What’s the difference between a backpack and a rucksack?

When it comes to carrying your belongings, many options are available in the market. Backpacks and rucksacks are two of the most popular choices among people. They are commonly used for carrying essentials, especially when traveling or hiking. In this post we will discuss What’s the difference between a backpack and a rucksack.

What's the difference between a backpack and a rucksack?
What’s the difference between a backpack and a rucksack?

However, there often needs to be more clarity between the two terms, and people use them interchangeably. This article will explain the critical differences between a backpack and a rucksack.

Definition of backpack and rucksack

Definition of backpack and rucksack


A backpack is a bag carried on the back with two straps over the shoulders. It is designed to carry lightweight items such as books, clothes, or a laptop.

The bag can be made from various materials such as nylon, canvas, leather, or polyester. It is a popular choice for students, hikers, and travelers due to its ease of use and portability.


A rucksack is a type of backpack designed for carrying heavier items such as camping gear or military equipment.

It is usually made from durable materials such as heavy-duty nylon or canvas. The bag has a larger capacity and is designed to distribute the weight evenly across the back. It often has extra features such as waist and chest straps to provide additional support.

Design Differences

Design Differences


The primary difference between a backpack and a rucksack is its shape. A backpack is typically wider at the bottom and narrower at the top, while a rucksack is wider at the top and more limited at the bottom.

This design difference is because backpacks are designed to carry items more comprehensive at the bottom, such as books or laptops. In contrast, a rucksack is designed to carry taller and narrower items, such as camping gear.

What’s the difference between a backpack and a rucksack


The capacity of a backpack is usually between 10-30 liters, while a rucksack has a total of 30 liters or more. This makes a bag suitable for carrying heavier and bulkier items. Backpacks often have multiple compartments to store and organize gear.

READ MORE: What is a rucksack backpack?

Backpacks have two straps that go over the shoulders and can be adjusted for comfort. Rucksacks usually have additional straps, such as a waist belt and a chest strap, to provide additional support and distribute the weight of the load evenly across the body. These straps help to prevent back and shoulder pain and allow for a more comfortable and stable carry.

READ MORE: What Size Backpack Do You Need for Backcountry Skiing?

Pros and Cons



  • Lightweight and portable
  •  Easy to carry
  •  Suitable for carrying everyday essentials
  •  Affordable


  • Not suitable for carrying heavy loads
  •  It may cause back pain if not properly adjusted
  •  Limited storage capacity



  • Can carry heavy and bulky items
  •  It provides better weight distribution
  •  Multiple compartments for organization
  •  Durable and long-lasting


  • It can be heavy and uncomfortable to carry for long periods
  •  More expensive than backpacks
  •  It may not be suitable for carrying everyday essentials

READ MORE: How to Lock a Backpack Drawstring?


In conclusion, the primary differences between a backpack and a rucksack are their shape, capacity, and straps. Bags are designed for lightweight items, while loads are suitable for heavier and bulkier items. Gears have additional straps to provide better weight distribution and prevent back pain. When choosing between a backpack and a rucksack, it is essential to consider the purpose of the bag and the weight of the load you will be carrying.In above portion of my blog, i have write a compete guide on ” What’s the difference between a backpack and a rucksack


Which is better, a rucksack or a backpack?

The terms “rucksack” and “backpack” are often used interchangeably, but there is no clear winner regarding which one is better. It largely depends on personal preference and the intended use of the bag. A rucksack may refer to a giant, more rugged bag designed for hiking or outdoor activities, while a backpack may refer to a smaller, more versatile bag for everyday use.

Why is a bag called a rucksack?

The word “rucksack” originated from the German “der Rücken,” meaning “the back,” and “Sack,” meaning “bag.” It was first used in the early 20th century by the British Army to refer to a type of backpack carried by soldiers on their backs. Over time, the term “rucksack” became widely used and is now commonly used in English to refer to a backpack.

What do Americans call a rucksack?

Americans typically call a rucksack a “backpack.” This is a common term used to refer to a bag carried on the back, often used for carrying books or personal items.

What is the British word for a backpack?

The British word for backpack is “rucksack.” This term is commonly used in the UK to refer to a bag or knapsack worn on the back and used for carrying personal belongings, such as books, clothing, or camping gear.

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