Summer is definitely over and it’s time to get back into the swing of things. Whatever that looks like for you, you most probably need a good backpack! Do you cycle every morning come rain or shine? Do you enjoy long hikes? Do you carry your computer everywhere with you? Read on for our selection of sustainable backpacks available in COSH!-member stores.
Made in Europe
Buying “Made in Europe” ensures shorter supply chains and less carbon emissions. It also means manufacturers should be complying with EU law with regards to chemical usage etc.
Did you know printing involves many chemicals harmful for humans and the planet? WOUF is a cool young company making accessories in Spain using environmentally-friendly inks. This company report they’re making moves to become more sustainable. Their recycled collection is proof of that but we would like to get more detailed information about their supply chain and the composition of all their products. They have committed to 100% sustainable products by 2022 which is promising but in the meantime we would recommend only shopping from their recycled collection, which also uses biodegradable and recyclable packaging. Head to HOST in Berchem for your WOUF recycled bag!
Looking for a unique, sustainable backpack? Look no further than Antwerp-based Lapland textiel. Designer Annelies Van Valckenborgh uses second-hand textiles from the thrift store to make her accessories. The textiles she finds provide the inspiration meaning they’re all 100% unique and special. Pretty cool if you ask us! Her designs are super clean-cut and minimalist and you would never guess that the fabrics have been recovered from a pair of old trousers or a jacket. Find the brand at
HOST in Berchem.
Reduce waste, buy recycled
The fashion industry is responsible for a huge amount of waste every year. Fight the waste by buying a rucksack made from recycled materials.
Ever wondered what happens to old truck tarpaulins? Well, mystery solved! Freitag takes them and transforms them into amazing bags of all shapes and sizes. The tarpaulins are combined with recycled bottles to create a yarn that is water-resistant, durable and relatively soft. These bags are truly unique and sustainable down to the way they’re dyed. Freitag use the spinneret technique that consumes less water, chemicals and energy than traditional dyeing techniques. Freitag are so committed to circular close-loop models that in 2016 they opted to abandon the classic hierarchical structure within their business in favour of holacracy, or self-management. Get your special Freitag bag from Freedom in Aalst or Dendermonde.
One of our all-time favourites and go-to’s is pinqponq! In case you haven’t heard of this German company, they make vegan, sustainable, fair, uber-functional backpacks from recycled PET bottles. Their range of water-resistant backpacks have been designed so you can safely stow away all your belongings in the many compartments. They tick the style box as well - very simple functional designs but in all the colours. Head to Fresh in Bruges for your very own pinqponq backpack. Once you’ve chosen your design, make sure you check out on the website how many bottles went into your new bag.
No animals were harmed in the making of this bag
Make your go-to-backpack a cruelty-free one! Whether it’s for ethical or environmental reasons, check out the brands below for some cool vegan bags that don’t compromise on style.
Searching high and low for that perfect vegan backpack? Matt & Nat is the answer!
These cruelty-free bags are made from vegan leather and since 2007, their nylon linings are made from 100% recycled plastic bottles. This year, they have an exciting new collection… Purity! The Purity collection is their first range of bags (including a couple of backpacks) to use a recycled outer fabric. They’re using an innovative material made from recycled resin from old windscreens! Shop your Matt & Nat 100% recycled rucksack at Harvest Club in Leuven.
Swedish outdoor brand Fjällräven started making their famous backpacks in the 1970s to tackle back issues in Swedish schoolchildren. These bags have quickly become ubiquitous in the world and for good reason! The simple design is functional, timeless and available in a rainbow of colours and sizes to suit all tastes. Although Fjällräven have always made efforts to use only 2 materials so the bags are easy to recycle, they now have a range called ‘Rekanken’ which is made from 100% recycled material. 11 plastic bottles go into one Rekanken! The Rekanken bags along with their classic Kanken range are vegan you’ll be happy to hear. Please note however that some special edition bags do have leather features. Get your very own Fjällräven at Harvest Club or Moose in the City.
The clothing and textile industry has a history of poor human rights throughout supply chains, but these brands are changing the status quo and supporting fair and safe working conditions for all their workers.
In the mood for a colourful fun backpack fighting waste and caring for humans? For Egyptian brand Up-Fuse, social and environmental responsibility sit at the heart of their project. They turn plastic waste into one-of-a-kind bags of all shapes and sizes including some pretty unique backpacks that will comfortably fit all your belongings. Founded by 3 female entrepreneurs in Cairo, Up-Fuse works with 3 NGOs working with various groups of women (refugees, visually-impaired women, women in low-income families) and have provided over 50 women with employment since their beginnings in 2013. Head to the Canvas by Querencia in Antwerp for this amazing ethical and sustainable brand.
Need to carry your laptop everywhere but not ready to compromise on style? Swedish brand Sandqvist’s range of sustainable backpacks are high on our list this season. Not only do they look cool but they’re also perfect to safely carry all of your belongings with a laptop compartment and big pockets. Their canvas bags are made from 100% organic cotton. Their other range of waterproof bags are made from 40% recycled polyester. We appreciate how transparent they are (you can find a list of every single factory involved in their supply chain on their website) and applaud their commitment to fair working conditions showcased by their membership of the Fair Wear Foundation and external audits they regularly commission. Do a good thing for the planet and shop your new Sandqvist bag at Supergoods.
Rain on me…. but not on my things!
In a rainy climate like ours, it’s pretty important to have a bag you can trust to keep the water out.
Looking for a backpack to join you on your early morning cycles to work but also on your week-end hikes? Patagonia could make your dreams come true. Patagonia is renowned for making sustainable high-quality products and their Black Hole bags are no exception. These bags made from 100% post-consumer recycled polyester are waterproof and durable. Their ergonomic and highly functional design will take you everywhere you need to go. Get yourself one of these amazing bags at Moose in the City in Antwerp.
You may already have a waterproof jacket from Rains but did you know they also have an amazing collection of backpacks? Rains is everywhere right now and for good reason...it looks good and it’s functional! Made from polyester, the Rains team are more than aware this isn’t the most sustainable material and have pledged by 2021 to only use recycled polyester. They have also chosen to use a waterproof PU-coating instead of other alternatives that use more chemicals shown to be damaging to the environment. Their pledge to the environment also underlies their choice to make classic-looking products that will never go out of style. Get your Rains bag at Moose in the City in Antwerp.
Saw something you liked? Head to our shopping guide to find all the sustainable goods you need.Go to our shopping guide