Suitcase or Backpack?

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We often see the question whether it is wise to travel with a suitcase or with a backpack. That’s why we have decided to take both with us on this trip. Along the way we compared what was the best for us; the suitcase or the backpack.

The first problem we found while packing the suitcase was; the suitcase itself weighed 5 kilos. That meant we could pack for 20 kilos instead of 25 kilos. But on the other hand we were able to put our belongings in an easy and organized way inside the suitcase. That’s a thing that wasn`t possible with the backpack. But the backpack weighed no more than 2 kilos. The suitcase weighed eventually 24 kilos and the backpack 15 kilos.

Time to travel with backpack and suitcase

After a long journey we finally arrived in Santiago. At the airport we could put our bags directly in the back of the taxi, so we didn’t had to carry it with us. When we arrived at our AirBnB the next problem encountered; stairs :(. We got the backpack easily upstairs but it was quite a challenge to get the suitcase upstairs. But we found the right clothes much faster with the suitcase, which was very convenient because we were tired from our long journey.

From Santiago we flew to Easter Island where we had to carry our bags on a sandy road. This again, was much easier with the backpack than the suitcase. We stayed for a few days in Easter Island and we were happy that we brought our suitcase.

When we were back in Santiago we took the nightbus to Argentina. At the terminal the guys weren’t happy at all with our suitcase: they found it really hard to lift the case up to put it in the luggage room. Once in Argentina we had to walk for 10 minutes to our hostel. Here the worst happened; one of the four wheels broke down. So we had to drag the suitcase across the street.

With three wheels we continued our journey to Bolivia. At this time we were traveling for two weeks and everything inside our backpack was one big mess, while the suitcase was still organized. In Bolivia we took a 3 day tour and all that we took with us was two small day backpacks.

Bolivia and Peru

After Bolivia we did an 8 day tour in the Peru jungle. In advance, we thought that it was not clever to take the suitcase with us. We left our suitcase behind at the hostel and went with our backpack to the jungle. When we arrived in the jungle we were so happy that we only took the backpack with us. We had to walk for an hour in the jungle on muddy paths, through rivers and over fallen trees.

The other places in Peru were fine with both a backpack and a suitcase. Now we are living in  Ecuador for five months and we are glad that we took the suitcase because we could take enough clothes with us. However, Anne-Sietske’s brother is visiting us in three weeks and he will take the suitcase back home (with some clothes and souvenirs) and he will bring an extra backpack for the following months. Because we are Backpackstudent(s)!

Our conclusion

Our conclusion is that if you go on a trip where you will mostly visit cities, a suitcase is ideal. You can take enough clothes and you won`t have to mess up the whole suitcase to find the right clothes. However, if are you planning on going on a jungle tour during your trip, visiting remote places, or doing hikes, then we recommend the backpack without a doubt.



  • You can take a lot of luggage with you
  • Your luggage is organized
  • Your clothes wrinkle less
  • The inside is more protected
  • You can lock it
  • You don`t have to carry it on your back


  • It is hard to carry
  • A suitcase is very big and heavy
  • It is already heavy without something in it
  • When a wheel breaks you have a problem
  • It is hard to carry on the different surfaces
  • It is hard to take it upstairs



  • It is light
  • You can carry it on your back
  • It is easy to take with you
  • You can carry it on different surfaces
  • It is easy in public transport


  • You can’t take a lot with you
  • It is hard to find the right clothes
  • It is hard to have it organized
  • You have to repack it again (and again)
  • You can’t lock it (unless you have a flightbag)

One Response

  1. Margit
    | Reply

    nice article! as a real suitcase hater/backpack lover: almost all cons of the backpack can be solved with packing cubes:) you can take more clothes, stuff wrinkles less, your backpack staya organised and you can find your stuff without unpacking everything 😄

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