24 Different Types of Backpacks

Backpacks of all shapes and sizes are being designed for virtually any purpose you can think of to use them for to make life easier. From tote backpacks or ones that are made specifically for laptops, hikers to business professionals and moms of toddlers are using them on a daily basis.

A group of friends carrying different backpacks.

Most people have used a backpack at some point in their lives but in today’s world, there is a backpack that is designed for nearly every type of activity or function. Just like certain authors write in a specific genre, there are a variety of genres that backpacks fall under. From your traditional school and hiking backpacks to ones that are made specifically to carry water in from place to place, there is a backpack in an array of styles and for an array of purposes.

While many people still opt for wheeled luggage when traveling on longer trips, many more are choosing backpacks to carry their belongings with them for the convenience they bring. They are becoming more and more popular since they free up your hands and promote more freedom of movement.

Unlike duffel bags, backpacks will balance out the weight of the items stored inside to provide a more comfortable way for you to carry them. Many people are enjoying all of these features while using backpacks as a carry-on when traveling by plane and the option is airport-approved. It is a more convenient way to transport items, such as your clothes, shoes, toiletries, and other items while you are traveling.

Backpacks are a pretty common staple in today’s culture. People of all ages in all types of professions and situations use backpacks for a multitude of reasons. Because of that, there are a ton of different types of backpacks on the market today.

From elementary students using them to carry school supplies back and forth from home to their classrooms to business travelers who fly often but just need a carry-on bag for their trip to our military and people heading to the gym for a workout, backpacks provide a ton of convenience.

My kids used different types of backpacks all through their school years. From my daughter needing the small drawstring backpack when she was younger to a framed backpack for hiking trips when she was in high school to my son preferring a simple knapsack throughout his school years, they tried nearly every option.

I had never used a backpack until the last few years as I have become more and more of an outdoor adventurer and they are so convenient in that type of environment. As a writer and author, it is also a wonderful option to have a laptop backpack to carry with me when I want to write on the go.

Here is a list and details of the many backpacks on the market today, including the different functions they serve to help you when choosing your next backpack.

Traditional Backpack

Classic Traditional Solid 17 Inch Backpacks with Adjustable Padded Shoulder Straps
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This is the most common and well-known type of backpack that is used for a multitude of things, such as travel, work, and school. It boasts a main compartment pouch, two straps, and a pretty plain design. The large main compartment is roomy enough for a laptop, electronic tablet, notebooks, and a water bottle and the outer front pocket will easily hold your pens, tissues, snacks, and even your cell phone.

Classic Book Bag

Classic Bookbag Basic Backpack Simple School Book Bag Casual Student Daily Emergency Survival Daypack 18 Inch with Curved Shoulder Straps Red
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Nearly every brand of backpacks offers their own version of the classic book bag. It sports a simple design that features a large main compartment for larger items and a front pocket for smaller things. The bookbag is offered in a variety of colors and styles but maintains the simplistic features. Many bookbags come with a matching pencil case for added convenience.

Rucksack/Functional Backpack

WintMing 70L Large Camping Hiking Backpack Tactical Military Molle Rucksack for Trekking Traveling Oxford Waterproof Mountaineering Pack Large Daypack for Men (Camouflag-C)
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While the rucksack is similar to a traditional backpack, it is larger, has more compartments, and uses a flap and buckle design or an elastic drawstring to open and close it. Because it is expandable, this type of backpack is used by the military more often than other types of backpacks. Its looser fit allows for more storage also.

Functional rucksack style backpacks are very large and bulky with huge main compartments and many pockets for people who have a lot of gear, such as military personnel, or students with a large number of books to carry to their classes. Both the regular size and larger rucksacks are offered in a variety of colors and styles, including black and camouflage.

Functional backpacks are known for their large and bulky silhouettes, massive main compartments, and tons of pockets. These are the backpacks for people who need to lug around a full day’s worth of books and gear. Although these backpacks are not strictly made for students, they are a staple on high school and college campuses.

Gym Backpacks

KAKA Travel Duffel Backpack, Gym Backpack Outdoor Travel Bag with Shoe Compartment, Weekender Overnight Convertible Bag Water-Resistant College Laptop Bookbag Hiking Camping Rucksack…
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Backpacks for the gym are different than gym duffel bags because they offer extra room for carrying workout clothes and shoes, workout gear, and other things you need for your workout. It is an easier hands-free way to carry your bag back and forth to the gym.

