integrated to keep your body balanced on rough terrain
  • Meshed shoulder straps against sweating

What Recycled Materials have been used?

The ripstop nylon is used to make this bag. The other materials used are polyester, durable water repellent and polyurethane to keep the bag safe from water.

When to opt for a large-sized backpack?

The best part of large-sized backpacks is that they keep things well organized as compared to other sizes.

The quality is always kept high and REI.com also ensures that the user never has any issues with spacing.

Why opt for the REI Co-op Traverse 65 Pack – Women’s?

The large size of this recycled nylon backpack is perfect if you are planning on several days of trips or hiking. Your excursions will be along with your favorite items as space is a lot.

It has also been tested independently and is found to be a top-notch product.

Check prices & reviews here

2. REI Co-op Flash 55 Pack – Women’s

REI Co-op Flash 55 Pack - Women's | REI Co-op - best backpacks from recycled material

Highlights:

  • Packmod compression technology has been integrated for easy carrying
  • Strap pockets to keep delicate accessories such as camera and USB
  • Water bottle pockets in the front for hassle-free grabbing

What Recycled Materials have been used?

Highly sustainable and bluesign®  approved materials are used to make this bag. The recycled ripstop and oxford nylon are used in the manufacturing process.

Why opt for the REI Co-op Flash 55 Pack – Women’s?

The main advantage of this backpack made from recycled materials is its durability. This means that your stuff is safe and secure. If your trip is long then this bag is your perfect companion and therefore you must acquire one.

The REI Co-op Flash 55 Pack is highly durable and makes the travel easy. Even if you have to carry a lot of things, this backpack will assure you that you’ll not get any health issues.

Check prices & reviews here

Best Backpacks Made from Recycled Material for Men

best backpacks recycled material, durable backpacks, sustainable backpack

Small Backpacks Made from Recycled Material for Men

1. Osprey Archeon 25 Pack – Men’s

Osprey Archeon 25 Pack - Men's | REI Co-op

Highlights:

  • Easy access with roll-top closure with extended zip-front panel access
  • Moist is repelled with the help of DWR (Durable Water Repellent) finish.
  • GRS (Global Recycle Standard) certified and PFC (Per-and Poly-Floarinated Chemicals) free material
  • Rain cover included
  • Adjustable harness

 What Recycled Materials have been used?

The nylon that has been recycled in addition to foam covered in a mesh is used to make this backpack.

Many recycled materials have been used and currently, it is considered one of the best environmentally friendly backpacks available.

When to use a small backpack?

The best part of a small backpack is the fact that it is easily adjusted. To keep all your stuff in one place, a smaller backpack must be used as it can also be handled with ease.

When I was looking for a small-sized backpack for my upcoming trip to Tenerife, I found plenty of cheap deals at REI.com.

Why opt for the Osprey Archeon 25 Pack – Men’s?

The load within this bag stays close to the body and the ventilation system is awesome. In addition to all this, the bag is also spacious and easy to transport.

Check prices & reviews here

 2. Patagonia – Arbor Classic Pack 25L – Men’s

Patagonia Arbor Classic Backpack 25, best backpacks from recyclded materials

Highlights:

  • Made with 100% recycled Polyester with zero impact on the environment
  • Integrated hydration sleeve to keep vessels secure.
  • Curve shoulder straps designed for maximum load distribution over your back

What Recycled Materials have been used?

This backpack has been made with 100 % recycled polyester and the DWR (Durable Water Repellent) finish makes it water repellent.

The Patagonia – Arbor Classic Pack 25 comes with a polyurethane coating to make the product durable.

 Why the Patagonia Arbor Classic Pack 25L?

The finish of this bag is awesome and the best part is the weight which is just 590 grams. With dimensions of 20 x 11 x 6, this backpack is a perfect fit for your short excursions.

Check prices & reviews here

Medium Backpacks Made from Recycled Material for Men

1. Patagonia – Black Hole Pack 32L – Men’s

Patagonia Black Hole Travel Pack - 32L | REI Co-op

Highlights:

  • 100% abrasion-free and weather resistant
  • Splendid ventilation system
  • Padded shoulder straps help ensure all-day comfort
  • Securing anything from a skateboard to a yoga mat

What Recycled Materials have been used?

