Do Backpackers Really Need a Backpack, or is a Suitcase More Advantageous?

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Do Backpackers Really Need a Backpack, or is a Suitcase More Advantageous?

29 March 2016
 Categories: , Blog


If you're going travelling, it can seem like a backpack is the only way to go. After all, they don't call it 'backpacking' for nothing. However, this is travelling, not hiking, and some people will do better with a traditional suitcase.

Just read through the advantages of both options to help you choose.

Suitcase Advantages

  • Comfort: Suitcases usually come with wheels; they're far nicer to carry than backpacks since you can let the ground take most of the weight. This is particularly nice when it's warm: wearing a backpack will leave you extremely sweaty under such conditions.
  • Packing Ease: Suitcases open right out, so travellers can find what they're looking for in seconds. Need to get a new top once you check into your hostel? It should only take a few seconds. Backpacks are often top-loading, so it's tough to get at items kept near the bottom.
  • Capacity: Because of their squarer dimensions, suitcases can simply take more of your belongings, especially when those belongings are oddly shaped.
  • Safety: Suitcases normally have only one large opening, meaning that you only need one lock to keep your baggage secure. Backpacks have multiple openings, and some of them are simply held with clasps, so it's far harder to keep everything protected from theft.

Backpack Advantages

  • Mobility: If you're crossing the cobblestones of an old European village, walking through mud to your mountain hut, or trekking up a few flights of stairs to reach your hostel room, the wheels on your suitcase aren't going to be of much use. Backpacks might be a pain to carry, but you can walk long distances more easily while carrying one compared to a suitcase.
  • Multiple Pockets: Backpackers need to keep more than items with them than traditional holiday-makers. This means that it's extremely advantageous to have multiple pockets. The main cargo compartment can be great for clothes, while larger exterior pockets can hold food, documents, and valuables.
  • Flexibility: Most suitcases can't pack down very well – even those that aren't completely solid will usually be solid along the bottom. Backpacks, on the other hand, can be squeezed down small when empty, and they usually come with straps to let you tighten up the pack when it isn't fully-loaded.

Ultimately, suitcases are great for travellers who are sticking to more modern countries, taking more items, and more concerned about the safety of expensive or fragile items. In contrast, backpacks are good for people who want to be more mobile and generally work best for those travelling for more than a few months.

Remember, backpacking doesn't necessarily need to involve a backpack – in some cases, a traditional suitcase is a much better option. Make sure you take your own needs into account, along with each option's relative advantages, before you make your decision. Contact a company like Sweeney Luggage Centre for more information.