Wheeled backpacks are a must for people who always carry a lot of heavy gear. They tremendously help avoid pain your back, when you’re carrying 30lbs+ of gear everyday.
But with so many different options, how do you know which backpacks are right to buy? Only by doing a lot of research, which is exactly what we did so you didn’t have to! Even if you end up buying a rolling duffel bag!
At A Glance: Our Top 3 Picks for Wheeled Backpack
So, in the rest of this review you will only see the best of the best wheeled backpacks, with options for all different budgets!
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Best Travel Backpack With Wheels
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Best Everyday Backpack
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The Ambor rolling backpack is one of the best affordable options. It’s a great EDC bag, with multiple compartments and pockets that allow you to organize all of your belongings. And it actually has a really spacious compartment that can fit enough clothes for shorter trips.
The bag features a padded laptop sleeve, which can fit most 15” laptops. And there’s also a tablet sleeve attached to the laptop pocket, so all your tech can be safely tucked away in the same place. On top of that, the Ambor wheeled backpack also features two additional external compartments that are great for any of your travel gear you want to have more easily accessible.
There’s an extra tablet sleeve in the frontmost compartment, as well as entire organizer panel for all your smaller necessities. The other external compartment does not have any extra pockets inside, and it’s large enough to fit notebooks, magazines and files.
The pack is equipped with rubber in-line skate wheels that roll quite smoothly. The wheel handle is made from aluminum, so it’s very sturdy and lightweight. It’s a single barrel handle, so it really doesn’t protrude inside the actual backpack compartment that much.
You can easily switch this from a wheeled backpack to a normal backpack. The shoulder straps are stowable, and there is a padded cover that goes over the wheels. However, the straps themselves are quite thin, and there’s no ventilation on the harness or the backpanel, so it’s not going to be the most comfortable to carry on your back.
If you’re looking for the top the of the line travel backpack, Osprey Sojourn is the bag for you. It is a pricey bag, but it’s worth every single penny. This wheeled backpack is made from 1680D Ballistic Nylon, a material of excellent durability and water resistance.
The Sojourn features a spacious packing space, with several zippered pockets inside. The total capacity of the backpack is 45 liters, so it can just as much stuff as a smaller suitcase. But, unlike a suitcase, the Sojourn has multiple external pockets, attachment points and compression straps.
This pack also has top, bottom and side grab handles for effortless picking up. I especially like the bottom grab handle – it lets you pick up the bag with both hands, so you can easily place it in the overhead compartment on airplanes. Plus, the bottom handle also acts as a stopper, and ensures that the backpack doesn’t tip over when it is fully packed.
The thing we love about the Sojourn is that both the backpanel and the harness are padded and ventilated. Meaning that you will be comfortable even when you’re carrying the backpack on your shoulders. Especially since it has a sternum strap and a padded hip belt, which let you transfer the load of the pack away from your shoulders and onto your hips.
A downside of this backpack is that it does not have a dedicated laptop pocket. Sure, you can fit pretty much any device inside the actual bag, but it lacks the convenience of a TSA friendly bag.
Note: The Osprey Merdian is a very travel backpack with wheels that you might also want to take a look at.
This wheeled backpack has two in-line skate wheels and an aluminum wheel handle for smooth rolling. Its shoulder straps are contoured and with thick padding, and there is a cover that you can put over the wheels so they don’t touch your back directly.
The thing I really like about this backpack is that it can fit even 17” laptops in the designated compartment. And you will still have plenty of space for other items, since the backpack has multiple internal and external compartments, including one with an organizer panel.
A downside of the pack is that there’s not really enough space between the bottom of the bag and the ground, which could cause rips and tears in the fabric. Even though nylon is a sturdy material, it’s not strong enough to endure being dragged on concrete.
But smooth floors of the airport, school and and the office shouldn’t do any damage to the pack. To make your backpack last as long as possible, be very careful how you roll it and try not to overfill it.
One thing to note is that not all of the colors are the exact same size. I listed the specs for the black Samsonite wheeled backpack; the purple and red packs are slightly smaller.
High Sierra is known for making high quality outdoor gear, and this backpack is no exception. It is made from ripstop and tech-weave Duralite fabric, with an additional water-resistant coatingthat will protect your tech in rainy weather. But, the zippers aren’t exactly water resistant and water can leak through them – keep that in mind if you get caught in a heavy downpour.