100 % recycled polyester is used to make this product. The TPU (Thermoplastic Polyerethan) film lamination and the 22 % solution dryness of the materials make this product water repellant and sturdy for all weather.

 Why use a medium-sized backpack?

The medium-sized backpacks are highly organized. Patagonia backpacks provide large storage space to its users. It is one of the best sizes that you can easily manage, irrespective of your trip type.

Why the Patagonia – Black Hole Pack 32L?

There are 2 side pockets that have been provided to make sure that the water bottles and other drinks remain in reach. The main compartment is roomy and provides instant access to goods, and the weight of this bag is just 810 grams.

This is one of the best eco-friendly backpacks for you to purchase.

Check prices & reviews here

 2. Patagonia Black Hole® Duffel Bag 55L – Men’s

Patagonia Black Hole® Duffel Bag 55L - best backpacks made from recycled material

Highlights:

  • Available in 4 different sizes
  • Made of 100 % of recycled materials
  • 2 padded, removable shoulder straps allow you to carry the duffel like a backpack
  • Large opening to main compartment

What Recycled Materials have been used?

The main body has been made up of 396 grams denier 100 % recycled polyester. The TPU (Thermoplastic Polyrethane) film laminate is also used to make the product durable.

The linings of this recycled material duffel bag comprise of 200 deniers 85 grams of polyester along with the polyurethane coating.

The reviews on REI.com confirm that the Patagonia Black Hole® Duffel BagIt is not only one of the coolest, but also one of the best durable backpacks on the market.

Why Patagonia Black Hole® Duffel Bag 55L?

With its 1,165 grams of weight, this recycled material duffel bag is one of the best products that can be used for a variety of purposes.

The shape of the bag is awesome and it provides equal weight distribution. The design is such that it does not get you in shoulder and back issues when the load is carried.

Check prices & reviews here

3. Day Owl Backpack Made from Recycled Bottles – Men’s

Highlights:

  • Free repairs for the life
  • End-of-life recycling
  • 5 sneaky pockets

What Recycled Materials have been used?

All of these mens recycled backpacks are made with waxed canvas from First Mile®, which is made using 100% recycled post-consumer plastic bottles.

The backpack trim and lining are also made with 100% recycled polyester, and the zippers are conflict-free.

As an added safety feature, the backpacks come with a water bottle pocket that’s lined with water resistant neoprene. That means no leaks or spillages can reach your technological devices or your notebooks!

Check prices & reviews here

Why Day Owl backpack made from recycled bottles?

Day Owl as a company is incredibly environmentally and sustainability-minded, working with organizations like First Mile®, in order to enable both positive recycling changes in the manufacturing world and promote sustainable travel.

Their 100% recycled backpack is incredibly long-lasting! But even then, each recycled materials backpack comes with free repairs for life, and are proudly advertised by Day Owl as “your last backpack”.

These mens recycled backpacks also have end-of-life recycling, meaning if you return your used bag it will either be refurbished or recycled depending on its condition.

This means less waste and makes them some of the best sustainable backpacks available.

Check prices & reviews here

4. Ecogear Bighorn 17 Backpack – Men’s

Highlights:

  • Maximum Storage
  • Lightweight
  • Travel friendly

What Recycled Materials have been used?

Ecogear’s backpacks made from recycled materials contain REPREVE fabric which is sourced from recycled water bottles. So far, REPREVE has reclaimed and repurposed more than 15 billion plastic water bottles worldwide.

They also use heather polyester to lower each bag’s environmental impact.

Check prices & reviews here

Why Ecogear Bighorn 17 backpack?

Each bag is very spacious, with two large main compartments, plus padded sleeves for both a laptop and a tablet. There’s even a fleece-lined front pocket to keep delicate accessories such as sunglasses safe from scratches.

This recycled material backpack even has Ergo-padded shoulder straps for extra comfort no matter how heavy your bag. They definitely make excellent gifts for outdoorsy people under 50!

