What are the key differences between a rucksack and a backpack? Which should you be using?
Lots of bag companies make backpacks and plenty make rucksacks so it can be confusing what differentiates these two products. It turns out that they are technically the same thing. Rucksack is a German loanword. It comes from rücken (back) and sack (sack). It is also a cognate in many northern European languages. As a result european companies very frequently use rucksack over backpack.
Rucksack is also used by the military. This means that backpacks with a military style are often marketed as rucksacks.
So what does this mean for you? Rucksack backpack pack or knapsack we are basically talking about a bag with two straps that are worn over your shoulder. If you choose a rucksack it will likely have a european or military style and if you choose a backpack it will likely have a more traditional American style.
There is also the sling style backpack with one strap. It’s worn cross body and is really only suitable for light carry.
Here are a few popular rucksacks and backpacks.
I have heard that a rucksack is supposed to have a large open main compartment and a backpack is supposed to have several smaller compartments. To my knowledge the only requirement that these bags have is that they have two straps intended to go over your shoulder for carry.
A backpack is a rucksack and a rucksack is a backpack. Let me know in the comments below what your preference is.