Ten Vegan Backpacks For Ethical People On The Go!

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you, if you purchase through these links. See my full disclosure here.

I don’t know about you, but I bring my backpack wherever I go.

Gone are the days where backpacks are meant to carry your stuff. Plus, it’s not only used by students but young professionals as well. Even if your workplace has a stricter dress code, you can find a backpack that fits in seamlessly with a suit.

Backpacks are probably the most practical bags ever. Each time I travel, I bring my backpack along, regardless of the place. Whether I’m visiting a less chic site or checking in on a 5-star hotel in Paris, I’m not sacrificing style for functionality. Or vice-versa.

New backpacks are no longer an extra, they complement or even add some flair to the clothes we wear while remaining functional. This being said, when you’re considering vegan backpacks, you need to take into account the materials used to make the backpack.

What You Should Look For In Vegan Backpacks

Ultimately, the backpack you buy will heavily depend on what you’re planning to use it for and how ethical are your principles. Generally, you can find backpacks made with faux leather, recycled and eco-friendly materials. These materials include:

  • Plastic
  • Recycled plastic
  • Hemp
  • Cork
  • And Jute.

Then you have to consider what type of activity you’ll be doing. If you’re going to do some hiking (or trekking) in the Middle East, perhaps a sturdier type of backpack might be adequate. Generally, it all depends on the purpose of your trip, and how much you need to carry.

Therefore, other factors we have to consider are:

  • Size
  • Durability
  • Functionality (which includes the features the backpack has)
  • Appearance

Typically, the easiest aspect to nail down is the first one.

How big should your backpack be?

Size is important when you’re thinking of a backpack. Depending on the intended use, and how much weight you’re planning to carry, size plays an important role. Do you want a backpack that can fit in a laptop for the occasional trip to Starbucks? Or do you want a backpack that is spacious enough to pack clothes and toiletry for a weekend of leisure?

Durability is also important.

I believe this aspect applies to anything you’re planning to buy. Whether it’s a smartphone, t-shirt, jacket or backpack, you want something that lasts as much as possible. And although not always, the price plays a role in determining how long that product lasts.

Typically, when I’m buying a backpack, I want one that is exceptionally durable, which is why I’m willing to pay a bit more. This also ties into the material used to make the backpacks.

Cork, for instance, is a very sturdy type of material, so typically a backpack made from cork is very robust and considered high-quality. What compromises cork sometimes is the color of the end-product that ends up brown-ish, or with a texture that resembles cork. Needless to say, not many people love or appreciate the design. Though, quality-wise, it’s up there.

Style is the cherry on top.

Naturally, we want a stylish back that fits seamlessly with our choice of clothes. And again, no matter how sturdy, big, and functional the backpack is, I will never recommend you to buy it if you’re not happy with the overall design. I mention that appearance is the cherry on top, but It’s still an important element for people. Also, let’s not forget people have different tastes.

Functionality is key.

This is probably what fuels most buying decisions. At least for people that are less concerned about design, but would rather ensure the safety of their belongings. Functionality is having features that provide accessibility, safety, and comfort all in one single backpack.

Speaking of features, let’s go over a few I believe are important.


Having many compartments is a way of keeping your backpack organized. You can have a compartment for your smartphone, one for your lipstick, one for an extra pair of socks. In other words, having a backpack with many compartments allows you to quickly find your wallet amidst your fast striding to catch train or subway.

Furthermore, having more compartments generally indicates you have sections where thieves or pickpocketers might have struggle reaching. Frankly, I believe a backpack with a wide lower front pocket and a zipper is just too dangerous for a good thief.

front zipper

Lockable Zippers

With a backpack like the one above you would want to have lockable zippers. Especially if you’re limited in terms of compartments and need to keep all your belongings in one place.

lockable zippers
lockable zippers

This is not an absolute necessity if you have hidden compartments to keep your most valuable belongings, but it’s a neat feature to have.

Water Bottle Pouch

Having a water bottle pouch helps you reach the water in an effortless, and quick fashion. Drinking water (when you’re moving about) is extremely important, and it is helpful to have it be more accessible so that you can drink it more often.