The XBT travel bag features corner mounted wheels and a double-barrel telescoping handle. Frankly, I’m not a huge fan of the double-barrel handle, as it takes up more space within the actual bag. But that’s more of a personal preference than an actual downside of the bag.
The thing I love about this pack is that it has several compartments that allow for easy organization. There’s a dedicated laptop sleeve that can easily fit 17” devices, as well as a smaller tablet sleeve. And that’s on top of the spacious packing space and multiple external pockets, one of which has an organizer panel. Additionally, one of the pockets is lined with micro-fleece to protect your phone or sunglasses from scratches.
This laptop backpack has external compression straps, which will come in handy when it’s not entirely full. They allow you to cinch in the bag and make it more compact, in order to prevent its contents from shifting around.
Last but not least, there are the two padded shoulder straps. They are quite comfortable, but because of the lack of hipbelt, sternum strap and breathable mesh on the backpanel, I would not necessarily recommend this pack if you’re more interested in carrying it on your shoulders than rolling it around.
The Aoking backpack is definitely one of my favorites, due to the really large wheels. Their size lets you casually roll them up and down the stairs, without worrying that you’ll rip one of the wheels off or damage your backpack. And that’s perfect for us lazy folks, that sometimes just can’t be bothered to pick up our luggage.
This travel bag is available in two sizes, an 18” version and a 20” one. I will list the specs of both sizes below, so you know exactly what to expect.
Another thing I really like about it is that it comes with a detachable cover for the wheels. It will protect you from getting first or water on your clothes, and since it is detachable, it’s super easy to wash it after use.
And there’s more. With thick padding and ventilation on both the backpanel and harness, you will be able to carry this pack comfortably on your back. When you’re just rolling it, you can tuck away the shoulder straps so they don’t get caught on the huge wheels.
This pack has a spacious packing space with a laptop pocket (fits 17” devices), a smaller front compartment with an organizer panel and one zippered external pocket. Because the wheels of the bag are so big, there really isn’t space for side water bottle pockets.
If you’re looking for a really spacious bag for travel, this isn’t the wheeled backpack for you. But if you just want a premium bag for everyday activities, then this is right up your alley.
Tumi Merge is the rolling backpack we recommend for those of you that looking for a luxury option. Even though I don’t necessarily agree with the sky high price tag, I can’t deny that this is a premium bag, perfect for those that frequently travel for business. It’s made from tough ballistic nylon, with an aircraft grade aluminum wheel handle.
The great thing about this wheeled backpack is that it is small enough to fit under the sit even on smaller jets.This pretty much guarantees you will always be able to carry it on an airplane, and avoid checked baggage fees.
The bag opens up like a suitcase, to reveal a very spacious packing space with one zippered pocket and two slip pockets. There are internal compression straps to keep all your clothes in place, but no external straps to cinch the pack when it’s not full.
The shoulder straps are detachable, and can be tucked away when you’re rolling the bag.And when you’re carrying it, you can use the cover to protect your clothes from the dirty in-line skate wheels.
In addition to that spacious packing space, the Tumi Merge wheeled backpack also features a 15” laptop pocket, a dedicated iPad sleeve, and four a total of four external pockets for any smaller items you would like to have handy while travelling.
On top of that, this bag is part of the Tumi Tracer program. That means that it has a unique barcode, which can help you track down the bag in case it ever gets lots. Very useful, especially considering the high price point.
The Wenger wheeled backpack is one of the most versatile options out there. It works great as both an EDC backpack and a travel backpack, which is why it’s one of our favorites. The spacious main compartment can fit quite a lot of items, whether you’re looking to fill it with books or clothes.
And one of the reasons why we love it so much is the backpanel. There’s no messing around with the Synergy pack – with thick padding and high quality breathable mesh all over the backpanel and harness, this will be as comfortable as any regular backpack.
It is also going to be easy to roll around, due to the high quality, smooth wheels and the retractable wheel handle.
When you look at the interior of the pack, it only gets better. It has a triple padded 16” laptop sleeve, as well as 13” tablet sleeve. Which means that you could technically fit a bigger and a smaller laptop inside the bag.
