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. Backpacking is done with a backpack!
Yet, sometimes, wouldn’t it be nice to not always look like a backpacker? And let’s be honest, even us real travelers wish that we didn’t have to carry everything on our backs all the time.
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?
Now that I think about it, a backpack with wheels would’ve been useful many times in my travels.
Like that time, I was invited to stay on a superyacht in Croatia and strolled up with my backpack. I did not look like I belonged on the superyacht, and the staff gave me confused looks. It would’ve been nice to have a suitcase option so that I looked a bit classier.
Or 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, a large backpack with wheels, backpacks for girls 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 deep dive into all the details ,here is a comparison chart of my top recommendations for best travel backpack with wheels . 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 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.
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.
Why a hybrid backpack is better than a backpack with no wheels.
A rucksack with wheels provides versatility.
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.
Perfect for traveling in various terrains and situations.
I don’t have to decide if a backpack or a rolling bag is better suited for a trip. 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.
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).
Why a hybrid backpack is worse than a backpack with no wheels.
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.
Solution: Buy compression bags. These bags will help make more space in your bag.
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 internal frames are the best option since this frame is stronger than steel or plastic frames
A lightweight backpack with wheels is ideal.
To Note: There tends to be a tradeoff between being lightweight and being sturdy. It’s essential to weigh all the options and not solely rely on weight.
What to look for:
• Breathable: look for backpacks with a mesh area underneath the padded straps, because this makes it better for hot weather
• Padded: provides more comfort
Having sturdy wheels is essential.
Look for descriptions like “large wheels,” “encased wheels,” or “high chassis” when looking for the best travel backpack with wheels.
The best travel backpack with wheels should be made from Nylon or Cordura since these materials are durable and hold up well.
The brand Kathmandu is known for having cute backpacks with wheels.
Best Travel Backpacks with Wheels Breakdown
The Ultimate Guide
- Facebook travel groups
- 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:
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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: ± $180
The Kathmandu Hybrid Trolley is the perfect weekend bag and prides itself on being comfortable and the lightest backpack with wheels. 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.”
- Compression Straps
- Extendable Handle
- Fits 1 large and 1 small packing cube. [Click here to purchase]
- Durable Wheels
- Lockable Zips
- Internal mesh pocket and front pocket
- Fold-out backpack straps
- 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
- 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.
2. Eagle Creek Expanse International Carry-on Luggage
“This bag is the perfect weekend companion.”
Rating (out of 5): ♦♦♦♦, Price: ± $180
The Eagle Creek Expanse International Carry-on is perfect for quick adventures or the minimalist packer. The bag comes with a lot of extra features like scruff resistant armor, so even if you abuse your bag, it will still look good. Several reviews complain about one flaw that the bag can’t stand upright on its own, but the reviews rave about everything else.
- Bi-Tech Fabric – with maximum abrasion resistance
- Lockable, Self-Repairing Zippers
- Padded Tablet Sleeve
- Expansion zipper for more capacity
- Heavy Duty, Treaded Wheels – for multi-terrains
- External Lash Points – for gear attachment or securing bag to rooftop
- Padded Top Handle
- Deep Top Front Pocket: the front pocket is almost the size of the case itself. There’s also a small zippered side pocket, which is suitable for a laptop or tablet
- Excellent Zippers and Seams: even when the bag is full, the zippers and seams strength are durable
- Lightweight: most reviews mention how lightweight the bag is
- Fits More Than You Think
- Tendency to Fall Forward: This is the number one complaint. The backpack tips over by itself when there is another backpack slid on the extended handle or if the bag is packed to capacity. To fix this issue, pack the heaviest items (i.e., shoes) toward the bottom and put the light things at the top.
- Side Handle is Not Padded
3. Osprey Fairview (W)/Farpoint (M) Wheels 36L
“A lightweight escape.”
Rating (out of 5): ♦♦♦♦♦, Price: ± $240
Although, the Osprey Ozone Convertible 42L bag, which has hundreds of positive reviews claiming it’s the best carry on bag, has stopped production – do not fret! Osprey has introduced two new rolling backpacks, The Fairview Wheels (for women), and Farpoint Wheels (for men), which combine the great features from other bags into one. These products and are the only carry-on travel backpacks with wheels in the Osprey collection. Although there aren’t many reviews, the people who have tried and tested these bags love them. The men’s and women’s version are essienstially the same, yet there might be a slight different shape to the shoulder straps. It comes down to color preference over anything.
- Stowaway Backpack Straps, Backpanel & Hipbelt – the backpack components can be stowed behind a zippered protection panel
- Padded Top and Side Handles
- Top Zippered Pocket – easy access for toiletrie or other small items
- 2 Front Mesh Pockets – for carrying water bottles and other extras
- HighRoad chassis 90 mm Wheels
- Compatible with Osprey Daylite Travel Pack
- Great as a Backpack – the wheels don’t touch your back, so your back stays clean
- High Quality
- Great Organization – added front mesh pockets for water bottle storage (previous Osprey model lacked this)
- Compatible with Daypack – can clip the Osprey daypack to the front, which can be used as a personal item.
