8 Distinct Differences between Backpacks and Rucksacks

8 Distinct Differences between Backpacks and Rucksacks

When it comes to bags, there can often be a lot of confusion between different types of bags, such as backpacks and rucksacks. Even though the terms are often used interchangeably, there are actually some key differences between backpacks and rucksacks. 

Backpacks and rucksacks are both great options for carrying items, but they have some distinct differences that make each type of bag better suited for certain activities.                           

  1. Their Size

Backpacks are typically smaller and designed for everyday use. They are usually made of lightweight materials, such as nylon and polyester. They are also used to carry items such as books, laptops, and other everyday items.

Rucksacks, on the other hand, are designed to be rugged and durable, making them well-suited for activities such as hiking, camping, and other outdoor adventures.  

They are usually made of heavier materials, such as canvas or leather. They are also commonly used to carry heavier items such as camping gear, military supplies, or outdoor equipment. 

  1. Their Shape

Backpacks are usually rectangular or cuboid in shape. They have two straps worn over the shoulders, allowing for easy carrying. 

Rucksacks, on the other hand, are usually cylindrical in shape. They have a single strap that goes over the shoulder and across the body, allowing for a more secure fit. 

  1. Their Internal Structure

Backpacks usually have several individual compartments that are used to store small items such as pens, keys, and phones. Rucksacks, on the other hand, typically have a single large interior compartment that can be used to store oversized items such as sleeping bags and tents. 

  1. Their Comfort

Backpacks are often more comfortable to wear due to their lightweight design. Rucksacks, however, are usually more secure and can be more comfortable when carrying heavier items. 

  1. Their Style

Backpacks tend to be more fashionable and come in a variety of colours and designs. On the other hand, Rucksacks are usually more utilitarian and are designed with mostly neutral colours. 

  1. Their Durability

Rucksacks tend to be more durable than backpacks. This is because they are usually made with heavier fabric and more robust stitching. Rucksacks also often have a waterproof coating, making them more suitable for outdoor activities such as hiking. 

  1. Their Closure

Backpacks usually have a zipper or drawstring closure, while rucksacks tend to have an external buckled closure. This makes rucksacks more secure and better for carrying heavier items such as camping gear.

  1. Their Cost

When it comes to the cost between a backpack and a rucksack, it largely depends on the size and material used. Generally speaking, backpacks tend to be cheaper than rucksacks as they are lighter and more basic. Rucksacks, however, tend to be more expensive as they are made of heavier materials and have more features. 


Backpacks and rucksacks are both great options for carrying items. The key differences between them come down to size, shape, internal structure, comfort, style, durability, and closure. 

When choosing between a backpack and a rucksack, it’s important to consider the activities you’ll be using the bag for. If you just need a bag for everyday use, a backpack is probably the better option. However, a rucksack is the better choice if you’re planning a camping trip or a long journey. 

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