Sports Backpack

lamaki Urban Black Backpack Daypack Sports Bag for Everyday Use | Gym Office Travel Shopping Commuting Cycling Swimming | Multifunctional Laptop Shoe and Wet Compartments | for Women and Men | 25L
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Backpacks made specifically for sports are very similar to the gym backpack but offer even more space in the main compartment that you can use for storing larger items, such as a tennis racket or basketball. You can even purchase certain sports backpacks for a specific sport.

Hydration Backpack

Spoligod Hydration Backpack, Lightweight Hydration Pack, Water Pack Backpack with 2L Hydration Bladder, Suitable for Men Women Kids Biking,Hiking,Camping, Cycling, Running, and Music Festival (Black)
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Hydration backpacks are a great way to carry water while freeing up your hands. In other words, you can be cycling down a hill while still having access to drink water from your backpack. Many cyclists, as well as runners and hikers, love this option when it comes to backpacks. While some of these backpacks are only large enough to hold the bladder to store your water, others have extra space for additional clothing and food items.

Travel Carry-on Backpack

Dinictis 40L Carry on Flight Approved Travel Laptop Backpack, Business Weekender Bag-Grey
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Also known as a suitcase backpack, the travel carry-on backpack is airline approved and boasts a large main compartment that you can use to store your clothing, shoes, and toiletries when flying off on a business trip or vacation. Some styles can be converted to a duffel bag in case you want to change it up.

Modern Work Backpack

Samsonite Kombi Small Business Backpack with Smart Sleeve, Black/Brown, 16.25 x 10.5 x 5-Inch
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Combining an urban casual look and feel with business professionalism, modern work backpacks can be dressed up or down, depending on where you are going or what mood you are in at the time. They are considered a fashion backpack that is easily used for general purposes while being fashionable and stylish.

These backpacks will help you stay organized, with plenty of room for a laptop if you are using it for professional reasons or bottles of water and other supplies while you take it with you while hiking or walking a marathon. There are an array of stylish and trendy options to choose from when it comes to this particular backpack.

Convertible Backpack

Women's Fashion Backpack Purse Multipurpose Design Convertible Satchel Handbags and Shoulder Bag PU Leather Travel bag
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The convertible backpack is popular with everyone of all ages but especially women since you can use it as a backpack or convert it to a purse or handbag. It can also be transformed into a shoulder bag, duffel bag, or even a tote bag depending on what you want to use it for and where you will be going with it.

Tech Backpack

XD Design Bobby Tech Anti-Theft Backpack Wireless Solar Panel Charger USB/Type C
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Tech backpacks are created specifically to house and carry technical electronic items, including camera equipment, laptops, and even drones. This specialty backpack will be quite handy and convenient if you are a photographer, videographer, or hold some other position in the tech field. You can take your expensive equipment with you on the go while keeping it safe and dry.

Camera Backpack

Amazon Basics Backpack for SLR Cameras and Accessories-Black
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Whether you are a professional photographer or photography is your hobby, a camera backpack may be just what you need since it is designed to house all of your camera equipment, including cameras, lenses, tripods, and more in a safe and convenient manner.

Although these backpacks come in a variety of designs and sizes, they are distinctive due to their compartmentalized main compartment and several specific pockets for storing camera bodies and lenses. They come in an array of color schemes and fashionable designs and can double as a regular backpack to carry on a daily basis or even as a travel bag so there is plenty of versatility offered by this backpack.

Anti-theft Backpack

Travelon Anti Theft Classic Backpack (Graphite)
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Anti-theft backpacks are becoming increasingly popular with city dwellers to carry on the daily since they are not large enough to replace luggage. They boast special zippers, secret compartments, and anti-slash material to protect anything valuable you need to carry with you, including money, credit cards, jewelry, and even your passport or driver’s license.

Cycling Commuter Backpack

TOMSHOO 20L Cycling Backpack Lightweight Water Resistant Bicycle Bike Travel Camping Hiking Backpack Daypack with Rain Cover Helmet Cover
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For people who love to cycle, cycling commuter backpacks will give you the space you need to carry your gear with you while biking down the road. They are normally waterproof and weather resistant so your things will be safe even if there’s a downpour of rain. These backpacks come with special attachments and many pockets so you can store tools, bike locks, or even make-up to touch up when you get to your destination.


