17 Types of Backpacks: Find a Style for Every Adventure


Joanna Elizabeth


Updated March 13, 2024

Types of Backpacks
Explore the different types of backpacks.

In today’s world, backpacks are far more than just practical items for hauling your stuff. These different types of backpacks have become fashion-forward essentials. They seamlessly integrate into various lifestyles-from the urban explorer to the campus trendsetter and the jet-setting adventurer.

A backpack is a bag designed to be carried on one’s back, offering a hands-free way to transport your essentials while moving. Whether you’re looking for chic minimalist designs, rugged outdoor options, or specialized compartments for tech gadgets, today’s aesthetic backpacks offer something for everyone.

As we delve into the different types of backpacks, consider them the ultimate accessory that fits your unique fashion sense and lifestyle needs.

Types of Backpacks

School Backpack

School Types Backpacks
These accessories carry more than just books. Photo: Deposit Photos

School backpacks are the workhorses of the academic world, tailored to meet the unique demands of students. These specialized accessories come in varied sizes and designs, offering choices that resonate with different age groups and tastes.

But it’s not just about looks; these backpacks are organizational wizards. With an array of sleeves and pockets, they transform the jumble of textbooks, notebooks, and school supplies into a neatly arranged arsenal for educational success. 

Hiking Backpack

Hiking Types Backpacks
Meet the rugged companions that make every outdoor adventure a memorable journey. Photo: Deposit Photos

Hiking backpacks are the rugged companions of outdoor enthusiasts, built to withstand the trail’s elements and rigors. Crafted from high-quality materials, these backpacks hold an adventurer’s toolkit.

With various compartments and specialized attachment points, they offer a secure haven for all your hiking and camping essentials, from hydration systems to trekking poles. This helps enhance your journey through the great outdoors.

Laptop Backpack

Laptop Types Backpacks
See how these tech-savvy carriers safeguard your digital universe while you’re on the go. Photo: Deposit Photos

The modern-day armor for your digital life is the laptop backpack, which offers a blend of style and practicality. Tailored to accommodate laptops of varying dimensions, these backpacks ensure your device sits snugly, shielded from bumps and jostles.

They offer more than just device protection; they’re a statement of your tech-savvy lifestyle. From the office to the train, this accessory is a winner.

Travel Backpack

Travel Types Backpacks
Unpack the appeal of travel backpacks, the ultimate organizers for globe-trotters. Photo: Deposit Photos

Travel backpacks are the Swiss Army knives of the luggage world, engineered with the globetrotter in mind. These versatile carriers boast generous storage sections, making room for everything from clothes to travel knick-knacks. It’s all about smart space.

Many are crafted to fit airline carry-on dimensions and come equipped with TSA-approved locks and detachable daypacks, streamlining your journey through airports. Accessibility is another hallmark, with designs that allow you to grab what you need without an entire unpacking ceremony.

And let’s remember comfort–adjustable straps ensure the weight is evenly distributed, making these backpacks a reliable companion for long-haul adventures.

Tactical Backpack

Tactical Types Backpacks
Dive into the world of tactical backpacks, where durability meets the demands of extreme environments. Photo: Deposit Photos

Engineered for extreme conditions, tactical backpacks offer more than just durability. With reinforced seams and robust zippers, they’re built to last. Their modular design, featuring MOLLE webbing, allows for customized storage solutions.

You’ll find multiple compartments to access essentials like flashlights or documents quickly. These backpacks come with padded, adjustable straps for extended use, ensuring comfort and even weight distribution. Whether you’re an adventurer or a survivalist, these backpacks are designed to meet your most demanding needs.

Fashion Backpack

Fashion Types Backpacks
Step into the intersection of high fashion and everyday utility with these chic carryalls. Photo: AndreaA / Deposit Photos

In the world of accessories, fashion backpacks have emerged as the style-savvy choice for those who crave both form and function. These designs are made to make heads turn. With an array of designs ranging from bold prints to sleek monochromes, there’s a fashion backpack to echo every style sensibility.

