Backpack Manufacturing Process

Making backpacks

A backpack is one’s companion from the first day of pre-school as a toddler through all the stages of growing up and for various purposes. There is significant growth in the backpack market owing to the increased interest in adventure sports and recreational activities like camping, travel and tourism activities, and the adoption of a mobile lifestyle. The global backpack market attained a value of nearly USD 18.3 billion in 2021. The market is further estimated to grow in the year 2023-2028 at a CAGR of 6.61% to reach about USD 26.88 billion by 2027.

The development of backpacks focuses on integrating functionality, appearance, and fashion trends. Growing innovations have led to smart backpacks that include GPS, charger ports, massagers and speakers, eco-friendly materials, and improved performance like weather-resistant, cooling, and anti-theft. Some of the brands in this segment are Deuter, Everest, Goruck, JanSport, Monarc, Osprey, Patagonia, Polestar, Reebok, Samsonite, Swiss Gear, Targus, The North Face, Timbuk2, and Wildcraft.

In this article, I have covered the backpack manufacturing process in brief, while touching upon the following topics.
  1. Different types of backpacks
  2. Components of a backpack
  3. Materials used in backpack manufacturing
  4. Backpack manufacturing process flow
  5. Production of a backpack in mass production (CMT)

Different Types of backpack

The market segments of backpacks as per their types are – student/work bags, outdoor sports and recreation bags, and travel bags.

Types of backpack

The typical features of a backpack are:

  • Adequate room to carry essentials (volume of the backpack)
  • Compartments and pockets to organize the items
  • Water-resistant
  • Lightweight
  • Resistant to cuts and rips
  • Padded back panel
  • Padded shoulder straps
  • Adjustable belts
  • Mesh fabric back panel
  • Additional functions – anti-theft, USB charging, etc.

Components of a backpack

The anatomy of a backpack depends on its design, type, and use of it. Depending on the backpack design, one needs to procure raw materials. They need to do production planning. The basic parts that make up backpacks are:
  • Padded shoulder straps
  • Strap adjusters
  • Front pocket
  • Side bottle pocket
  • Main internal compartment
  • Main compartment zipper
  • Top grab/ carry handle
  • Ventilating mesh
  • Lumbar pad
  • Interior pockets
  • Piping/ trim

Backpack components
Figure 4: Components of a basic backpack

Materials used in backpack manufacture

The commonly used materials in backpacks are nylon and polyester, with nylon dominating the global market. Nylon is usually considered the most durable backpack material and is thus suitable for outdoor use. Other materials include cotton (canvas and denim), jute, hemp and leather. Brands have also launched products with 100% recycled material. Below are a few images showing backpacks made from these materials.

Different types of backpacks

Backpack manufacturing process flow

The overall process of manufacturing a backpack is very similar to that of a garment. It involves material sourcing, product development and sampling, time study, line set-up, cut-make-trim, quality inspection, and packaging. The basic steps of cut-make-trim are as follows:

Process flow of backpack making

1. Cutting of backpack parts

On finalizing the template, the pattern is drawn on the computer to develop the marker. The template of a simple backpack is shown in Figure 11. The number of cut components for a backpack can go up to hundreds.
Basic template of a basic backpack
Figure 11: Template of a basic backpack
The spread fabric is cut using either CNC cutting, knife cutting, die cutting, or laser cutting. Die cutting is more common in backpack manufacturing.

Figure: 12: Die cutting

The panel that will contain the logo/ design is sent for printing or embroidery.

Figure 13: Computerised multi-needle multi-head machines for embroidery

Along with the body fabric, the team also makes the lining material and other trims ready. The cut components are then fed to the sewing lines.

2. Backpack Stitching process

Backpack manufacturing is done in assembly lines. A simple backpack can consist of up to 30 operations in a single line, while complicated designs have a higher number of operations. The lines accommodate inter-modular sections that carry out the additional procedures.

The operations involved in backpack manufacturing are given in the table below.

Note: The table only covers sample operation steps. The operations would be different as per the design of the backpack.

List of operations involved in manufacturing a backpack (example)

Operation No.



