Types of Backpacks

No matter which gender, this bag is the most familiar accessory for adolescents and adults alike. It’s the first type of bag you get as a kid and remains to be your most prized possession throughout all years of school, as it isn’t only a way to carry your books but can also be a way of expression. The design, style, color all are considered a reflection of your identity.

But there is an overwhelming variety of different types of backpacks in the market designed to serve different purposes. This article will look into the different types and styles of backpacks that are available to consumers; explore their benefits, drawbacks and figure out which ones may be the right choice for you.

What Is A Backpack?

A Backpack is a bag attached to a frame worn on the back. The frame can be made from many different materials and consists of two straps that go over each shoulder and attach to the bottom of the bag where it rests on your back.

Backpacks are convenient because they can hold a lot of items of various sizes while keeping your arms and hands free of any burden. Backpacks are more versatile than many other bags as they have multiple compartments and pockets for better storage and organization, allowing them to hold several types of equipment such as sports gear, laptops, books and water bottles.

Different types of backpacks can be divided into 5 main categories with each having several other subcategories to better suit the needs of different people.

Everyday Backpacks

Basic Daypack

It is the most common style of backpack. It is designed for light usage and typically has only 1 compartment, although it can sometimes come with additional pockets for easier organization purposes.

They’re medium-sized, which makes them ideal for daily short commutes and are quite popular among students of all ages. A basic daypack is also a great backpack to use as a ‘personal item’ on planes since their size allows them to easily fit under the seat.


The feature that makes a Rucksack different from the standard backpacks is that this has a flap opening design which allows it to open up more fully for easier packing and access to its contents. A rucksack typically has two buckle straps designed on the front of the flap for style and function as it helps keep the flap in place with the magnetic buttons attached to secure it.

This bag usually offers more space and compartments than the regular daily daypack-style backpacks. It is quite popular among students and adults alike as it is quite functional and chic looking.


This style of bag is favored by hikers and campers or just people who need a lightweight backpack to carry a decent amount of items. It is usually made of a durable fabric that isn’t heavy and is somewhat water-resistant such as canvas or nylon. A knapsack features a roll-style top that’s easy to open and close. 

This style is ideal for people looking for something that offers quick access and is unique yet still functional, durable and casual looking. It is designed to be fairly light and you can easily adjust the straps to fit your body perfectly.


If you’re really looking to stand out then a randoseru style backpack is a great style to go for. The style originates from Japan and is still quite a popular choice among students there. A randoseru style backpack is sturdy, typically made of a hard and durable material such as wood, plastic or leather.

This bag’s style is very unique and offers great protection as it is designed similar to a box, with it being super defined and firm in shape instead of the usual style backpack. It features a flap style opening, covering the entire front of the bag while still allowing for quick access to its contents. It is typically waterproof too which makes it a great choice for people who commute daily by walking or biking.

Types Of Backpacks For Sports

Duffel Backpacks

As the name implies, this style of bag resembles a duffel bag which typically has a cylindrical shape. But instead of having the original one long strap and two short handles design, a duffel backpack has two comfortable shoulder-style straps that go around the body of the bag which makes it fit securely to your back.

It is a great style of backpack to use when going on a trip or for sports activities such as swimming, cycling and running, as a duffle backpack is long and wide, thus is great for storing and organizing your equipment such as rackets, clothes, shoes and towels. This backpack is designed to offer enough space with one large compartment to store everything you need and some more.

Drawstring Backpacks

Another one quite different looking than the usual style of backpacks are the drawstring backpacks. It has a simple design, typically with one large compartment and a drawstring style opening style because of its sack-like shape. 

Drawstring backpacks are typically small in size and made of lightweight materials which makes it a perfect light bag to store and secure your basic gear needed when visiting the gym or for other sports. It is also a great backpack to take when traveling, as due to its lack of rigid or bulky structure on the bag or straps area, it allows you to fold and pack it up in your other larger bag easily.

Biking Gear Backpacks

This style of bag is typically designed with function and purpose in mind. It is typically made of durable and lightweight materials that are water-resistant. A Biking gear backpack is quite large in size and has a design that allows you to properly carry your bike helmet and other biking essentials around.

This backpack design offers a quick access design, typically with buckles and straps to secure your gear and a design to easily access your helmet, gloves, and other equipment without having to dig into the bag.

Hunting Backpacks

If you are a hunter or sports enthusiast who often goes camping in the wilderness, then this may be the style backpack for you. Hunting backpacks are typically designed to offer enough room to carry your gear, especially when it comes to store enough for days of outdoor camping. It is often made of heavy-duty materials to ensure it lasts long and can withstand tough weather conditions.

