Best Travel Backpacks with Wheels: The Ultimate Buying Guide

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Best Travel Backpacks with Wheels – Introduction

 In the backpacking community, having a suitcase with wheels is a faux pas. Come on – we all know that real travelers carry all their stuff on their backs, so elements like uneven roads or stairs don’t stop us. It’s easy to put on a backpack and go on a random adventure. Rolling a bag around is for the inexperienced travelers. (I know, I have judged travelers in hostels with a rolling suitcase).

But wait. What if you had luggage with wheels and backpack straps!

Could a hybrid travel backpack with wheels be the best travel bag option for backpackers? Because let’s be honest, even us real travelers sometimes wish that we didn’t have to carry everything on our backs. 

Like that time, I arrived in Tokyo and hopped on a crowded train with my backpack. I knew I hit a few innocent bystanders with my turtle shell (that’s the nickname I give my backpack) while squeezing into the bus. I was too lazy to take my bag off because it would be too much effort to put it back on when I left. Imagine if I had a lightweight backpack with wheels instead! Then I could take off my turtle shell before entering the bus (and not have to worry about hitting anyone), and quickly transition to roll my luggage once I left the bus (with no extra effort).

Why choose between a backpack and a roller bag when you can have both!

I am presenting you the:

Ultimate Guide to the Best Travel Backpacks with Wheels.

In this guide you will find all the best backpacks with wheels, whether you are looking for a weekend bag with wheels, backpacks for girls with wheels, a large backpack with wheels, or any travel bag with wheels – this is an ultimate guide after all.

I have done all the hard work for you!

I have scoured Facebook travel groups, Reddit, TripAdvisor, and Amazon reviews to compile this ultimate list.

By the end of reading this guide, you will have the most information to ensure that you buy the best travel backpack with wheels!

Comparison Guide –

Best Travel Backpack with Wheels 

Before I delve into all details on backpacks with wheels, I wanted to include a comparison chart. This chart gives a quick snapshot of the essential elements to assist in choosing the best backpack with wheels for travel.

Want to know where to buy backpacks with wheels? Amazon! You can find all of these travel bags on Amazon, and I have included a purchase link for each bag to make it as easy as possible for you to buy!

In this chart, I have only included my top recommendations for best travel backpack with wheels. In the full guide that follows, there are more options (as I said, this is the ultimate guide, so I included all the noteworthy backpacks with wheels from my research).  

 

Name

Size

Options

Best

Features

Comfort

(Out of 4)

Price

(Out of 4)

Kathmandu Hybrid Trolley

32L, 50L, 70L

Comfortable to wear as a backpack

Carry-On option

Stylish design

 

♦♦♦♦ $$$

 

 

Pros and Cons 

Of Travel Backpacks on Wheels

The pros and cons of owning a backpack with wheels for adults instead of a regular backpack.

PROS

 Why a hybrid backpack is better than a backpack with no wheels.

Optionality

In almost every aspect of my life, I despise making commitments, (hence – I’ve always been single, I haven’t had a home in the past four years, etc.). A hybrid backpack gives me one less commitment to fear. I don’t have to decide if a backpack or a rolling bag is better suited for a trip. A rucksack with wheels provides versatility. If I’m climbing up stairs or on cobblestone streets, I can put the straps on, and use my bag as a backpack. Or if I want to look more professional when walking into a hotel instead of a hostel, than I can roll my suitcase behind me.  This type of bag is perfect for traveling in various terrains and situations.

Easier in Airports

Whether you have a quick layover or you are 3 hours early to the airport, having a bag with a rolling option makes for a more comfortable airport experience.

Great in Hot Weather

On a hot day, wearing a backpack is a recipe for a sweaty back. Having a rolling bag option keeps you sweat-free!

Better for Walking Long Distances

Carrying a backpack can get tiring, especially on a long walk. Having a backpack with wheels can save money because instead of being tempted to take a taxi, you can roll your bag.

Save Your Back Some Pain! 

I’m getting older and rolling a bag doesn’t sound too bad.