From sporting brands like Vans to high fashion options like Fendi, they’re versatile chameleons that can adapt to both casual and formal settings. Crafted from premium materials like leather or durable canvas, these backpacks are made to stand out.

Drawstring Backpack

Drawstring Types Backpacks
Embrace the minimalist charm of drawstring backpacks, where less is truly more. Photo: AndreaA / Deposit Photos

Drawstring backpacks are the epitome of simplicity, offering a no-fuss way to carry your essentials. Often made from lightweight materials like nylon or canvas, these bags close with a simple drawstring mechanism.

Ideal for gym visits, quick errands, or as an extra bag for travel, they offer a compact and convenient solution for when you only need to carry a few items.

Skateboard Backpack

Skateboard Backpack Types
Skateboard styles make it easy to ride in flair and carry your essentials without a hitch. Photo: Alex Azabache / Unsplash

Designed with the skater in mind, skateboard backpacks feature specialized straps or loops to hold a skateboard securely. These bags often come with additional sections for storing gear like helmets, knee pads, and tools, perfect for sports fanatics. 

Durable materials ensure they can withstand the wear and tear of the skater’s aesthetic. Whether cruising through the city or heading to your favorite skate spot, these backpacks offer a stylish way to carry both your board and essentials.

Hydration Backpack

Hydration Types Backpacks
Stay hydrated and hands-free with these innovative packs designed for the active soul. Photo: Tyler Nix / Unsplash

Hydration backpacks are the heroes for outdoor enthusiasts, keeping you hydrated without breaking stride. These unique packs come with a built-in water reservoir and a tube for sipping on the go, eliminating the need to stop or fumble with water bottles. These accessories also are all about mobility.

Crafted from lightweight materials, these backpacks boast a slim design that won’t weigh you down or restrict your movements. This applies whether hiking trails or cycling through the countryside. A hydration backpack is your go-to for fluid replenishment without the fuss.

Cycling Backpack

Cycling Types Backpacks
Cycling backpacks are your aerodynamic partners, streamlined for the open road. Photo: Deposit Photos

As the pit crew for your two-wheeled journeys, cycling backpacks are engineered to elevate your riding experience. These packs are lightweight and compact, designed with aerodynamics in mind to cut through the wind.

Many feature reflective elements that make you visible in low-light conditions, reducing the risk of accidents. And let’s remember comfort. With breathable, moisture-wicking materials, these backpacks manage sweat and keep you cool, whether you’re commuting to work or embarking on a long-distance ride.

Camera Backpack

Camera Types Backpacks
Protect your gear with the camera backpack, from lens to memory card. Photo: Skye Studios / Unsplash

Designed to safeguard a photographer’s prized gear, camera backpacks offer more than just storage. Customizable, padded compartments adapt to your specific equipment, providing a protective cocoon for cameras and lenses. But these backpacks aren’t one-trick ponies. They also feature unique pockets for everything from tripods to memory cards.

Security also takes a front seat, with a lockable zipper and hidden pockets that act as a fortress for your valuable equipment. Some models even come equipped with built-in rain covers for those who find themselves shooting in unpredictable weather.

When the focus shifts to comfort during long days of shooting, these backpacks deliver ergonomic features like padded shoulder straps and back ventilation systems.


Daypack Types Backpack
Daypacks offer a lightweight solution for those who prefer to travel without the bulk. Photo: Deposit Photos

For quick excursions and day trips, the daypack reigns supreme. Compact and lightweight, these mini backpacks are engineered to carry just what you need, freeing you from the tyranny of excess bulk.

Ideal for everything from urban exploration to short hikes, daypacks offer a hands-free solution for toting your essentials. They’re the perfect middle ground between a cumbersome backpack and an impractical purse or tote, serving as a streamlined option for on-the-go individuals.

