"Why worry? Each one of us is wearing an unlicensed nuclear accelerator on his back..."An ordinary backpack doesn't do anything too special, being that it's just there to carry things around, and, by its nature, weighs you down and gets in the way in the process. An Awesome Backpack is different though, such that you end up wishing you could get your hands on one. While most Awesome Backpacks aren't for carrying things around, it can still involve a normal backpack if it constantly provides items that are a central part of a character's capabilities (especially for Crazy-Prepared or Crazy Awesome characters). Subtropes include: Ammunition Backpack, Backpack Cannon, Helicopter Pack, Jetpack, and any backpack variety of Bag of Holding.
— Peter Venkman, Ghostbusters
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Anime & Manga
- Kagome's backpack in InuYasha: modern food and medicine in a medieval setting, plus arrows.
- In Mobile Suit Gundam SEED, this seems to be the theme of the series. The main character's mobile suit is unique for its abilities to wear a different Awesome Backpack for every situation, which carries onto the mass-produced versions in the sequel. The Justice also has an Awesome Backpack, which doubles as a hoverboard.
- The Beargguy from Model Suit Gunpla Builders Beginning G has the Landcell unit. It looks like a school backpack, yet it's outfitted with space thrusters to allow it to move through space and holds its Beam Recorder/Saber and a missile launcher.
- Likewise, the Build Strike Gundam and Zaku Amazing in Gundam Build Fighters have backpacks that turn into Mobile Armors.
Films — Live-Action
- Ghostbusters features the Proton Pack (featured as the trope image and subject of the trope quote), a man-portable particle accelerator which, through an attached "Neutrona Wand", is used as a sort of lasso to wrangle the ghosts into a position to be trapped properly. The wildly undulating particle streams also have a nasty habit of causing lots of collateral damage.
- Sarah Harding's backpack in The Lost World: Jurassic Park saves her ass on a few occasions.
- RJ's golf bag full of random man-made items in Over the Hedge isn't particularly special, but seeing as Verne feels the need to point this out to his friends...
- Kick-Ass, in the climax, gets his hands onto the jetpack, complete with two shoulder-mounted retractable miniguns.
- The kosho warrior (basically a futuristic samurai) in Barrington J. Bayley's The Zen Gun carries an arsenal of mentally aimed weapons in his backpack.
- Nakor from The Riftwar Cycle has one with a magic portal in the bottom that terminates in a fruit warehouse, allowing him to always produce an orange from it no matter where he is. He can also use it to hide things in the fruit warehouse. And, later, in a cave where his things are less likely to get stolen.
- The "Knapsack" from Fablehaven book four - poke your head inside (or crawl right in) to reveal a good sized storage space, with food, water, a Yahtzee-obsessed demon, and odds and ends that you will never, ever need unless you are in a fantasy novel.
- The "adventurer's bags" from the "Adventurers Wanted" series. Each bag is rather light, made of sturdy material, can never be stolen, and has at least three rooms. yes, rooms. What's more, you can go buy more rooms! Rooms that get bigger, rooms with swimming pools, even a garden! They also appear to have an endless source of energy - they come with lights.
- In The Looking-Glass Wars, Hatter Madigan's backpack, in keeping with Hatter's general badassery, is capable of opening up like a Swiss Army knife, revealing assorted blades and corkscrews.
- In Robert A. Heinlein's Glory Road, Rufo has a small backpack which is light and easy to carry, but which unfolds and keeps unfolding until it provides multiple large tents, a dining set complete with tables, chairs, a canopy, dishes and silverware, plus food and cooking gear, complete equipment load-outs for a variety of missions, clothing and other stuff as needed. Just be careful bringing it through a portal between the universes or dropping it in a swamp, as it tends to cause a small nuclear explosion.
- Backpack Boy from Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide
- Jack Bauer's messenger bag (a.k.a. "The Jacksack") during the fifth season of 24. Guns, ammunition, C4s, cell phones...you name it, it's there.
- Characters on Lost frequently carry messenger bags filled with everything from makeshift flamethrowers (Locke) to bunnies (Ben).
- In Doctor Who, Ace's backpack seems to function as a Bag of Holding... filled with pipe bombs.
- Warhammer 40,000:
- The four-armed robo-tank-repair-backpack of a Techmarine. Indeed, with the exceptions of Scouts and Terminators, all Space Marines wear awesome backpacks, often including such things as eagle's-head exhausts, trophy racks, and (in the case of Chaos Possessed) functioning batlike wings.
- Special mention, in addition to those discussed above, goes to the Sanguinary Guard's ornate decorative wings on their jump packs and the Grey Knight Interceptors' teleporter vanes.
- Tau XV-8 and XV-88 Battlesuits typically have their jetpacks as backpack-equivalents, and these have attachment points for systems - meaning that they can have upgrades such as sensors, drone controllers, shield generators, rocket launchers...
- The Warcasters in Iron Kingdoms wear steampacks that generate a power field, enhance their physical traits, and nullifies the roleplaying penalty to casting Arcane spells while wearing armor.
- Manhunter. Characters can buy an Antigravity Backpack that allows them to fly at up to 120 kilometers/hour.
- The grav belt had its Artificial Gravity equipment and power supply in a backpack.
- The New Era sourcebook Vampire Fleets. The Fer de lance anti-Virus system and its battery power source are stored in a backpack.
- Shadowrun, Shadowland magazine Vol. 5 article "Bigger, Badder and Powered". One option for powered armor is the Extended Power Supply, which is a backpack attached to the rear of the armor that doubles duration of use.
