Hiking Backpacks: Dry, Comfortable – And Sustainable, They Should Be

Hiking has not only been totally hip since Corona. A good hiking backpack is an indispensable companion. It has to sit comfortably, keep it dry – and ideally should be sustainable and fairly produced. We show you six recommended hiking backpacks. In the past, hiking was the miller’s delight; today, numerous people are drawn to nature and mountains. Anyone who hikes more often and undertakes longer tours needs a durable hiking backpack and good hiking shoes .

What distinguishes good hiking backpacks?

Hiking backpacks should sit comfortably on your back and distribute the weight well. Better hiking rucksacks therefore have several straps with which you can tie the rucksack to your chest and stomach and distribute it. In addition, the contents (and your back!) Should stay dry. This depends on the material of the hiking backpack. Some models also have an integrated rain cover in an extra compartment that you can simply pull over your backpack when it rains or when it snows.

Since weather resistance and low weight are important for hiking backpacks, most products are made of polyamide (nylon) or polyester and thus made of artificial fabrics. Then there are the buckles made of plastic and the backpack frame, which is often made of metal. More rarely, there are also hiking backpacks made of (animal) leather.
Overall, a high use of materials and a very complex production come together here. That is why you should take your time and, preferably with expert advice, decide on a hiking backpack and then use it for as long as possible.

6 sustainable hiking backpacks in comparison

We’ll show you our recommendations for hiking backpacks from sustainable labels that produce under fair conditions. The selected models are day tour size – but you will also find hiking backpacks for longer trips from almost all the brands presented.

Vaude Brenta 24 – the most comfortable hiking backpack

Vaude is one of the best-known addresses for good hiking backpacks . The family business from southern Germany stands for high ecological and social standards – and the hiking backpacks in particular have already received several awards. The “Brenta” model was the test winner in the Swiss consumer magazine Saldo in 2019 . In addition to a laboratory test, the test was particularly concerned with wearing comfort. Brenta has an adjustable back length and has been considered the most comfortable hiking backpack by all – both men and women. Weight of the hiking backpack: 1,090 grams.

The backpack has a rain cover, a compartment for a hydration system and a holder for trekking poles. The main material of the backpack consists of 50 percent recycled polyester . It bears the Grüner Knopf , Fair Wair and Green Shape seals , which Vaude awards for its own products made from particularly sustainable materials.

Price: from approx. 90 euros

Repairable hiking backpacks: the Deuter Zugspitze 24

The German manufacturer Deuter not only produces high-quality hiking backpacks – it also offers a lifelong repair service . The relatively inexpensive “Zugspitze” model is one of the classic hiking backpacks. This hiking jerk was also able to convince (directly behind that of Vaude) in the laboratory and practical test by Saldo (2019). It did very well for rain protection. Thanks to the integrated rain cover , the contents remain dry even in heavy rain. The mesh back padding ensures a dry back in the heat. Weight of the hiking backpack: 1,060 grams.

However, when choosing more sustainable materials, Deuter slept a long time. All hiking backpacks are made from conventional synthetic materials . The Zugspitze model is made from 100 percent polyester. The new UP series made from recycled material now includes three city ​​backpacks , but not yet hiking backpacks.
Price: from around 70 euros

Patagonia SnowDrifter 20 liters – made from 100 percent recycled material

The SnowDrifter backpack from Patagonia is designed to be particularly close to the body so that it does not interfere with sporting activities. The developers were particularly thinking of freeride descents on skis. But the weatherproof processing also benefits an all-round hiking backpack: The outer material is made of robust recycled nylon . It is water-repellent, thorn-resistant and abrasion-resistant. The inner lining is made of recycled polyester . In addition to the spacious main compartment, there are various inside pockets including an insulated compartment for a hydration bladder. Weight: 940 grams.

Patagonia from the United States is one of the front runners in sustainable textile production. The use of recycled nylon results in 80 percent fewer CO2 emissions than with newly manufactured nylon fibers. However, the SnowDrifter is manufactured in the Philippines and has therefore come a long way to transport.
Price: approx. 120 euros

Manbefair Vienna – recycled nylon with cowhide

Also passes as a sustainable hiking backpack: The Vienna by Manbefair is a classic backpack with a timeless design. It is practical because of its many outside and inside pockets . Another plus: it is water-repellent . The material is made from recycled nylon , which is a fiber waste in production. There are also leather applications made from cowhide from a certified, low-pollutant tannery. This sustainable hiking jerk is therefore not suitable for vegans.

However, it can score points when it comes to fairness: All partners in the production chain work according to “World Fair Trade Organization” or “Social Compliance” standards. A great and fair companion – but without the ergonomic weight distribution on the hips that sports outfitters such as the outdoor brands Vaude, Patagonia or Deuter offer. Backpack weight: 950 grams.
Price: approx. 90 euros

The 23 liter roll top by Got Bag – a hiking backpack made from marine plastic

If hiking backpacks are primarily about sustainability, Got Bag is recommended. The Mainz start-up is participating in a project to clean the sea in Indonesia. The roll-top backpack is made from 3.5 kilograms of sea plastic. The rucksack is made of waterproof tarpaulin , with an additional breathable mesh fabric on the back. Inside there is a laptop compartment, a large compartment for charging cables and loose items and a small compartment for keys and other small items. A belly buckle provides additional support.

What is missing from this backpack is a bottle holder. In general, the roll top is designed more for the city than for hiking, but especially because it is waterproof, you can also go on day trips into nature with it. Weight: 1,000 grams.
Price: from approx. 140 euros

Nuptse von Hemper – hiking backpack made of hemp

Finally, a hiking backpack recommendation for all vegans and Nepal friends: Nuptse by Hemper – a backpack made of hemp. The hemp – the plant with the strongest CO2 regeneration power – is grown in Nepal and spun there by hand. Neither herbicides nor pesticides are used for the organic cultivation of hemp, but there is still no certification for hemp.

The company collects rice sacks in the streets of Kathmandu for the packaging of this sustainable hiking backpack . Ideal for a snack on the mountain peak or a picnic break: the large zipper allows the backpack to be opened almost completely and you have your things quickly to hand.
Price: approx. 75 euros

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