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Classification of Backpacks

How to Properly Classify Backpacks

The CBSA has issued notice that they have updated the D Memorandum in regards to the classification of suitcases, travelling bags and backpacks. With the kids starting school after summer vacation and back to school shopping in full force, it makes sense to look a little deeper and see what CBSA has determined as the correct classification for backpacks.

Canadian International Trade Tribunal

The CBSA notice has updated the definition and classification information due to a Canadian International Trade Tribunal ruling on Case Number AP-2013-046. This appeal was requested by Tenth Siding Trading Co. DBA Rock Gear Appellant. The company had imported child carriers from Vietnam and had classified them under backpacks. The Tribunal considered the argument and ruled that the importer’s position was correct. The carriers should be classified in Chapter 42 of the Customs Tariff under tool bags, haversacks, knapsacks, packsacks and rucksacks.


Traditionally luggage was constructed from or covered with leather materials which is why travel containers are cover in Chapter 42 of the Customs Tariff. Due to increased travel security and carrier fees for luggage, there have been changes to the typical construction and design of travel bags. The CBSA does not take into account the size of the luggage to assist in their determination.


The accepted definition of backpacks is “a bag with straps that go over your shoulders, so that you can carry things on your back when you are walking or climbing” (Collins English Dictionary). The classification of the items depend on the outer surface material. If it is leather/composition leather, it would be classified as 4202.91.20.00. If the outer surface of the backpack is plastic or of other textile materials, it would be classified as 4202.99.90.00. The country of manufacture would determine the rate of duty.

Seeing as it we are in the midst of kids going back to school after summer break, we focused this blog on the classification of backpacks. However, as Customs Clearance specialists, Orbit Brokers assists our clients import a wide variety of goods into Canada. Proper classification of these products according to the CBSA regulations is an important part of what we do. Contact us today for help on classifying your goods, or with any questions on importing into Canada.

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