- Reasonably Comfortable – the backpack is suitable for walking a couple of hours.
- Too Much Work to Convert from Backpack to Wheeled Bag – reviews claim that it is cumbersome to get the backpack straps in and out.
- Single Stem Handle – after a longtime the bag is uncomfortable to pull
- No Pockets on the Hip Belt – the Farpoint Trek bag has this feature
Best Cheap Backpacks with Wheels
If you are on a budget, then welcome to the right section. Most of the bags on this list are hundreds of dollars, but there are still quality travel backpacks with wheels for <$100.
1. Hynes Eagle Rolling Backpack 42L
“Flight approved weekender bag.”
Rating (out of 5): ♦♦♦♦, Price: ± $90
Before researching the best travel backpacks with wheels for this blog post, I had never heard of the brand, Hynes Eagle. I support the mission of Hynes Eagle because their goal is to create stylish bags, but the functionality remains the priority. The Hynes Eagle 42L has a smart design that keeps a traveler in mind. Some reviews complain about the comfort, so as long as you use it more as a roller bag than a backpack, this is a great inexpensive travel backpack with wheels.
- Front Zip Compartment – has multiple pockets allowing you to store travel essentials
- Roomy Main Compartment – can fit 3 packing cubes and toiletry case
- Exterior Compression Straps
- Detachable Padded Laptop Sleeve – fits up to 17-inch laptop
- Back Wheel Cover – protects your clothes when you wear as a backpack
- Strenum and Waist Straps
- Same Packing Space as a Regular Carry On – the T-shaped handle affords more packing space
- Budget-Airline Compliant Carry-On
- Sturdy Handle, Wheels, and Fabric
- Stays Upright
- Lots of Storage Pockets
- Durable – bag can be dragged through the desert, sandy roads, and cement
- Noisy Wheels – when rolling the bag, the wheels are loud
- Can’t Put Another Bag Over the Handle
- Not Comfortable as a Backpack – straps lack padding and the handle digs into the back
- Organizer Compartment
- Quick Acceess Compartment
- Waterproof Bottom Panel
- Telescoping Handle
- Fully Padded Laptop Compartment
- Carry-On Size
- Fits a Lot Of Stuff
- Tons of Little Pockets
- Uncomfortable Straps
- Handle is Too Low – a 5’8″ man complained that he had to bend over to roll the bag
- Wheels Don’t Rotate
- Can’t Push The Bag – The handle doesn’t lock when you pull it all the way out, so if you want to push the bag you can’t.
Best Large Backpack with Wheels
Although I’m a minimalist, I understand that there are people that like to pack more things, so this section is for you!
People debate between purchasing the Osprey Sojurn 80L or the Deuter Helion 80L when looking for a large travel backpack with wheels. Both of these are top quality products since they are well designed, comfortable, and sturdy, yet there are slight differences, which I discuss in the Pros & Cons of both travel packs with wheels.
80L is the largest hybrid bag since larger bags with wheels seem virtually non-existent.
Osprey is well-known in the backpack world, and the Sojourn does not disappoint. The key features of the bag include all the best deciding factors when choosing a travel pack with wheels. This is a great hybrid bag since Osprey understands how to make a comfortable backpack, which is better than it’s competitors. This backpack with wheels is priced at a premium, but still great value since it is long lasting has has a lifetime guarantee.
- HighRoad Chassis – provides a smooth ride over any service
- Technical Pack Suspension – the mesh back panel and the hip belt keeps you dry in hot climates and provides support
- Zippered Top-Pocket – for small items (this pocket is bigger than the Deuter Helion backpack)
- Dual Straight Jacket Compression Straps – to secure contents and stabilize the load
- Aluminum Peripheral Frame
- Made With 1680 Denier Nylon – the most heavy duty of any bags
- One-Way Wheels
- Detachable Daypack – the extra bag is valued ± $50.
- Organization – lots of room and compartments and quick access
- Accessibility – bag zips all the way down so can access things from the bottom
- Large, Durable and Sturdy Wheels – can roll across cobblestone with no problem
- Comfortable as a Backpack
- Stands Upright
- Awkward Handle for Tall People – handle is too short for tall people
2. Deuter Helion Roller Duffel Travel Backpack 80L
“One part roller duffle. One part backpack. And 100% trusted travel companion.”
Rating (out of 5): ♦♦♦♦, Price: ± $290
The Deuter Helion 80L is a sporty travel pack that looks good and functions just as well as the Osprey Sojourn. Although this bag is large, it still feels light. It’s tough; it’s rough, it’s a Deuter! This bag is slightly cheaper than the Osprey, so if the price is a concern this would be the better option.
- 360-Degree Wheels – easier to drag, but wear out faster
- Sturdy Straps and Hip Belt
- Tiny Pocket At Top – for small documents
- Fixed Padlock Anchor – on side of the bag (Sojourn does not have this)
- Weight – Bigger yet weighs less than the Osprey Sojourn.
