When you go on your first few trips, you’re likely to carry around a backpack or heavy luggage, as many other novice travelers have. Sure, it probably did the job; these styles of bags will never go out of style because they’re just so useful.
But frequent travelers and those constantly on the go know that these styles are no longer enough. In fact, it can be impractical when you have to carry a serious amount of belongings on trips that require airplane or train rides; or both! For this reason, busy travelers know that the secret to travelling success lies in the wheeled backpack. This gem of a luggage is extremely versatile and its biggest selling points are mobility and flexibility. They give you two options of carrying your bag: you can either wheel it around like a trolley, but you can also switch it up to a backpack in an instant.
Nothing beats the efficiency of traveling with a rolling backpack, particularly if you frequent airports and train stations. These two places can be frustrating to maneuver if you don’t have the right gear to hold your belongings as you whizz through them. Wheeled backpacks are also super handy for college students who need to carry heavy textbooks and notebooks to and from campus.
Perhaps the most significant advantage that backpacks with wheels offer, aside from the obvious logistical benefits, is that it’s just so much better for your health. Sprains, strains, fractures, and dislocations from carrying around weighty backpacks are a real, common health hazard. It might be more stylish, but the last thing you need, whether you’re traveling or not, is a health problem that could have been avoided simply by going with a more practical choice in bags. As a plus, quickly making your way to and through airports and train stations is a breeze with a rolling backpack, all while giving your back a much-needed rest.
Now that you know the importance of rolling backpacks, making the switch is the best investment you can make for your health and future travels. We’ve scoured the market to find the best wheeled backpacks available to cater to busy travelers. We have selected models based on quality, comfort, features, price, and of course, customer reviews.
Best Overall: High Sierra AT3 22” Carry-On
Runner-up: Osprey Packs Sojourn
Best Budget: Hynes Eagle 42L Rolling Backpack
Best Rolling Laptop Case: Targus Compact Rolling Backpack
Best for Long-Term Travel: Osprey Packs Meridian 75-Liter
Best Convertible: Hypath 2-in-1 Convertible Travel Bag
Table of Contents
- Our Picks for the Best Rolling Backpack
- Best Overall - High Sierra AT3 22” Carry-On Wheeled Backpack
- Runner-up - Osprey Packs Sojourn Wheeled Luggage
- Best Budget - Hynes Eagle 42L Rolling Wheeled Backpack
- Best Rolling Laptop Case - Targus Compact Rolling Business and Travel Commuter Backpack
- Best for Long-Term Travel - Osprey Packs Meridian 75-Liter Wheeled Luggage
- Best Convertible - Hypath 2-in-1 Convertible Travel Bag
- Why a Wheeled Backpack Is a Must for Busy Travelers
- Features to Look for When Choosing a Backpack With Wheels
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Rolling Backpacks: Versatile Luggage for People on the Move
Our Picks for the Best Rolling Backpack
Frequent travelers, whether you’re traveling for business or leisure, know that a good piece of luggage will go a long way. Any traveler who’s ever experienced the frustrations of dealing with broken bags, a painful backpack, or worse, having to run through airport security with either of these will tell you that a rolling backpack is the only travel companion you will ever need. Students who are always on the move also know that reliable wheeled backpacks will make all the difference and eliminate the hassles (and pain!) involved in carrying around weighty textbooks.
We’ve done the work inspecting reviews from countless customers to narrow down the best rolling backpacks in the market for you. Here’s what we found:
Best Overall - High Sierra AT3 22” Carry-On Wheeled Backpack
Whether you’re a student looking for a spacious backpack to comfortably carry those million textbooks, a camper needing a bag that can fit all your gear or a very lucky person getting to go on a vacation, the High Sierra AT3 22” Wheeled Backpack has literally got your back! (Pun totally intended).
With its internal organizer, headphones port, large compartment and padded shoulder straps, to name a few, the High Sierra AT3 rolling backpack presents a world of comfort. Trust us when we say that no one’s gonna be complaining about the baggage you carry!
Whether you’re hitting the road on your next big adventure or are looking for a comfortable travel bag that can easily accommodate your belongings, this High Sierra rolling backpack is it. Extremely durable, this backpack is sure to last you for a long time to come, regardless of the weather conditions and terrain, whether it’s enjoying a comfortable place in the cargo hold or tossed into the back of a bus!
The telescoping handle and skate wheels ensure that you have an easy time transporting the bag, whereas the hidden padded straps ensure that you can turn it into a backpack any time you desire, which makes it a perfect option while maneuvering around uneven terrain.
