Sac à dos vs valise : Avantages et inconvénients

The type of luggage you choose depends on your destination and your travel style. For some trips, a backpack is more practical. Sometimes a suitcase is the best option. This list of the advantages and disadvantages of the backpack and the suitcase is designed to help you decide what type of luggage is best suited to your trip. After reading this guide do not hesitate to look at our many backpack.

The advantages of the backpack

Both hands are free it is the biggest advantage in my opinion. When you wear a backpack, you can use your two hands to carry other things, use your phone, eat, drink, pay, etc. While moving to you.

It is really practical to be able to use both hands at any time instead of having to stop and put your suitcase when you need to do something.

Backpacks allow you to move more easily on damaged terrain

You can literally cross mountains and cross rivers ford by carrying your backpack.

You can also easily go up and down stairs. Root suitcases only work properly on smooth floors. Even on normal sidewalks, they have trouble rolling.

Mine overturns as soon as it meets a small crack. It is incredibly embarrassing. Forget the cobbled streets.

Backpacks are healthier to wear

A good backpack distributes the weight on your hips, back and shoulders. If it is well adjusted, a quality hiking backpack allows you to walk safely for kilometers and kilometers without injuring yourself.

The suitcases, on the other hand, use a single handle that does not distribute the weight. You also carry all the weight on one side of your body, which exerts unhealthy pressure on your back and your hips. It is much easier to injure yourself on the back.

You can walk further with a backpack

When traveling, I often walk several kilometers by carrying my backpack. Suspension system technology is surprisingly comfortable, which makes walking easy and pleasant. The long steps are not really possible with a suitcase.

Backpacks are more durable

Most people use hiking backpacks to travel. They are designed to be used outside, left in the rain and worn for kilometers on damaged terrain.

They are incredibly durable and will probably last longer than a suitcase of the same quality. I always travel with the same backpack that I bought for my first trip abroad. I have been using it for 8 years and it is still so solid.

Backpacks are safer

Your belongings are attached to your body when you wear a backpack. You don't have to fear that someone will take your suitcase and run away with when you put it.

The backpacks are lighter

Because they are intended to be worn, manufacturers use light materials to maintain the lowest possible weight.

The backpacks also do not have a rigid frame, folding wheels or handles that add weight. An ultralight backpack weighs less than 2 pounds (about a kilo). It is therefore easier and more efficient to transport your belongings.

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You can carry more business cases with a backpack

As backpacks are lighter than suitcases, you can take more cases without exceeding the weight limit imposed by airlines.

This is especially important if you travel with a single hand luggage. For more information on light trips, see my package list for ultralight travel.

You can tie large objects outside your backpack

Most modern backpacks are equipped with outside straps that allow you to attach your jacket, your water bottle, your boots, etc.

This considerably increases the volume of equipment you can transport.

For example, I always travel with a tent. I generally attach it outside my backpack because it is very bulky.

The suitcases are practically limited to their inner volume. They are not expandable and you cannot really attach things outside.

Backpacks can save you money

Often when I travel, I go on foot from the bus station or rail at my hotel or my youth hostel. Sometimes the distance can reach several kilometers.

Having a backpack makes my task easier. In many cities, it would be impractical or impossible to drag or carry a suitcase over this distance due to the state of the sidewalks.

In this case, you must spend money and take a taxi, a bus or a metro. Walking is free.

Backpacks have multiple uses

My travel backpack is a hiking backpack. When I don't travel, I use the same backpack to camp and hike. Sometimes I use it as a sports bag.

The suitcases do not offer you this option. You are probably not going to use your suitcase outside the holidays.

Backpacks are waterproof or water resistant

As I mentioned, most travelers choose a hiking backpack for their travel backpack.

These are designed to be used in the rain and in the snow. Many hiking backpacks include an integrated waterproof cover.

They allow you to keep your equipment dry, whatever the weather conditions. The suitcases are generally not designed to be used under wet conditions. They flee.

If you stay in hostels, you will integrate better

In each inn, you will notice that 99 % of customers use backpacks. It may even be an elitist backpacker making fun of you because you use a suitcase.

Backpacks look cooler

If you are the kind of person who cares about appearance, backpacks are a little more elegant these days. The backpacks also give you a more adventurous air. Of course, this is just a personal opinion.

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Disadvantages of the backpack

Backpacks are more difficult to pack and unpack

This is true for two reasons. First, backpacks have a bizarre shape. A bit like a tube. This makes the packaging of certain items a little difficult. It is difficult to effectively use the available space.

Second, the backpacks have a relatively small opening on top to store the equipment. There is an input and an exit.

If you want to access an object at the bottom, you must first remove everything above. This makes the organization a little difficult. To facilitate travel with a backpack, I recommend that you look for a model with an opening at the bottom.

Some travel backpacks have flash closings all around and therefore open like a suitcase.

