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.

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

  1. Yes! What a great combination tote bag and bookbag. I could have really used this when I was looking for a diaper bag when my son was born. My husband prefers a tote, but I prefer the hands free option of a bookbag.

  2. You, and several others on here are very obtuse, and think they now all. I would not ordinarily carry a front pack (chest pack), but I have a disability and switch off between a walker and a wheelchair. Using a backpack on a wheelchair is not easy. Better just to use a front pack when traveling, and this is a travelblog page.

  3. When I am carrying 2 then I wear one both ways.. when standing on a busy train or bus and only have a small pack I wear it to the front. So much easier for me to get at the things I need and I’m able to keep a closer eye on my items in my bag. I’m not really sure why anyone cares how others use their bags. If all you have to worry about is how others look then awesome for you!!

  4. I do on purpose wear backpack on front now. Initially I didn’t, but in Thailand, Bangok city center at malls area, I was mugged by pickpocket thief on my just 4th day in the country!! Damn thais stole my wallet with all my cards and my passport!

    Only in the hostel did I realize that my backpack is wide open and wallet is gone. Some thai pickpocketer openned my backpack and stole wallet while I was walking through noisy and crowded streets, I felt and heard nothing. And I believe it was those damn bike taxi dirty thais, because they were laughing at me when I run back the path I went, to see if they at least threw my wallet away with passport, but no, they took it away. I could do nothing, I was in despair.
    I managed to block my cards in time, before the messages of accursed thais attempts to buy stuff online started coming to my phone. It was excruciating ordeal to try survive without any money in foreign country and return to my country.

    I hate thiefy thais and thailand with all my heart. They’re all thiefs, smiling on your face and just waiting for the moment to steal stuff from you! Damn them!

  5. This blog post needs to be taken down for its utter stupidity.

    IF your backpack is heavy (you decide what is heavy) it is far better for your back and posture to carry it on your chest.

    To anyone who says “pack lighter” should shut up. Some people don’t have that choice.

    For those that are worried about theft. Purchase a backpack that is designed to discourage theft attempts; IE: The zip is hidden under a flap pressed against your back.

  6. well, i wear 2 because my main backpack already has 35KG in it .. i need to put other stuff in my front pack, to 1 balance the weight
    2 i have no more room in my main backpack..

    sad rant IYAM..

    1. You need to learn how to pack and pack lighter. I won’t get in to what I pack, where I’ve been and for how long, but…you need to learn how to pack

  7. Museums and art galleries INSIST that you carry it on your front. I said “are you sure? You want the backpack to stick out further, in the direction of your exhibits??” But they insist. Mad.

    1. haha, people need to stop thinking the world is out to get them. Just because you’re in a foreign country doesn’t suddenly mean people are all criminals! Not to mention it creates a physical barrier between you and the people you should be interacting with!

  8. I often wear my backpack in front for one simple reason: the darn thing is hitting right on my sciatica when wearing it “normally”. Let people be and look dumb if they want, people do whatever works for them.

  9. I’ve seen people with huge, bulging packs on both back and chest at the same time. When I see this I call out my favorite line from “Jaws”, “What are you? Some sort of half-ass astronaut?”

  10. I see this all the time in Edinburgh. Losers. It’s as if you want everyone to know you’re a tourist – you stick out more, and you will be targeted by the thieves because you just don’t blend in. Backpack on the front = tourist = lots of lovely valuables on them. Pathetic.

  11. 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. Everybody is triggered here for no reason. Quit being snowflakes.

      Wearing a backpack in front means that when you turn around in a crowd, you don’t accidentally spill someone’s coffee, bump into someone with their arm in a sling, or hit a seven year old in the side of the head. It’s common courtesy, and if you weren’t so eager to find offense, you’d see that.

  12. 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.

  13. 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. 🙁

  14. 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.

  15. 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. 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?

        1. I not only agree with Felicia, but wearing your backpack in front allows you to keep an eye on your belongings, as well as access things like cameras and water bottles easily without stopping. If someone feels that their belongings are safer in view, then what’s the big deal other than an inflated sense of fashion faux pas. A lot of travelers carry everything they have with them, rather than leaving valuables in a hotel or hostel. There may be no real threat of robbery, in your opinion, but tourists are targets from Bangkok to Dallas, London to Sao Paolo. I have found zippers pulled down on my backpack (worn on my back) in some of the “safest” places I’ve been to.

        2. It looks moronic; it’s not engineered for the front, it says I’m an American, mug me first. And, knowing what I know and most certainly, the tricksters, could remove this “much” faster (three seconds) from this guy.

    1. BTW, congratulations on living the dream. Visiting every country on earth should be on everyone’s bucket list.

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