backpack vs rucksack


Expedition Leader
Which would be better to carry a laptop and a gps unit and a book back and fourth from work? A backpack or a rucksack?:smiley_drive:


Is this a trick question? :)
I thought they are two names for the same thing, with rucksack being the vintage name and backpack the more modern name


Alot of it would depend on the amount of ancillary items you would be carrying also. A messenger bag is a good option with a single sling-over your shoulder strap. There are a variety of those types out there. If you will be hoofing it a great distance a backpack or rucksack would be handy. I personally have always had a hard time with single strap bags, they seem to always be slipping down my shoulder, so I almost always opt for a backpack. Another option you might consider:

Just a thought.


Expedition Leader
Which would be better to carry a laptop and a gps unit and a book back and fourth from work? A backpack or a rucksack?:smiley_drive:
Rucksack = backpack in case you haven't figured that out yet.

I use one to transport those items as well as my camera gear. I have one for my camera gear + an up to 17" laptop. I have another coupled with a laptop protective sleeve that I use to transport it and misc. other items as required.

I prefer this to a messenger bag/laptop bag because I can share the load between both shoulders and minimize wear and tear on my back.


Expedition Leader
Rucksack is the German word for backpack. We borrow it just like many words, such as Zeitgeist, Angst, or Kindergarten.

Christophe Noel

Expedition Leader
The term "rucksack" has been adopted these days to refer to a small top loading backpack with a flap for a lid. Not many of this style around anymore. The term "Klettersack" also works here. I think Lowe Alpine used to have a pack they called, the "Klettersack."

Check out They have tons of options for laptops. I have Timbuk2 courier bags going on 15 years old and they look brand new.

Rucksack does sound better than the French version: sac a do. Back sack.
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New member
I love my Maxpedition Kodiak

Maxped also makes a smaller one called the Stika, I believe. The single strap is surprisingly comfortable and the fact that you can swing the pack around to your front and access the bags entire contents without taking it off is a great feature for me, especially when traveling.



New member
Ruck.......back. Baby

You kids have no clue. A military rucksack is an exterior metal frame pack. Used extensively in VN it held 90+ pounds plus rolled sleeping gear or my fav jungle hamock. A back pack is what you guys use to carry books and homework Old soldiers never die they just smell that way.


a backpack is not what you carry your books and things around in. A backpack by current definition is what you use on an overnight hike ie; sleeping bag tent and gear. What you are referring to for books is called a daypack that is what kids use to carry their books to school and what you would use on a day hike.


Which would be better to carry a laptop and a gps unit and a book back and fourth from work? A backpack or a rucksack?:smiley_drive:
I doubt that you really care what this transportation device is called as long as it satisfactorily accomplishes its duties. There are several purpose built pieces of luggage with shoulder straps for carrying your laptop. I happen to use one built by Targus for 17" laptops. I call it a backpack because it has two shoulder straps and a waist belt. It has one padded compartment for the laptop and second and third zippered compartments in descending sizes that are more than adequate to fit several text books.

A quick search on Amazon will get you several options. I think I got mine at Office Depot. I have used it everyday for two years now and it barely shows any wear. It serves my purposes perfectly but my criteria doesn't include this giving it the correct moniker or sourcing it from the an Overland Certified vendor or caring that it has mainstream availability. It's a tool I use for work and therefore high function and high reliability is more important than credibility with forum membership.
Tactical Tailor makes a great new line called Operator Series.

I have a Modular Operator backpack that I have found to be fantastic.

I've had thousands of dollars into backpacks over the years, and I think I've found the pinnacle for myself.

Take a look at the Urban Operator pack that has a sleeve for a laptop instead of the water bladder pocket like the Modular Operator.

I like the design so much, I'm planning on getting two more for specific weekend duties.