Highest Rated Wheeled (Rolling) Travel Backpacks

Save your back and travel with ease and comfort with the added benefit of versatility. Those are just some benefits of having a carryon that you can wear on your back or drag around with you on wheels.

If you're looking for information to help you find the best backpack for your travels that has wheels and can be rolled around, here's what we've reviewed to help you decide. This list of carryon bags with shoulder straps includes all of the best features of each product with descriptions and tips so you don't have to spend extra time trying to figure out which one will work for you.

backpack with wheels for travel

If you are short on time and just want us to give you one bag suggestion, we'd say that you should pick the Osprey 45-Liter Sojourn Wheeled Bag. Though the price tag is on the higher side, the quality, spaciousness, durability, and functionality go above and beyond to provide the best for travelers.

Keep reading our reviews below so you can learn more about some great rolling backpack options and their offerings in more detail or glance at the table below to get a general idea quickly.

Size (inches)

Weight (lb)

Water Resistant

Laptop Sleeve

#of compartments

High Sierra Adventure Access

9x22x13.5

6.5

No

No

3

High Sierra Freewheel

20.5x8x3.5 

5.31

No

Yes

4

AOKING 20/22

8.7x13x18.5

5.3

Yes

Yes

4

Osprey Sojourn

22x14x9

7.93

No

No


2

Kipling Alcatraz Solid

8.5x18x16.2

5.6

Yes

Yes

4

Gonex Multifunction

20x14x9

5.15

Yes

Yes

3

Buyers Guide For Wheeled Travel Backpacks​

Look For Something That Offers Compartments

When on the road, whether for pleasure or business, it's helpful when your luggage provides different areas of storage to help you keep your items organized. Even if you're a student (on a study abroad program, for example), you'll appreciate having specific locations for your things so you can access them easily and quickly.

Think about how important it is to you to have separate pockets for all the things you need to take along with you. For instance, will you need to carry your laptop inside? IF so, the sleeve might be the factor for your choice. As you read the reviews and check out the rucksacks below this factor may play a key role in your decision making process.

lightweight backpack with wheels - roll in airport

Pick one that is Lightweight and Effortless to Pull Around

Other significant characteristics of this type of gear include how easily the wheels roll on surfaces along with how much they weigh you down if you are bearing them on your back.

You'll want to make sure the wheels spin smooth with minimal noise and friction on various types of surfaces, otherwise you may have to load them up at times when you really prefer not to. After all, the reason you're purchasing a rolling backpack is to have the option of not having it weigh you down when you get tired.

Speaking of weighing you down, there needs to be a balance of having a light product that is also made with quality, sturdy materials.

carrying bag on your back with option to roll for travel

Having a bag that doesn't come with a lot of its own weight makes it easier on your body as well as giving you the benefit of potentially loading it up more.

Durability and Design Should Also Be Considerations

In a nutshell, we would recommend keeping in mind a major factor: the materials that are used to make the product. It cannot just be a backpack, it needs to withstand the test that travel can sometimes present.

If the wheels are flimsy and either get stuck a lot or create any kind of hassle, it would defeat the purpose of purchasing somethings that should give you flexibility to decide how to take it around with yourself. The multifunctionality of such an item is what makes it more expensive, so it is important to make sure that the value is also there.

There is also the question of who will be using it and where? If you want to be able to fit it easily on the plane with you, you will have make sure that is doesn't bulge out and become too bulky once your things are packed inside. You'll want to look at the structure of the piece to make sure it will fit your needs.

Some of these products are catered to those who are style conscious. If you like to be able to make your purchase with a more personalized touch, you may want to look at a rolling backpack that is offered in different colors and designs or one that lets you have more customization over the look.

reviewing the top rucksacks that have wheels

Why You Should Buy A Wheeled Rucksack?

Here's the thing: you can certainly fit more into a traditional suitcase. Depending on where you are traveling to and for how long, you might need the room. One thing in particular to note about a large suitcase is that you will most likely have to check it in with the airline. If paying the fee for a checked item is not a big deal to you and you need the room, a suitcase might be for you.

What if you want to save money, travel to multiple destinations on smaller airlines, and are packing light? Well, this is where you really should should consider a smaller, carryon type of luggage. 

  • No more dishing out cash because you want to take your things from one country to another, just carry them on at no charge!
  • Best of all, you're ready to start your adventure immediately after landing since you will not have to wait for the luggage carousel to deliver your bag!
  • The ergonomics alone can be a lifesaver on your trip. Having the ability to go around with your things in different terrain and distances provides the next level mobility that traditional bags will not have.
  • Lighter load to ensure you only take the essentials and not overpack.
  • Easy access to your belongings thanks to smaller pockets and storage areas.
best wheeled backpack carry on - bin of airplane

Top 6 Rolling Travel Bags & Backpack Reviews

Osprey Sojourn 

You'll love this one if you think you may need to carry your bag for long periods of time. The highlight of this piece is the Anti-Gravity inspired suspension system and shoulder straps (and hip belt). These amazing features allow it to convert easily and give you the ultimate comfort and support but can also be removed for more space. Distribution of your load with this design is a huge benefit!