With tons of storage space and advanced features that are smart as well as comfort-oriented, the High Sierra AT3 bag is engineered to be practical and efficient without compromising on the comfort and convenience of users.
The High Sierra AT3 Wheeled Backpack has users singing its praises all over the internet; the detachable day pack is the star of most reviews! The backpack can be used for a variety of purposes and is almost unparalleled when it comes to its durability. Having said that, the bag may be a size too big for the overhead cabins in smaller airlines and you may also face an issue in airlines that allow only one bag as hand baggage.
With a price tag just a little shy of $130, it’s still a cheaper option than most other premium wheeled backpacks; even if it isn’t, it’s definitely a worthy investment!
Runner-up - Osprey Packs Sojourn Wheeled Luggage
Perfect for week-long getaways and light packers, the Osprey Packs 22-inch/45-liter rolling backpack is the very embodiment of “good things in small packages”! Skip long baggage check-in lines at the airport; this backpack is built specifically to suit carry-on specifications in most airlines. It can also fit all your essentials, and then some more.
The backpack comes with a top pocket (zip closure) that lets you conveniently store small items such as liquids or toiletries and a large panel zip lets you easily access the main compartment. The internal compression straps could probably hold your belongings in place through a hurricane, and the wheels are built for any terrain, whether cobbled streets, carpets or pavements. When the going gets too tough, thank your stars for the backpack’s ventilated suspension system and just carry the pack on your back.
Additionally, the Osprey All Mighty Guarantee is a huge plus, a lifetime guarantee against damages and defects with free-of-cost replacement when a repair isn’t possible, regardless of whether you just bought the product or have had it for years. Not only does this indicate the company’s faith in its products, but the long life they expect it to live.
At around $300, this backpack may seem a little pricey, which is why it’s our runner-up, but given its durability, quality and lifetime guarantee, it’s definitely a great investment, and there’s nothing like going for it if you can afford it. It’s a comfortable backpack thanks to the padded straps and ventilated harness and can easily accommodate a ton of your belongings!
So don’t let the price tag scare you; it’s probably going to be a one-time investment that’s going to pay returns for a long time to come!
Best Budget - Hynes Eagle 42L Rolling Wheeled Backpack
With a price tag quite substantially below $100, it’s no wonder that the Hynes Eagle 42-liter backpack gets our vote for the “best budget” pick. Available in black and grey, this airline-approved backpack doesn’t compromise on its quality or efficiency despite the relatively cheap price. The backpack is part of the company’s Travel Lite series that combines fashion and efficiency, resulting in some pretty chic rolling bags. Perfect for cabin baggage (whether overhead or under the seat), the backpack is a 2-in-1 bag that can serve as both a luggage bag as well as a backpack and quite efficiently at that!
If you’re working on a budget (and who isn’t? It means more money to blow on the vacation!), look no further than the Hynes Eagle 42-liter Wheeled Backpack, our “Best Budget” pick. Equipped with a ton of features such as the quiet wheels, multiple compartments ensuring organizational efficiency, durable and sturdy construction, lightweight composition and of course, the great price, the bag is a great pick overall.
What stands out most about the backpack is its comfort-oriented features, such as the back design to protect your back against the pull-rod, padded straps, sternum and waist straps, and the rolling wheels - all of these features ensure that the user’s comfort isn’t compromised, whether you’re using the bag as a rolling suitcase or a backpack.
In the case of the former, the bag’s lightweight and engineered-for-portability design makes it easy to lug around, and in the case of the latter, the many comfort-oriented features ensure that you can easily carry the bag for long distances and time periods.
The Hynes is a great budget pick, and though it may function better as a rolling bag than a backpack, it’s still one of the best sellers in the market for its nearly-unbeatable price and the quality and features it offers at the said price. You may miss the day pack that most competitors are offering in their models, but there’s still plenty to cheer about!
Best Rolling Laptop Case - Targus Compact Rolling Business and Travel Commuter Backpack
Whether you’re a traveler or a student, the Targus Compact is akin to manna from heaven! A sleek and compact combination of a backpack and a wheeled luggage bag, this backpack has some pretty hard-to-beat features, such as a laptop sleeve that’s soft-lined and can easily accommodate a 16-inch laptop (and tablet) or a 17-inch MacBook, quiet and efficient roller wheels unlike the noisy ones that come with most other carry-on bags, and a retractable handle.
Oh, and of course, the most important part — 29 liters worth of storage space to pack in all those things you need, you don’t need and you need but didn’t know you needed for your vacation!
