Personally, I do a hybrid of the two. I ride a beach cruiser (yeah, yeah, not lightweight, I know; but I live in Florida, and the hills down here are generally pathetic), and use a dry bag strapped to my bikes seat post rack for the heavy stuff. Most of my bike camping rides are in the ~40 to ~50 mile range, on fairly decent pavement, if that helps.
I can carry up to about twenty-five pounds on the rack without an issue, and then I stuff the rest into a framed ruck with a waist belt (one of the advantages of sitting mostly upright on the cruiser is that the weight transfer to the belt works well). I like having a Camelback when I ride, so the ruck always has at least that in it (or on it, with my most recent bag) when I go.
Now, I don't put anything particularly fragile in the dry bag for my camping trips--on the other hand, I've carried twelve packs of beer around town (~7 miles at most) on the rack before and not had a problem. Well, other than the beer being shaken up a bit, anyway. However, that's on fairly decent pavement, with high-volume tires, so take it with a grain of salt.
I've used both a front basket (my last bike) and a rear rack, and I have to say that the rear rack is superior if you're going to carry more than five pounds or so. Otherwise the basket definitely wins on convenience.
My two cupronickel disks...