How Long Do Backpacks Last? 

 June 12, 2023

By  Diane Wuthrich

When you’re shopping around for a backpack regardless of its intended purpose, durability should always be considered. But how long is the life cycle of backpacks?

The material and stitching quality of a backpack can give you a good idea of its durability. It will also depend on how frequent you use it, and how well you take care of it. If used daily, a good backpack should last at least 2-5 years and occasionally, 5-10 years provided you take care of it.

Want to learn more about determining how long backpacks last? Read on below.

How Long Should a Backpack Last?

Durability is one of the most important considerations when looking for a backpack.

Whether you intend to use a backpack for school, work, travel, hiking, or the gym, it makes no sense to spend money on a poorly-made backpack that will break down when you least expect it. This is not only a nuisance but it can also compromise the safety of your belongings.

However, there’s no standard answer when it comes to the life cycle of backpacks. Backpacks can last 5 to 10 years depending on its construction and how it’s cared for. Renowned high-end backpack brands tend to cost more because they use premium materials designed to last at least a decade.

There are also many affordable backpack brands that are known for the quality of materials used, hence their reliability and durability. Examples of backpack brands that manufacture high-quality and long-lasting packs include:

The kind of materials used to manufacture each pack, how often you use it, and how well you take care of it all play a role in how long it will last.

Material Quality

Choose a backpack based on the quality of materials used. These will give you a good idea about the pack’s longevity. Some of the most durable known fabrics for backpacks, which will easily last you 5 years or more are the following:

  • Nylon
  • Polyester
  • Cordura
  • Kodra
  • Ballistic nylon
  • Canvas
  • Leather

Any variety of these materials are a good bet for a long-lasting backpack. Manufacturers also use a combination of these such as nylon mixed with polyester, or combine them with polypropylene for increased strength. Newer backpack models also make use of recycled nylon and polyester, which are just as durable.

On the other hand, less durable materials are used for lower-end backpacks that tend to withstand just a few uses. These include:

  • Denim
  • PVC (polyvinyl chloride)
  • Cotton

In addition to the type of backpack material, check for strength indicators. Denier is the most common metric used to describe how thick or dense the fabric is. It measures the material in grams for a specific length.

For this reason, many backpacks include information such as 800D polyester or 450D nylon. Heavy-duty backpacks made for military and outdoor use will have a higher denier rating of at least 500-1,680, which means that it can withstand serious wear and tear, lasting you many years. Durability and longevity of a backpack increases the higher the denier count is, provided that it’s also manufactured well using quality fabric.

Stitching Quality

How well a backpack is stitched together is a good indicator of its durability. Ideally, backpacks should have at least 6 to 10 stitches in each inch. Anything under this means that the backpack can’t hold considerable weight which is necessary for school, hiking, and travel backpacks.

Stitching is especially important in the area where the shoulder straps are connected to the backpack body. This is the load-bearing area and tends to hold more weight.

Frequency of Use

Any consumer goods item, backpacks included, will suffer at least some kind of wear and tear when used daily. Many higher-end backpack brands command a few hundred dollars, but if they are made with excellent fabric and stitching quality, then they can still last you at least 5 years.


Last but not least, how well you care for your backpack will reflect in its lifespan. Here are some tips to increase the lifespan of a backpack:

  • Don’t exceed its weight capacity. All backpacks have a volume limit, usually indicated by the manufacturer in liters or cubic inches. Exceeding the volume limit is a quick way to damage and compromise your pack’s durability.
  • Regularly clean your backpack carefully following the manufacturer’s directions. Keeping your pack clean is essential for extending its lifespan, preventing dirt stains, as well as mold and mildew. In addition, dirt that has accumulated over time can degrade the fabric.
  • Use your backpack as it was intended. Backpacks are designed with specific functions in mind, so you wouldn’t want to use a school or leather backpack to go hiking because hiking backpacks should be made with specific materials.


Understanding the quality that goes into constructing a backpack will help you choose well based on durability. Taking good care of your pack will also go a long way into increasing its life span.

About the author

Diane is our head writer and researcher for our backpack informational content. Her everyday carry is a Herschel.

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