Students are saddled with many things (books, classes, and student loans come to mind) - but a beater backpack with a heavy CO2 footprint shouldn't be one of them. Fortunately, backpacks have surged in popularity in recent years and there's never been a better time to pick up a stylish and sustainable pack to keep you organized while toting your school supplies in the coming academic year. From high-quality handmade in the USA bags to recycled packs and solar powered satchels, read on for our top picks for back to school backpacks!
Each year Freitag salvages 390 tons of well-traveled truck tarpaulins and uses them to create an incredible range of products including backpacks, messenger bags, totes and wallets. Their sturdy Hazzard Backpack is made from recycled seatbelts and waterproof tarps that have been carefully cut to create one-of-kind bags that pop with remixed graphic flair. Each bag features internal organization pockets, 15,000 cubic centimeters of space, and a storage pouch for laptops up to 17″.
San Francisco-based Timbuk2 is known for their ultra durable bike messenger bags, and they just launched a new line of environmentally-friendly Full-Cycle bags that are made from 100% recycled materials. The Bluesign certified Amnesia Backpack is constructed from 100% recycled PET with recycled foam padding, and it features a lined laptop compartment that fits computers up to 17″. It also comes with a lifetime warranty, and when it has lived out the last of its days it can be fully recycled.
If you’re searching for a simple backpack that doesn’t break the bank, look no further than Parrot Canvas. Their Uwharrie Day Pack stands out with its retro appeal and durable 1000 denier Cordura construction, and best of all Parrot Canvas manufactures all of its packs stateside in its Greenville, NC factory.
It’s hard to keep your gadgets charged while jumping from class to class — which is why solar bags are such a bright idea for students on the go. Voltaic‘s new Array Backpack features a powerful 10-Watt photovoltaic panel that can generate enough energy to charge a cell phone, tablet, camera, or even a laptop! The bag also features a high-capacity battery that can double your laptop’s runtime and a waterproof shell made from recycled PET bottles.
Duluth Packs‘ classic canoe bags have been made in Minnesota since 1882, but they’ve recently caught fire with an international crowd due to their simplicity, durability, and enduring style. Their new scoutmaster pack is the perfect size for toting books around school, and it’s made from durable 15oz canvas that only looks better the more you beat it up. Duluth also offers a lifetime guarantee on craftsmanship and hardware, so if it’s ever damaged you can simply send it back to them for repairs.
For the minimalists out there, it doesn’t get any simpler than Joshu + Vela‘s elegant canvas backpack. The simple, timeless design of this stripped-down satchel allows its materials to speak for themselves, and they tell a compelling story of sustainability. Each pack is made in San Francisco from USA-grown natural organic cotton canvas and vegetable tanned leather, and they’re practically guaranteed to grow more beautiful as they age.
Fjallraven‘s Kanken backpack has been a favorite among Scandinavian schoolchildren since it debuted in 1978, and over the past few years the iconic pack has landed stateside. The durable vinylon bag is available in a rainbow of colors and its versatile design can be worn on the back or carried like a tote.