This paper questions the notion of backpacking as a distinct category of tourism by distinguishing between its type- and form-related attributes. The analysis of such differentiation refers to phenomenological typology of tourist experiences and the distinction between institutionalized and non-institutionalized tourism. Based on 38 in-depth interviews with Israeli backpackers to various destinations, the study reveals their heterogeneous nature in terms of its type-related aspect. In addition, the study indicates that they comply with most of the conventional form-related attributes. These findings suggest that backpacking should be regarded as a form rather than a type of tourism.