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What is a vegan backpack?

Author: secure travel backpack designer Sarah Giblin 

Welcome to 2018 where even backpacks can be vegan. Yes, veganism and ethical consumption are on the rise, especially in wealthy developed urban societies.

Some of the changes you'll notice on the high street relating to veganism are simple relabelling. Your suit, socks and pants always have been vegan. Same with all your veg, pasta, ketchup, toast, jam and cucumber sandwiches. They are just more clearly marked as vegan these days. There are other products that weren’t vegan - like Guinness and Ikea’s meatballs - that have decided to change their ingredients to cater for vegans and, possibly, to reduce their reliance on products made with animals' bodies. 

Are backpacks vegan?

Some backpacks are vegan, and others other not. Looking more closely at clothing, furniture and accessories, and the companies that make them, shows us they may contain animal products; sometimes clearly and sometimes without us realising. 

Can backpacks be vegan? vegan backpack anti theft riutbag

What is a vegan backpack?

A backpack is a bag you wear with straps carrying the weight evenly over both shoulders on your back. A vegan backpack is one where no leather, no fur, no animal glues, no ground up animal bones or crushed up beetles is used anywhere in its making. It’s vegan, which means it doesn’t use any animal products.

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Vegan laptop backpack, RiutBag

Meet RiutBag, an awesome secure laptop backpack which is also vegan. The RiutBag laptop backpack is made entirely from durable synthetic materials, from the outer materials to the thread, adhesives and buckles. 

vegan anti theft backpack RiutBag

As an urban travel backpack, its unique and simple design keep your belongings safe and gives you peace of mind. No one can open the zips except you. That’s useful when you travel a lot through busy urban hubs. So, where are the zips? They are all neatly protected by your back.

Ethical backpack company

Riut was founded by Sarah Giblin in the UK, funded on Kickstarter and she runs it for her RiutBag users with a, perhaps, surprising focus on ethics. Sarah studied philosophy and ethics for many years. Now, creating backpacks, the ethics has stuck. Some people are looking for companies exactly like this; others don’t really care and they get the ethics free. 

Sarah Giblin UK startup and vegan backpack designer female

When Sarah first made the move from being a consumer to a manufacturer in 2014, the choice regarding using animal products became much clearer.

“As a consumer in my pre-startup life, I was buying one backpack at a time based on the options other companies had made available. Yet, as a designer and manufacturer, I was ordering tonnes of materials at a time. The idea of buying a tonne of animal skins, when I had an excellent - or in fact better - synthetic alternative for my customers, seemed unreasonable.
Suddenly being in position to choose which materials should be in my products, I found myself thinking and understanding more about the supply chains of the products we buy. That understanding is something I want to give on to my customers.
When I started the company in 2014, I wasn’t vegetarian or vegan. I was one person attempting to make ethical manufacturing decisions on a large scale. Yet, after a few years running my business and thinking more about ethical supply chains, veganism makes sense to me and is now the way I live too.”  Sarah Giblin, RiutBag designer
Sarah Giblin ethical backpack manufacturer and RiutBag designer UK startup


As well as designing the RiutBags, Sarah personally knows everyone who helps to make them a reality. She works alongside the production line team, the material suppliers, the people who pack them and who handle the freight. By supporting Riut and using RiutBags, you have direct access to the source of every materials, the working conditions of every person who makes them and the methods used. This is one of the benefits of working with smaller companies with simple supply chains. 

Riut's philosophy

Riut stands for Revolution in user thinking. Sarah, Riut's founder, shares everything she can about her RiutBags. You can follow her around the factory where they are made, see her checking the backpacks, see the people who make the RiutBags and how they are packaged and shipped. Her idea is share the reality of her products, so you can learn more about the products you use and about the global economy of which we are part as consumers.

“Currently, more and more customers want to know whether animal bodies are used in their products. As someone who leads a vegan lifestyle, I know what to look for and I find it important to allow my customers, RiutBag users, to think about all the issues involved.”  Sarah Giblin, RiutBag designer
Are backpacks vegan? Ethical backpack company

It’s a way of running a company that allow users to have a revolution in their own thinking, support startups with big ideas, who which to shop ethically and make choices that make sense to them. The only way to do that is to share how this company works with you.

Riut is a one-person startup. This gives its founder, Sarah Giblin, total control over which materials she buys, how she manufactures RiutBags.


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I’m Sarah. I spend my time equally between Berlin, London and travel around the rest of the world. Veganism is important to me personally but also because I design and build backpacks called RiutBag, designed with security at their core. My company is called Riut - that stands for Revolution in user thinking. I don't want to only share my design with you, but the thinking and behaviours which help us truly adapt to our urban environment: making good choices, feeling calm, confident and comfortable wherever we go today and in the future.