Rucking with Backpack vs Vest (Pros, Cons, Differences)

Rucking is a great way to get in shape and stay fit. It’s also an effective way to carry heavy loads for long periods of time. However, rucking can be quite difficult if you don’t know the right gear to use.

In this article, we will compare the pros and cons of both backpacks and vests when it comes to rucking.

We will also discuss the difference between a backpack and a vest, so that you may choose well based on your needs.

Differences Between a Backpack & a Vest

There are several differences between a backpack and a vest. These include the size of the bags, the amount of weight they can hold, and what kind of pockets they have. Let’s look at them in detail.


The biggest difference between a backpack vs vest is the size of the bags. A backpack has a smaller capacity than a vest.

This means that if you want to carry a lot of things with you, like a tent, sleeping bag, clothes, etc., you should go in a backpack.

On the other hand, if you only plan on taking a few small essentials with you, such as a first aid kit, flashlight, and headlamp, you should choose a vest.

Weight Capacity

Another difference between a backpack and a vest is the weight capacity. A backpack can hold up to 30 pounds of weight, whereas a vest can hold about 20 pounds.

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This makes sense since a backpack carries all of its weight on your shoulders. In contrast, a vest is designed to distribute the weight evenly across your upper body.

Number of Pockets

Another difference between a backpack and a vest is the number of pockets they have. Backpacks usually have fewer pockets than vests.

For example, a backpack might only have 2-3 pockets, while a vest may have 6-8. This is important because having too many pockets can make it difficult to find specific items inside the bag.



1. Lightweight

– Packs are usually lighter than vests because they don’t have any extra padding around the chest. This makes them easier to move around.

2. Easy Accessibility

-Most packs have at least one large opening, making accessing items quick and easy.

3. Comfortable

– Because the weight is distributed across your entire body, you won’t feel any discomfort from carrying a backpack.

4. Can Carry More Weight

-Many packs can handle up to 50+ lbs of weight.

5. Versatile

-Because of how versatile a backpack is, it can be used for almost everything. You can use it for camping, hiking, biking, running, swimming, fishing, and even skiing.


1. Expensive

-Backpacks aren’t cheap. If you buy a new backpack every time you hike, you will spend hundreds of dollars each year.

2. Not Waterproof

-If you get caught in an unexpected rainstorm or if you accidentally fall into a lake, a backpack isn’t going to keep your belongings dry.



1. Easier To Move Around With

-A vest doesn’t weigh much, so you can easily carry it around without feeling uncomfortable.

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2. Less Expensive Than a Pack

-You don’t need to pay thousands of dollars to buy a pack. Instead, you can just buy a vest for less.

3. Better Protection From The Elements

-Vests are more durable than backpacks because they have thicker material and better protection against water and wind.

4. Provides Comfort And Stability

-Unlike a backpack, a vest provides comfort and stability by distributing the weight evenly across your whole body.

5. Can Be Used For Almost Everything

-Like a backpack, a vest can be used for most activities, including hiking, camping, climbing, traveling, and swimming.


1. Smaller Capacity

-Vests usually hold less than 10 pounds of weight. This means that if you are planning to take along a lot of gear, you should choose a backpack instead.

2. Hard To Find Items Inside

-Finding something inside a vest can sometimes be hard because there are no big openings like those found in a backpack.

3. Difficult To Clean

-It can be difficult to clean out dirt and sweat from a vest compared to a backpack.

The Benefits of Rucking

1. Improves Your Strength

-When rucking, you are using all of your muscles to lift your load. By doing this, you are improving your strength.

2. Increases Muscle Mass

-When you ruck, you use your core muscles to stabilize yourself while lifting heavy objects. This helps build muscle mass.

3. Reduces Stress

-By rucking, you are reducing stress on your joints and spine. When you reduce stress on your body, you are able to relax and enjoy your day.

4. Helps Improve Flexibility

-When you are rucking, you are working your muscles to improve their flexibility. This allows you to move freely and safely.

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5. Increases Endurance

-When you are rucking with a backpack, you are increasing endurance because you are using your entire body to lift the weight.

6. Improves Balance

-When you are carrying heavy loads, it is important to maintain balance. By rucking, you are improving your ability to stay balanced.


In conclusion, both backpacks and vests are good options for hikers and travelers.

However, it depends on what type of activity you want to do. If you are looking for a lightweight bag to use during short hikes, a vest will probably work best.

But if you are looking for something that will allow you to carry heavier weights, then a backpack may be better suited for you.