Our Green Journey
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Savvy eco purchase: the school bag!

Disclaimer: I don’t know it all! I’m a mum of a 5 year old trying to work out eco principles in the minefield that is ‘school’. Here’s how I’m doing so far, look out for updates over the next few years..(!)

School Bags

I still maintain that the most eco activity is to buy things second hand – but with school bags, I wasn’t convinced that this would be a good idea because you want a school bag to hopefully last a good few years..ideally seven or more before needing replaced. There are those who are adamant that a bag will only last a year. I do not want this to be the case!

My Research

Jansport – comes with a lifetime guarantee, BUT only if purchased through the Jansport website and as far as I can see there is no direct UK option for this (correct me if I’m wrong). Jansport can be bought in the UK but only through other retailers. I’m sure that somehow it would be possible to find this but I wasn’t able to do so at the time of writing. Plus the lifetime guarantee only means replacement, not that the product will actually last a lifetime.


Canvas is:

  1. Repairable
  2. Long Lasting
  3. Beautiful !

I haven’t found the perfect canvas bag for school yet – the very best ones come with leather straps and metal buckles which aren’t suitable for a 5 year old just starting out at school, but I would happily buy for a teenager or an adult.  What we went for in the end was a functional compromise…

Here’s what we chose for our daughter:

A Purple Possum bag from Ebay made from canvas (the extra tags didn’t come with the bag – a gorgeous harris tweed keyring and a wooden initial keyring made by a clever uncle).


It’s beautiful and distinctive so my daughter would be able to easily identify which bag was hers. HOWEVER it turned out to have a plastic inner lining 🙁 this wasn’t advertised. I’m consoling myself with the thought that if the lining does get ripped I could probably make a new lining or it’ll work ok without. The base is reinforced and the straps easily adjustable, plus points 🙂

Here’s what we’ve been using for our son (he’s at nursery so he doesn’t have to carry it himself):

Loietnt Laptop Backpack  

We (my husband and I) LOVE this bag! It’s SO durable, repairable and we imagine it lasting a lot of years and an awful lot of adventures before it needs fixed. It’s really sturdy with enough different types of pockets to fit everything in that you need. I’d happily use this for my teaching bag – in fact, I might be seeing if I can get one myself!

The only draw back if using with a 5 year old is the clips are slightly stiff, but you don’t have to use the clips to get into the main compartment (zip) so this isn’t a deal breaker as a school bag. In fact, they’ve produced a slightly different, more schoolbag-like design where there are less clips (we’ve found the clips useful for stuffing coats/scarves under though so don’t totally discount them!).

Final Thoughts

My main aim when trying to find a school bag for both our children was to find one that would not need to be thrown away after a year. I’m pretty convinced that we’ll still be using the Loietnt bag in 10 years time, but only time will tell about the bag we bought for our daughter. I’ll keep looking and researching and let you know if I find a happy medium that is both beautiful and extremely durable! For now…at least I tried 🙂

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