Making the front panel


Binding the upper seam of the front panel lining


Basting the front panel


Basting and top stitch zipper to the front pocket


Basting pocket lining to the front panel


Top stitch the upper section of the front panel


Binding the side and lower sections of the front panel


Basting and top stitching the bottom section of the front panel


Attaching the internal lining to the front panel (stitch on all sides)




Adding glue behind the edges of pockets on the gusset


Folding the cut edges to create a clean border for the pockets


Attaching pocket zippers to the lining


Basting and top stitch the zippers to the front gusset


Preparing the top pocket bag by stitching the lining


Preparing side pocket bag by seam sealing neoprene


Basting top pocket lining to the gusset


Basting neoprene side pocket to the gusset


Attaching a flag label to the second side pocket


Binding the sides of the second side pocket


Basting and top stitch the second side pocket to the gusset


Attaching pen holder on the internal lining using a programmable pattern sewing machine


Sewing together sections of the internal lining


Basting and top stitch the main compartment zipper to the back gusset


Basting zipper flap to the main zipper


Basting internal lining to the main zipper


Attaching the internal lining and main zipper to the front gusset


Top stitch the main zipper flap




Stitching interlining to the handle fabric on one shorter side


Binding the handle fabric on one longer side


Using a folder binder attachment, sew a long strip


Cutting the strip into sections to make the handle straps


Folding into half and stitching on the edge of the handle strap


Adding foam to the handle and connecting it to the handle strap


Applying glue to hold the handle together for more accurate sewing


Stitching the handle strap inside the handle


Preparing and stitching the handle loop


Adding magnetic press studs on the handle loop


Closing the gusset lining and attaching the handles


Attaching the bottom base with the sides of the gusset


Back Panel and Shoulder Strap


Quilting the linings with sponge/ foam using a computerised pattern sewing machine


Preparing internal pockets


Stitching internal pockets onto the inside panel


Assembling the shoulder straps


Basting shoulder strap with mesh


Adding reinforcements where shoulder straps connect to the back body


Adding sponge/ foam inside the shoulder straps (between fabric and mesh) while turning them outside-in


Top stitch on the shoulder strap


Attaching shoulder straps to the back panel using a programmable pattern sewing machine


Stitching a cover at the joint of the shoulder strap


Basting foam and lining for the back panel


Attaching the laptop compartment zipper to the back panel


Stitching together the back panel with internal lining and laptop compartment zipper at the top


Top stitching around laptop compartment zipper


Stitching luggage strap


Top stitch shoulder strap webbing and back panel with internal lining on sides and bottom


Attach the laptop bumper pad to the bottom of the inside panel


Stitching together the back panel and inside panel




Attaching front panel to side panels


Attaching the back panel to the laptop sleeve


Adding bar tack to reinforce shoulder strap webbing


Adding internal binding around exposed seams along with brand label


Turning the bag inside-out

Simple industrial sewing machines, special machines with attachments, and heavy-duty machines make up a backpack sewing line. For example, computerized pattern sewing machines, machines equipped with binding/ tape sewing attachments, double-needle post-bed machines, bar tack machines, rivet press machines, seam sealing machines, etc.

3. Finishing process

During (inline) and after the sewing process (end of the line), the product undergoes several checks in accordance to set quality guidelines. The checker segregates defective pieces into small repairs, major repairs, and rejects. The final steps involve cutting loose threads, removing marks or stains from the material, checking for broken needles, and finally packaging it.

The quality inspector checks the backpacks for their material, measurement, workmanship, print, embroidery, trims and accessories, etc. The quantity of the products as well as packaging are checked as they are loaded into shipment containers.


This post is an introduction to backpack manufacturing. It would help you get an overall idea of the process. We are happy to help if you have any questions related to backpack manufacturing. You can send us your questions/queries at prasanta[@]



Dipanwita Ray

Dipanwita Ray is a graduate in Fibres and Textile Processing Technology, and is currently pursuing her master's degree in Fashion Technology from NIFT, New Delhi. She is interested in textile chemistry, functional garments, and apparel supply chain.

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