Difference Wiki

Bag vs. Backpack: What's the Difference?

Edited by Huma Saeed || By Sawaira Riaz || Updated on October 11, 2023
A bag is a general term for a container that holds items, while a backpack is a specific type of bag designed to be carried on one's back with two straps.

Key Differences

A bag is a versatile term, encompassing a variety of containers meant to hold or carry objects. This broad category can include anything from plastic grocery bags to stylish purses. Conversely, a backpack refers specifically to a design intended to be worn on the back, generally utilizing two straps that go over the shoulders. The primary function of a backpack is to distribute the weight of its contents across the shoulders and upper body, making it easier to carry heavier loads for longer periods.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 11, 2023
Bags come in a myriad of shapes, sizes, and materials, designed for diverse purposes. Some bags are disposable, while others are meant to last for years. They can be sealed using zippers, buttons, drawstrings, or other mechanisms. In contrast, backpacks, while a subset of bags, are often associated with activities such as hiking, traveling, or studying. The compartmentalized design of many backpacks allows for organized storage and easy access to items.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 11, 2023
From a fashion perspective, bags can be a statement piece, with designers creating luxury bags that function both as storage and as an accessory. In this context, the bag can transcend its utilitarian purpose. Backpacks, while also available in various styles and luxury brands, are more often viewed through a functional lens, especially when used for outdoor activities or schooling.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 11, 2023
In daily parlance, when someone mentions a bag, it could refer to any container, and further clarification might be needed to understand the exact type. If someone speaks about a backpack, the mental image is much clearer: a bag designed to be carried on the back, suitable for a range of activities, from daily commutes to adventurous treks.
Harlon Moss
Oct 11, 2023

Comparison Chart

Definition

A container for holding items
A bag carried on one's back with two straps
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 11, 2023
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Variety

Broad range of designs and purposes
Specific design mainly for back carrying
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Oct 11, 2023

Main Use

General purpose, varies based on type
Carrying items on one's back
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Oct 11, 2023

Straps

May or may not have straps
Typically has two shoulder straps
Aimie Carlson
Oct 11, 2023

Common Associations

Shopping, fashion, storage
School, hiking, travel
Sara Rehman
Oct 11, 2023

Bag and Backpack Definitions

Bag

A woman's purse or handbag.
Her bag matched her shoes perfectly.
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Oct 11, 2023
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Backpack

A bag carried by straps over the shoulders.
She packed her backpack for the first day of school.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 11, 2023

Bag

A quantity of game shot or caught.
He had a good bag after a day of hunting.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 11, 2023

Backpack

A fashionable accessory worn on the back.
His new backpack had a trendy design and multiple pockets.
Sara Rehman
Oct 11, 2023

Bag

A container of flexible material, such as paper, plastic, or leather, that is used for carrying or storing items.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Backpack

To travel or hike carrying one's belongings in a backpack.
They decided to backpack across Europe for the summer.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 11, 2023

Bag

A handbag; a purse.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Backpack

A bag designed for specific activities like photography or tech.
Her camera backpack had compartments for various lenses.
Janet White
Oct 11, 2023

Bag

A piece of hand luggage, such as a suitcase or satchel.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Backpack

A pack used for hiking or camping.
His backpack was filled with camping gear for the weekend trip.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 11, 2023

Bag

A pouchlike or sagging organ or part of the body, such as a cow's udder.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Backpack

A sturdy bag designed for carrying articles on a person's back, having shoulder straps and often mounted on a lightweight frame.
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Jan 19, 2023

Bag

An object that resembles a pouch.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Backpack

A piece of equipment, often containing life-support devices, designed to be used while being carried on the back
A parachute in a backpack.
An astronaut's backpack.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Bag

(Nautical) The sagging or bulging part of a sail.
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Jan 19, 2023

Backpack

To hike or travel while carrying a backpack.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Bag

The amount that a bag can hold.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Backpack

To carry in a backpack.
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Jan 19, 2023

Bag

An amount of game taken or legally permitted to be taken.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Backpack

A knapsack, sometimes mounted on a light frame, but always supported by straps, worn on a person’s back for the purpose of carrying things, especially when hiking, or on a student's back when carrying books.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Bag

(Baseball) A base.
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Jan 19, 2023

Backpack

A similarly placed item containing a parachute or other life-support equipment.
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Jan 19, 2023

Bag

(Slang) An area of interest or skill
Cooking is not my bag.
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Jan 19, 2023

Backpack

(intransitive) To hike and camp overnight in backcountry with one's gear carried in a backpack.
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Jan 19, 2023

Bag

(Slang) A woman considered ugly or unkempt.
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Jan 19, 2023

Backpack

(intransitive) To engage in low-cost, generally urban, travel with minimal luggage and frugal accommodation.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Bag

To put into a bag
Bag groceries.
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Jan 19, 2023

Backpack

To place or carry (an item or items) in a backpack.
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Jan 19, 2023

Bag

To cause to bulge like a pouch.
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Jan 19, 2023