If you’re going for long hikes under warm weather, water is something you have to keep in mind. Plenty of backpacks have lateral pouches, so your range of motion is short and simple, which is not aggressive on your shoulders. Though, do make sure your pouch holds the bottle properly.

*That image is not a good example given that it’s a hiking backpack (used only for specific occasions), but generally, side pockets are pretty effective.

Wide Padded Straps.

You need to be able to adjust your backpack to fit the weight it’s carrying. Whenever you’re carrying something heavy, you want it closer to your body’s center of gravity, so the strain your back can be reduced. Tightening the straps will cause you to sweat more and create additional tension on your shoulders. Nevertheless, you’re avoiding lower back pain which is horrible.

Plus, you also want the straps to be wide so that when the backpack gets heavier, you can carry it more comfortably. Obviously, if you don’t pack a lot of stuff, then this feature is probably meaningless.

Wheels And Long-Handle

Some backpacks do include wheels and a long-handle. But of course, this is based on your preference. I don’t have such a backpack, but I can imagine how useful it is, especially if you’re carrying extra weight.

Though, in my opinion, it comes down to how often you move around and how much weight you’re carrying most of the time. If you move about quite often with a bit of weight, then I suppose it’s a worthwhile investment to make.

What Material Should You Choose?

This one is a bit tricky for two reasons.

First— not every vegan is fine with buying products made with plastic or recycled plastic. Creating new plastic is the most obvious form of pollution because if not recycled, it tends to last a very long time which puts an incredible chemical burden on the environment.

On the other hand, while products made with recycled plastic are certainly a more eco-friendly solution, they may not be able to be recycled down the line, thus creating waste.

This being said, products that rely on plastics have a better waterproof function, so you may not necessarily find suitable waterproof options. (They’re out there, but not widely accessible)

Ten Backpacks For The Ethical Vegan.

Finally, this is probably what you were waiting for — a list with stylish, functional, and high-quality vegan backpacks. Whether you’re a digital nomad, have a passion for outdoors, or you just want a stylish vegan backpack to carry your work-related stuff, then these vegan backpacks will enhance your lifestyle in more ways than one.

Here’s a quick overview of the best vegan backpacks:

Best Overall: The North Face Recon Backpack
Most Functional: Nomatic Travel Backpack
Begone Thieves: KOPACK Backpack
Affordable Vegan Leather: LXY Backpack
Great To Carry a Laptop: Modoker Vintage Backpack
Minimalist Design: Tumi Just In Case Backpack
For Special Forces: Reebow Gear Military Tactical Backpack
Always Sturdy: Cork Brown Backpack
Awesome For Hiking: Stratos 24 Hiking Backpack
Most Stylish (IMO): Herschel Little America Backpack

Best Overall: The North Face Recon Backpack

the north face recon backpack

The premise is quite simple. If you want an all-around backpack to bring with you to work, on trips, and on short hikes, then the North Face Recon Backpack is (overall) the best solution.

You can easily fit in a laptop and have it be comfortable and accommodating on your back. Plus, it also has a smaller compartment where you can fit in a tablet or smartphone. Both pockets are suspended mid-way, and the padding in the backplate stretches a few inches below the bottom of the laptop pocket which safeguards the laptop when you set the backpack on the ground.

In addition, It has two large compartments for storing everything you might require on a weekend out in a friend’s house, and it even has enough storage space to slide in a jacket if you start sweating in the middle of a run or hike.  Also, it has two lateral pockets that you can use to store water bottles, another perfect feature for hikers.

This backpack also has a solid waterproof feature, which is especially important if you’re like me and don’t quite like to use an umbrella. All in all, this is one awesome backpack!

Most Functional: Nomatic Travel Pack

nomatic travel pack

This backpack is perfect if you’re a functional freak and are in love with modern, sleek designs.

The Nomatic Travel Pack is filled with features — one of them being the amazing internal compartments that are unbelievably well organized.

What differs this one from the Nomatic Backpack (cousin) is the size, with this one being slightly bigger (and therefore spacious). While the Nomatic Travel Pack is a 20L, it has an expanding feature that can increase its size to a 30L. This makes it both a perfect catch for small communes but also 1-4 day trips.

