The Difference Between Book Bags and Backpacks

The Difference Between Book Bags and Backpacks

Backpacks and book bags are similar but have major differences. 

One of the most common ways people carry personal items in the contemporary world is with a backpack or book bag. While they can be used for many of the same things, backpacks and book bags are different. There are situations where a backpack will be better suited than a book bag and vice versa. So, what's the difference between a backpack and a book bag? What are their advantages and disadvantages, and which bag is right for you? Keep reading to find out!

What is a backpack?

The word backpack originates from the US in the 1910s. Backpacks, at the most superficial level, are fabric packs worn on one's back, supported by two straps. They commonly feature zipper closures and multiple storage compartments. When you need to travel with more items than you can carry on your person, a backpack is a fine choice. They are preferable for carrying heavier items because distributing the load across your shoulders is less strenuous than carrying a bag in your hand. Backpacks are used for lots of activities; students often wear them to carry what they need for school, and hikers use them to carry hiking necessities. As such, backpacks have been highly specialized in modern times. They often have water bottle holders and exterior straps, and can even come with an extendable handle and wheels to ease the user's strain. Backpacks for hiking and camping are made with as much interior space as possible, with extra straps across the chest and waist to support heavy loads. Lightweight, tight-fitting backpacks are also used for bikers and runners. These backpacks could even come with hydration packs – refillable water bladders with a hose that sit inside the backpack and allow the wearer easy water access. All in all, backpacks are a versatile method for transporting personal items.

What is a book bag?

A book bag definition can be tough to muster. Book bag can be defined in various ways, and many people use the term interchangeably with backpack. However, the book bag is not the same thing as a backpack! Book bags are fabric sacks generally used by students to transport books to and from school. Book bags are specially designed to carry textbooks, laptops, and other school supplies, and generally feature a single large pocket without an internal structure. They can come with shoulder straps or handles, so in a sense, a book bag can be a subcategory of the backpack. However, because of the significant differences between the two in the number of storage compartments and usages, one can differentiate book bags from backpacks. The lack of multiple compartments and dividers causes book bags to be lighter than structured backpacks and easier to keep organized, which is great for students.

Book Bag vs. Backpack: What's suitable for me?

Now that we've fully explored what a backpack and book bag are, it's time to review their advantages and disadvantages and see what's right for you, a backpack or book bag! Overall, backpacks provide more structure and versatility, as you can transport a wide variety of things with them, and they offer multiple pockets for storing items separately. Book bags are ideal for students or for carrying a smaller number of items. They are generally lighter, with a single pocket where all items are stored. The honest answer to which is better depends entirely on the wearer's needs. The book bag is the superior method for carrying books and laptops to and from school, and if you don't have many items to transport, a book bag is generally lighter and more mobile and, thus, a better choice. However, a book bag can fall short when you have a heavy load to carry. Heavy-duty backpacks allow you to carry more items, making them ideal for longer trips. They can also allow you to store items in separate compartments and often have attractive features like additional support straps and hydration packs. If your needs align with what the book bag offers, opt for that bag. Otherwise, look into the range of other backpack options available to you.

Book bags and backpacks offer many of the same benefits, but when you know their differences you can ensure you get the right bag. Logotech has the most comprehensive selection of customizable backpacks and book bags, with hundreds of options available to be produced with your custom branding. Select a backpack and send us your logo to receive a free digital sample of your bag!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What material is a backpack made of?

A: Backpacks can be made from a wide range of materials. Examples include canvas, leather, polyester, cotton, nylon, and cloth.

Q: When did backpacks become popular?

A: Backpacks came to prominence in the late 1900s, particularly the 70s and 80s, when they became popular with universities and public schools.

Q: What is a messenger bag?

A: A messenger bag is a style of backpack which only uses one strap, going diagonally across the chest. They're often used by bike messengers, as the design allows for quick and easy access to the bag's contents.