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Way too much of what gets made ends up in the trash. By buying gear made from recycled materials, we not only reduce the amount of waste headed to the landfill. We also reduce the amount of raw materials needed to make a new product. Buying products made from recycled materials is also a statement to these companies that eco-friendly products are important to us. GoLite says it best, “I no longer see green as an alternative. Therefore I GoLite.” Many companies are now incorporating recycled materials into their products and these are some of the best eco-friendly backpacks and bag for travel.

What Are Eco-Friendly Backpacks?

Eco-friendly backpacks are bags designed with a focus on minimizing their environmental impact, so these backpacks typically incorporate sustainable materials, ethical manufacturing practices, and eco-conscious design principles. Some key features of eco-friendly backpacks include:

  1. Recycled Materials: Many eco-friendly backpacks use recycled materials, such as recycled polyester, nylon, or even reclaimed fabrics from discarded items.
  2. Organic or sustainable fabrics: These types of fabric characterize certain backpacks, made from materials like organic cotton or hemp, which have a lower environmental impact compared to conventional materials.
  3. Biodegradable Components: Certain eco-friendly backpacks incorporate biodegradable materials or components, reducing their impact on landfill waste.
  4. Low-Impact Manufacturing: Manufacturers of eco-friendly backpacks often prioritize sustainable and ethical production processes, aiming to minimize energy consumption, waste, and harmful emissions.
  5. Durable and Repairable Design: Eco-friendly backpacks may be designed to be durable, encouraging a longer lifespan for the product. Additionally, some brands emphasize repairability, allowing users to fix rather than discard a damaged backpack.
  6. Water-Resistant Coatings: Some eco-friendly backpacks use water-resistant coatings that are free from harmful chemicals like perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), which can be detrimental to the environment.
  7. Certifications: Look for certifications such as the Global Recycled Standard (GRS), Bluesign, or Fair Trade, which indicate adherence to environmental and ethical standards in the production of the backpack.
  8. Minimalist and lightweight designs: These designs characterize certain eco-friendly backpacks, incorporating a minimalist approach that employs fewer materials and emphasizes lightweight construction to diminish their overall ecological footprint.

By choosing an eco-friendly backpack, consumers can contribute to sustainable practices and support companies that prioritize environmental responsibility in the manufacturing of their products.

Which Backpack Would Be Best For Me?

GoLite Backpacks

GoLite not only produces some of the best hiking backpacks but also makes nearly all of its packs from recycled nylon or polyester. Their Tier 1 fabric won an award for the finest innovation in sustainable fabrics from Backpacker Magazine. According to Backpacker Magazine, testers couldn’t find a difference in the durability or performance between the recycled ripstop Tier 1 fabric and virgin, petroleum-produced materials.

The GoLite Odyssey would make a sweet RTW bag for the green-conscious traveler and the GoLite Jam is perfect for ultralighters.

Mountainsmith Recycled Lumbar Pack

Made from recycled plastic water bottles, the Mountainsmith Recycled Tour Lumbar Pack holds enough food and water for a day on the trails. The 8-liter waistpack features a main pocket with a 2-way zipper, front zip pocket, and 2 side mesh pockets to keep your water bottles at easy reach. A padded and removable shoulder strap offers additional carry options. Check out other Mountainsmith Recycled Bags and Backpacks.

REI Lookout 40 Backpack

REI Lookout men’s and women’s 40-liter backpack is made from 100% recycled PET polyester fabric. Each Lookout pack keeps about 26 16-ounce plastic bottles out of the landfill. Loaded with plenty of pockets and features, the REI Lookout will keep you organized and comfortable out there on the trail. The pack has 6 pockets plus the main compartment, an internal sleeve that accommodates a hydration bladder, and side compression straps to cinch down your gear.

Timbuk2 Hidden Messenger

Made from 90% recycled plastic bottles, Timbuk2′s Hidden Messenger is super lightweight and slings over your shoulder or around your chest. The Hidden Messenger’s most awesome feature is that it zips down into a small pouch, allowing you to slip it into another bag and pull it out when needed, like at the grocery store or for a day touring the city sights. Timbuk2’s Hidden Tote, also crafted from recycled materials, serves as a cute day tote.

Check out our guide to ultralight backpacking gear for more information on how to equip yourself for your hiking trip.