We are working towards becoming more eco friendly travelers. With the carbon footprint that comes with being a traveler especially with taking flights and for those who take cruises.
Becoming more environmentally friendly is something that we as consumers can do, as well as companies that are creating products for us to consume. However, there has not been a lot of pressure for companies to change their ways to become more eco friendly. Not unless they see that it is what consumers want.
Now with the emergence of an increasing amount of companies that are putting the environment over profits, we as consumers can vote with our money. The best way to go about this is to purchase products for our travels that we use on a daily basis that are working to be sustainably made, use no plastic packaging, or use recycled material to create their product.
With backpacks being so essential to a traveler’s way of life, it is one of those things that we can purchase that can also make a difference in the world if we put in some research to the company we are buying it from and the product that we are purchasing.
Environmentally Friendly Backpacks
We have put a list together of our favorite eco friendly backpacks that can be used for your next trip. These are backpack companies that we have tried, heard great things about, or have read great things about and we like their designs.
We include a paragraph introducing their company, their history, and the products they produce. We then share their environmental pledge behind their brand and what they are doing to be an eco friendly company. The final paragraph discusses their warranty and return and exchange policy as this is important to consumers as well.
Each of these companies have different mission statements, are trying to change the world in their own way, or have a product that is meant to be eco friendly in its own way. It is our hope that one of these companies speaks to you. That you may find something in here that you will become a brand ambassador for and help them by sharing it with your friends and family.
One step at a time will really help to make a difference in this world and help to offset our carbon footprint as travelers.
United by Blue
Matt & Nat
United by Blue is a certified B-Corp outdoors brand that was created in 2010 and now has flagship stores in Philadelphia. They work to create a more sustainable product and help remove pollution from our waterways. They use recycled polyester (from recycled plastics), bison (some of the ranching industry’s often discarded materials), and organic cotton to make their environmentally friendly products.
For every bag purchased, they remove one pound of trash from the ocean. Along with their sales department, their cleanup department works to keep up with the removal of trash. Based on their previous year of sales, they work to remove the same amount in weight from waterways. So far, they have removed even more than they have pledged and continue to work towards new technologies to help with the cleanup process.
Not only are they making a change in the world, but they also have a clear support phone number listed on their page and a free and easy return or exchange policy within 60 days of purchase. Returns and exchanges are only accepted as new items. You will have to pay for shipping on returns, though on exchanges United by Blue provides a prepaid return label. They also provide a lifetime warranty, though customers should read this policy clearly as the lifetime warranty covers the typical lifetime of the bag and each returned item will be assessed by United by Blue themselves to deem whether the product falls within the lifetime warranty.
Yvon Chouinard founded Patagonia by creating climbing gear. It has since evolved into what it is today, creating a wide variety of clothing and accessories while still staying true to their mission. This includes causing more good than harm to our environment and to the world.
Patagonia is working with their supply chains to promote fair trade and provide living wages. As for the environment, they donate 1% of their sales to environmental organizations around the world. In 1996, they made the complete switch to organic cotton to product their products. They also use hemp and recycled polyester in some of their products. Their website is very transparent with mistakes they have made in the past with using non-organic cotton and how they made the switch, as well as all of the growing pains involved in being a company looking to make the world a better place.
They have a clear contact number listed on their website with a quality guarantee of their products. Returns and exchanges are accepted, though there is no clear policy without going through the process of starting a return or exchange. However, they do have several stores in North America. Repairs are completed at a reasonable rate, but they also offer repair guides on their website.
Fjällräven is an outdoor company that creates outdoor clothing and accessories that began in Örnsköldsvik in Sweden. They create products using materials from animals in a sustainable way. Their promise behind using materials from animals is stated right on their Our Promises page, “To treat animals with respect and dignity.”
Fjällräven uses animal materials to create their products as they believe them to be far superior to alternative materials. With this, the company has a promise that they are tracing the source of the materials and ensuring that the animals are treated humanely and not mistreated in any way. In addition, the company understands that they cannot completely eradicate their emissions but work to support renewable energy projects. Not all products are created with 100% organic cotton, but they are continuing to work toward this.
The company provides a limited lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects that include: split seams, snaps and buttons that have fallen off, broken zippers, and broken buckles. They do accept returns and exchanges on new items within 30 days of the purchase date.
Tentree began in Canada in 2012 with Kalen Emsley, David Luba, and Derrick Emsley. They began in a basement by printing on American Apparel clothing, but quickly outgrew the basement and even appeared on Dragon’s Den to pitch their brand in 2013. By 2014 they announced the planting of one million trees and created employment for locals in developing countries. They have since reached 30 million trees, launched their tree registry program allowing customers to see where their trees are being planted, and even created a successful Kickstarter for their Mobius backpack.
Ten Tree on Dragons' Den from tentree on Vimeo.
Tentree has a very clear mission: to plant ten trees for every item purchased. It is the first thing that appears on their website and there is a running count of trees planted at the top right of their website, and at the time of this post counts over 30 million. They are a certified B-corp that has a goal to plant one billion trees by 2030. In addition to this, they are also using sustainable fabrics to create their products including: coconut to make buttons, hemp, cork for tabs, organic cotton, recycled polyester, TENCEL™ Lyocell which comes from eucalyptus trees, modal from beechwood trees, and linen from flax plant.
Items purchased in the last 30 days can be returned and exchanged by starting a return or exchange through the tentree website. Exchanges provide a free shipping slip, but returns will need to be paid for by yourself. Products must be new with the tags still on and your tree code cannot be registered.
Millican was founded by Jorrit and Nicky and named after Millican Dalton, a maverick who traded his life in London for life in the Lake District where Millican was born on a farm at the Foot of Skiddaw in the English Lake District National Park, a place where they now call home. They sell bags and accessories for the true traveler at heart.
Millican uses organic cotton, lakeland wool local to the area where they live, leather, and recycled polyester to create their products to endure the use of an outdoor traveler. Their Blank Canvas project were created from recycled and sustainable materials to support people who want to positively change and inspire the world.
Millican has a clear repair and care guide. Any manufacturing defects will be refunded, exchanged, or repaired at your discretion. They provide a clear phone number and contact email to get in touch regarding refunds and exchanges for items.
Matt & Nat (or Mat(t)erial and Nature) began in 1995 in Montreal, Canada as a synergy and inspiration between the two. It is a vegan brand which means that to animal-based products are used in their products. Bags are produced in China where they have had long-lasting relationships with and they make a point to visit the factories to ensure quality standards.
Matt & Nat continue to experiment with different recycled materials in their products including nylons, cardboard, rubber, and cork, including using 100% recycled plastic bottles in their linings and introducing recycled bicycle tires into their materials.
The company offers a return policy for new items within 30 days of purchase. Bags are covered by a limited one year warranty where if the item is damaged by normal use it will be replaced free of charge. Returns and exchanges are shipped back at the purchaser’s expense, unless you live in Canada you can return it yourself with prior authorization online to a Matt & Nat store near you.
We hope that one of these six companies have something that you can really get behind and support. Regardless, if none of these are for you perhaps there is another company out there that is making the product for you while remaining environmentally conscious.
There are so many other products that we can implement into our travel lives and day-to-day lives if you are looking to make your carbon footprint smaller. The idea behind being a conscious consumer is to use your money to support the brands that have the same ideals as you. Vote with your money.
It is working too, brands are listening and emerging brands are already making giant leaps forward with their products which in turn puts more pressure on the bigger brands to change. This is how we can work to make a difference in the world.
What company’s mission statement could you get behind?
What company’s designs do you prefer?
Leave a comment below.