What’s The Difference Between Knapsack And A Backpack?

Knapsacks and backpacks are very popular with outdoor enthusiasts. The two are great and conveniently used for various purposes. However, these two mean quite different things. Although you can use them interchangeably, one of the major differences between a knapsack and a backpack is that a backpack is made from synthetic or organic tissue and usually has two straps that allow easy carriage on the back. Whereas, Knapsacks are backpacks often made using canvas, nylon, or leather.holdbarhet nespresso kapsler
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What Is A Backpack?

What Is A Backpack

The term backpack came to be in the 1910s. The word originated from America and referred to a cloth sack made with two straps over the shoulders. Since this type of bag is carried on the back, it is very convenient for the users. The bag frees up your front and side space and allows them to move freely or carry other stuff with your hands. 

The bag distributes the weight of the load more evenly to your body and helps you carry a heavy load for a longer time.

Although backpacks usually have two shoulder straps, some have a hip belt. The hip belt helps to transfer the weight of the luggage in the bag better from the upper extremities to the legs. Nonetheless, you must ensure that the hip belt is long enough, so it’s more effective. Wearing it the right way is also just as important.

Backpacks are very common with students and hikers. Students use the bags to carry items such as books and documents, while hikers use them during their outdoor adventures to carry their essentials. Some office workers also prefer using them when traveling to workstations as they are also multifunctional. A backpack is easier to carry than any other bag, hence convenient for people who love traveling.

Backpacks have come a long way over the years, and now you can find waterproof backpacks in the market. The waterproof bags are ideal for use when it’s raining as they will protect your belongings, and you may even use the bag to prevent your head from getting rained on when it’s pouring.

If you are undecided on which one to purchase between a backpack and a knapsack, keep reading as we’ll take you through their differences and features to ease your selection burden.

Types Of Backpacks

Types Of Backpacks

Backpacks have a squarish form and may fall under the following categories:

Frameless Backpacks

A frameless backpack does not have an aluminum frame like other bags do. This is a basic backpack with only a shoulder strap to distribute the weight.

Internal Frame Backpacks

An internal frame backpack usually has one or two aluminum bars on the inside. The design helps in retaining balance and keeping an intact neutral posture.

External Frame Backpacks

External frame backpacks are common with hikers and campers. The backpack has an aluminum or composite frame located on the outside. The frame helps to provide rigid support and allows more storage for a tent or sleeping bag.


This is a backpack with an extra pocket suspended on the users’ chest. The bag ensures the user carries equal loads for the back and the front.

What Are Knapsacks?

As mentioned earlier, a knapsack is a backpack that looks almost identical and gives virtually similar functions. The difference between a backpack and a knapsack is that knapsacks are generally smaller but just as durable as backpacks. 

Manufacturers use leather or canvas to make knapsacks. Recently there are also nylon-made knapsacks that have weather-resistant abilities.

It’s very rare to hear people using the term knapsack. Americans call them backpacks, as they believe they should call anything with two shoulder straps backpacks. However, in other countries like Canada, knapsack is a common name. In the UK, they are known as rucksacks.

Another difference between a backpack and a knapsack is that knapsacks have fewer pockets; hence, they are ideal for carrying only a few items. For example, you can use your knapsack when going to a gym instead of carrying a much bigger backpack.

Which One To Choose Between A Knapsack And A Backpack

If you wonder which one suits you best, between a knapsack and a backpack, there are a few things to consider. They include:

Your Lifestyle-Before you buy a backpack or knapsack, you must first consider your lifestyle. A backpack is ideal if you want versatility. However, backpacks have different sizes, types, and designs. Thus, you must carefully select the one that will fit your lifestyle better. If you love going for adventures like hiking and camping, then you will need a heavy-duty backpack for your activities. But if you only need a simple bag for going to the office, a knapsack will work just fine. The bag you choose should suit your style and routine.

Capacity– When buying a bag, you must also consider how big it is. If you know your lifestyle, you understand whether you carry a lot of things in the bag or just a few items. The bag should also be durable and affordable.

Fit– You need a bag that’s comfortable as you walk around. Therefore before buying a  bag, you must consider if it fits right. With the proper bag size, the weight of your luggage will be evenly distributed. A framed backpack can help the body support your bag’s weight for longer if you need to carry many things in the bag.

Budget-Knapsacks are available in various sizes and styles. If the bag has many features, then it costs a little more. Therefore, before you buy a bag, you must ensure that its price is justified and durable and can carry your items effectively without any problem. Your bag should fit your budget.


Many people don’t know the difference between backpacks and knapsacks as they both have the same function. However, they have varying differences that make selecting either one of the bags much easier than searching for a perfect bag. Knapsacks are smaller in size, more compact, and lighter than backpacks. On the other hand, backpacks are versatile, durable, and larger.

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