This Brand Makes its Functional Canvas Backpacks from 25 Recycled Plastic Bottles While Supporting Livelihoods in Underserved Global Communities.
Day Owl brings us a sustainable and ethically made backpack with a new level of intention around its design and production. Founded in 2011 via Kickstarter as “The Better Backpack,” this company is helping us walk our sustainable talk and live with the dignity of knowing where every piece of our bag’s material – from recycled lining to conflict-free zippers – comes from. Offering a lifetime of repairs from its Pittsburgh, PA workshop, Day Owl is committed to taking us to the next level of our waste-free journey, while helping us stay organized and stylish as we move about our day.
Founder Ian Rosenberger says he started the company to “offer you better choices in the ‘everyday backpack’ category.”
While you only really get two choices – “Smaller” or “Larger” – in a range of 6 muted but on-trend colors, the company has so far tended to every detail that makes their backpack a product for a life-time. From sourcing the post-consumer recycled materials ethically in partnership with First Mile™ to designing a sleek looking bag that meets your every organizational need, and, finally, in guaranteeing unlimited repairs.
Day Owl is upping the sustainability game by encouraging neo-industrial-like behaviors in backpack ownership. They even incentivize you to think about where your old Day Owl bag ends up by offering end-of-life recycling.
However, it’s the traceability of their materials that makes the company stand out as an innovator in their genre, and part of what certifies them as a B-Corp.
Through its partnership with First Mile™, Day Owl created a first-of-its-kind waxed canvas from plastic waste materials collected by entrepreneurs in the poorest parts of Haiti, Honduras, and Taiwan. Not only does the manufacturing process support these underserved micro-economies, but the material itself is high performance – durable and weather-resistant – and, importantly, significantly reduces environmental impact to produce.
In fact, Day Owl shares that making one of their bags upcycles 25 plastic bottles, while at the same time, saves 700 gallons of water and avoids 1.2 pounds of harmful pesticides and fertilizer; the standard trade-offs of manufacturing a similar cotton bag.
Your New Remote Office On the Go
In an emerging age of Digital Nomad Visas and remote-work, it’s more important now than ever to have a bag that allows us to carry our home office with us around town and across the globe.
Day Owl anticipated this level of functionality when designing their Backpack, making each size large enough to stow away a 14” or 16” lap-top, with two ways to carry – no-slack backpack straps or a tougher luggage strap. The dreamy amount of pockets that are built-in to this bag mean no more shoving and crunching your belongings to make things fit while stretching out the zipper.
Perhaps one of the best design features is the Chimney Pocket – the water bottle pouch you typically find on the outside of backpacks. This pouch is now intentionally stored inside the bag, creating a much cleaner look overall. The pocket fits bottles up to 750ml (yes, large enough for a wine bottle) and is even water-proofed with neoprene, which Day Owl claims is strong enough to hold your wet umbrella while keeping the rest of your things dry.
Day Owl’s exclusive sustainable canvas material is what gives the bag its gender-neutral look and luxurfeel while making it versatile enough for all lifestyles, from the laid back to more professional.
Day Owl rounds out its sustainability mission by naming a list of Pocket Partners – like-minded companies that craft practical everyday accessories, and whose ethos jive with your new sustainable backpack.
Via their website, you can add these essentials to your order, including recycled notebooks from Scout Books, eco-friendly water bottles from Welly, who give 1% of sales to support clean water projects around the world, or sustainable sunglasses from Genusee, a company born to help citizens who were displaced due to the Flint Water Crisis in Detroit, Michigan.
You can also geek out on organizing your cords and things with Day Owl’s CordPouch, made from the same sustainable canvas materials as their signature backpack, or, reduce COVID-related waste by purchasing one of their machine washable cotton Face Masks.
As Featured In
Day Owl’s “The Backpack” was dubbed the most discreet and best designed backpack in Forbes review.