A minor pet peeve of mine is when people use rucksack and backpack interchangeably.
While they do essentially mean the same thing in everyday conversation, it’s a bad habit to have when you’re shopping around for a new bag to carry your things. There are specific details of each bag that allow them to be called either a rucksack or backpack. In addition, there are situations where one bag would be better than the others.
With that in mind:
I broke down the details that can help you differentiate between a rucksack vs backpack as you browse and look to invest in your next everyday bag.
What is a Backpack?
A backpack is the goto choice for most as it boasts a casual look and provides enough storage for school or work.
It’s usually made of a lightweight fiber material such as polyester or nylon and provides enough durability to hold the load of a laptop, books, and other documents. They can carry loads weighing up to 10 kilograms.
At its core, a backpack refers to one that you often carry on your back on a day to day basis.
What children use for their school books is referred to as a backpack. What business professionals take on their commute is a backpack. From childhood to adulthood, it’s one of the best carry option.
The notable features of a backpack are its two strong straps on your shoulders that support the backpack. The straps are often lightweight focusing the weight on the hip belts which are often padded to give you maximum stability on a heavy load. The length of your hip belts helps you to wrap them against your hips. Ensure you buy a backpack that has long hip belts so that you don’t strain your back or waist. The point is to let all the weight be transferred to your hips so that you can carry it without straining using your leg muscles.
What is a Rucksack?
If you are embarking on a camping trip or hiking for a whole week, you will need a rucksack.
Rucksacks offer a more robust and durable construction and design.
This is a version of a backpack made in a square design and soft material to make it lie comfortable on your back. The size of a rucksack is big enough to provide extra room to bring along a sleeping bag that you can use in the woods at night. It also features more pockets on the sides to help you bring along a water bottle as you trek and strong belts at its sides so as to give you maximum support as you move up a hill.
A rucksack is most notably used by the military due to its ruggedness and ability to carry much heavier loads compared to a regular backpack.
Since you don’t want anything slowing you down, a rucksack is designed with hip belts and chest belts to hold everything you carry in good position for your expedition. It also features an opening at the top that you can either tie using ropes or zip up easily. If you do some window shopping, you will note that this term is mostly used by military soldiers who spend most of their time in the middle of nowhere guarding the nation.
Rucksack vs Backpack: Similarities & Differences
Both a backpack and a rucksack are transported on you back with its 2 carrying straps. In addition, they are effective in carrying different loads so so you don’t have to use alternative bags such as duffel bags or suitcases. They transport your belongings the same way.
One is a type of the other
A rucksack is a type of a backpack just made a little different for you to use on a long journey. That is why most people don’t understand the main difference between the two. Even though they may appear to be the same, they have some slight differences discussed below.
Since you can use your backpack for your daily needs, you don’t require so much space as opposed to hiking or travelling around the world for some weeks. This means that the size of your backpack will be smaller than that of your rucksack.
This makes a rucksack more suitable for carrying heavier items and trekking farther distances. This is great for hikers and travelers.
In most cases, you will notice that both terms are often used interchangeably depending on your region.
Most US citizens prefer using rucksacks for hiking and camping purposes while in the UK, they use the term backpack for this purpose. Others claim that the term rucksacks was mostly used boy scouts and it is an old version of the new term backpack.
Carrying a rucksack for a couple of days will give you lots of options such as extra bags to bring along every small item that you may need for your adventure. This makes it more flexible than using a backpack which is designed with less options since you don’t need so many things for a 1 day trip.
In terms of design and construction, rucksacks are thicker and have more padding to ensure its durability and ability to carry a large amount of items.
While a backpack is made from cloth, canvas or leather, a rucksack comes in form of a square soft pack to make it more comfortable even when you carry it for long hours so as you hike avoiding friction on your back. This makes it more efficient for a long journey than using a backpack.
Who Wins?: Rucksack or a Backpack
As you can probably tell, there are situations where a rucksack would be better than a backpack, and vice-versa.
If you need to carry more for a longer period of time, a rucksack would be a better choice for its ruggedness and robust design.
On the other hand:
You can’t go wrong with a backpack for casual situations such as going to school or work. Its lightweight and provides enough storage to transport and hold the things you’ll need for your commute and day.
All-in-all, the rucksack vs backpack debate depends entirely up to you and your needs in your life.