This one is also TSA ready. In other words, you can quickly unzip its laptop compartment without having to go through different layers to get your laptop out. It also has an inner pocket where you can keep your Kindle cushioned and secured. What’s also interesting about this backpack is the compression packing cubes, where you can keep your clean and dirty underwear separate.

Other features include:

  • Retractable key leash to keep your keys safe;
  • A shoe compartment (damn);
  • Magnetic water bottle pocket;
  • Roller bag sleeve;
  • Mesh divider;
  • Cord pass through;
  • And an RFID safe pocket to keep your money safe.

As I said, this is one of the most functional backpacks ever. No wonder, considering the company funded 3M dollars just to make its limited backpack collection.

Begone Thieves: KOPACK Backpack

kopack backpack

KOPACK screams anti-theft. Oh yeah, it comes with several anti-theft features such as the hidden zipper, secret pocket, and cut-proof fabric. Besides those safety features, this backpack also has a USB charging port, luggage straps, and a weight balance.

The weight distribution design on the KOPACK reduces the burden on your shoulders by keeping the backpack stable and balanced while on your back.

Interestingly enough, if you ride bikes, KOPACK has implemented an illuminating stripe that keeps the front side of the backpack glowing at night. This keeps you safe in environments with very poor lighting, which is especially important if you’re riding a bike. Other than that, the backpack is equipped with multi-compartments, as well as stealth zipper which keeps thieves and pickpockets away from your belongings.

Frankly, for the different features and the actual design of the backpack, I was expecting it to be more expensive — but it’s actually a good bang for your buck.

Affordable Vegan Leather: LXY Backpack

lxy backpack

This is the closest you’ll get to a minimalist leather backpack. The LYX backpack is equipped with 6 compartments. One main compartment to keep your books, magazines or notebooks, and also a laptop pocket that fits in a 13.3-inch laptop.

Besides that, it has two anti-theft pockets where you can keep your most valuable belongings, as well as two smaller pockets for less important stuff like headphones, jewelry, etc. Being faux leather, the backpack is also water and stain-resistant, making it very easy to clean up.

This backpack is not filled with either digital or anti-theft features, however, you have a backpack that is super stylish that closely resembles the one I got for $80. And guess what, this one is way more affordable than the one I bought. I wouldn’t say this bag is optimal for long-term travels, but it’s a good bet for grown-ups and kids that walk from home to school/work every day.

Great To Carry A Laptop: Modoker Vintage Backpack


The Modoker backpack is suitable for digital nomads as it’s formulated for people constantly carrying laptops around.

Despite the less bulky design, it actually has more storage space than I expected. It can easily fit in a whole collection of notebooks, as well as a 15-16-inch laptop. It also has small compartments where you can put in peripherals like a mouse or headphones. This backpack also has lateral pockets for other smaller items, but I don’t believe it has enough space for a water bottle.

You can easily adjust the front straps in case you’re packing more weight, which helps create more space. And you can adjust the back straps, bringing the bag closer to your center of gravity in order to reduce the strain on your back. The back straps also have an inward mesh design that makes it more breathable, making you less susceptible to having sweat marks on your shoulder after walking for while under warmer weather.

Naturally, an important feature this bag has is the USB charger port, which allows you to charge your smartphone, Kindle, or other USB-chargeable technology as you travel. All in all, this is a good bag for tech people on the go and is certainly very well-priced for the value it provides.

Minimalist Design: Tumi Just In Case Backpack

tumi just in case pack

This particular Tumi backpack is a great carry-on bag for women. It’s very lightweight and quite small in size, which actually favors the minimalistic design of the backpack.

This bag has the Tumi Add-a-Bag sleeve, a feature that allows it to slip over the extended luggage handles. In other words, you’re able to carry more weight, without necessarily carrying more bags. A bonus is that this Tumi backpack can be easily folded and packed away. It also comes with a double zip entry, allowing you to keep your bag secure provided you use a locker.

This particular backpack is a tad bit cheaper than the other bags from the same brand, but it’s still a wondrous, more affordable choice if you love small, lightweight bags that are stylish and can be put away quite easily. Let me also note that this backpack doesn’t have as many compartments as previous bags, nor laptop sleeves, so It’s not your typical business backpack.