Easier to Squish Into Places Versus a Suitcase

Whether you are packing the trunk of a car or trying to fit your luggage in the overhead on a plane; a backpack with wheels is more manageable than a regular hard suitcase.

Easier Access Than a Backpack 

Backpacks with wheels open like a suitcase, so you don’t have to struggle to find all your clothes. (Unlike most backpacks, where you can only access items from the top). 

CONS

Why a hybrid backpack is worse than a backpack with no wheels.

Heavier

The wheels make it weigh more.

Solution: Roll it if it’s too heavy!

Less Packing Space

The storage compartment for the wheels takes valuable packing space wheels make it weigh more.

SolutionBuy compression bags. These bags will help make more space in your bag.

Click here for my compression bag recommendation.

Less Comfort

Wheels can be a pain and aren’t as comfortable as a regular backpack.

What To Look For 

When Buying The Best Travel Backpack with Wheels

There are several factors to consider when selecting the best backpack with wheels.

Aluminum interanal frames are good since they are typicaly stronger than stampted steel or plastic frames

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Best Travel Backpacks with Wheels Breakdown 

The Ultimate Guide

Ok, we have weighed the pro’s & cons and discussed the deciding factors. Now it’s time to get to the nitty-gritty and list all the options so you can purchase the best backpack with wheels.

I have done all the dirty work to compile this ultimate list. I have searched hundreds of reviews from:

 

  • Facebook travel groups
  • Reddit
  • TripAdvisor Threads
  • Lonely Planet Threads
  • Amazon reviews
  • Reviews from the company website
  • And more!

There is no need to look elsewhere!

I’ve organized the backpacks into different groups. Click on the hyperlinks below to go to the section that best suits your needs:

By Brand

  • Jansport Backpacks with Wheels
  • Samsonite Backpacks with Wheels
  • Kipling Backpacks with Wheels
  • J World Backpacks Wheels
  • Osprey Backpacks with Wheels

Want a Free $10?

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Rakuten Marketing is a cashback site, so you can earn money while you shop online at popular stores. After reading this guide, I hope you are convinced to buy a travel backpack with wheels. (Stores with cashback include Patagonia, REI, backcountry, etc). 

Make sure to sign-up for an account, so you can get $10 off the best travel backpack with wheels.

I’ll label products that are eligible for cashback savings with Rakuten throughout this guide.

Best Carry On Backpack with Wheels

Carry-on luggage + backpack with wheels =  a beautiful combination. My travel style is carry-on only since I despise waiting for checked baggage, so I think it’s appropriate to start this guide with the best carry on backpacks with wheels.

1. Kathmandu Hybrid 32L Trolley

“Perfect carry-on bag. It’s a lighthaul on wheels.”

Rating (out of 5): ♦♦♦♦♦, Price: $$

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The Kathmandu Hybrid Trolley is the perfect weekend bag and prides itself on being lightweight and comfortable. The reviews consistently state that this bag went above expectations since it is easy to wheel and better than a straight out backpack. There’s also a 50L and 70L version that are all highly recommended. 

You can read on their website that:

 “After a decade and a half of design evolution, the hugely popular Hybrid Trolley is better than ever. We went through every tiny detail of the bag to strip out weight without compromising strength. Where we took out weight, we added in comfort to make it our most comfortable, lightweight Hybrid yet. We improved the harness, and we updated the look. Rugged, durable, and good-looking with no extra weight, this is the bag you’ll take everywhere.”

KEY FEATURES

    • Durable Wheels
    • Lockable Zips
    • Internal mesh pocket and front pocket
    • Fold-out backpack straps

PROS

  • Budget Airline Friendly – easily fits as a carry-on for budget airlines like Ryanair and Easyjet
  • Comfortable as a Backpack   
  • Smart and Colorful Design – several reviews mention that people compliment the design of the bag. Straps are comfortable and easy to clip and unclip
  • Light and Robust – the most common words used when people reviewed this backpack with wheels
  • Great For a Day Hike – the backpack is easy to wear 
  • Durable – one user claims that there is no sign of wear after dragging this bag over trails, streets, gravel dirt for 3 years

CONS

  • Slight instability – while sitting on its base. If you pack heavy things in the back than it will stay upright. 
  • Not Enough Pockets – when the backpack is full the front pocket isn’t practical. The bag could also use some smaller pockets to store items like phones, wallets, etc. 
  • Front Opening Doesn’t Open Fully – which makes packing slightly harder. 