Clothes are crush more easily in a backpack

Due to the bizarre shape of the backpacks, it is not really possible to fold the clothes flat and place them there.

You have to be a little creativity when you make your luggage. The best solution is to roll your clothes. This avoids folds and get more things into the space you have.

Backpacks do not drive

Nowadays, most suitcases are equipped with casters so that you don't have to carry the full weight of your luggage.

It is therefore easy to move at airports and stations. If you travel with a backpack, you should always wear it on your back. There are a few backpacks on wheels, but the options are limited.

Backpacks can damage your clothes

With the suspenders that rub on your shoulders and the backpack placed on your back, the fragile fabrics wear out more quickly.

I noticed bouloches on some of my shirts in the place where my backpack rests. You don't want to wear your Sunday clothes while traveling with your backpack.

Backpacks can cause injury

You can hurt yourself on the back, shoulders, necks and hips if you do too much luggage or if you wear a backpack that is not well adjusted.

Your body can only bear a certain weight. As a rule, your backpack should not weigh more than 20 % of your body weight.

Beyond that, you risk injuring yourself. If you already have a bad back, you should be particularly careful not to load your bag too much.

Travel backpacks are generally more expensive

A decent travel backpack costs more than € 70. It is difficult to find them used. You can buy a nice suitcase for half of this price. If you go to a thrift store, you can find a quality suitcase for much cheaper.

Of course, with regard to luxury, the suitcases are much more expensive than backpacks.

Backpacks do not offer great protection for your belongings

As backpacks have flexible sides, your belongings can be damaged if you don't carefully make your luggage.

This is a problem when you save your bag for a flight. Baggageists swing the bags without worrying about their content.

The suitcases have at least a little shape. Most are built with rigid sides that protect your things from damage.

Of course, you can overcome this problem by only taking hand luggage. So you are the only person to handle your bag.

The straps of the backpack cling to objects when you walk

It is a rare inconvenience which is particularly frequent when boarding by plane.

By walking in the aisle, a strap always seems to hang on to one of the armrests.

The suitcases are generally smooth outside and do not hang so easily.

Backpacks may seem moved

If you are traveling in a high -end location, most travelers will use a suitcase. The same goes for airports.

Most travelers wear a suitcase. You may not appear for you if you travel with a backpack.

Some people care about appearance, others not.

Backpack vs suitcase

Backpack or suitcase: my choice

I have traveled with the two types of luggage in the past, but I almost always prefer to travel with my backpack. The biggest advantage for me is to be able to walk with it. I happened to walk up to 30 km a day on a trip. I just couldn't do it with a suitcase.

It is also very practical to be able to attach additional accessories to the bag. I sometimes like to take food and water for a few days. I can easily fill the outdoor pockets and attach a plastic bag somewhere to get there.

What is the best backpack size to travel?

I find that the 40 to 50 liter backpacks are the most versatile. They are small enough to be carried away in the cabin on most flights.

They can contain enough equipment for any travel period. I traveled for 6 months with my 44 -liter bag. The size of the backpack you choose really depends on:

  • Your travel style-Are you going to spend every night at the hotel or in the hostel or are you going to camp? Do you need to take beautiful clothes to leave? The more equipment you need, the larger your bag.


  • The duration of your trip - Are you going to take a two -year sabbatical leave or a week's vacation? For long trips, you may want to take additional equipment for luxury. You can do without some items for short holidays.


  • The climate of your destination- you will need more space for warm clothes if you travel to Siberia in January than if you travel to Havana.


  • The type of traveler you are-are you a minimalist or do you like to take comfort items? Do you like to take luxury items like a pillow and a hair dryer?


  • The number of electronic devices you take - nowadays, most travelers take a laptop, a camera and their phone, as well as accessories and chargers. All these devices take up space. If you can be satisfied with a smartphone, you can choose a smaller backpack.


  • Hand or hold luggage - 40 to 50 liter hand luggage is the maximum size you can reach with hand luggage. If it is larger, you will need to save it most of the time.

After considering the above points, you can start looking for the ideal backpack for your trip. If you need to transport a lot of equipment, you can opt for a bag over 60 liters.

Just know that you will have to save it for most flights. If you can travel light, choose a 30 -liter bag. Most travelers find that 40 to 50 liter bags are ideal.

Backpack vs suitcase

Backpack vs suitcase: final reflections

The decision between backpack and suitcase depends on the type of travel you make. If you take the plane and stay in the same hotel or vacation center for the duration of your trip, a suitcase is probably the most practical option.

If you plan to move from one place to another during your trip, a backpack will suit you better. For long trips, backpacks are generally the best choice.

Personal preferences are also taken into account. If you always travel with a backpack, there is not really a reason to change. If you are not comfortable with a backpack, stay at your suitcase.

What is your position in the debate between backpack and suitcase? Share your experience in the comments below!

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