Backpack

A bag carried on the back, supported by straps looped over the shoulders.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Bag

To capture or kill as game
Bagged six grouse.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Backpack

To hike while carrying a backpack; - often used in the form go backpacking; as, to backpack through the forest.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Bag

To gain; acquire
He bagged a profit from the sale.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Backpack

A bag carried by a strap on your back or shoulder
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Jan 19, 2023

Bag

To capture or arrest
Was bagged for trespassing.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Backpack

Hike with a backpack;
Every summer they are backpacking in the Rockies
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Bag

To accomplish or achieve
Bagged a birdie with a long putt.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Bag

To fail to attend purposely; skip
Bagged classes for the day and went to the beach.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Bag

To stop doing or considering; abandon
Bagged the idea and started from scratch.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Bag

To terminate the employment of.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Bag

To pack items in a bag.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Bag

To hang loosely
The pants bag at the knees.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Bag

To swell out; bulge.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Bag

A soft container made out of cloth, paper, thin plastic, etc. and open at the top, used to hold food, commodities, and other goods.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Bag

A container made of leather, plastic, or other material, usually with a handle or handles, in which you carry personal items, or clothes or other things that you need for travelling. Includes shopping bags, schoolbags, suitcases, and handbags.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Bag

(colloquial) One's preference.
Acid House is not my bag: I prefer the more traditional styles of music.
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Jan 19, 2023

Bag

(derogatory) An ugly woman.
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Jan 19, 2023

Bag

A fellow gay man.
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Jan 19, 2023

Bag

(baseball) The cloth-covered pillow used for first, second, and third base.
The grounder hit the bag and bounced over the fielder’s head.
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Jan 19, 2023

Bag

(baseball) First, second, or third base.
He headed back to the bag.
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Jan 19, 2023

Bag

(preceded by "the") A breathalyzer, so named because it formerly had a plastic bag over the end to measure a set amount of breath.
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Jan 19, 2023

Bag

(mathematics) A collection of objects, disregarding order, but (unlike a set) in which elements may be repeated.
A bag of three apples could be represented symbolically as {a,a,a}. Or, letting 'r' denote 'red apple' and 'g' denote 'green apple', then a bag of three red apples and two green apples could be denoted as {r,r,r,g,g}.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Bag

A sac in animal bodies, containing some fluid or other substance.
The bag of poison in the mouth of some serpents
The bag of a cow
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Bag

A pouch tied behind a man's head to hold the back-hair of a wig; a bag wig.
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Jan 19, 2023

Bag

The quantity of game bagged in a hunt.
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Jan 19, 2023

Bag

A scrotum.
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Jan 19, 2023

Bag

(UK) A unit of measure of cement equal to 94 pounds.
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Jan 19, 2023

Bag

A dark circle under the eye, caused by lack of sleep, drug addiction etc.
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Jan 19, 2023

Bag

(slang) A small envelope that contains drugs, especially narcotics.
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Jan 19, 2023

Bag

£1000, a grand.
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Jan 19, 2023

Bag

(informal) A large number or amount.
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Jan 19, 2023

Bag

(transitive) To put into a bag.
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Jan 19, 2023

Bag

(transitive) To take with oneself, to assume into one's score
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Jan 19, 2023

Bag

(informal) To catch or kill, especially when fishing or hunting.
We bagged three deer yesterday.
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Jan 19, 2023

Bag

To gain possession of something, or to make first claim on something.
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Jan 19, 2023

Bag

(slang) To steal.
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Jan 19, 2023

Bag

To take a woman away with one as a romantic or sexual interest.
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Jan 19, 2023

Bag

(slang) To arrest.
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Jan 19, 2023

Bag

(transitive) To furnish or load with a bag.
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Jan 19, 2023

Bag

To provide with artificial ventilation via a bag valve mask (BVM) resuscitator.
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Jan 19, 2023

Bag

To fit with a bag to collect urine.
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Jan 19, 2023

Bag

To expose exterior shape or physical behaviour resembling that of a bag
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Jan 19, 2023

Bag

To (cause to) swell or hang down like a full bag.
The skin bags from containing morbid matter.
The brisk wind bagged the sails.
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Jan 19, 2023

Bag

To hang like an empty bag.
His trousers bag at the knees.
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Jan 19, 2023

Bag

To drop away from the correct course.
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Jan 19, 2023

Bag

To become pregnant.
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Jan 19, 2023

Bag

To forget, ignore, or get rid of.
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Jan 19, 2023

Bag

To show particular puffy emotion
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Jan 19, 2023

Bag

To swell with arrogance.
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Jan 19, 2023

Bag

To laugh uncontrollably.
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Jan 19, 2023

Bag

To criticise sarcastically.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Bag

A sack or pouch, used for holding anything; as, a bag of meal or of money.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Bag

A sac, or dependent gland, in animal bodies, containing some fluid or other substance; as, the bag of poison in the mouth of some serpents; the bag of a cow.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Bag

A sort of silken purse formerly tied about men's hair behind, by way of ornament.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Bag