Having this one on your back is made more comfortable with the wide mesh area on the side of the bag that goes against your back. The breathability and ventilated material helps keep you cool and less fatigued.

A rate aspect of this product is the option to adjust the torso length, making it more customized for you!

When you're ready to put this baby down, everything tucks away easily and cleanly, so you won't have to worry about the straps flapping around.

You'll get more lots of compression straps inside. The durable material that make them allows you to singe them down and get the security you need to pull in all the gear you store inside. Lots of support for your belongings inside means your things will stay in place, nice and organized and the load is stabilized.

There are mesh zippered areas on the top "lid" as well as the sides that give you the option to choose how you want to organize your things inside the main compartment.

a few other things to love:

  • Adjustability at two different lengths on the handle make it great for the tall or shorter traveller to zip around with.
  • Quick and easy access to important documents, toiletries and gear in the zippered top pocket
  • Padded grab handles make it easy to pick up and load into the overhead bin on a plane or car trunk.
  • Daisy chain loops to attach and carry even more with you!
  • Durable frame with soft sides.
  • To sum it up, we recommend this one for a light load because you can easily pack in a lot in all the room it gives you. It's easy to roll over rough terrain with high wheels (more clearance) and is fitted with a comfortable rolling handle with two bars that give it more stability than having just one.   

    Size: 45L/22”

    Materials: Nylon with aluminum frame

    Best For: lighter loads, 3-10 day trips, those who travel frequently

    High Sierra Adventure Access

    Removable day pack with shoulder straps and adjustable. compression straps and storage in the mesh top lid. Ability to take off the front portion if some cabin bins don't fit it properly top zips off to tuck under your seat and the backpack part goes in the overhead compartment.. Lots of compartments on the front portion for easy access. Smooth wheels that are not noisy. Multipurpose and versatile.  Main bag also has a front flat zipper pouch that is hidden under the daypack when zipped on, but not a bad place for document folders. Zipper attaching the two has not been great for some. zippers could be more robust. Grip handle on top and side make it easy to lift up.

  • It's 3 bags in one! Use it as a wheeled bag, as a backpack or as a daypack
  • Main compartment with book-style opening and interior clothing straps
  • Hidden padded backpack straps are stored behind the zippered padded back panel
  • Removable front daypack with zippered accessory pocket for side trips
  • Corner mounted inline skate-style wheel
  • Kipling Alcatraz Solid 

    If design and intuitively placed pockets are a big deal for you when reviewing wheeled carryons, the Kipling Alcatraz might be the one for you.

    This is a great rolling bag for school, work, or travel.

    It is made of water resistance crinkle nylon, provides a 15" laptop sleeve and secure buckle closure.

    • Size: 27L/18”
    • Materials: water resistance crinkle nylon
    • Best For: Day trips, travel through Europe and southeast Asia with laptop, and studying abroad
    • Best for: those who want to personalize it with their own style

    You will have the ease of wheels or option of wearing the Alcatraz as a backpack and keep your hands free. The shoulder pads can be tucked away if you tire of having it on you. All you have to do is extend the retractable and you're off!

    You can customize yours to show off your style and make it own with your choice of colors and design, as well as the Kipling monkey keychain! 

    High Sierra Freewheel

    The top features of this one come from the big, multi-compartment design. It has a zippered mesh pocket, pen pockets, lidded media pocket (with headphone port) and key fob hook. All of these contribute to keeping all of your smaller items secure and organized.

  • padded laptop sleeve that can fit a laptop up to 15"
  • Exterior pockets with organizational slots to keep things neat
  • Side beverage pocket
  • Padded and adjustable straps
  • Single pole telescoping handle - one height
  • Corner mounted wheels for a smooth roll
  • This is a great product with good value for the price. With all you get there are even more small benefits like the reflective accents that help get it notices in the dark and the triangle clip for attaching extra gear. With the corner guards and a kick plate protecting the bag from abrasion, you know you will be able to keep it in better shape longer.

    • Size: 34.5L/13.5”
    • Materials: Ripstop Duralite fabric with a special water resistant coating 
    • Best For: 1-2 week trips with multiple destinations, train rides, Thailand island hopping, frequent travelers

    Gonex Multifunction

    This is another option with water repellent fabric. If you think you might be traveling with your rolling bag in areas where it might have the chance of getting a bit wet, keep this one in mind.

