One of the staples in terms of bags is the backpack. Everyone and their mothers have had used a backpack in their life.
But did you know there are 17 different types of backpacks?
Each one is designed and specially made to serve different functions ranging from general to niche. So when you’re shopping for your next backpack, keep in mind what you need a backpack for and find the right pack that matches your needs.
With that in mind:
I’m going to break down the complete list of all the types of backpacks that exist in our world today.
- Traditional Backpack
- Laptop Backpack
- Tactical Military Backpack
- Frame Backpack
- Sling Bag
- Tote Backpack
- Drawstring Backpack
- Dry Bag Backpack
- Compression Sack
- Duffel Backpack
- Rain Cover Backpack
- Suitcase Backpack
- OutDry Pack
- Hydration Pack
This is the tried-and-true option that almost everyone is familiar with. These type of backpacks can be used for almost any situation: school, work, and even travel.
They feature the most notable features of any backpack: 2 straps, main compartment pouch, and a minimalistic design.
Two common brands that best represent the traditional everyday backpack are Jansport and Herschel. Both these brands are also some of the most popular pieces of lifestyle apparel in today’s world. You can see their logo and branding almost everywhere.
This backpack is a popular choice that is ideal to be used as a lifestyle piece and for everyday carry-all storage and portability.
Compared to a traditional backpack, the rucksack functions the same as a traditional backpack.
The main difference is the overall design.
The look of a rucksack is unique and recognizable. Like a regular backpack it features a main pouch (and may feature other compartments), but instead of a zipper closing, it uses a flap and buckle design to secure your belongings.
While some could argue this is not as secure or safe as a zipper closure, it provides a looser fit to allow storage of more items. This gives you the ability to store more items and lets the pack to expand a bit if needed.
A rucksack is associated with more outdoor and active lifestyle.
The Daypack is the ideal options for individuals interested in lightweight travel and hiking. The features that make a daypack perfect for outdoor adventures is the material construction.
They’re generally made of a water-resistant and tear-resistance material that is strong enough to battle the elements. It’s an entry level option among the outdoor backpacks that is perfect for most individuals.
While a daypack is a loose term describe several types of travel packs: you should expect a durable and robust backpack regardless across the different styles.
In addition, they’re lightweight enough to carry for longer period of times and have enough storage to bring the essentials on your trip or hike. These are ideal for day trips and weekend trips for just carrying your important belongings.
Another variant of the everyday backpack that is perfect for a college student or working professionals.
The obvious difference of this type of pack is the laptop compartment.
There is usually a dedicated compartment within the main pouch of a backpack that allows you to safely place a Windows laptop or MacBook. A quality laptop bag will ensure that pouch is padded for extra protection and security.
If a laptop is an important part of your daily activities, ensure to invest in a great backpack to take with you everyday.
But be aware of your laptop’s size because manufacturers have laptop pouches fitted for a certain size. With that in mind, you can trust to find a quality laptop bag that will become your everyday driver for school or work.
These backpacks are an important symbol of our soldiers fighting for our country. But they also serve as one of the most durable and robust backpacks that are perfect for heavy-duty carrying capabilities.
The main aspect that sets them apart from other packs are their dense material fabric. It allows the pack to resist tearing, water, and is strong enough to survive rugged environments.
If you want a backpack that will protect your belongings, I see no better choice than a tactical pack.
It’s great for travel and outdoor adventures due to the robustness of the design. You can store all you need and rest easy knowing your items are safe.
Better known as the “backpacking backpack,” these packs are the ideal for your long-term backpacking trips and worldwide adventures.
They’re an all-in-one solution to carry everything you need for an adventure.
These packs are designed to do two things well: store a lot of stuff and be easy to carry. A frame backpack is built tall to ensure you have enough space to carry your essentials on your backpacking adventure or solo trip.
The packs usually have storage capacity up to (and around) 55L which is ample for the essentials. As for portability, the design and carrying straps are constructed to be ergonomic and as comfortable as possible for long-term use.
If you’re going to be carrying everything on your person, make sure to invest in the right type of travel backpack for a great adventure experience.
Also known as an “over-the-shoulder bag,” a sling back is a great alternative to the traditional everyday backpack. It features a single strap that is worn, as one would expect, over the shoulder.
This provides an alternate, and potentially more convenient, of carrying your belongings to school or work.
Choosing a sling bag is a person preference thing if anything. They provide a different way that could be more comfortable for you to be your everyday storage bag. A sling bag is also used in combination with other type of packs such as a laptop bag or travel bag.
As one can guess from the name, the tote backpack is a combination of one of two most important type of bags: a tote bag and a backpack.
