Backpack Styles: The Essential Guide to Types and Trends

Updated April 1, 2021
Backpack Styles

Backpack styles range from rucksack or hiking backpacks to high fashion backpack purses. You may prefer to follow the current backpack trends for inspiration when purchasing a backpack. When you explore the various backpack styles, you can decide which one best fits your lifestyle and work habits. Your choice for a backpack for traveling will be different from a backpack purse.

Backpack Styles, Trends, and Purposes

You can use a backpack for all kinds of purposes in a modern lifestyle. A laptop backpack, sling bag, and backpack purse are some of the trendsetters. Each is functional and designed for specific needs.

Laptop Backpack

The laptop backpack has taken over the bookbag style with modern technology needed for classrooms, especially college classes. Backpack sizes and special padded sleeves or compartments ensure your laptop is protected. A top handle for carrying is usually part of this backpack design. Many professionals opt to carry a backpack designed for their computer and even serve as a portable office.

Laptop Backpack

Sling Backpack

The ease of use makes a single shoulder sling backpack, a good choice. The shape of the sling bag is designed to fit snuggly against your body contour, making it comfortable to carry on your back. Many sling bag backpacks feature various exterior zip pouches and pockets to keep your items organized and handy.

Sling Backpack

Designer Backpack Purses

A backpack purse is very trendy. The versatility this design offers allows you to wear the backpack on your back or change out the straps so you can wear it crossbody style or as a shoulder bag. Most backpack purses also have a top handle, so you can carry it as a purse.

Gucci bag backpack

The Mini Backpack

Top designers moved the mini purse into the backpack purse designs for very trendy chic designs. These mini backpacks can transform into purses like larger backpack purses. Mini backpacks are the hands-free alternative to carrying a purse.

Gucci backpack

Satchel Backpack

A satchel backpack is appropriately named, since it resembles a satchel. This backpack is ideally made of leather, so it maintains the satchel look. The backpack leather flap is usually secured with a double buckle. Traditionally, the satchel backpack features a front zip pocket.

Satchel Backpack

Travel Backpacks

A travel backpack that serves as carry-on luggage must have a strong top handle. The backpack is generally secured with a strap, buckle, drawstring/flap combo, or other form of closure. The travel backpack sized must qualify under the airlines' size requirements for carryon luggage.

Travel Backpack

Daypack or School Backpack

This type of backpack is often referred to as a school bag or book bag. It is considerably smaller than a rucksack or hiking backpack. It is designed specifically for short hikes and not extended hikes. It is the ideal size for a book bag that can be worn to school and used to hold a laptop, books, and other personal items.

young woman with daypack

Hiking Backpacks

There are several types of hiking backpacks. To find the right one, you should consider the backpack capacity. This should be determined by how long your hike will be. Another consideration is how much weight you wish to carry on your back for the duration of your trek. You will also need to consider what you need from your backpack, such as special supplies you'll need to carry, such as a sleeping bag and various survival tools. You will also want to find the backpack that best fits your body.

Hiking Backpacks

Rucksack

A rucksack is of German origin and means back sack. This type of backpack has a flap that is generally has a buckle closure. You will find several exterior zip pockets designed to hold camping/hiking essentials. This type of backpack has a bulkier look than a traditional hiking backpack.

man wearing a Rucksack

Knapsack

Knapsack is traditionally a canvas, waterproof backpack that was used by the military. The knapsack is secured first with a drawstring closure that is secured by a flap that is often tied, snapped or fastened closed.

Knapsack

Rolltop Backpack

The rolltop backpack is a favorite backpack, since it can accommodate a packed backpack or a low-filled backpack. The top of the backpack, usually leather, is rolled down to the unfilled backpack and secured, usually with a strap. The open end allows for easy access to the backpack contents. In addition, since the end is rolled down and secured with straps, you are ensured that the contents of your backpack are protected from water and other elements.

Rolltop Backpack

Popular Backpack Trends and Styles

There are many backpack styles designed for specific tasks and activities. This versatility offers you many choices in material, colors, patterns, and designs.

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Backpack Styles: The Essential Guide to Types and Trends