September 02, 2021 5 min read

 We are inundated with so many backpacks in different shapes, colors and styles when we’re shopping, but it can still feel limiting at times when we are shopping as vegans. There are vegan-friendly backpacks out there.

But not all backpacks are vegan, and there are things to look out for when we are trying to pick out our new favorite backpack. Many backpacks might appear vegan due to a cloth or canvas body, but upon closer look animal products have been used. Often animal hide shows up as zipper pulls, straps, logo emblems and other accents. This makes these bags inherently not vegan and not animal friendly.

Here are some elements to look out for when scouting out a vegan backpack. Mainly, we need to look out for leather used in the creation of the bag. Traditional leather is typically made from animal hide and is not vegan. So we need to look for leather alternatives for our backpacks.

Faux Leather, or What We Like to Call “Vegan Leather”

Vegan leather options lend to a more sophisticated, professional look. The sleek sheen offers a polished choice. When looking for high quality vegan leather options, it can be better to stay away from PU, or polyurethane, leather.

 As we mentioned in previous articles, this faux leather takes on a plastic quality that tends to peel and crack with wear and does not last for very long. That is why we love our microfiber vegan leather.

Our bags our PETA -approved while still maintaining the durability and hand feel that animal hide is praised for but done in an ethical and sustainable way by using a synthetic microfiber as its base. There are other high-quality vegan leather options featured in our non-Doshi favorites as well.

Out of The Box Leather Alternatives

We know about faux leather, but what about materials that are operating further out from the norm? There are vegan backpack options made out of some inventive materials. From cork to paper and other things in between, there are some amazing alternatives to leather on the market.

Opting to use these materials allows us to remove our monetary support from the leather industry that exploits and abuses animals. The leather industry is also one of the leading causes of deforestation which is contributing to the loss of habitats as well as increasing greenhouse gas emissions across the globe.

The alternative materials that we are highlighting in these backpacks allow for durability and more ethical and sustainable practices, some are even made from recycled materials, which is another win for the environment. The designs of the bag remain just as impressive as well.

Vegan Backpacks We Love

We want to give you some vegan backpack options that we’re excited about. We’ve made and searched for items from other companies that combine style with usefulness. Two things that we highly value.

Doshi Debut Slim Backpack 1.5

This compact bag offers storage while maintaining the integrity of any outfit. It includes a zip pocket and a slip pocket for organization while having a backside pocket for your more important items.

This bag is perfect for a day out when you want to carry a little bit extra, but still has the style elements of a cute handbag. We made it in neutrals and in punchy colors, so you have many options for whatever your wardrobe may need.

 

Doshi Debut Slim Backpack 1.5

Von Holzhausen The Classic Backpack

This brand comes at a luxury price, but we love their chic minimalist designs made from high quality leather alternatives. This rucksack is classic, just like its name. However, it’s Technik-Leather material set it apart.

The material is made from recycled plastic and weighs 1/3 the weight of animal leather. This bag harkens bag to everyone’s favorite book bag while bringing it into the vegan luxury space.

 A simple brown two-pocked backpack.

Von Holzhausen The Classic Backpack

Doshi Debut Paper Backpack 1.5

We love this vegan rucksack! Not only is it a delightful floral, but it’s made of really cool materials. The exterior of this backpack is made from Kraft paper with a Tyveck lining. The Kraft paper part of the backpack is 60% to 90% biodegradable.

The bag may look delicate due to its floral print, but its materials don’t break down when wet and the Tyveck lining adds a highly water-resistant layer. This bag is perfect for a tablet and some notebooks, or your lunch and an extra sweater. This eco-friendly backpack is as practical as it is charming.

 

Doshi Debut Paper Backpack 1.5

ByLisbon Natural Cork Backpack

Cork is a sturdy, flexible and sustainable product that can be made into many things. This particular vegan backpack is found on Etsy. We love the boho prints that accompany the natural cork of the bag.

This backpack is very simple with just one single compartment, but the playful prints and the eco-friendly material set it apart.

 A bright tan backpack with a yellow and blue geometric flower design on the front.

ByLisbon Natural Cork Backpack

Sporty and Sturdy Nylon Bags

Picking a vegan backpack that can be used in more rugged situations can be tricky. Whether that’s a daily commute, travel or for athletics you need your bag to hold up, be functional and look good while doing it. Nylon is a great vegan alternative to a leather bag, and one could argue that it’s a preferred material if you’re out in the wilderness or at the gym.

There are many nylon options out there, however vegan shoppers will have to look closer. Many of these primarily nylon bags will have leather in less obvious places like zipper pulls, shoulder straps and bag bottoms. That’ why it’s so important to find a company that makes animal-free products.

Doshi Pro Sport Travel Backpack

We made this bag to do it all. We constructed this bag out of heavy-duty nylon and our high-quality microfiber vegan leather. This backpack can stand up on its own and contains multiple interior pockets.

You might be carrying a lot and that can get uncomfortable, so we made sure to design the bag with a padded and ventilated back and well-fitting straps.  Bring this bag on trails, on the plane or to the office, you’ll want to take it everywhere.

 

Doshi Pro Sport Travel Backpack

Herschel Classic XL Backpack

Herschel is a classic backpack company and many people think of them when they think of backpacks. Not all of their bags are vegan with them often including leather details. But the company has come out with vegan-friendly options.

This bag is made out of recycled materials including plastic bottles. This roomy bag would make a great school bag with its large main compartment and sturdy exterior. 

 A red two-pocket backpack with a small white logo stamp on the bottom right corner of the front pocket.

Herschel Classic XL Backpack

Hemp Backpacks

People often think of hemp when they think of eco-friendly materials. It has been used since ancient times and renowned for its durability. Hemp grows very quickly and is beneficial to the environment. There’s a reason why many people are passionate about hemp growing.

Given its durable nature, hemp can be a good option to consider when shopping for a vegan backpack.

Ally Capellino Margent Farm Hemp Backpack

This luxury vegan backpack is made of organic hemp. The structural design sets it apart from other hemp backpacks on the market. This bag includes two font pockets with a room main compartment that contains a laptop sleeve. The design of this bag makes a statement while being kind to the environment. A great combination!

 A green fabric backpack with two front pockets and a small white logo patch on the bottom left of the lefthand pocket.

 Ally Capellino Margent Farm Hemp Backpack


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