- Comfortable as Backpack – because it has a soft base
- Replaceable 360-Degree Wheels
- More Packing Space – larger dimensions than the Sojourn
- Extendable Handle Has 2 Height Adjustments – so works for all heights
- Too Big – This bag has an extra 7 inches in heigh when compared to the Osprey Sojourn, which makes it hard to store in a car.
Best Laptop Backpacks with Wheels
Usually, laptops bags are briefcases, but here are some laptop backpacks with wheels. Have the freedom to take your backpack to school, work, or travel.
The High Sierra Freewheel bag is often used as a school bag since there is space for books and a laptop. It’s a cute backpack with wheels. Most of the reviews are positive, but there are a few people who complain about the wheels. This bag is less expensive than the Kenneth Cole backpack mentioned below, so it’s good value.
- Fits 15″ Laptops
- Multi-Compartment Design – mesh pocket, pen pockets, and media pocket
- Corner Guards and Kick Plate – to protect from abrasion
- Side Beverage Pocket
- Mesh Padded Shoulder Straps
- Triangle Clip – to attach gear
- Quick Transition from Backpack to Rolling Luggage – there is an open pouch where you can store the shoulder straps in, so it takes just seconds to switch between a backpack and roller bag.
- Carry-On Size
- Well Padded Shoulder Straps
- Convenient Pockets – lots of compartments to store items, and the clip inside the smallest compartment for keys is a brilliant idea
- Longevity – The bag lasts for a long time. Several reviewers boast that the bag still looks new after years of use
- Small Size – claims to fit 15″ laptops, but there’s a review stating it does not fit a 15″ HP Spectre laptop
- Outer Pockets – if the bag is completely full then the outside pockets are useless. The bag could also use one more side pocket
- Heavy as a Backpack – the telescope handle and wheels make it heavy, so it’s not great for long distances as a backpack
2. Kenneth Cole Reaction Laptop Backpack
“Bring your business essentials with you without the pain.”
Rating (out of 5): ♦♦♦, Price: ± $100
The Kenneth Cole Reaction Laptop Backpack is a great bag for occasional travel, but not for everyday use. It’s a useful bag for organization since it has many compartments for items like phones, glasses, and all school/business needs. This is one of the least expensive bags on the list and can be used for gaming laptops. The 360-degree wheels provide easy maneuverability, but tend to wear out after a lot of use.
- 4-Wheels – provides 360-degree movement
- Mesh Padded Shoulder Straps
- Laptop and Tablet Compartments – with room for files and other documents
- Fits 17″ Screen Laptops
- Self Repairing Zippers
- Limited Lifetime Warranty
- Carry-On Size
- Sturdy and Well Built
- Looks Classy
- Lots of Internal Pockets – for storage of small items
- Stays Upright – even if you pack the bag with heavy items, the bag will not tip over
- Wheels Aren’t Sturdy – several reviews complain that the wheels need to be more durable
- Top of Laptop Compartment is not Padded
- Not For Everyday Use – the wheels get worn after a lot of use. Several reviews after two months of use the wheels are in bad shape
- Back Wheels Can Break Easily – multiple reviews were claiming that hair and fibers got stuck in the wheels, which made the wheels lock.
Best Travel Duffle Bag 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: ± $140
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.
- 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
- 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
- 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.
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.
- Easy to Pack
- Stands Upright
- Manageable size – Can still lift the bag if it’s full
- Highly Durable
- Easy to Roll
- 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
3. Olympia 8 Pocket Rolling Duffel Bag
“The #1 Best Seller for travel duffle bag on Amazon.”
Rating (out of 5): ♦♦♦♦, Price: ± $40
The Olympia 8 Pocket Rolling Duffel is the cheapest backpack with wheels in this guide, and many people have tried and tested this bag with other 5,000 reviews on Amazon. This bag is a great carry-on option for a week-long vacation.
- 100% Polyester
- 8 Convenient Pockets – for maximum packing and efficient organization
- Push-Button Retractable Handle
- Metal Ball Bearing In-Line Wheels
- Collapsible – for easy storage
- Great Low Price
- Larger Than It Looks
- Tons of Pockets
- Carry-On Size
- Stands Upright
- Handle is Too Short – some complaints of having to bend over to roll the bag
- Wheels Don’t Rotate
- Difficult To Push – the handle doesn’t lock, so if you want to push the bag instead of pull, it’s not possible.
- Not Durable – this bag is not made for rough surfaces. The fabric on the bottom will fall apart after an extended trip (i.e., one month). Bulky items that are packed will stretch the fabric and scrape the bag on the ground
4. High Sierra AT3
“It’s three bags in one!”
Rating (out of 5): ♦♦♦, Price: ± $120
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. I’ve included this bag since it’s the only bag that can be used three ways. 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.
- 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
- 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
- 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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