Tuesday’s Travel Rant: People wearing backpacks on their front

This seems to be a growing trait and one which needs to be nipped in the bud. I guess it goes hand-in-hand with a new breed of travelers, walking the battered tourist trail through South East Asia and Australia but if I see one more person walking through a shopping mall in Bangkok with their small backpack strapped on their chest, the wrong away around, I may be forced to slap someone in the face.


backpack on back to front

Safety first on the mean streets of Bangkok, in a local multi-screen cineplex

Now I know crazy sh*t can happen when you travel, people go missing, people get mugged and that’s tragic. And I promote safe behavior on the road, but safe behavior is not throwing a bible at people in the mountains of Afghanistan, it’s not visiting Syria during almost civil war, it is NOT wearing your backpack on your front as you wander around Angkor Wat along with 20,000 more tourists.


I don’t know what stories people read before they set off but they must think they’re gonna get pickpocketed every time they cross the road. Guys, do you wear your backpack on your front at the mall in your home town? Do you wear it like that when you visit London or NYC? I’d hazard a guess at no, well don’t be so bloody cautious just because you’ve left the confines of Western society!


At this risk of offending people, this behaviour seems to be specifically people from the US and middle-class Brits. I’m not going to get on my high horse about negative media agendas, engrained xenophobia and God complexes, although I bloody well should. Let’s just leave at this “Turn your bloody backpack around you idiot” It’s not the f*cking wildwest over here”. Peace.

19 thoughts on “Tuesday’s Travel Rant: People wearing backpacks on their front

  1. Lei

    My osteopath advised me to try wearing my backpack on the front purely for health reasons to change up the strain on my back. If it’s for your body’s health. I say anything goes!

  2. USA!

    I live in philly, and the only people I see wearing their backpacks that way are Asians. Hate to break it to you, man, but I’m pretty sure they originated and the stupid tourists picked it up

  3. Bob B.

    In my city, I’ve only just recently noticed a few people wearing small backpacks on their chests. However, in each case they were also carrying a large backpack on their backs. I thought it was a brilliant idea for packpackers with lots of gear, such as I am when on backpacking camping trips. I recently bought a new large pack sack but fear it may not hold quite as much gear as I’d want it to. So, augmenting it with a second pack in front seems a practical solution. It may also balance ones load better instead of having all the weight at the rear. As for those who carry one small packsack and place it on their chest, I’ve not seen that yet. Fear of theft from their bags?

  4. Kevin

    Newsflash: people have been wearing their backpacks on their front in NYC for awhile now, and boy does it grind my gears. I say we all agree to ask them all what they’re hiding in their bag every time we see someone wearing their backpack on their front side. It’s absolutely abhorently absurd.

    1. Helen

      I prefer to wear it in front if there are other people around since I can better see it and not hit people with it like so many people do when they wear it on their backs. It’s also a lot easier if you are taking the bus/train/tram to have it in front so you can just sit instead of taking it off to sit. Also, while on the same bus/train/tram, I’m not hitting people as I turn to check where we are, what street to get off on, etc. It’s also so much easier to reach into to grab a book to read or anything else I need. So, sorry if I burst your bubble, but my wearing by backpack in reverse has nothing to do with hiding anything but everything to do with being polite to others by not hitting them with it and having my stuff more accessible.

  5. Pete

    What form of racism is this? I wear my backpack on my front because it’s better for my posture and I don’t get sore afterwards. It’s natural for a man to carry extra weight on his belly (and rump) rather than his back – look where fat gets stored.

  6. Karen

    I got my backpack and its contents soaking wet today because it stuck out too far and couldn’t fit underneath my umbrella. I should’ve worn it backwards. 🙁

  7. tyler

    I’ve seen the high- school boys wearing it backwards in my very safe NJ neighborhood, and “hipsters” doing the same thing in Brooklyn. I think it often is seen more of a whimsical fad. One boy also said you don’t sweat as much-could be true.

  8. Chris

    BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHA! Quite possible my biggest traveler pet peeves! To the point that ever since my first backpacking adventure, I refused to even own a smaller backpack for fear that when carrying my larger pack, I would have to be one of the idiots to wear on my front. GAH! Keep it away from me!

    P.S. This has also taught me to pack lighter!

    1. felicia

      What’s the big deal? Does it actually affect you if someone wears their backpack in the front? I always wear mine in the back; however, I’m considering wearing it in the front for my upcoming trip to a country that’s a bit more dangerous than anywhere in Europe or the US. So again, I ask, what’s the big deal?

  9. Pingback: Tuesday's Travel Rant: Barefoot backpackers | Travel Lifestyle Of … | Backpacking Help

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