It typically has a large main compartment and additional pockets to store your items such as knives, flashlights, walkie-talkies, binoculars, and other gear. It is also designed with multiple attachments to carry your gear such as the rifle strap and multiple loops for additional equipment. Their main feature though is their camouflage design that helps blending in with the natural surroundings.

Snowsport Backpacks

If you’re planning on spending some time in the snow, be sure to invest in a good snowsport backpack. It typically features a broader design which helps the bag to sit flush against your back for added comfort and stability. The bag also allows you to carry your skis on its back or sides, making it easier for you to switch between your skis and your snowboard. Some bags also come with a separate compartment design where you can put your ski boots, helmet and other accessories.

This backpack is designed to be water-resistant, lightweight and provide easy access to your gear; preventing the need for you to have to take everything out just to get to the item you want to use.

Hydration Backpacks

A hydration backpack is typically made of lightweight materials and has been designed to store and carry water with the help of a hydration bladder. The design of these bags is made for activities such as running, cycling, hiking, biking, camping and other sports activities. It features a long water tube with an easy grip to drink from while you are engaged in outdoor activities. It is perfect for those who want to drink water without having to stop and take off their backpack for it.

One important fact to keep in mind is that a hydration backpacks main purpose is to keep you hydrated so it typically may not have much storage space for other things, if you don’t need much storage space then these are great; but if you do, then you should opt for one of the many other backpacks designed for sports and adventures that have this useful hydration feature installed in them as well.

Travel Backpacks

Backpacking Backpacks

A backpack is specifically designed to be able withstand rough conditions while you’re traveling. They are typically made to be spacious, tall, comfortable, lightweight and have multiple compartments designed to keep all of your gear and any essential items organized properly.

Backpacking backpacks may have many features and design elements such as ventilation padding design to keep your back dry and comfortable, external attachment design for gear storage such as hiking poles, sleeping bags; multiple compartments to add more space and organisation to your pack and easy access to all items in it; an adjustable hip belt and chest strap design for extra comfort and stability, a hydration pack to easily access water.

The best backpacking backpack will provide you with enough space and functionality to carry all the basic essential items you need while backpacking, plus some more.

Carry On Backpacks

While a backpacking backpack is large and tall, this traveling backpack is smaller and compact which makes it the perfect bag to carry on board an airplane. It is typically designed with being mindful of its purpose and function, as it needs to meet the size and weight requirements set by the airlines while still providing enough space for you to carry all the necessary items you need while traveling.

This backpack features a versatile and functional design with quick access to multiple compartments and functional pockets to meet your needs. These may come with zippers, buckles or straps designed to secure your items and prevent them from falling out.

Before packing just make sure that the particular carry on backpack you’ve chosen fits within the dimensions set by whichever airline you’ll be flying in.

Wheeled Backpacks

It’s a backpack on wheels! You most probably must have seen a variation of this among elementary school kids’ school bags. It has wheels, a pull-up handle and two shoulder straps sitting parallel behind the bag. The adult version of this design features a similar function but with a more practical and classic backpack design, as you would expect from an adult version.

It typically has a functional design that allows you to easily get your things in and out, with internal and external compartments and pockets. This design makes it easier and more convenient for you to get on the go. It features a suitcase’s wheels and handle but with a more versatile body structure.

Comfort is key, make sure you are comfortable with your backpack before you hit the road or trail to protect your back from any strain or injury. This will allow you to focus on having fun and enjoying your adventure.

Anti-Theft Backpack

While this type of backpack is not specifically designed for backpacking, it can be an essential accessory when it comes to preventing thieves from pick-pocketing your belongings while you’re traveling. These backpacks typically feature designs that allow you to easily access your items yet keeping them safe and secure from others

These bags are typically designed in a way that the zippers and function pockets are hidden from plain sight so it would be difficult for someone to unzip your bag without you noticing. They can also have other features such as uncuttable shoulder straps, RFID protection, hidden secret pockets, slash-proof materials and so much more to protect your stuff.

All these functions make it difficult for thieves to cut, open or spot your bag with a quick glance, which makes it easier for you to enjoy your trip worry-free.

Types Of Backpacks For Hiking

Small Hiking Backpacks

This type of backpack typically features a very practical design for those who go on short hikes. This backpack is lightweight and smaller than regular hiking backpacks, but still has the basic required functions and features to store all your essentials needed during a short hike or trail walking.

It features multiple compartments along with a front pocket for quick access to the smaller items. It usually has a hydration bladder compartment, a chest strap and a hip belt to provide extra support and comfort to ease the strain on your back while out on the trail. The bag also has attachment loops for your walking poles.

