Muddy forest floor, dirt splashes from biking or even leaking bottles - the backpack needs to be washed, but how?

At KOHLA, we prefer to be outdoors ourselves, and many of our colleagues bike  to work every day. This means that our backpacks are in constant use all year round and need to be cleaned from time to time. For this reason, we created a completely different guide - what is the best way to wash a (hiking) backpack?

Rucksack waschen Tipps

What types of dirt do we have?

Let's start with our mountain bikers, who, as mentioned above, also like to ride their bikes to work. Dirt and mud splashes from the trail are right up there. Then comes in addition to the normal pollution by dust and sweat, the worst variant: spilled drinks or even sunscreen!

Now everything sticks and not only on the outside of the backpack, no, the dirt is everywhere. Especially in buckles and the zippers. You can't escape - you have to wash the backpack. But how?

Washing instructions for (hiking) backpacks

Into the washing machine - NEVER! Hands off the washing machine - backpacks are not meant to be cleaned this way. The stress on the material is too high: coatings can come off, buckles can break and holes can develop. Therefore, you should always wash your backpack by hand!

Rucksack reinigen mit Bürste

1. Cleaning out

The easiest way to remove rough dirt is to use a shower head. If the backpack is very dirty, soak it in the bathtub or a large bucket. Lukewarm water and a suitable detergent are your helpers here.  Everything must be removed, including removable parts such as a helmet net and shake out the backpack well or use a vacuum cleaner to remove crumbs, etc.. Then wipe out the inside of the backpack with a moist microfiber cloth. 

2. Into the tub - Attention! ! 

Please use only detergent for functional materials (this protects the outer material of the backpack without attacking the coating) NO GO! Fabric softener or stain remover.

Rucksack waschen  Detail Reissverschlüsse

3. Sponge and toothbrush

With the help of a sponge and brush, the backpack can now be cleaned properly. Again, make sure to use soft tools. With an old toothbrush, buckles and especially the zippers can be cleaned easily.

4. Rinse

Once the backpack and all upholstery are free of dirt and sweat, rinse the all parts properly with clear water to remove the last soap and dirt residues.

Wanderrucksack waschen Anleitung von KOHLA

What is the best way to dry the backpack?

Please do not throw it in the dryer - the high temperatures will damage the coating and upper material. Now that your backpack is clean, you can squeeze out all the padding with the help of a large towel. 

The next step is to hang the backpack outdoors or in a well-ventilated area. Make sure that it is hanging upside down so that the water can drain from all compartments.

Before you put your backpack back in the closet, please check if it is 100% dry to avoid mold and mildew stains.

Do I need to impregnate the backpack?

If the backpack is used a lot, it is worth impregnating it from time to time. It protects the outer material and is dirt-repellent and extends the life of the backpack. There are various options for impregnation available in stores. Probably the most convenient way are sprays that are sprayed evenly and only need to dry. 


We use the high-quality outer material 200D Dobby Nylon for all KOHLA hiking backpacks. It is particularly durable, robust and water-repellent.

KOHLA TIP: Rain covers not only protect the backpack from rain, but also from dirt and are cleaned in no time. If your backpack does not have an integrated rain cover, you can also order this separately from us in the store.

KOHLA hiking backpacks