Venture Pal Lightweight Packable Durable Travel Hiking Backpack Daypack (Purple)
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A daypack is an ideal backpack for people who prefer a lightweight bag that still offers plenty of room for storing the items you may need while hiking up a mountain or simply traveling to a different destination. These backpacks are usually made of tear-resistant material that is also waterproof to protect your items inside as it provides a barrier against the elements.

They come in a variety of colors or styles to fit anyone’s preferences. No one likes to lug around a heavy backpack well on a walking tour or a hike, so these daypacks are great for that reason. a daypack is a comfortable option while protecting your belongings and keeping them with you on your day trips.

Laptop Backpack

Venture Pal Lightweight Packable Durable Travel Hiking Backpack Daypack (Purple)
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Whether you are a high school or college student or a working professional, this laptop backpack will be great for you. It features a special laptop compartment in the main pouch so that you can carry any brand or style of a laptop with you wherever you go.

A special laptop pouch is padded to protect your laptop and provide more security for it. This is also a great option for writers who want to go to different locations to churn out their next book or article. This backpack comes in different sizes to accommodate the size of the laptop you need to use it to the house.

Sling Bag

Waterfly Crossbody Sling Backpack Sling Bag Travel Hiking Chest Bag Daypack (Purple)
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The sling bag is also referred to as an over the shoulder bag and it’s a great option compared to the traditional everyday backpack because it features just a single strap that is worn over just one shoulder. It’s a great way to carry your belongings with you on a daily basis without having to lug around a bulky backpack that you do not need. This bag can also be used in conjunction with other backpacks, including travel bags and laptop bags.

Tote Backpack

PAPAZAU Rfid Travel Tote Bag 40L Convertible Rpet Tote Backpack Large Beach Gym Tote Bag (Blue)
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In keeping with its name, a tote backpack combines a tote bag with a traditional backpack. This style of the backpack allows for more portability giving you the freedom of movement you desire when traveling from place to place but wanting or needing to take items with you. The tote backpack boasts the option of carrying it by its handle like you would a regular tote bag or on your back by using the two straps attached for that purpose.

The tote backpack resembles a tote bag when it comes to its look and style. These backpacks are offered in many styles and colors so you have plenty of options to choose from when picking out a style that is right for you.

Drawstring Backpack

Vorspack Drawstring Backpack Water Resistant String Bag Sports Sackpack Gym Sack with Side Pocket for Men Women - Black
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One of the greatest lightweight options on the market, the drawstring backpack is wonderful for people who need an extra bag to carry things, such as extra clothes or shoes to the gym or cosmetics to freshen up throughout the day.

It is a similar backpack to the knapsack but has less room for people who do not need as large of a backpack to carry with them. Many kids in middle and high school carry this type of backpack when heading back and forth to school since it is easier to carry than some of the choices and styles of backpacks.

Framed Backpack

Loowoko Hiking Backpack 50L Travel Daypack Waterproof with Rain Cover for Climbing Camping Mountaineering by Loowoko(Orange)
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This backpack is a great option if you are going hunting, hiking, or climbing since it is waterproof and will keep your belongings safe from the elements. Many options come with a rain cover in the frame design that keeps the backpack in place which allows for more freedom of movement mall carrying with you a large number of items. These backpacks are very durable and stable and come in a variety of colors and styles.

Dry Bag Backpack

geckobrands Waterproof 30L Backpack – Lightweight Packable Dry Bag, Grey/Black
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Much like the framed backpack, a dry bag backpack is a great option for you while you spend time outdoors or for recreation. Similar to the framed backpacks, the dry bag backpacks will protect your items from the elements and are very stable and secure.

The biggest difference between the two types of backpacks is that a dry bag backpack is smaller in water-resistant. It’s a perfect choice for a quick weekend trip or a hiking adventure. It is much more durable than a daypack so it will last longer, especially if you’re in a very wet or dry climate. It’s like a framed backpack but for fewer items.

Compression Sack

REDCAMP Nylon Compression Stuff Sack, Lightweight Sleeping Bag Compression Sack Great for Backpacking, Hiking and Camping, Blue M
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If you need extra storage or an additional backpack option, the compression sack may be just the right option for you and your situation. As the name implies, the compression sack can be condensed down to ensure that you have plenty of storage efficiency without a lot of unused space that will make your backpack bulkier while traveling.