The main thing that sets this pack apart from its competitors is its portability.
With a tote backpack, you have the option of either carrying it by its handle like a regular tote bag or withs its 2 straps like a backpack.
And if you’re a fan of the tote bag design, a tote backpack resembles the originator in terms of looks and aesthetics.
The drawstring backpack is one of the best lightweight options for individuals who need an extra sack to carry extra clothes or shoes for the gym. It is most similar to the knapsack, but is better suited for storing less items.
It’s the perfect choice as an extra/additional backpack storage.
I’ve also seen it popular being used as a regular backpack option for middle/high schoolers. It’s an easy-to-carry option with a singular storage compartment.
In any case, the drawstring is a great carry all to hold some of your additional belongings. I would recommend getting a drawstring backpack as a secondary carry-all option.
As I get into more specialized backpacks, the dry bag is the ideal pack for your outdoor and recreational needs. Like the framed backpacks mentioned previously, the dry bags are robust and designed to battle the elements.
But the difference with the dry bag is that it is on a smaller scale and designed to be water-resistant.
It’s perfect for your weekend trips or hiking adventures. It is more durable than a day pack and is ideal if you’re looking for something with more longevity. I would get this if you find yourself in areas with a lot rain and wet climates.
I would personally categorize them as a hiking or travel pack that is much more lightweight compared to a frame backpack which results in carrying less items.
If you need an additional backpack or storage carry-all, the compression sack might be the right choice for you.
Like the name suggests, the sack can be compressed to ensure maximum storage efficiency.
I’m personally a fan of compression sacks because I hate the feeling of unused space in my pack when traveling. When I travel, I want to make sure I’m traveling as light and compact as possible. This provides a more comfortable adventure experience.
And like a drawstring back, these are great as a secondary/additional backpack to carry along with your main backpack.
Another combination backpack that is perfect for individuals who want the best of both world. This type of backpack provides you the design and construction of a duffel bag but with the ability to carry it with two straps of a backpack.
This type of pack is ideal for travel and the gym. It can carry all your essentials such as clothes and toiletries with a duffel bag storage design while being portable enough with the carrying straps of a backpack.
And top it off: duffel bag backpacks have a unique appearance that stands out from the sea of everyday packs we see all the time. If you want something unique, I recommend getting a duffel bag backpack.
A rain cover backpack is another form of a water-resistant backpack. With backpacks being such as popular outdoor storage carry-all, it is important that it is well equipped for the rain and elements.
The material of a rain cover pack is similar to that of a daypack. But the difference here is that the cover is removable and covers the entirety of the pack. This way your backpack and the belongings inside are safe from top to bottom.
If you need a lightweight solution to fend off the rain, I recommend getting a rain cover pack.
Combination backpacks are a great way to get the benefits of two great storage options. And it’s no different for a suitcase backpack.
It’s a great carry-on option for frequent flyers and travelers. With the compact sizing, you can rest easy knowing it will fit in the airplane overhead bins. And as you traverse throughout the airport, you can easily carry it with its backpack straps.
This combination backpack is perfect for flyers who want to travel light for short or domestic flights.
An Outdry pack is a robust, well-constructed backpack that is specially made to tackle outdoor adventure. It borrows elements from all the different outdoor packs (framing pack and daypack).
It’s a waterproof backpack and is designed to be comfortable and easy to carry for longer hikes and travels. If your frequent other countries a lot, and need a pack that you can securely carry as your tour a new place, an outdry pack is durable enough to handle that.
In addition, the fabric material can handle the wear and tear of several vacations and trips throughout the time of several years. If you want a buy-it-for-life pack, an outdry pack is a great choice.
For day hikers, climbers, runners, cyclers, etc. The hydration pack is your all-in-one solution to everything you might need for your personal recreation.
The hydration pack provides everything you’ll need to survive the day. It has an ergonomic design that is comfortable to carry around and secure enough to hold all your belongings.
But the most significant features are the hydration bladder compartments.
This allows you to store water that you might need to survive on a trip. If you want to ensure your survival on those outdoor hiking trips or camping trips, a hydration pack is one of the best backpacks to take with you on your next outdoor adventure.
You’re probably thinking that knapsack is an interchangeable word for backpack. And I just want to get it out of the way that that isn’t correct.
A knapsack has its own specialized design that is a combination of a rucksack and drawstring pack.
It has the traditional 2 straps that are expected of a backpack. But for storage, there is only one pouch. There are no other compartments and is tied/secured together at the top of the pack. This is a minimalist type of backpack that is easy to use and secure.