Most, if not all people, use bags. There are many different bags, but one of the most commonly-owned bags is the backpack. What's interesting about it is that it has a distant relative: the rucksack.

Backpacks and rucksacks are often used interchangeably, which is a cause of confusion for many people. Some call it a backpack, while others call it a rucksack. In this article, we'll explain the differences between the two. Read on below to get started.

More about Backpacks

Backpacks are bags carried on the shoulders and then supported by the wearer's back and torso. They are mainly used for carrying books, clothes, and materials. A backpack is quite similar to a knapsack, except that knapsacks are usually shorter in length. Backpacks are similar to duffel bags, except duffel bags have open tops, while zippers or clips can enclose backpacks.

Backpacks have been in use for a long time, going back to the 2nd and 3rd century BC. There are also early examples of backpacks from China, which still use the same design as today. Backpacks also have different designs and functions, with some more special than others.

More about Rucksacks

Rucksacks are similar to backpacks, except they fall lower and are wider than backpacks. Rucksacks' tops are closer to the wearer's back and waist, while the backpacks' tops are closer to the shoulders. Rucksacks are also usually larger than backpacks.

A rucksack is also often used interchangeably with the term knapsack. A knapsack is a similar type of bag. It’s worn like a backpack, but a flap over the top acts as the opening. Another difference is the frame; rucksacks are worn without support, while knapsacks are worn with a frame.

Notable Differences between the two

Aside from the dimensions and their straps, there are significant differences between them. These are:


Being closer to the back, rucksacks are more liked because of their appearance. Rucksacks are thought to be more casual and stylish, making people wear them anytime and anywhere without looking unprofessional. The appearance of the backpack is, however, more utilitarian.

Support and Build

Backpacks are designed to weigh contents on the wearer's back, while rucksacks distribute their weight more evenly. This is one of the reasons why rucksacks have a larger opening, which makes fitting large objects easier to do. On the other hand, backpacks are more mobile since it has a smaller opening.

Additionally, backpacks are more flexible since they are only needed to support a single stress point. On the other hand, rucksacks have to have a stiffer, thicker, and stronger design to support the weight of their contents.


Backpacks are more often used for school supplies and mountain climbing. On the other hand, rucksacks are often used as luggage since they can accommodate a lot more than a backpack can.


Since backpacks can fit more things than rucksacks can, backpacks are more in demand than rucksacks are. This makes backpacks more commonly produced but are less durable than rucksacks. The backpack is made of lighter materials, making it challenging to last longer.

What Should You Use?

The matter of choosing what to use all depends on your preference. Both backpacks and rucksacks are stylish, practical, and flexible. Some people, however, find rucksacks more comfortable than backpacks.

If you want an item that's more stylish, practical, and has a broader space, then a rucksack is the better choice for you. If you want something more practical and mobile, then a backpack is the better choice for you.


Rucksacks and backpacks are alike, but they are more different than similar. These two bags have several differences, but it's how you carry and use them that makes the difference. While a backpack is stronger than a rucksack, rucksacks can hold more than a backpack. It all comes down to preference and how you want to use your bag.

If you’re looking for backpacks online, Beales has got your back! We offer a wide range of products, and we also offer free shipping when you spend £50 or more. Simply go to our website and take your pick!

January 24, 2022 — Paul Masterson
Tags: Bags 101