A few weeks ago, I went on my first trip using a large backpack instead of a suitcase. When I travel, I generally use a small suitcase for trips that last for more than a few days. If it’s only a weekend trip, I pack everything I need in my Fjallraven Kanken backpack.
This time, I went to Ireland. And I knew I would be travelling between four different places within 6 days. I decided to buy a backpack to fit all my stuff in, thinking that would be easier to carry with me than a suitcase. And I absolutely loved using it. It was much easier to walk through cities with.
However, that doesn’t mean I’m going to get rid of my suitcase and just use a backpack from now on. These are all the pros and cons of backpacks vs suitcases.
Pros and cons of backpacks
- It’s easier to carry with you if you’re moving from place to place
- Backpacks tend to be a lot lighter than suitcases
- It’s harder to lose your luggage or for people to steal it if it’s strapped to your back
- A backpack is more mobile than a suitcase, but can fit nearly as much as stuff as a suitcase when planned out well
- If you’re always late (unlike me), it’s easier to run with a backpack
- You have to constantly carry the bag and it can be quite heavy
- It’s harder to organise all of your stuff
- Even if you get a backpack that zips open entirely, it’s harder to organize everything in a backpack than in a suitcase
Pros and cons of suitcases
- You can easily organise all of your stuff and it’s easier to find once you’re at your destination
- The weight is better distributed and you don’t actually have to carry it since you can just wheel it behind you
- Most suitcases come with a
build-inlock which keeps your stuff safe. Of course, you can get a lock for your backpack (if it has a zipper) but those are very easy to lose
- Most suitcases, especially hard shell ones, are waterproof
- Suitcases are infinitely easier to repack than a top-loading backpack
- Wheeling a suitcase behind you in busy cities is extremely annoying and you’ll bump into a lot of people.
- If you’re going somewhere where the roads aren’t even, a suitcase with wheels is very impractical
- The same goes for taking the stairs. If you have to walk up a lot of stairs, you’ll regret taking that suitcase.
Suitcases and backpacks both have more advantages than disadvantages. Your choice will mostly depend on what type of traveller you are, where you intend to go and for what purpose.
If you’re going on a business trip, you will need a suitcase to keep your suits from being completely crumbled up. But if you’re planning to stay at different hostels throughout your trip, a backpack will be easier to fit into the personal lockers than a big suitcase.
What do you prefer to use when you’re travelling? A backpack or a suitcase?