Wheeled Backpack

Wheeled Rolling Types Backpacks Kipling
Discover the flexibility of wheeled backpacks, perfect for those who like options in mobility. Photo: Kipling

Wheeled backpacks are the hybrid marvels of the bag world, offering the best of both worlds: the portability of a backpack and the convenience of rolling luggage. These accessories work like a suitcase and are ideal for travelers navigating varied terrains, equipped with wheels and a retractable handle.

But when the situation calls for it, padded shoulder straps are ready to take over. This dual functionality makes them a versatile choice, whether you’re rushing through airports or exploring cobblestone streets.

Sling Backpack

Sling Types Backpacks Nike
Sling backpacks redefine convenience with their modern design and easy-access compartments. Photo: Nike

Sling backpacks offer a modern twist on traditional designs, featuring a single strap that drapes across the body. Ideal for those who prioritize quick access and minimalism, these bags often come with specialized pockets for essentials like phones or wallets.

Their asymmetrical style makes them a hit among urban adventurers and those looking for a convenient, stylish way to carry their belongings.

Duffle Backpack

Duffel Types Backpacks
Offering a hybrid solution, the duffel backpack combines the best features of two classic styles. Photo: Alexandra Tran / Unsplash

Versatile and adaptable, duffle backpacks can easily transition from a traditional duffle to a backpack. While their main compartment offers generous space for more oversized items, hidden pockets and compartments often lurk within, perfect for stashing smaller essentials.

These bags are as suitable for a gym session as they are for a weekend escape or an outdoor expedition. The flexibility to carry them either by their handles or over your shoulders adds another layer of convenience, making them a go-to option for those who demand versatility in their daily lives.

Mini Backpack

Mini Types Backpacks
Don’t underestimate mini backpacks; they pack a punch when it comes to carrying essentials. Photo: Deposit Photos

In a world obsessed with bigger and more, the mini backpack stands as a testament to the power of less. These trending pint-sized carriers offer just enough space for your essentials, making them the perfect companion for those who subscribe to the philosophy of minimalism.

Despite their small stature, many are big on features in order to keep your limited cargo organized. For quick errands, a night out, or minimalist travel, mini backpacks prove that good things come in small packages.

Clear Backpack

Clear Types Backpacks UO
There’s nothing to hide with a clear backpack design. Photo: Urban Outfitters

Clear backpacks are a common sight at concerts, streamlining security checks for quicker entry. These transparent accessories add a modern twist to your concert-going ensemble. Made from durable, clear materials, they’re far from a mere fashion statement.

With their see-through design, you can easily locate your items, making these backpacks as functional as they are stylish.

Choosing the Right Backpack

Backpack Choosing
Take these things in consideration when choosing the backpack that’s right for you. Photo: Deposit Photos

Choosing the right backpack is more than a game of aesthetics; it’s about merging form with function. The following guide cuts through the clutter, focusing on six key factors ranging from durability to style that will help you find the perfect backpack for your needs. Let’s dive in.

  • Durability: Opt for strong, lasting materials like nylon or polyester. Check the quality of zippers and stitching.
  • Size and Capacity: Assess how much you’ll be carrying and choose a backpack that can accommodate your gear.
  • Comfort: Look for padded shoulder straps, back panels, and waist belts. Adjustable features are a plus for customizing the fit.
  • Organization: Evaluate the number and types of compartments and pockets. Specialized storage for laptops or water bottles may be crucial for you.
  • Weight Distribution: Features like load lifters or sternum straps can help evenly distribute weight, reducing strain on your back and shoulders.
  • Style: Choose a design that aligns with your personal style but doesn’t compromise on functionality. Consider color, sleekness, shape, and additional features like loops for attachments.

Types of Materials

When you’re impressed by a backpack showcased in a store window or gracing your digital screen, do you ever wonder about its fabric?

Much like the perfect pair of sneakers can elevate an entire outfit, the material of a backpack is a major factor that dictates its durability, comfort, and visual appeal. Let’s explore the fabrics that define your backpack experience.