- The medigun backpack in Team Fortress 2.
- The Gluon gun in Half-Life, partially a Shout-Out to the above proton packs, as the alternate name for the weapon in scripting is the "Egon".
- Banjo's backpack in Banjo-Kazooie could be considered a subversion: most of the awesome comes from Kazooie, not the backpack itself. Double (maybe even triple) subverted in Banjo-Tooie where the backpack has powers on its own and can do many things you wouldn't be normally able to do... but it still pales in comparison to Kazooie.
- The Mario series had a brief love affair with this trope during the GameCube era.
- Bagman from Rogue Trooper is the ultimate in this trope. Fully sentient, and loaded with whatever gadget Rogue needs at the moment. It even has a mechanical arm to hand the desired item to Rogue.
- Various backpacks in multiplayer of Red Faction: Guerrilla
- Ratchet & Clank. Clank is an Awesome Backpack most of the time.
- Star Wars: Galaxies has some pretty awesome backpacks, the best one being a FRICKIN KRAYT DRAGON SKULL! For reference, this is a Krayt dragon and they are still one of the most fearsome enemies in the game.
- Pokémon Diamond and Pearl and Pokémon Platinum:
- In Psychonauts, Rasputin's (Raz) backpack may not look like much, and may store a few odd things, but keep in mind that his backpack keeps track of his powers as they advance by adhering flying merit badges! And he has some pretty sweet powers!
- Tribes: Everyone gets jetpacks (and we do mean everyone)! The equipable Packs might also qualify, although some are more awesome than others.
- Global Agenda, trying very hard to be a modern Tribes, did this. The jetpacks open up when you activated them, and don't close for a few seconds. You can color them. They're shiny. The devs realized at some point that the thing you spend hours looking at should be pretty. The medic ones have tubes of something running through them. Not sure what it is, but it has almost as much animation in making the tubes of shining goop bounce as for the rest of the player model.
- Fallout 3 gives you the Shishkebab, complete with a motorcycle gas tank on the back.
- Field agents of The Bureau: XCOM Declassified wear increasingly bulky backpacks that provide a number of advantages, such as improved accuracy, protection, or armor-piercing bullets.
- The character Gazlowe from WarCraft wields an attack robot on his back, although this is only visible since Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft and Heroes of the Storm.
- Male Chemists in Final Fantasy Tactics. Female Chemists have an Awesome Fannypack instead.
- In Eternal Fighter Zero, Ayu Tsukimiya is able to use her winged backpack as her primary weapon: its tiny wings grow larger to slap, or outright punch Ayu's opponent.
- Felix the Cat's Magic Bag of Tricks, which can turn into anything he needs for any situation, be it a unicycle, a jet plane, a rocket, etc.
- Dora the Explorer's backpack...really! That thing turns into a submarine and a hang glider! It's the coolest thing in the show.
- And her cousin Diego has a Rescue Pack.
- Depending on the plot, Kim Possible's backpack is either a generic backpack with not so generic stuff inside, or a Jetpack disguised as a backpack. At one point, she throws it out of a window and it inflates into a boat.
- Invader Zim's PAK can extend robotic extra limbs that shoot lasers, among other things. It's also necessary for his survival.
- Word of God says that their entire personality is in there. Not only that, some Wild Mass Guessing theories say that the only reason the entire Irken race even have bodies is so they can carry PAKs around to conquer planets with. It's their brains, their life-support systems, their pretty much everything.
- Simon Belmont in Captain N: The Game Master has a backpack from which he pulls out a wide variety of items. Some are curiously specific to the situation at hand.
- Johnny Test had the Turbo Action Backpack, with an A/V system, heavy weapons, and a shrink ray.
- Static Shock has Richie's robot backpack.
- Most of Gizmo's weaponry in Teen Titans is some type of awesome backpack.
- Jaime's scarab in Batman: The Brave and the Bold could be thought of as an Awesome Backpack that talks (sort of).
- The Filmation's Ghostbusters wear Ghost Packs, which are far more mundane Bags of Holding... EXCEPT for the fact that they can also turn into jetpacks.
- Transformers Animated: People tend to forget about Wreck-Gar's seemingly endless supply of garbage. In one episode alone, he pulled out a spoiled roast beef, three stop signs, and was able to vacuum up thousands of microbots.
- Birdman episode "Meets Reducto". The title villain's Shrink Ray device is a pistol connected to a backpack that holds the Reduction Device's electronic components.
- Steven Universe has his "Cheeseburger Backpack", introduced in the episode of the same name. It's really just a novelty backpack he ordered online, but it's surprisingly roomy.
- Milo Murphy's Law: Milo's backpack, which he got from his old babysitter Veronica, has all sorts of random things in it that can help deal with problems caused by Murphy's Law.
- Real Life: flamethrowers.
- Another Real Life example would be an astronaut's PLSS, allowing them to do a free flight EVA.
- The LC series of backpacks the US military has used since at least Vietnam. Who doesn't want a backpack that's 40 years old, survived combat, trans-Pacific travel, extreme climate and climate changes, and STILL WORKS?
- Pangolin Backpacks http://gizmodo.com/5398996/pangolin-backpack. A backpack made from old trucking tires, slides down via magnets, and is incredibly sturdy.
- Various models of Super Soaker and other brands of high-end squirt guns draw water from an attached backpack, giving the wearer a far greater supply of ammunition than that afford by a purely handheld model.