Overall, it’s a great minimalistic backpack that doesn’t compromise style for functionality.

For Special Forces: Reebow Gear Military Tactical Backpack

reebow gear

First off, before you decide to use a backpack like this one, you need to do some diligent planning and maximize the amount of storage you’ll use. This is THAT type of bag.

This backpack has a 40L capacity and comes equipped with multi double-stitched zippers for maximum security. Despite the affordable price, this one boasts of materials that are meant to last. To make it even better, the backpack comes with sturdy buckles that keep the bag neatly compressed, which is very common in most tactical bags.

It also has enough storage space to pack three days’ worth of provisions which is what I would be looking for in a tactical bag. Combining the cost, sturdiness, and space this backpack provides, I don’t see a backpack that’s more worth buying than this one.

Always Sturdy: Cork Brown Backpack

cork backpack

As I’ve mentioned earlier in this blog post, bags made with cork are typically very sturdy. However, there’s one issue. Not many people enjoy the design (or overall texture) of these bags. They look very wood-like, and that turns most women away.

This being said, I believe this one can be considered an exception. It represents really well what a genuine leather bag would look like, and it has a minimalistic design that makes it a fashionable backpack for women of all ages. The back itself comes with adjustable shoulder straps, one interior zipper pocket, and one key holder.

In addition, the bag itself is handmade by local artisans in Portugal relying purely on traditional craftsmanship skills. It looks like leather, but it actually comes from a cork tree, following a process that is truly sustainable which prizes the protection and adequate farming of the cork oak forest.

This product is made in small batches so it’s not always available.

Awesome For Hiking: Stratos 24 Hiking Backpack

stratos 24

Among the numerous rucksacks available in the market, Stratos 24 is a rucksack with plenty of hype behind it, making it an extremely popular backpack for people that love the trail.

While this specific backpack is for men, you can find equivalent options for women within the Sirrus product line. This being said, the Stratos 24 has a volume of 24L — which works best for 1-2 days of outdoor activity. This backpack is one of the lighter, and smaller models the Osprey brand markets, and it’s also one of the most comfortable.

The unique AirSpeed™ suspension system keeps the heat away so that you don’t have to walk with a sweaty back on a hot hiking day. Although it’s not perceivable here, there’s a trampoline suspended mesh between your back and the pack, promoting ventilation.

The Stratus 24 also has an adjustable torso length panel, making it a perfect fit for anyone. Plus, due to the thick padding on the shoulder straps, you can carry more weight without accumulating tension. This in itself helps relieve your fatigue as you walk. The chest and hip belts also help you maintain balance in uneven terrains because it prevents the backpack from bouncing.

Lastly, in terms of storage and pockets, it clearly exceeds expectations for its size. Stratos 24 has 5 external pockets, and there’s probably enough room for 24 hours worth of hiking.

Other features include:

  • A detachable rain cover to protect your essentials from the rain;
  • Dedicated sleeve for a water bladder;
  • A Stow-On-The-Go attachment system that easily secures your trekking poles;
  • Safety whistle for emergencies.

I don’t think you can go wrong with the Stratos 24, assuming you want a functional and comfortable backpack that will last you for many years to come.

Most Stylish (IMO): Herschel Little America Backpack


*Not all variations are fully synthetic

Do you want some swag? Well, this one is my favorite.

The Herschel Little America backpack draws inspiration from classic mountaineering packs, but it looks way cooler. Furthermore, this bag is made with synthetic leather which may not be the case for every Herschel model.

Feature-wise, this pack was kept to a minimum, as there’s only one external compartment where you can store most essentials. You would never call it an anti-theft backpack, but I feel like the lack of zippers makes it less prone to thievery.

There’s also no external compartment for a water bottle, and the main compartment is the typical cavernous pocket used to pack everything. You also have some smaller internal pockets where you can keep some devices, but it’s really nothing special.

The only reason I’ve decided to place this bag here is that I love the design, and using this bag just makes me feel fashionable and interesting. I wouldn’t recommend it for hikers or digital nomads, but if you love a casual backpack, this is the one!

Hope this blog post has helped… 🙂

Thank you for tuning in!