Backpacks and duffle bags are both popular choices for camping, but there are some significant differences between them. Depending on what kind of camping trip you plan to go on, choosing the wrong option could end up being physically painful and frustrating. To help you make the right decision, here is everything you need to know about both of these bags.
It is true that nowadays there are bigger camping backpack models, but duffel bags still offer a lot more space than most of them, which is why they are still the favorite kind for many campers. In terms of capacity and packing, you can easily find anything from carry-on models to 200+ litres capacity duffels. The main factor that will affect the capacity you need is the equipment you plan on taking with you. When deciding on the model, keep in mind that a model with a flat base and rectangular shape will allow you to pack more gear than a cylindrical bag design.
High-quality duffle bags are generally very durable, especially if they have a quality zip, dangling straps, and other accessories. When shopping for one, look for waterproof materials that will help protect your equipment from rain, and heavily-stitched handles and straps that can handle the weight of the bag even when it is full. In the past couple of years, manufacturers have introduced duffel bags with wheels and a handle grafted onto the back – which makes the bag easier to transport. This, however, may not be the most convenient option for camping unless you are carrying a lot of bulky equipment.
When it comes to versatility, backpacks have a slight advantage over duffels. Hills and rough surfaces won’t be a problem when walking with a backpack, as long as your body can support its weight. Although backpacks are also available in numerous sizes, due to their shape and restricted opening, they are harder to pack and unpack than duffels.
A good backpack will withstand most things that travel throws at it, including dust, dirt and careless baggage handling. However, as long as you buy a bag made from a water-resistant, heavy-duty material, your equipment should remain dry even during heavy rains.
So, which bag is better for camping will mostly depend on what sort of camping you are planning to do. For car camping, a duffel bag is the best choice as it provides a larger compartment for easily stuffing your equipment inside. On the other hand, if you will be hiking for miles to a backcountry campsite, a traditional backpack might be a better choice. But keep in mind that there are some duffels that come with comfortable shoulder straps that also make carrying loads bearable when hiking on long distances. Consider your options and circumstances carefully to buy a quality bag that will become your best ally in all your adventures for years to come.