10 Best Eco-friendly Personal Item Bag Picks (2022) | CORR Travel
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10 Best Eco-friendly Personal Item Bag Picks (2022)


UPDATED 3/12/22

Want to be eco-friendly in your over 50 solo travel? Using eco-friendly baggage is a good place to start. In addition to my best eco-friendly carry-on luggage, here are my 10 picks for best eco-friendly personal item bag for planes so you can reduce your impact on the environment while supporting eco-friendly and sustainable luggage brands.

Why should you listen to me? I’m putting my MBA in Sustainable Enterprises to work by doing the “eco-friendly” and “sustainable” brand and product research for you so you don’t have to.


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This post may contain affiliate links for your convenience. For products, the goal is to first provide direct links to eco-friendly, ethical, and sustainable companies, and then to those same type (i.e., Climate Pledge Friendly Certification), of brands that use Amazon, if possible. Therefore, you may see multiple links for one option. Should you make a purchase through any link, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. See my Disclaimers & Disclosures and Privacy Policy for more information.



Difference Between Personal Item and Carry-On

The long and the short of it for practically all airline carriers is the personal item bag must be able to fit under your seat (or the seat in front of you). Yes, you can put it in the overhead bin, but that is really where your carry-on bag should go, should you be allowed one.



What Can I Bring as a Personal Item on a Plane?


Can a backpack count as a personal item?

Yes. In fact, there are many types of bags that can be considered a personal item by airlines. Personal Items can Include:

  • Handbag / Purse / Pocketbook
  • Backpack
  • Briefcase
  • Laptop bag / Laptop (with or without a bag)
  • Camera
  • Food Containers
  • Pet carriers
  • Diaper bag
  • Or a similar item such as a tote

What size can your personal item be on a plane?

The answer comes down to the airline carrier. Airline carriers also carry a common theme that baggage restrictions are higher for Economy seating than Business or First Class seating. If you don’t meet the airline’s baggage guidelines, this could cause you to have to check your bags.

Below is a list of popular airline carriers. Click on each to direct to their baggage guidelines.




How to Choose the Best Personal Item Bag

Base your personal item bag purchase from the following categories:


Size and Weight

Always check your airline’s luggage size and weight restrictions, especially if you are flying internationally. U.S. airlines do not employ weight restrictions like other international carriers do. Going over weight can invite baggage fees.


Pocket Accessibility

Longer flights are more demanding of a personal item. It’s not ideal to wake people up on an overnight flight just to access your carry-on bag. Therefore, it is ideal to be able to have all necessities at your fingertips in your personal item bag.

Easy storage and organized pockets are preferable. This also helps when navigating through an unfamiliar airport or security lines where you need your ID, tickets and mobile device at the ready.


Travel Features

Today’s personal item bags come with multiple features. Most important to consider is if your other luggage gets lost. Will your personal item bag hold enough travel essentials, including clothes, to last you a day in case of an emergency?

Will your personal item bag fit your needed laptop? Is it versatile to act as a backpack and a briefcase?

Minimal layovers or no access to an outlet may also prove device charging be a handy feature. This is not mandatory, of course. You can always bring your own portable charging device. I know a great solar charger.

Waterproofing is a nice thought, but please know that chemicals in most waterproofing are considered a “forever chemicals” with not-so-nice human health effects..


Quality

When we think quality, we wonder if the bag will last. Is it durable? The last thing you want is it to break on your vacation.

Does the manufacture back their product with a warranty for easy replacement or fixing or money-back guarantee?

Some may argue, including me, that quality also includes being eco-friendly and/or sustainable, and made by a brand that has these values at the core of their mission. This is probably you, too. After all, you’re reading this.


How to Choose an Eco-friendly Bag

Before you ask, “Yes, eco-friendly is the same as environmentally friendly.”  A brand focusing on being eco-friendly is producing products with less negative impacts on the environment. Please know, however, that some brands focus on being socially ethical or both socially ethical and eco-friendly, which is referred to as focusing on sustainability.

It helps to do a little digging into each eco friendly luggage brand to make sure they’re not greenwashing. In other words, they don’t just claim to be “green” – they are actually backing the talk with the walk.

To help you, I’ve pointed out brand’s environmental (or ethical or sustainable) efforts, with links, in my list of top eco friendly personal item bags below to make your research easier.


What Should I Put in My Personal Item Bag?

It is always best to check with your country’s travel and security sites for what to bring, or not to bring, in your personal item bag and carry-on.  If you are traveling within the U.S. see the TSA’s What Can I Bring for the most up-to-date travel guidelines.


