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Jiggeh vs. Backpack — What's the Difference?

By Fiza Rafique & Urooj Arif — Updated on April 29, 2024
Jiggeh is a traditional Korean frame backpack used primarily for carrying heavy loads, made from wood and ropes, while a backpack is a fabric sack carried on one's back and secured with two straps over the shoulders, used globally for various purposes.
Jiggeh vs. Backpack — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Jiggeh and Backpack


Key Differences

Jiggeh, traditionally utilized in Korea, is designed specifically for carrying substantial weights such as firewood or goods, often related to agricultural work. Whereas a backpack is a more general-purpose bag used worldwide for carrying books, supplies, electronics, and personal items, suitable for daily use or travel.
The jiggeh is constructed from natural materials, primarily wood for the frame and ropes for securing the load, reflecting traditional craftsmanship. On the other hand, modern backpacks are made from a variety of materials including nylon, polyester, and leather, featuring zippers, compartments, and padding.
The usage of a jiggeh is more commonly seen in rural or traditional settings within Korea, emphasizing its cultural significance and practicality in labor-intensive tasks. Conversely, backpacks are ubiquitous in urban and educational environments, signifying their role in contemporary lifestyle and mobility.
While jiggeh is carried like a backpack but tends to sit lower on the back due to its structure and the nature of its typical loads, backpacks are designed to distribute weight evenly across the shoulders, enhancing comfort and ergonomics for extended use.
The jiggeh symbolizes a connection to Korean heritage and rural life, often seen in cultural festivals and traditional contexts. Backpacks, however, are a global icon of mobility and convenience, adapted to diverse lifestyles from hiking to schooling.

Comparison Chart


Wood frame, ropes
Nylon, polyester, leather

Common Use

Carrying heavy agricultural loads
Carrying everyday items

Cultural Context

Traditional Korean
Global, modern


No fabric body, open structure
Fabric body, closed with zippers

Weight Distribution

Lower back focus, heavy loads
Even shoulder distribution

Compare with Definitions


Made from wood and rope.
The jiggeh is crafted from sturdy wood and secured with thick ropes.


Used globally for various purposes.
Backpacks are popular among students and travelers alike.


Used for heavy loads.
Jiggehs are ideal for carrying heavy firewood or water containers.


Secured with shoulder straps.
The backpack's padded straps make it comfortable to carry for long periods.


Traditional Korean frame backpack.
The farmer used a jiggeh to transport his crops to the market.


Part of modern mobile gear.
Her backpack is equipped with a built-in USB charging port for her devices.


Symbol of Korean rural life.
The jiggeh often appears in documentaries about traditional Korean lifestyles.


Fabric sack carried on the back.
He packed his laptop and books into his backpack for school.


Utilitarian in design.
The simplicity of the jiggeh's design emphasizes its utilitarian purpose.


Features compartments and zippers.
The backpack features several compartments for organizing contents.


An open-framed triangular backpack made of branches or twigs, used in Korea.


A backpack—also called knapsack, rucksack, rucksac, pack, sackpack, booksack, bookbag or backsack—is, in its simplest frameless form, a fabric sack carried on one's back and secured with two straps that go over the shoulders, but it can have an external frame, internal frame, and there are bodypacks. Backpacks are commonly used by hikers and students, and are often preferred to handbags for carrying heavy loads or carrying any sort of equipment, because of the limited capacity to carry heavy weights for long periods of time in the hands.


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


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.


To hike or travel while carrying a backpack.


To carry in a 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.


A similarly placed item containing a parachute or other life-support equipment.


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


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


To place or carry (an item or items) in a backpack.


A bag carried on the back, supported by straps looped over the shoulders.


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


A bag carried by a strap on your back or shoulder


Hike with a backpack;
Every summer they are backpacking in the Rockies

Common Curiosities

Are backpacks suitable for carrying very heavy loads like a jiggeh?

Backpacks are not typically designed for the same heavy loads as a jiggeh; they are better suited for lighter, more evenly distributed weights.

What are the advantages of using a backpack for daily activities?

Backpacks are versatile, with multiple compartments for organization, lightweight materials, and ergonomic design, making them ideal for daily use.

Can a backpack be used in place of a jiggeh in agricultural settings?

Backpacks can be used in agricultural settings for lighter tasks but may not be suitable for the heavy-duty tasks for which jiggehs are designed.

What is the maximum weight a jiggeh can carry?

The maximum weight a jiggeh can carry depends on its construction but typically it is used to carry loads that are heavy enough to require a sturdy wooden frame.

How has the backpack evolved over the years?

Backpacks have evolved from simple fabric sacks to sophisticated gear with features like waterproof materials, built-in electronics, and ergonomic designs for comfort and efficiency.

How does the design of a jiggeh benefit heavy lifting?

The jiggeh's design, with its sturdy wooden frame, helps distribute the weight of heavy loads more evenly across the back, making it efficient for heavy lifting.

How is a jiggeh maintained?

Maintenance of a jiggeh involves regular checks for wear on the wood and ropes, and occasional treatment of the wood to prevent deterioration.

Why is the jiggeh not commonly seen in urban environments?

The jiggeh is not common in urban environments due to its size and the specific heavy-load functionality, which is less necessary outside of agricultural or rural settings.

Is a jiggeh comfortable to use compared to a backpack?

While a jiggeh is effective for heavy loads, it lacks the padding and ergonomic design of modern backpacks, which are more comfortable for prolonged use.

Can both jiggeh and backpacks be customized?

Both jiggeh and backpacks can be customized, though backpacks typically offer more options for customization like color, material, and functionality based on the user's needs.

What are some modern alternatives to the jiggeh?

Modern alternatives to the jiggeh include specially designed utility backpacks with enhanced support structures and materials capable of handling heavier loads.

Are there any safety considerations when using a jiggeh?

When using a jiggeh, it's important to ensure that the load is properly secured and the weight is appropriately balanced to avoid back strain or injury.

What types of materials are used in high-end backpacks today?

High-end backpacks today use materials such as high-grade nylon, ripstop polyester, and sometimes specialty fabrics like Kevlar for durability and lightness.

How do cultural perceptions of the jiggeh and backpack differ?

The jiggeh is often seen as a symbol of traditional Korean culture and rural life, while the backpack is viewed as a modern, global accessory for education, travel, and daily convenience.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Fiza Rafique
Fiza Rafique is a skilled content writer at, where she meticulously refines and enhances written pieces. Drawing from her vast editorial expertise, Fiza ensures clarity, accuracy, and precision in every article. Passionate about language, she continually seeks to elevate the quality of content for readers worldwide.
Co-written by
Urooj Arif
Urooj is a skilled content writer at Ask Difference, known for her exceptional ability to simplify complex topics into engaging and informative content. With a passion for research and a flair for clear, concise writing, she consistently delivers articles that resonate with our diverse audience.

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