The rucksack seemed like a great idea when you were back in your bedroom packing, but after 2 weeks lugging around 20kg you were having second thoughts! So you went for the suitcase, but ended up carrying it anyway after it caught a curb and tipped off its flimsy wheels one too many times…

We’ve all been there, and unfortunately there is no clear winner in the backpack vs suitcase debate, but we’ll try our best to argue for and against your chosen piece of luggage!



The Backpack


Synonymous with the young, hippy traveller. You’re not a true “backpacker” unless you carry one! And there are some pretty nifty styles to choose from, with camel packs, secret compartments for your valuables, and detachable day bags, you can go for something simple or one with all the bells and whistles!

If you’re going for a short trip (or you’re packing light), it can be a lot more convenient to carry your stuff around on your back. You can get from A to B a lot quicker, and it won’t take up too much room on cramped public transport. Plus, you can use it as a pillow!


If you go for a cheap one your shoulders are going to hurt… a lot! There’s nothing worse than dragging your entire wardrobe around on your back all day in a poorly fitting rucksack. You’ll return from your travels 3 inches shorter, with a hunch and a stiff neck…

The problems are exasperated when you over-pack. Your backpack will be bulging at the seams and you won’t be able to find anything. Every traveller knows how annoying it is having to unpack all of your stuff at the hotel reception because your passport was at the bottom of your bag…

You’ll look seriously well-travelled with a backpack…


The Suitcase


Wheels. The biggest draw of the suitcase. It doesn’t matter if you have to walk the 2 miles to your hotel because your case has wheels, right?

It means you can take more stuff, which means less washing whilst you’re away. Plus, you’ll look more professional with a suitcase in tow, and less like a backpacker…


Wheels. They may seem like a good idea initially, but at some point they’ll make you want to tear your hair out… They jam easily, they tip over, they snap off, and they make an annoying noise… But you can’t even consider taking a suitcase without them.

They are bulky and heavy, so if you’re on the 10th floor of a hotel with no lift you better hope there’s a porter around to help you! This is also a problem when it comes to public transport, it can be hard manoeuvring through a packed carriage with a big suitcase, and even harder trying to squash it into the overhead luggage rack.

We don’t recommend packing your cat in a suitcase or a backpack…


And the winner is…

It completely depends on the length of your trip, the type of travelling you’ll be doing, and of course, personal preference. For a short trip, we like to take a well-fitting backpack with built-in support, and a smaller, fold-up pack for the daytime. For longer trips where there’ll be limited travelling we’d opt for a suitcase, as you can leave it in your hotel room and forget about it until it’s time to go home.


Why not get the best of both worlds with a backpack-suitcase hybrid?!

So the backpack vs suitcase war rages on… Which do you prefer?

Why not take a look at our favourite South America Road Trips?

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