How to Pack Eco-Friendly

Believe it or not, it’s not just what you bring that makes your packing eco-friendly, it’s also how much you bring. The less the total luggage weight, the less fuel the plane has to use making your lighter bag more eco-friendly. I have more, easy eco-friendly travel tips, if you’re interested.



Since you’re trying to be eco-friendly while you travel, try to buy your personal item bag right the first time by having it meet your favorite airline carrier’s size regulations.

If you take international flights regularly, you’d be doing well to purchase a personal item bag that is no more than 12” x 16” x 4” (30 cm x 40 cm x 10 cm) to 18” x 14” x 8” (45cm x 36cm x 20cm), so your one bag is apt to meet all carriers’ regulations and you don’t have to buy multiple bags.

Plus, you won’t be tempted to go over the weight restriction. If you fly internationally, you know how strict they are on baggage weight.


Best Eco-Friendly Personal Item Bag: Top 10 Picks

Personal item bags can come in a variety of styles:  backpacks, brief cases, totes, or a hybrid of two, for example a backpack and briefcase in one.  Here are CORR Travel’s 10 picks for the best eco-friendly personal item bag sure to meet your travel needs.

This has been updated this year for TOP luggage picks for your convenience. If a piece of luggage is sold-out, try a different piece or put yourself on the wait list.


1 – Solgaard’s Lifepack Endeavor (with closet)

Solgaard  Lifepack Endeavor (with closet)

Dimensions  8.6″ x 11.6″ x 6″

Type  Backpack

Features  All of the convenience of the Carry-On Closet, with drop-proof laptop storage, sunglasses pocket, suitcase seatbelt, and 4 secret pockets, all in a backpack. This bag is bound to meet most airline personal item size restrictions, if not all.

Product Eco Benefits  Made of recycled ocean plastics.

Brand Mission  Solgaard’s goal is to help cut ocean plastic in half by 2025 and partners with The Plastic Bank for ocean clean up projects that create jobs in the Philipines. Read more about Solgaard’s environmental mission.


2 – Cotopaxi’s Taal Convertible Tote

Cotopaxi  Taal Convertible Tote – Del Día

Dimensions  14″ x 5″ x 12.5”

Type  Hybrid Tote / Backpack

Features   Lightweight, Nylon body with lots of storage; zippered organizational pockets; internal water bottle pouch; and convertible to backpack. Personalize your combination of colors for a one-of-a-kind, unique looking bag.

Product Eco Benefits  Made with 100% repurposed nylon materials from other companies’ production runs to keep waste out of landfills.

Brand Mission  Cotopaxi’s “Do Good” mission as a B Corp certified organization is to promote community development and improving human conditions while reducing environmental impact by using recycled materials. Read more about Cotopaxi’s sustainability mission and its foundation.


3 – Everlane’s ReNew Transit Backpack

Everlane   ReNew Transit Backpack

Dimensions  12″ x 7.25″ x 17.5″

Type Backpack

Features  Side-zip padded laptop sleeve; 2 zip-closure pockets; Luggage handle pass-through strap; external water bottle pocket; internal water bottle pocket; and 2 internal slip pockets.

Product Eco Benefits  Made with 100% Recycled polyester made from recycled plastic bottles to reduce landfill waste and bluesign®-approved dyes better for the environment.

Brand Mission  Everlane tries to incorporate socially ethical manufacturing practices with environmentally friendly products and supply chain efforts to provide products designed to last. Read more about Everlane’s sustainability and transparency practices.


4 – United By Blue’s 25L Convertible Carryall

United By Blue  25L Convertible Carryall

Dimensions  13.25″ x 15.5″ x 5.25″

Type  Hybrid Tote / Backpack

Features  Padded interior; interior zipper pocket; dual functionality as tote or backpack; and lifetime guarantee.

Product Eco Benefits  Made with sustainably sources materials.

Brand Mission United By Blue is B Corp certified, uses sustainable materials in their supply chain, and employs ethical manufacturing practices globally. For every product you purchase, they remove one pound of ocean and waterway trash. Read more about United By Blue’s sustainability mission.


5 – Paravel’s Weekender

Paravel  Weekender

Dimensions   15″ x 8″ x 15″

Type   Tote Bag

Features   Packs enough for a 3-day trip; extra wide top zipper; removable woven shoulder strap; deep interior pockets; and, trolley handles. Offered in different colors and personalizing with monogramming.

Product Eco Benefits  Made with 12 upcycled plastic water bottles and natural cotton fiber to form its lightweight, Ecocraft canvas. Has eco-certified leather accents.