Check prices & reviews here

Large Backpacks Made from Recycled Material for Men

1. REI Co-op Flash 55 Pack – Men’s

REI Co-op Flash 55 Pack - Men's | REI Co-op - best backpacks made from recycled material

Highlights:

  • Packmod pockets on the shoulder straps and hipbelt – great for camera and snacks
  • Great ventilation system
  • Attachment loops on the front allow ice axes, tools and more
  • Roll-top closure

What Recycled Materials have been used?

The bluesign® criterion is kept in view while the bag is designed. During the manufacturing process, it is kept in view that the most respectful practices are adopted to preserve the environment.

The lining comprises of 100 deniers ripstop and the main body is made up of 450 denier nylon. All the materials are recycled.

Why should you use a large-sized backpack?

Compared to a suitcase, a large backpack is just awesome for storage. Besides the packing, a large bag saves both time and effort.

Why opt for the REI Co-op Flash 55 Pack – Men’s?

With customizable main compartment and hydration compatible design, the Flash 55 Packbag by REI.com is one of the best eco-friendly hiking backpacks. The best thing about the product is its ability to store your items in large quantities.

The accessories that come with the bag can easily be removed with perfection. A total of 198 grams can be saved once all the add-ons are removed.

The front pocket of this backpack from recycled materials was exclusively designed for the rain gear which you can access easily if the weather turns wet.

Check prices & reviews here

2. REI Co-op Traverse 70 Pack – Men’s

REI Co-op Traverse 70 Pack - Men's | REI Co-op - best backpacks made from recycled material

Highlights:

  • Durability: internal frame of this bag is made up of aluminum
  • Uplift makes sure that the weight is pulled towards the center of gravity
  • Interchangeable 3D-contoured hipbelt with sculpted foam padding
  • Integrated raincover

What Recycled Materials have been used?

The recycled ripstop nylon used in the making of this bag makes it a perfect eco-friendly product. To be precise, the body is made up of 200 ripstop nylon with the double gauge.

The bottom is made up of 420 denier nylon for heavy-duty protection.

Why REI Co-op Traverse 70 Pack – Men’s?

There are 11 exterior pockets that can be used to make sure that all your stuff is in your approach. It is one of the best and state of the art products that can be called as your excursion companion.

The shoulder strap also has a tube holder so that you always keep yourself hydrated on long trekking paths and trails. That’s only one of the reasons why this eco-friendly backpack got plenty of positive views on REI.com

Check prices & reviews here


Sustainable & Durable Backpacks: Why it’s worth the investment!

sustainable womens recycled backpacks, Hiker with backpack looking at mountains
Recycled material backpacks can help preserve this!

Yes, indeed; it is one of the best investments which you will never regret. You’ll use your backpack for a lifetime and that’s why you should invest wisely.

On top, as there are plenty of options for sustainable backpacks out there, there is no excuse anymore to not opt for eco-friendly alternatives. And backpacks made of recycled materials are great for the environment.

The backpacks ventilation, access, pockets, and frame are some of the important features which you should foresee. The other features include padding, attachment points and the type of load distribution it offers. It is an important investment to keep your things organized.

Regardless of the type of excursion, the backpack will make sure that you get all the stuff handy and in approach with ease. Always choose a backpack that is within your budget. Backpacks made from recycled materials can be pricier, but they often last longer, too.

It all depends upon the type of excursions you love to be on. If you love weekend outings, go for small backpacks i.e. 30 – 50 liters. For a multiday trip, go for 50 – 80 liters and if most of your trips are multiday, you must purchase 70 liters of higher i.e. large duffel bags. 


Short FAQ about backpacks made from recycled materials

1. What school bags are made from recycled materials?

Most of the small or medium options are great, but I personally think that Patagonia make some of the most school-friendly book bags made from recycled materials. For boys, the Patagonia Arbor Classic Pack is perfect, and girls will love the Refugio Pack or Nine Trails Pack.

2. Are backpacks recyclable?

This depends entirely on the type of materials the backpack is made from. Most backpacks have some materials that cannot be recycled, though. The benefit of buying backpacks made from recycled materials in the first place is that they are more environmentally friendly, and often be be re-recycled.

3. Are Herschel backpacks vegan?

Every single Herschel bag is made using entirely vegan and cruelty free materials. The only exception is that a few of their collaboration items cannot guarantee a vegan label.



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