If you like to travel light, this is the best option for you because it allows you to take many items with you but compresses the extra space that you do not need. You can use it as a main option or as an additional backpack for added storage why you are on the go.

Duffel Bag Backpack

Gonex 60L Water Repellent Duffel Bag Backpack Outdoor Heavy Duty Duffle Bag with backpack straps for Hiking Camping Travelling Cycling for Men Women Dark Blue
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The duffel bag backpack combines the convenience and freedom of movement of a backpack with the style of a duffel bag. For people who like the best of both worlds, this is the option for you. This backpack is designed and constructed like a double duffel bag with plenty of room to store your items but offers two straps so you can throw it on your back it be hands-free.

It’s great for travel or the gym because you can carry all your essentials, including clothing and toiletries, with plenty of duffel bag storage while still being portable. The devil bag backpack has a very unique appearance that will stand out from the normal backpacks that people see on a daily basis. It comes in a variety of styles and colors to fit everyone’s preferences.

Rain Cover Backpack

Joy Walker Backpack Rain Cover Waterproof Breathable Suitable for (15-30L, 30-40L, 40-55L, 55-70L, 70-90L) Backpack Hiking/Camping/Traveling (Orange, Middle (for 30-40L Backpack))
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The rain cover back bank is water-resistant as it comes with an actual rain cover that goes around the backpack area so that you have plenty of storage but your things are protected from the elements and rain while you are out and about. The cover is removable so if you don’t think you’re going to need it you do not have to use it. It’s a great lightweight solution to fend off rain while carrying your items from one place to another.

OutDry Backpack

Columbia Unisex Outdry EX 20L Backpack, Black, One Size
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The outdry backpack is extremely well constructed and very durable. It is specifically made for outdoor adventures and takes some of the best characteristics from other backpacks, including daypacks and framed backpacks. It’s waterproof and created to be very comfortable and easy to carry so that you can take it with you on longer hikes or walks.

This backpack is made of fabric material that is very durable and can handle the wear and tear of going on multiple vacations and trips over a time period of many years. If you want to buy just one backpack that’s going to last for years to come, this should probably be the one you choose.

Five FAQs About Backpacks You May Not Know

What do the British call backpacks?

The British borrowed a word from the Germans to refer to a backpack and that is the word rucksack. In Middle High German the word rack means back and of course, the sack parted the name refers to the bag used for storage.

What is the difference between a backpack and a rucksack?

A rucksack is essentially a larger, more rugged, and durable backpack option that offers plenty of pockets and belts that can be utilized for carrying heavier loads of items while accommodating a larger amount of gear than a backpack. The rucksack even offers hip and chest belts that will help distribute the weight of the bag better so that it is much more comfortable to wear, especially for longer trips and experiences.

How do you know if a backpack fits?

When you try on a backpack, pull the straps forward away from your body and then down towards your hips to ensure a more natural fit. Make sure you do not overtighten the straps at this point or they will dig into your shoulders. When a backpack is fitted properly it should hug your shoulders from front to back without having any gaps between the shoulder strap and your back.

How do I make my backpack straps more comfortable?

Wearing your backpack correctly will make it much more useful and comfortable. the process of putting on your backpack is pretty simple if you follow these few things. First of all, put the backpack on your shoulders and pull the shoulder straps as snugly as you can.

You can then tighten the hip straps to transfer the weight of the backpack and then adjust your shoulder inside load straps. You can then tighten the sternum straps if your backpack has those and you can take off to your destination.

What should you consider when purchasing a backpack?

There are so many backpacks on the market that you may feel overwhelmed when attempting to decide which one is best for you and your situation. There are several things you should consider when purchasing a backpack and the first detail to consider will be the purpose in which you will be using it

For instance, if you’re going to use it for camping trips, you will want a larger, more durable backpack that will accommodate things, such as a tent and sleeping bag. This will determine what type of backpack you will be searching for in the first place. The next thing you need to do is look at the price. You should determine your price range before you start shopping.

You also need to decide what kind of inside frame you want the backpack to offer along with what materials you want it to be made of depending on what you’re going to use it for. The volume that the backpack will hold also depends on the use. You will also want to consider how the backpack is designed and if it will be comfortable enough for you.

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