Hemp is a variety of the cannabis sativa plant that has been grown to spin fibres for clothing, bags and other items for as long as human civilization has existed. As well as clothing and bags, it is used for paper, rope, biodegradable plastics, insulation, fuel and even as a food. You could say that hemp is a truly amazing plant! Hemp was the most common choice of plant for clothing fibres when people first settled in the New World, until cotton eventually became cheaper.
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Why should I choose a hemp bag or backpack?
While cotton is the most commonly used material for clothing and other fibres in the world, it has seriously negative environmental impacts including using huge quantities of water and pesticides for it’s production. Hemp production requires few pesticides and is in fact a carbon negative plant, meaning that it’s production absorbs more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere that at releases. This means that the production of hemp requires fewer resources and is more sustainable than other materials that might be used to make a bag or backpack.
Hemp is also a much harder wearing fabric, that can hold up to much more wear and tear than cotton can, so if you buy a hemp bag or backpack, you can be assured that it will last longer than other types of fabric.
The Maha Bodhi hemp backpack is a very stylish and high quality backpack that is very practical for day to day use. It is made in nepal and is fairly traded, so this is a very ethical backpack.
There is plenty of storage space in the Maha Bodhi backpack, with enough room for 15 inch laptop in the padded laptop sleeve inside the backpack to keep it safe. There are also two mesh pockets on the side that are ideal for storing water bottles, whether you are carrying the bag around college, or going on a long walk. The straps are adjustable and comfortable to wear.
This spacious backpack and sturdy backpack is made in the Himalayas and is made of hemp and cotton. Similarly to the Maha Bodhi hemp backpack mentioned above it has enough room for a laptop and has pockets on the side for water bottles. The straps are comfortable and fully adjustable.
This backpack is a great buy if you want a hemp backpack that looks like a more normal backpack. This backpack is small and light, so is greater for shorter trips and as it only uses one straps it is quick and easy to put on and will fit snugly to your body. If you want to see some other one strap backpacks, click to view our reviews on one strap backpacks.
This is a very comfortable backpack, especially with the memory-foam strap which molds to your shoulder and the backpack has numerous pockets that allow you to store a tablet / ipad and other pockets for keys, water bottles etc.
This handmade hemp sling backpack looks great and is one of the cheaper options on this list. This is an ideal backpack if you are not carrying a lot of stuff around with you as it cheap, comfortable and easy to just throw over your shoulder and go. It is built to very high quality and should last a long time as long as you don’t overload it with heavy items.
Hemp Messenger Bags
This stylish, handmade hemp messenger bag looks great and is made to a very high quality using sustainable materials. It is ideal for carrying laptops, as it has a separate laptop compartment that can fit laptops up to 15 inches in size. One small complaint is the lack of an adjustable strap, however this is common with messenger bags that the 20 inch drop on this messenger bag should be fine for most people.
This very stylish messenger bag is made of a mix of reclaimed hemp and organic cotton. It is roomy with plenty of room for a laptop and books, with a variety of pockets, including easy-access side pockets.
This hemp messenger bag is comfortable to wear and has an adjustable shoulder strap so that you can adjust the length to whatever is most comfortable for you.
This messenger bag is made from an eco-friendly mixture of hemp, recycled plastic and organic cotton. It is one of the smaller messenger backpacks on this list so if you want to carry around a large laptop then this messenger bag for you, though it should fit smaller laptops and tablets. However, this bag does have lots of zippered pockets for keeping your items organised and easy to find.
This is a variation of the other Mato Hemp Messenger bag that we looked at above. This version is ideal for situations where you want to use a hemp bag, but need to look professional as it would not look out of place at an office or in other professional settings. This is a very stylish bag and looks great with the suede buckles.
Hemp Grocery / Tote Bags
These stylish hemp tote bags are very strong and durable, while still remaining lightweight which is very useful when carrying heavy shopping home! They are machine washable and can be tumble-dried.
This hemp grocery bag is very stylish, with a unique floral pattern that looks very fashionable. Unlike many other grocery bags it is made from 100% rather than a blend of hemp and cotton like is often used.
ChicoBag have made this collection of bags that are perfects for storing produce. The idea behind these bags is that different materials are better for carrying and storing different items of produce. For instance, the hemp bag is better for carrying grains and nuts as it is better at absorbing excess moisture, while the recycled plastic bags included in the collection are better for fresh produce.
This stylish hemp tote bag is available in 5 different colors, black, charcoal, natural hemp, navy & olive. The bags are made of a hemp and cotton blend that is more hemp than cotton.
Hemp Bags Frequently Asked Questions
Is hemp the same as marijuana?
No, while they are from the same family of plants (cannabis sativa), hemp is not psychoactive in the same way as marijuana and is mainly used for industrial purposes and as a food.
What should I look for in a hemp bag?
Like any bag, you should look for a durability, comfort and also how much room you need the bag to have for your needs. However, when buying a hemp bag, people often have other types of criteria such as how environmentally friendly the materials are and the environmental impact of production. While this is generally not an issue with hemp bags, as hemp as a material is naturally environmentally friendly, some manufacturers will sell hemp bags that only contain a small amount of hemp fibres. We recommend checking the percentage of hemp in the bag. Many of the bags on this list do also contain other materials, as there are many aspects of bags that hemp is unsuitable for, so you should check that the other materials are environmentally friendly. Many manufacturers will use recycled plastics or organic cotton which will not have as much of an environmental impact as other materials.
What will a hemp bag cost me?
The cost of a hemp bag will depend on the type of bag (a grocery / tote bag is going to be far less expensive than a hemp backpack or messenger bag). The price will also change depending on the build quality, materials used and the brand. However as a guide, a hemp grocery bag will cost in the region of $10, a hemp backpack will cost in the region of $40 and a hemp messenger bag is likely to cost, on average, $60.
If you know of any great hemp bags that we have missed in this article, please let us know in the comments below!