How to Wash a Patagonia Backpack (4 Easy Steps)

There are a few important things to remember when washing a Patagonia backpack. In this guide, I’ll cover what to avoid when cleaning your backpack, and other helpful tips on keeping it looking new.

The easiest and most common way to wash a backpack is by hand washing it in warm water and then leaving it to dry overnight.

Follow these four helpful steps to wash your Patagonia backpack!
Patagonia Backpack

Recommended Materials:

  1. Your backpack!
  2. Sponge or scrub brush
  3. Mild soap
  4. Paper towels or newspaper

What To Avoid:

  1. High temperatures (avoid the dryer)
  2. Direct sunlight
  3. Soaking the backpack

How To Wash A Patagonia Backpack

I found that the safest and easiest way to clean my Patagonia backpack is to avoid using a washer and dryer and to instead clean it by hand.

Step 1 – Check For Instructions On The Backpack

The most important factor in washing a backpack is finding out whether it’s machine-washable or should only be cleaned by hand. Once you’ve determined that you can move on to the next step in this cleaning guide.

Most Patagonia gear should come with cleaning symbols somewhere on the item. There should be a tag inside the backpack that lists the recommended washing instructions.

Here’s an example of the symbols that you should look for.

Patagonia Wash Symbols

How To Wash Hiking Boots

You can find the full guide to Patagonia symbols on their care guide.

Tip: If you’re unsure of the best way to wash your backpack, hand wash it in cold or lukewarm water.

Step 2 – Brush Away All Dirt Or Mud On The Outside

This is the easiest step but one that’s often overlooked. If you spend the time now removing excess dirt, it makes hand washing in the next section much easier.

It’s also a good idea to turn the bag inside out or upside down and shake out anything that might be trapped inside. A lot of time dirt or leaves will find a way into the backpack and you won’t notice until you shake it around.

Tip: If you have any stains this is the time to apply any stain remover liquids.

Step 3 – Hand Wash With Soap and Water

The water should be either cold or lukewarm, and you should always avoid washing it with hot water. It’s also important to avoid soaking the backpack completely. Instead, you should use a towel or brush to clean it section by section.

It’s best to use a mild detergent or soap so that it won’t wear down any parts on the backpack. You shouldn’t need to get it too soapy in order to scrub away any grime that’s visible.

Now, if your Patagonia backpack has a symbol that indicates it’s safe for use in the washer, you can throw it on a gentle cycle with cold water.

Tip: Wash the backpack in different sections so that it doesn’t stay wet for longer than needed.

Step 4 – Hang To Dry At Room Temperature

Leaving it to hang on a line overnight is the best way to avoid any damage while drying your backpack. If you can, leaving it so it’s upside down and the opening to the backpack is facing down will let it dry much quicker.

You can also place some paper towels on the inside of the backpack which will help absorb any excess water that’s left on the bag. I prefer to use a normal towel to wipe the outside of the bag before leaving it to hang dry.

Another reason Patagonia suggests using a line to dry because a lot of their gear has water-resistant properties that could get ruined in hot temperatures. There’s also the added benefit of it saving energy and being better for the environment.

Tip: Replace the paper towels in your backpack to dry quicker and to avoid mold.

Line Dry Backpack

Avoid Washing Your Bag Too Frequently

It might sound weird, but washing a backpack too often can lead to it not lasting as long. Eventually the materials will get worn and start to break down, and we want to avoid this for as long as possible.

This doesn’t mean that you should leave the backpack sitting there forever, in fact I still scrub my backpack down one every couple of adventures. I just don’t go through the full washing and cleaning process each time.

Final Thoughts

Whether you have an old or newer Patagonia backpack, you’ll want to know the right way to take care of it and keep it looking clean. I just went over four important steps that you should follow when washing your backpack.

If you’re unsure of how your specific backpack should be washed you can always look for more information that’s provided on the Patagonia website.