Brand Mission  Paravel products are made with upcycled and 100% post-consumer recycled plastics reducing negative environmental impact on land and in waterways. Read more about Paravel’s environmental efforts.


6 – Solo NY’s Re:Start Underseat Rolling Case

Solo NY  Re:Start Underseat Rolling Case

Dimensions  14″ x 16″ x 6”

Type  Soft case on wheels

Features Two front zippered pockets with interior organizing compartment, padded mesh 15.6″ laptop pocket, and push-button telescoping handle. Fits under most airline seats.

Product Eco Benefits  Made with discarded plastic water bottles transformed into lightweight, recycled PET polyester yarn in a process that uses 50% less energy, 20% less water an 60% less air pollution.

Brand Mission  Solo NY is committed to removing 40 million plastic bottles from landfills by 2024 while reducing energy and water use and eliminating plastic packaging. Read more about Solo NY’s environmental efforts.


7 – Solo NY’s Duane Hybrid

Solo NY  Duane Hybrid Briefcase Backpack

Dimensions  12.5″ x 17″ x 5″

Type  Hybrid Briefcase / Backpack

Features  Dual functionality as briefcase and backpack with hideaway padded backpack straps and removable shoulder strap; padded 15” laptop compartment; internal organizational pockets; and two outside pockets. This bag is bound to meet most airline personal item size restrictions, if not all. I have it and love it.

Product Eco Benefits  Made with discarded plastic water bottles transformed into lightweight, recycled PET polyester yarn in a process that uses 50% less energy, 20% less water an 60% less air pollution.

Brand Mission  Solo NY is committed to removing 40 million plastic bottles from landfills by 2024 while reducing energy and water use and eliminating plastic packaging. Read more about Solo NY’s environmental efforts.


8 – Osprey’s Daylight Plus

Osprey  Daylight Plus Bag

Dimensions  18” X 9” X 9”

Type  Backpack

Features  Lightweight, simple and durable backpack at a reasonable price. Includes large, main panel loading compartment, side mesh pockets, front pocket with organizer and key clip, removable hip belt, and mesh-covered back panel with slotted foam.

Product Eco Benefits  Made from Global Recycled Standard [GRS] and bluesign®-approved recycled, renewable, and non-toxic materials to keep harmful chemicals and waste out of the environment. As with all of its products, it comes with Osprey’s “All Mighty Guarantee” that it will repair any damage or defect for any reason free of charge, no matter when you purchased.

Brand Mission  Osprey is committed to making innovative, high performance products designed for a lifetime to leave as little trace possible while keeping materials, chemicals and social responsibility in mind. Read more about Osprey’s sustainability practices.


9 – Lo & Sons Catalina Deluxe Tote

Lo & Sons  Catalina Deluxe Tote

Dimensions  14” X 15” X 7”

Type  Tote

Features  Bottom zippered compartment, upper compartment, messenger strap with removable shoulder pad, and is water resistant.

Product Eco Benefits  Made from recycled plastic bottles and recycled polyester. Also available in 100% organic cotton canvas.

Brand Mission Lo & Sons’ mission is to improve its supply chain and lifecycle of its products by increasing use of eco-friendly materials to more than 75% by 2023. Recycled Poly Collection products each save 22 plastic bottles from entering landfills, and they use organic cottons, plant-based fibers, and recycled polyester. Lo & Sons participates in Renewal Workshop and Kept SKU programs to reduce waste and increase material transparency. Read more about Lo & Sons’ sustainability efforts.


10 – Cabin Zero’s Classic 28L Cabin Bag

Cabin Zero  Classic 28L Cabin Bag

Dimensions  16” x 12” x 8”

Type  Backpack

Features  The original zero-hassle travel bag, it has a main compartment and front pocket; built-in lost and found tags; is ultralight and water resistant; fits a 13” laptop; has side and top handles and air mesh shoulder straps; comes with a 10-year warranty; and available in 30 colors.

Product Eco Benefits  Made only from REACH standard and high-quality materials so the product is built to last so you don’t have to buy another bag.

Brand Mission  Cabin Zero is committed to enforcing social responsibility in all working conditions and using high quality materials for products for less environmental impact. Read more about Cabin Zero’s social and environmental practices.


If you need some other good personal item bag suggestions or other travel resource, check out CORR Travel’s travel resources.


Let Me Hear From You

I would love to hear any of my picks for best eco-friendly personal item bag worked for you. Post me your thoughts or questions in the Comments section below. Thank you!



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