Nylon: The Backbone of Durability

Nylon Material Types Backpacks
Nylon’s resilience shines, making it the star of long-lasting backpacks. Photo: Deposit Photos

Nylon is the all-star player in the world of backpack materials. Renowned for its resilience, this synthetic fabric deflects tears and punctures with the ease of a pro athlete dodging tackles. Yet, it’s light enough not to weigh you down. Many nylon backpacks boast water-resistant qualities, which travelers and outdoor enthusiasts cherish.

Polyester: For Colorful Styles

Polyester Material Types Backpacks
Polyester’s vibrant allure turns heads, offering a pop of color in a sea of monotony. Photo: Deposit Photos

For those on the hunt for vivid colors and eye-catching patterns, polyester is your go-to. This fabric retains dye exceptionally well, resulting in colors that resist fading over time.

While not as rugged as nylon, polyester still offers a respectable level of durability. It’s the choice for budget-savvy shoppers, delivering both style and a fraction of resilience without breaking the bank.

Canvas: A Nod to the Past

Canvas Material Types Backpacks
Canvas: where each scuff and stain becomes a badge of honor, telling tales of adventures past. Photo: Deposit Photos

Canvas is the fabric of yesteryears, conjuring images of vintage military gear and classic camping equipment. Backpacks made from canvas carry a sense of history and timeless appeal.

Although heavier than its synthetic counterparts, canvas provides a unique ruggedness and can even repel water when treated with wax. As it ages, the material gains character, each crease and mark narrating the tales of your adventures.

Leather: A Luxury Choice

Leather Material Types Backpacks
Bring some sophistication to your outfit with a leather backpack. Photo: Deposit Photos

In the world of backpacks, leather is the epitome of luxury and sophistication. Contrary to the notion that they’re merely ornamental, quality leather backpacks are durable and age gracefully.

However, they demand regular care to maintain their sheen, which can be both heavy and costly, limiting their appeal to a specific audience.

Cordura: The Tough Performer

Cordura is the marvel that masterfully blends resilience with visual appeal. Initially designed for military applications, this high-tech nylon variant offers enhanced resistance to abrasions. It’s a common choice for tactical and hiking backpacks, a testament to its lasting power.

Ripstop: The Tear-Stopper

Ripstop Material Types Backpacks
Ripstop is the ultimate guardian against accidental rips, ensuring your adventures go off without a hitch. Photo: Deposit Photos

If you’ve ever seen a small tear in your bag escalate into a gaping hole, you’ll appreciate ripstop fabrics. Typically made from nylon or polyester, these fabrics feature a unique weave of thicker threads at regular intervals, forming a grid that halts tears in their tracks. This makes ripstop a favored choice for those who venture into demanding environments.

Denim: Casual Vibes

Denim Material Types Backpacks
A denim backpack is the go-to for those who live life off the cuff, perfect for spontaneous outings. Photo: Deposit Photos

Denim deserves a nod when you’re contemplating a casual backpack. Far removed from the formalities of office life, denim backpacks offer a relaxed atmosphere perfect for weekend escapades or music festivals.

While not the most durable, denim adds a carefree flair, reminding us that backpacks are as much about expressing individuality as they are about utility.

Sustainable Choices: Eco-Friendly Footprints

Sustainable Material Types Backpack Dayowl
Carry your essentials and your eco-consciousness all in one stylish package. Photo: Day Owl

Sustainable backpack materials are gaining traction as eco-conscious choices. Materials like recycled PET, organic cotton, and hemp offer durability without harming the planet. These eco-friendly options reduce waste and lower the carbon footprint, making them a win-win for both the user and the environment.

The Go-To Travel Accessory

Searching the diverse landscape of the different types of backpacks can initially feel overwhelming, but armed with the proper information, it becomes an adventure in personal expression and practicality.

Whether you’re a digital nomad, a weekend hiker, or a fashion-forward individual, there’s a style designed to enhance your lifestyle. The key is to balance form and function, ensuring that your chosen pack fits your aesthetic and serves your unique needs efficiently.

So make an informed choice and elevate your daily outings, from the mundane to the extraordinary, with the perfect backpack.

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