    One of the cool things on the Gonex Multifunction is that the wheels can be taken off when you are not rolling it. Some might consider this a great feature for keeping your clothes from getting any debris from the wheels when you decide to put it on your shoulders.

    • Size: 20”
    • Materials: nylon fabric
    •  Best For: This is a great bag for just about anyone. It would make a perfect gift for travel lovers! it has a sleek, streamline design that makes it attractive to any age traveler! 

    With a bigger laptop area than the other reviews here, and three compartments, the organization factor is pretty good! This is another adaptable sack that can help you get your things to work, school, or on your travels. 

    Pack this baby well (using the great compartments) and you might find that is can easily hold enough clothes for a week of traveling. The size is great for fitting into the overhead compartment on a plane and is sturdy and efficient.

    AOKING 20/22 Inch

    If keeping your clothes clean from the dirt that may transfer from the wheels being on your back, then the AOKING is another great one to look into. They provide a hidden wheel cover pocket to take care of that! The straps also tuck away to add to the clean look.

    The AOKING also comes with a padded laptop and iPad Compartment. But it doesn't end there. They also give you pockets for your notebook, cellphone, power bank, etc.

    Other properties of this item to note:

    • Hideaway Telescoping Aluminium Alloy Handle
    • Quiet Rubber Wheels
    • Size: 20” or 22"
    • Materials: Polyester Fabric
    •  Best For: Terrain that may me rough and challenging. Those looking for something made of lasting materials will appreciate how much this thing can handle!

    Conclusion

    Hopefully, our reviews here have helped you decide which is the best rolling backpack for your next travels. There are a lot of cool features that are unique to each product but they all provide the option to switch up the functionality. Having a luggage piece that can easily adapt to your travel needs AND give you lots of space for your gear and clothing is ultimately the key. However, what you decide to carry with you and how you like to set it up can also play a role in your pick for the bag that you'll take on your next trip with you! 

    FAQ From Customers

    • What is a rolling bag?

    A rolling bag is a piece of luggage which has wheels attached on one side which make it possible to drag around easily with the use of a handle.

    • Getting a backpack vs roller bag. What are the pros and cons?

    Simply having a good carryon backpack is not a bad thing, particularly when you know that your travels and adventures will take you on difficult terrain. With a sack that doesn't rely on being on the ground, you wont have to worry about walking over mud, sand, or a lot of stairs. 

    Having said that, a suitcase with wheels can have it's own benefits when you have a heavier load and don't want the  fatigued from having the weight on your shoulders. 

    • Which type of backpack is suitable for traveling through Europe?

    One of the most cost saving things you can do if you're flying around and visiting different countries in Europe, is to have only a carryon with you. Smaller budget airlines tend to charge a hefty fee for checking in your luggage. Being able to have something that fits in an overhead bin is not only easy and convenient, but budget savvy!

    Generally, you can easily pull your bag around in Europe, but some buildings may not have stairs or elevators so it's nice to have something with an option to carry it up easily. Handles are one thing, but shoulder straps even the weight on your back and give you a way better carrying experience!

    • What would be a good backpack or suitcase for travel to Southeast Asia and places like Thailand?

    We think that while typically travelers will put their belongings in huge rucksack that they can load on themselves, it would be way more convenient to have a piece with the option to drag on the ground when needed.

    A lot of countries in Southeast Asia, including Thailand, will have very modern areas that will allow you to roll your luggage smoothly, but there may be a lot of instances (especially if you choose to get outside of the cities) where you will have a hard time doing that with the uneven surfaces. 

    Not having to pack a heavy load for those places with warm weather also makes it easy to go with just a carryon, even for two weeks! We would definitely take a rolling small rucksack on our trips to Thailand.

    Sources

    https://www.tsa.gov/blog/2018/05/16/tsas-5-essential-summer-travel-tips

    https://www.imse.iastate.edu/files/2014/03/EagleZoe-thesis.pdf


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    Taiss Nowrouzi

    About the Author

    Taiss Nowrouzi

    Hi! I'm just a California girl addicted to travel and adventure with a passion for art and dance on the side. Born in Iran, but I consider myself a citizen of Earth, adhering to the belief that "The world is but one country and mankind its citizen." I strive to make a positive impact on everyone I meet and learn as much as possible from them. My degree out of college is in Marketing. However, I entered the hospitality business at an early age and worked my way up to hotel management. After about 13 years in that industry (5 of which I was a hotel assistant manager), I made the decision to move to Thailand and leave the 9 to 5 grind behind. My husband and I set off for a life of living abroad and hopes to continue traveling the world, just 3 months after our wedding. It all started with the two of us, along with our cat, together in Thailand. Can't wait to see where life takes us next!

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