Best Travel Duffle Bag with Wheels

Although not necessarily a backpack, carrying a duffle bag is convenient like a backpack, so here are a few options for travel duffel bags with wheels.
1. Eagle Creek No Matter What Rolling Duffle – Large

“A great lightweight bag that can hold up to 105L.”

Rating (out of 5): ♦♦♦, Price: $$

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Worried about splashes from a boat ride or leaving your bag in the rain? No need to since the Eagle Creek No Matter What Rolling Duffle is made with water-repellant bi-tech fabric. The treaded wheels maneuver easily through unpaved, bumpy, or muddy surfaces.

KEY FEATURES

    • Useful Compression Straps
    • Front Zipper Pocket – for quick stash items
    • Lifetime Warranty
    • 105L Capacity (The extra-large version has 128L capacity)
    • Abrasion Resistant and Weatherproof
    • Treaded Wheels

PROS

  • Water-Repellent Bi-Tech Fabric
  • Extra Durability – will last through rough & tough, and rain or shine (hence the name – “No Matter What”) 
  • Low Weight – Weighs < 5 lbs, which gives room to the 50 lb checked luggage limit
  • Huge Capacity
  • Easy Storage – no internal frame so the bag folds up compactly and can be stored inside the provided stuff stack

CONS

  • No Structure – makes it harder for pulling. Some users have a lot of trouble, while others are able to easily roll the bag. It is recommended to fill the bag completely so it rolls easier.
  • Does Not Stand Vertical – Bag won’t stand up vertically on it’s own.
2. Patagonia Black Hole Wheeled Duffel – 70L

“It’s called a black hole because it always fits more than you’d expect.”

Rating (out of 5): ♦♦♦, Price: $$$

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The Patagonia Black Hole Wheeled Duffel is an excellent bag for a nomad or someone who works on yachts or sailboats. It is water-resistant and a soft bag that can hold a lot, although it does not collapse to be completely flat.  This duffle is not cheap and is priced higher than the Eagle Creek duffle, but the bag is versatile. With a robust frame and handle and it’s burly fabric, this wheeled duffle should last many years through rough adventures. 

PROS

  • Water-Resistant
  • Easy to Pack
  • Stands Upright 
  • Manageable size – Can still lift the bag if it’s full
  • Highly Durable
  • Easy to Roll

CONS

  • Needs More Protection on the Bottom – Several reviews complain about ripped corners when the bag is checked on flights
  • Not Enough Pockets
  • Heavy – weighs 7.2 lbs 
  • Expensive
3. High Sierra AT3

“It’s three bags in one!”

Rating (out of 5): ♦♦♦, Price: $$

The AT3 Drop Bottom Wheeled bag provides optionality since it is three bags in one! It can be used as a roller bag, a duffle bag, or uncover the backpack straps and wear it as a backpack. The reviews are split – half the people love this bag, and the other half hate this bag because it fell apart after little use.  This bag is marketed towards men.

KEY FEATURES

  • 3 Bags In 1 – converts from a wheeled bag, to a duffle, to a backpack
  • Large Main Compartment
  • Front-Load Access
  • Hidden Backpack-Straps -behind the zipper padded back panel
  • Flexible Storage Compartments – The main compartment expands 2 inches for additional capacity. Shoes can be stored in a drop-bottom lower compartment

PROS

  • Versatility – depending on the situation, it can be used as a wheeled bag, duffle, or backpack
  • Easy to Organize – Lots of useful pockets
  • Bottom Zipped Compartment – separated compartment than can hold a lot of clothes or shoes

CONS

  • Construction Issues – Several reviews about poor consturction with zippers and handles ripping off. 
  • Short Life – bag falls apart after multiple uses. 
  • Heavy – weighs 7.2 lbs 

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