ethical backpacks and rucksacks uk

10 Ethical Backpacks

ethical backpacks and rucksacks uk

Looking for an ethical backpack?  Well, lucky you, because I have done a bit of research and found ten lovely ethical backpacks for men and for women for your consideration:

10 Ethical Backpacks

1. Fjallraven Re-Kanken Backpack


fjallraven re-kanken ethical backpack

If you are looking for something practical to tote along your daily belongings, then Fjallraven have pretty much cornered the market judging by the number I see around Edinburgh every day!

The Fjallraven Re-Kanken vegan backpack is made entirely from polyester recycled from plastic bottles, and can even be recycled at the end of it’s life.  It’s €89.95 direct from Fjallraven, but I’ve found them at ASOS ranging from £53*.

2. Baggu Recycled Canvas Backpack

baggu ethical backpack uk

If you’re looking for a backpack for weekend day trips, then try this jaunty Baggu Recycled Canvas Backpack.  It’s available online in the UK from Bath based, Found for £39.

3. Timbuk2 Leader Backpack

timbuk2 leader ethical backpacks

If you’re in the market for something a little more outdoorsy then this Timbuk2 Leader Backpack, available direct from Timbuk2 UK for £84, might do the trick?  All Timbuk2 products have a lifetime warranty and are hand sewn in the US, and there is the opportunity to buy spare parts if you need to replace something on your bag.

4. Trakke Fingal Backpack

Trakke Fingal Rucksack

If you are looking for something produced a little more locally, Trakke bags are handmade in Glasgow using durable materials sourced within the UK.

This Fingal rucksack (£95) is made from waxed canvas, and can be re-waxed when required.  It’s sure to be a trusty travel companion for decades to come.

5. M-24 Recycled Tarpaulin Backpack

M-24 ethical backpacks

If you want a bag that turns heads then check out M-24.  M-24 make unique and incredibly sturdy ethical backpacks, manufactured in the UK from recycled truck tarpaulins and used seat belts.

Check out their tarpaulin backpacks online, where there are a whole host of colours and patterns available, from £75.

6. Matt & Nat Recycled Vegan Backpack

matt and nat vegan backpack

If you are looking for something, pretty, smart an vegan then do check out Matt and Nat.  Matt and Nat’s range of vegan bags are made responsibly and and are lined with 100% recycled nylon.

This Matt and Nat Brave bag in azur is currently reduced to £68.60.

7. What Daisy Did Brooklyn Backpack

ethical rucksack uk

If you are looking for a bag with an added feel good factor then look no further that Northampton based What Daisy Did.

Their wayfarer collection of bags are made in the UK from high grade recycled ex-military materials, such as waxed canvas. These materials are 99% locally sourced, and they say that where it hasn’t been possible to source recycled components they have tried to source new components from local manufacturers.  They also offer employment to local homeless and vulnerable people for an added feel good factor.

This What Daisy Did Brooklyn Backpack is £90 and comes with a three year repair or replace guarantee.

8. Patagonia Ironwood Backpack

patagonia recycled polyester backpack

If you want real peace of mind when you buy a backpack then definitely cast your eyes towards Patagonia.  Click on the returns and repair section of Patagonia’s website and you’re presented with a reassuring statement informing you that “you can return Items(s) you bought on within 100 years of the date of receipt of the Item(s). For returns past 100 years, please see our IronClad Guarantee“.  You can then return it for repair, replacement or refund.   They also offer a recycling program for added green points.

This Ironwood 20L Backpack (£55) is made from 600-denier 100% recycled polyester.

9. Hawthorn Compact Rucksack

hawthorn ethical backpacks uk

If you’re not an outdoorsy type, and just want a stylish backpack for transporting your laptop and lunch to work then check out Hawthorn.

All Hawthorn rucksacks are ethically made in east London, from British waxed canvas, vegetable tanned leather and organic cotton, and Hawthorn say that they we are so confident in the quality of our construction that every rucksack comes with a lifetime guarantee against manufacturing faults.

This compact laptop backpack (£140) is currently out of stock but you can request to receive an email when it’s back in stock.

10. Millican Roll Pack

millican recycled rucksack gorse

And lastly, Millican make a lovely range of ethical backpacks for a whole range of purposes, from commuting and short trips to longer excursions.

This 15L roll pack (£95) is made from “Bionic Canvas” – a weatherproof canvas that is 57% recycled.  33% of the recycled plastic inside the yarn is recovered from shorelines, waterways and coastal communities.

If you found this post useful then you might also enjoy my guide to ethical clothing brands for women and ethical clothing brands for men.


  1. I love all of them, I’d choose the Patagonia one. But I struggle with backpacks, how to you answer your phone in time if its in your bag, or get your purse out?

  2. Great post, I’ve recently turned from a handbag person to a rucksack person so will certainly check some of these out when next in need of a new bag!

    • Hi Andrew, leather is a contentious issue. I included the bag in the list because the leather was vegetable tanned, rather than tanned using heavy metals.
      Vegan leathers are often made from petroleum based products, which has a negative environmenatal impact, and isn’t biodegradable, unlike vegetable tanned leather. Leather is also a lot more durable than vegan leather, so needs to be replaced less often. It all comes down to personal preference, and there are lots of other vegan options listed should the leather bag not fit well with your own personal ethics.

        • If it’s not for you Isabella, then that’s fine – I have provided vegan alternatives. Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs, and I have no place for shaming here simply because your own personal beliefs do not match those of others.

  3. Carol-Mary Fraser
    April 27, 2018 at 5:37 pm

    Excuse me. Leather is not a contentious issue – or should not be – for a any site calling itself ‘Moral Fibres’. It is perfectly clear that killing a sentient being for the purpose of making a commodity out of its flesh is a grave moral wrong. The various methods used for tanning are neither here nor there when it comes to a being having moral considerability. Your ethics here are inconsistent.

    • Hi Carol, I’ve included my reasons for why I think leather can be more eco-friendly than vegan PVC or PU plastic, petroleum-based leather in the comment above, but if you disagree (and that’s fine, everyone has differing points of view) then there are lots of vegan backpacks listed in the post too! :)

  4. Alexander Carlino-Racket
    July 8, 2018 at 5:08 pm

    The author has given her reasons for using real leather over fake leather…however, why not make the truly MORAL decision and buy neither? Timbuk2 and other brands have lifetime guarantee’s on their brands so it’s definitely not a question of durability.
    Also, you should feel pretty awful suggesting leather on a website named moral fibres.


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