Some of the Most Common Uses of Backpacks

Backpacks have a myriad of uses and applications. They range from the very casual to the highly rigorous and demanding. And although there is a great deal of similarity among the various special use packs, there are distinctions worth noting. With that being said, the type of backpack being used needs to be suited to:

  • the kinds of articles being carried
  • the individual carrying them and
  • the purpose to be accomplished

Here are some of the most common uses of backpacks.

Backpacks for school

Probably the most common use is backpacks for school. Nearly every school kid in the country uses a backpack for school, as do many college students. Backpacks have almost become a necessity as all students need to carry books and supplies to and from school.

Depending on the amount of books and supplies one needs to carry, and the physical maturity of the student, the size of the backpack will differ.  Some people like having a compact and easily transportable bag while others like to have lots of room to carry additional items such as food, laptops and the like.

A typical book bag will be one main compartment with some side pockets.  This is the most effective design for carrying large bulky items such as books. Additional compartments or sections can actually restrict how the books or notepads can be loaded.

One large compartment gives the owner the freedom to put their learning materials in the way they want to. The side pockets are useful for storing pens, pencils, calculators and other smaller items. Keep in mind that school age children are not yet physically mature. There are mini backpacks

Mini Backpack

Mini backpacks are designed specifically for their smaller size and carrying capacity. It is important that they not carry too much weight. A painful physical injury can occur if they overstress their still developing skeletal or muscular capacity. It is highly recommended to follow the basic guidelines of backpack safety for kids.

One can also acquire specific laptop bags that are slender and designed for carrying just a laptop. They offer protection for the device without being overly bulky, it is a simple and easy to carry bag. There is usually room for putting in a charger, cables, and some other small accessories. Many laptop backpacks are shoulder bags with a single strap, often referred to as single strap backpacks.

Since they are shoulder bags they can also be worn in conjunction with a traditional backpack. Of course there are various designs of backpacks for school and something to suit everyone’s needs. A variety of colorful, kid-friendly designs are available or alternatively a plain and subtle adult design.

Backpacking packs

On the other side of the spectrum is the backpacking packs. They come under the category of adventure sports and hiking. Since this type of backpack has specific requirements that it needs to fulfill, it is more specialized than the standard single compartment backpack. When hiking and engaging in extended outdoor expeditions, one needs to have specific equipment and safety supplies. These need to be packed in an organized manner and stored in the right conditions.

For example, food supplies should be kept separate from wet clothing or from any flammable items like flares. This is because of factors like hygiene and contamination. Also it is advisable to have safety supplies in a location which can be easily accessed in the case of an emergency. This is why the single compartment backpack is not well suited for hiking or adventure sports.

Backpacking packs are roughly differentiated along the lines of:

  • Their carrying capacity,
  • frame construction and
  • weight.

The smaller volume packs with minimal or no frame structure, sometimes referred to as day packs, are generally suited for short hiking trips or overnight outings. The packs with much larger capacity and internal or external frames are used for more rigorous multi-day adventures or even expeditions.

People use backpacking packs to carry all supplies essential to survival such as tents, food, hunting equipment etc. So the pack needs to be structurally sturdy and built to support the weight over extended periods of time. When looking for a backpacking pack one needs to make sure that the frame is well built and designed to distribute the weight so your back and hips are not overly stressed.

Travel Backpack

Travel backpacks are designed to make the process of traveling easier. This is usually done by adding wheels and an extendable handle to the backpack which allows for easier transport. Consequently the bag can be wheeled across the open expanses of airports; train stations or office buildings without the owner having to carry the weight. Needless to say, this is good for flat surfaced areas but not great for outdoor mobility.

The use of this type of backpack has become increasingly popular as they usually offer compartments for books, laptops, and some clothing plus they fit in
the cramped quarters of airplane overhead baggage compartments or under the traveler’s seat so they don’t have to be checked at baggage claim.

  • Commuters;
  • frequent travelers and
  • vacationers have turned to these travel backpack cases for their mobile storage needs.

Hunting / Fishing backpacks

The needs served by the sportsman’s backpack is primarily that of convenience and safety. It is that of keeping materials and equipment separated and easily accessed. There needs to be an isolated compartment for medical supplies, and definitely an isolated compartment for hunting or fishing equipment, some of which can be dangerous.

This can be used for something as simple as fishing line and pliers to the more ominous rifle cartridges and shells. Fishermen need high compartmentalization for: bait, weights, lures, flies, reels and so forth. All of this needs to be separated from the sportsman’s own food and medical supplies.

When looking for a good hunting backpack, organization is the key. Having a backpack that allows one to find what is needed easily without a lot of effort is the perfect solution.

Tactical backpack

A tactical backpack is also a specialized backpack. The application is most often for Law Enforcement; Fire and Medical; or Military use. It is designed to meet specific requirements. As for military, and Law Enforcement, it is many times of distinctive color (camo or drab) and very frequently outfitted with an exterior webbing which acts as a reinforcement as well as a means for attaching additional pouches to the outside of the pack.

For the Fire and Medical application the packs are usually solid primary color and, in addition to the exterior webbing, include many organizing pockets and flaps to provide carrying capacity for items needed for work. In addition there are usually inner, detachable pouches for specialized equipment used in emergencies. Although similar in design to other backpacks, the tactical backpack is not for the typical hiker or sportsman.

Leisure backpacks

Although not for nearly as serious use as the tactical, yet the leisure backpack is probably the most specialized. It usually has one specific function that the pack is built around. And that function is designed to enhance your leisure pleasure.

If going to the beach or on a picnic outing or both, you will find yourself in need of accessories that make your family or personal outing relaxing and enjoyable. You can find leisure packs that provide chairs for comfort and convenience; or coolers to keep cold drinks cold and hot food hot; or a pack that has all the table settings needed for your family picnic lunch.

Any of these convenient accessories are available as a pack that can be fitted to your back and easily carried to your remote location.


Overall, backpacks are great for carrying large amounts of items without having to bear the burden of the weight. A properly supported backpack will distribute the weight of varied items to the back, hips and shoulders. Therefore, compared to carrying bags by hand, backpacks are a great way of conveniently carrying multiple items in a supported and easy manner.

I'm a technology geek and the founder of Raja Laptop. I love reading books, listening to music and travelling.

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