While opting for a smaller hiking backpack design, you only have to carry a size sufficient for your short hike, without even having to sacrifice function or comfort.

Framed Hiking Backpacks

Made for long hikes, these backpacks also feature a lightweight design, but offers more space and are larger than the hiking backpack mentioned above.

There is always more space for this backpack to allow you to store gears, hiking poles and other equipment while on the trail. It is also waterproof and weatherproof, ideal for extended hikes or trail walks. These backpacks are usually made of sturdy, light and water-resistant fabrics such as ripstop nylon and waterproof lining to ensure your belongings are safe from the elements.

Typically, the frame of these types of backpacks is made up of aluminum with foam padding to provide comfort. These also come with adjustable shoulder straps and waist belts as well as internal or external frame designs for extra support. One point to keep in mind when making your decision is that framed hiking backpacks weigh more than the frameless hiking backpacks next on the list.

Frameless Hiking Backpacks

These backpacks are ideal for medium-length hikes, as even though quite large and spacious, they lack the frame which gives support to the backpack, which means if not packed correctly, this type of backpack can cause strain and injury to your back.

One needs to be very knowledgeable when it comes to knowing how to pack a frameless backpack. Being frameless, they rely on the pack’s contents to give it structure, along with the compression straps and hip belt that provide the extra support needed for your back.

They need to be packed by putting heavier items first and closest to your back, towards the center of your body. This will help you maintain balance while walking with such a backpack.

Types Of Backpacks For School

Laptop Backpack

These backpacks are ideal for keeping your laptop safe and secure. Widely used by students as well as those working in the field of IT, these backpacks usually have a dedicated padded compartment or space where a laptop can be fitted. There is also additional space for storing other school/office stationery items. The average laptop backpack fits 15” laptops or smaller, but you can choose a backpack that will fit your laptop of choice.

The overall design is usually structured and sturdy, with adjustable shoulder straps and extra padded back panels. They will usually have a front compartment for quick and easy access to small items such as your phone, pens and pencils.

These backpacks are not typically waterproof, so an additional rain cover or water-resistant fabric is recommended for this type of backpack.

These bags come in a variety of styles and designs, so be sure to choose the one that will fit your lifestyle and taste, but most importantly pay attention to the padding and material used as you’ll need something that will protect your valuable laptop from damage in case of a fall or unexpected rain.

Traditional College Daypacks

These backpacks are usually lightweight, flexible and spacious. They will be able to fit your laptop in addition to books, pens and notebooks. They are great for taking to school or college, and usually have an internal frame design with adjustable shoulder straps.

In most cases, they will be made of lightweight material or nylon which can easily tear so if not careful you end up buying a new one every so often.

It typically consists of three compartments; the main large compartment and a secondary external smaller compartment that close with a zipper, then outer side pockets where you can stash your water bottle.

These college daypacks are minimalistic and great for daily use for those who want the flexibility to carry a lot of books and other items. Something to consider about them is that they aren’t typically very rigid in shape, thus if not filled up fully they will fail to support their own weight or be able to stay upright, and instead will collapse on themselves. The straps aren’t very wide or padded either but if these are things that you aren’t particularly concerned about then it’s a great simple and functional option.

Tote Backpack

This type of backpack comes in many different shapes, sizes and even styles; ranging from fashionably casual to functional and even classy professional looking ones. They are typically less rectangular and wider than the standard backpack’s shape. Tote backpacks usually have one main compartment that closes with a wide zipper, two adjustable shoulder straps and one or two medium-sized handles that allow it to have a convertible bag status.

The main difference between typical tote bags and tote backpacks, apart from the additional straps, is that unlike tote bags, tote backpacks have a firm, rigid and slim structure, as most usually have an internal frame which allows it to hold its own shape and make it more comfortable to carry. The rigid back panel will distribute weight and pressure evenly and also protect any delicate items placed inside.

Tote backpacks come in a variety of materials and you can find both heavyweight canvas material, lightweight nylon or even ones in fabric.


Backpacks are created with fashion, function, purpose, comfort and safety in mind to carry all sorts of goods and objects. As we live in a world full of ever-evolving tech and social advancements, backpacks also need to keep up with the times and evolve too.

As long as you take into consideration the types of activities you will be participating in and what your daily and weekly needs and requirements are, today’s market is packed with a variety of choices, styles and brands to suit every lifestyle, need and budget.

Choosing the right backpack can be tough but the task will be worth it in the end. As long as you choose a backpack that suits your lifestyle and taste, fits your needs, is safe for both you and the things you carry inside it, then it will be a winning choice.

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