The quantity of game bagged.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Bag

A certain quantity of a commodity, such as it is customary to carry to market in a sack; as, a bag of pepper or hops; a bag of coffee.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Bag

To put into a bag; as, to bag hops.
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Jan 19, 2023

Bag

To seize, capture, or entrap; as, to bag an army; to bag game.
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Jan 19, 2023

Bag

To furnish or load with a bag or with a well filled bag.
A bee bagged with his honeyed venom.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Bag

To swell or hang down like a full bag; as, the skin bags from containing morbid matter.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Bag

To swell with arrogance.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Bag

To become pregnant.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Bag

A flexible container with a single opening;
He stuffed his laundry into a large bag
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Jan 19, 2023

Bag

The quantity of game taken in a particular period (usually by one person);
His bag included two deer
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Bag

Place that runner must touch before scoring;
He scrambled to get back to the bag
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Jan 19, 2023

Bag

A bag used for carrying money and small personal items or accessories (especially by women);
She reached into her bag and found a comb
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Jan 19, 2023

Bag

The quantity that a bag will hold;
He ate a large bag of popcorn
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Jan 19, 2023

Bag

A portable rectangular traveling bag for carrying clothes;
He carried his small bag onto the plane with him
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Jan 19, 2023

Bag

An ugly or ill-tempered woman;
He was romancing the old bag for her money
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Jan 19, 2023

Bag

Mammary gland of bovids (cows and sheep and goats)
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Jan 19, 2023

Bag

An activity that you like or at which you are superior;
Chemistry is not my cup of tea
His bag now is learning to play golf
Marriage was scarcely his dish
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Bag

Capture or kill, as in hunting;
Bag a few pheasants
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Jan 19, 2023

Bag

Hang loosely, like an empty bag
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Jan 19, 2023

Bag

Bulge out; form a bulge outward, or be so full as to appear to bulge
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Jan 19, 2023

Bag

Take unlawfully
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Jan 19, 2023

Bag

Put into a bag;
The supermarket clerk bagged the groceries
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Jan 19, 2023

Bag

A flexible container with an opening at the top.
She rummaged through her bag to find her keys.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 11, 2023

Bag

A sack or pouch used for a particular purpose.
The tea came in a small mesh bag.
Sara Rehman
Oct 11, 2023

Bag

An informal term for a base in baseball.
The runner was safe at first bag.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 11, 2023

FAQs

Which is generally larger

a bag or a backpack?
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 11, 2023

Yes, like "a bag of apples" or "bagging a trophy" in hunting.

Why do backpacks typically have two straps?
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 11, 2023

Most bags are, but some might be more for storage or other specific purposes.

Is there a specific age group that uses backpacks?
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 11, 2023

No, backpacks are versatile and used by people of all ages.

Can "bag" refer to a quantity of something?
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 11, 2023

It varies, but backpacks are often larger and designed to carry more.

Are all bags designed to be carried?
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 11, 2023

No, some have buckles, drawstrings, or other closure methods.

Can a bag be considered luggage?
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 11, 2023

Yes, larger bags designed for travel can be termed luggage.

Is a backpack suitable for carrying a laptop?
Sara Rehman
Oct 11, 2023

To evenly distribute weight across both shoulders, making it more comfortable.

Are there bags designed for men and women specifically?
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 11, 2023

Yes, many people use backpacks to carry their gym essentials.

How do you clean a bag or backpack?
Harlon Moss
Oct 11, 2023

Brand, material, craftsmanship, and design can influence the price.

Do all backpacks have zippers?
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 11, 2023

Generally, yes. The term "rucksack" is more commonly used in British English.

Can "bag" have negative connotations?
Aimie Carlson
Oct 11, 2023

a bag or a backpack?

A bag is a broader term and encompasses more varieties, so it's arguably more versatile.
Janet White
Oct 11, 2023

Yes, some bags, especially in fashion, are gender-specific, but many are unisex.

Can you use a backpack as a gym bag?
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 11, 2023

It depends on the material, but many can be wiped down or machine washed.

Why are some bags very expensive?
Janet White
Oct 11, 2023

In slang, it can, e.g., "bag of bones" or "old bag."

Do backpacks come in different sizes?
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 11, 2023

Yes, from small daypacks to large backpacking packs.

Which is more versatile
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 11, 2023

Many backpacks come with padded compartments specifically for laptops.

What's a "baggy"?
Aimie Carlson
Oct 11, 2023

It's an adjective describing something loose or hanging in folds.

Is a rucksack the same as a backpack?
Aimie Carlson
Oct 11, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sawaira Riaz
Sawaira is a dedicated content editor at difference.wiki, where she meticulously refines articles to ensure clarity and accuracy. With a keen eye for detail, she upholds the site's commitment to delivering insightful and precise content.
Edited by
Huma Saeed
Huma is a renowned researcher acclaimed for her innovative work in Difference Wiki. Her dedication has led to key breakthroughs, establishing her prominence in academia. Her contributions continually inspire and guide her field.

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