A perfect companion whether you’re using it around campus or from one destination to the other, the Targus Compact Rolling Backpack is all kinds of sleek and functional. The quiet roller wheels and retractable handle ensure that your belongings are carried with the utmost ease and comfort, whereas the soft-lined laptop and tablet pockets ensure that your gadgets are protected against any scratches or bumps.
Spacious as it is, the backpack comes with additional storage space, with separate compartments for different types of belongings, ensuring that you’re at your organizational and efficient best. The two hidden shoulder straps are padded and ensure that carrying the backpack is as comfortable as rolling it along, and the tuck-away wheel cover performs the dual functions of keeping your wheels clean as well as protecting them, when not in use.
Despite the customer complaints, the Targus Compact Rolling Backpack is one of the most comfortable and convenient bags out there, especially thanks to its dedicated laptop and tablet sleeve — a feature that most other bags don’t come with. Whether it’s travel use or usage as a study bag, this backpack ticks all the right boxes.
Do keep in mind the issues you may face if you’re using the bag every day at its full capacity; in such a case, you may have to use it at lesser-than-full capacity and infrequently or for certain kinds of trips only (ones that require light packing or are of short duration).
Best for Long-Term Travel - Osprey Packs Meridian 75-Liter Wheeled Luggage
Another offering from the house of Osprey, one of the premier backpack brands in the world, the Meridian Wheeled Luggage Bag is everything that you’d expect from a brand such as this! At 28 inches, this backpack-cum-wheeled bag is definitely no carry-on baggage but it is super flexible in its use and super comfortable, as well.
The rolling backpack comes with a handy zip-on daypack that seamlessly fits in with the rest of the bag; however, it also functions perfectly well as a backpack on its own. You can either clip it or zip it on (though the former is faster) and unlike the Ozone Convertible offering from the same brand, the strap system in this one is fully detachable, which means that you can lessen the load on your back when necessary.
Perfect for rugged adventures, the Osprey Meridian can adapt to any type of travel; with a superb suspension system that is adjustable as per torso size, mesh back panel and even weight distribution, you’re assured of comfort with every step, regardless of the terrain. You’ll also be at the peak of your efficiency with the multiple compartments in the backpack that allow you to store gear in an organized manner and reach them quickly when required.
As with all Osprey products, the lifetime guarantee seems to negate the high bill you’ll be ringing up on this purchase. The bag may have issues with durability and quality, especially when compared to its predecessors, but is still a super-versatile bag that’s perfect for long-term and frequent travelers and functions just as well on full capacity as it does on half.
Best Convertible - Hypath 2-in-1 Convertible Travel Bag
This 2-in-1 convertible bag is the perfect travel companion, given its airline carry-on approval and versatile uses. With its 2-in-1 solution (meaning 8 possible uses), you’ll not be saving a ton of time avoiding the long baggage check-in and claim lines but also a ton of money by way of baggage fees. Oh, and remember those chunky bracelets and that pair of Adidas that you didn’t need but wanted to pack anyway for your Bahamas vacation and are now leaving behind with a heavy heart?
Well, with the Hypath travel bag, you can pack those in and another pair for good measure! No more debates of packing extra and baggage line vs packing light just to avoid the baggage line.
One of the biggest benefits of the Hypath Travel Bag is its versatility that allows you to pack in all your belongings but avoid paying baggage fees or standing in long lines at baggage claim. The bag strikes the perfect balance between size and spaciousness, being the perfect carry-on size (whichever version of it you choose to use!) but spacious enough to let you pack enough and more! Say hello to carrying the maximum amount of luggage with the maximum ease and comfort!
Whether you’re planning an international trip, a weekend hiking trip or a quick business trip, the Hypath backpack is an ideal travel companion. Additionally, the company seems to actually listen to customer feedback; a fact that reflects in the constant improving and upgrading they do, as is the case with the upgraded wheelbase in this bag that’s stronger, more stable, better looking and ensures that you can roll the bag around smoothly, regardless of the terrain.
The Hypath Travel Bag is a great option for those who travel frequently and appreciate an efficient, versatile bag to carry their belongings in. Whether short or long, the bag’s got your back with its convertibility, durable construction (though you’ll have to keep an eye on the seams) and a price tag that won’t decimate your bank account.
Some users have also complained that the bag is on the heavier side, even without loading it to full capacity. Most complaints, though, center around the bag’s durability, though its functionality goes undoubted and unquestioned even in the not-so-positive reviews! In fact, you’ll be saving quite a bit with this bag by not spending on extra baggage!
The ability to use this bag in 8 different ways (a unique feature that competitors’ offerings lack) is what made this an obvious winner of our “Best Convertible” category.
Why a Wheeled Backpack Is a Must for Busy Travelers
The world of travel bags can be overwhelming to explore. With dozens of styles out there in different shapes and sizes, finding an appropriate one for your needs can be difficult. However, wheeled backpacks are definitely in a league of their own. For many, especially seasoned travelers, it’s simply the cream of the crop; the best and most efficient travel bag one can own.
Traveling can be physically strenuous, but your bag should never cause you added pain. Rolling backpacks save your back by giving you the option of using it as rolling luggage whenever needed. If you restrict yourself to just a backpack, this can take a serious toll on your health if you have to carry it around for a long period of time. Busy travelers also prefer backpacks with wheels because of ease of use particularly in train stations and airports. You’re lucky if you’ve never experienced a mishap with a bag in any of these places, but for the rest of us who are all too familiar with the stress and frustrations it presents, rolling backpacks always save the day.
As you can see from the choices we’ve narrowed down earlier, rolling backpacks also come in a variety of styles and designs. Whether you need a professional-looking model, or a fun and casual design, wheeled backpacks run the gamut. At the end of the day, it still functions perfectly as a versatile travel bag that saves your health, time, and money.
Features to Look for When Choosing a Backpack With Wheels
Wheeled backpacks are essentially rolling luggage that can be converted into a backpack. The premise is simple; but the great thing about them is that they come in many different styles, sizes, designs, and added features that can cater to everyone’s preferences.Here are the features you should be looking out for when shopping for a wheeled backpack:
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best wheeled backpack?
The best wheeled backpack depends on the personal needs of the user. Sturdy swivel wheels, a retractable handle, a carrying handle, a secure closure, and interior and exterior storage compartments should all be featured. A wheeled backpack should also be appropriately sized for the user’s specific needs.
Do college students use rolling backpacks?
Not all college students use rolling backpacks. Some of them do. It depends on the specific needs of the student. For example, a student who has to carry a lot of gear and does not want to be burdened by carrying excessive weight on their person would benefit from using a wheeled backpack.
What is the best rolling backpack for students?
The best rolling backpack for students depends on the age and size of the student. For example, for elementary students, small rolling backpacks would be suitable, while medium-to-large wheeled backpacks could be used by students who are in high school or college. These backpacks should feature a retractable handle that is easy to use, a secure zipper closure, and padded, adjustable straps that will fit the user.
Are rolling backpacks good for kids?
Yes, rolling backpacks can be good for kids; especially children who have a lot of gear to carry. Students, for example, who have heavy books and other equipment to carry would benefit from using a rolling backpack. Additionally, students who have physical limitations would also benefit from these wheeled backpacks.
What are the best wheels on luggage?
The best wheels on luggage depend on the user’s specific needs. There are two main types of luggage wheels, spinner and in-line skate.
Spinner wheels allow wheeled backpacks to move a full 360 degrees and allow the luggage to be pulled, pushed, or carried alongside the user. However, the wheels may not be as durable as in-line skate wheels. In-line skate wheels are highly durable and allow the user to pull the luggage behind them but, the luggage can only be pulled, it cannot be pushed or toted alongside the user.
Therefore, the best wheels depend on the particular needs of the individual using the luggage.
Rolling Backpacks: Versatile Luggage for People on the Move
No other kind of bag can compare to wheeled backpacks when it comes to the flexibility it offers travelers and people who are constantly on the move. It’s a freedom you didn’t know you needed until you give it a try. Seasoned travelers are familiar with the experience of lugging your luggage behind you in a far off land only to have it end on the sidewalk, putting a halt to your momentum. Or perhaps the dread that comes with the realization that you still have to walk some 5 kilometers to get to your destination, knowing that you have 30 liters on your back.
With wheeled backpacks, you no longer have to wish that you had the best of both worlds: rolled luggage and backpacks. Mobility, ergonomics, and convenience blend seamlessly into a model that’s no less than perfect if you’re on the go. Backpacks are great, but backpacks with wheels? Even better.
Like many, once you give a rolling backpack a chance, you may never go back to ordinary travel backpacks or wheeled luggage. Choosing the right one will require some research, as well as a good understanding of how and where you intend to use the bag. Preferences in the features and styles of the best rolling backpacks are very personal in nature, but luckily, there’s one for every need out there. If you value your health, and want to enjoy convenience as much as possible when traveling, wheeled backpacks are your best bet. Trust us, you won’t want to wait until you do go through a mishap while traveling, then regret not getting a wheeled backpack earlier. A rolling backpack is the best investment you can make for your busy lifestyle.