And that is just one compartment. The Synergy rolling backpack has multiple other zippered compartments and pockets – I counted at least seven external ones. Plus, there are stretch side pockets that can fit smaller items, including a standard water bottle.
The Wenger backpack kind of seems too good to be true – I bet you’re wondering what’s the catch. And there really isn’t one, other than the high price point that might be off-putting for some people. But it’s nowhere near as expensive as the Osprey or Tumi packs, and I honestly think the price is fair, considering everything you’re getting for your money.
All in all, a worthy selection from a great range of travel backpacks
The Targus backpack is a great option for those of you that are looking for an affordable bag. There are two versions of the bag, and keep in mind that everything I tell you here only applies to the 16” laptop sbackpack.
This rolling backpack is made from durable polyester, with a neoprene grab handle. Polyester is a good material for luggage, but it’s not quite as durable or water resistant as nylon. So, the lower price point actually makes perfect sense.
This bag features thick padding in the backpanel, and breathable mesh in the inside of the shoulder straps. Unfortunately, there’s no ventilation on the backpanel, so it’s not going to be the most comfortable backpack to carry on your shoulders during hot summer days. But it has wheels and a wheel handle, so you can always just roll it around everywhere.
And when you want to make use of the in-line skate wheels and the retractable wheel handle, you should tuck away the shoulder straps so they don’t get in the way. You should also make sure to put the cover over the wheels, so that they don’t get in direct contact with your clothes.
There’s a dedicated laptop compartment that fits 16” devices, as well as a smaller tablet sleeve. In fact, the laptop compartment can even fit 17” MacBooks, but not other computer brands.
In addition to the spacious main compartment, the Targus backpack also has a small scratch-free zippered pocket, a front compartment with an organizer panel, a zippered side pocket and a stretch water bottle pocket.
The only downside of the pack is that it’s pretty small. With a capacity of only 29 liters it’s not the best choice if you’re looking to replace a carry on suitcase.
Olympia makes some decent affordable luggage, and their Cascade backpack is a good choice if you’re on a budget. It is made from jacquard polyester, a sturdy material with good tear resistance.
It opens up like a suitcase, which allows for easy packing. The main compartment of the pack is very spacious, with tie-down straps that will keep all your clothes in place. And the large mesh pocket inside this compartment is great for any smaller items you want to keep separate.
The thing that is great about this backpack is that is has expandable capacity. This is actually the only pack in this review that has this feature – if that’s something you were hoping to have, then you shouldn’t look further than the Cascade.
This backpack is also equipped with several external compartments, zippered pockets, compression straps and grab handles. One of the grab handles actually doubles as a daisy chain attachment point, allowing you to attach anything you want to it with a carabiner.
The Cascade is overall a pretty good bag, but it has some serious downsides. For one, it’s lacking a dedicated laptop compartment. Sure, you can fit a laptop inside the bag, but you’ll have to put it in your own sleeve, if you want to keep it protected. The lack of padding is also evident in the shoulder straps, so it’s not going to be the most comfortable pack to wear.
The wheel handle of this Olympia backpack is not the sturdiest. It’s kind of flimsy, especially when fully extended. If you don’t take proper care of it, there’s a really good chance it will break off.
The Skymove rolling backpack is another great affordable option. It is made from 1200D oxford fabric, with a multi-stage aluminum alloy wheel handle.Unlike most other backpacks you’ve seen here so far, the handle of this backpack can’t be completely hidden. Instead, it’s more similar to a suitcase handle.
I really like that the manufacturer openly stated that this pack is not suitable for people who are taller than six feet, because the handle can’t extend enough. It’s much better to know these things in advance, so you avoid buying a wheeled backpack that you can’t actually wheel around.
The main compartment of this pack opens up just like it would on a regular backpack, and it is really spacious. It has a laptop compartment inside, which can fit devices up to 14”. There’s also an external front compartment with a couple of pockets inside, but unfortunately there’s not a proper organizer panel.
When it comes to world-class luggage, Eagle Creek’s name pops up almost every time. You might know them more for their packing cubes or other travel accessories, but this wheeled backpack is also topnotch!
They have used extremely durable material to ensure the logevity of this bacpkack – it’s called Bi-Tech Armor fabric and consists of both 420D Polyester and 300D diamond ripstop poly. And it’s designed to hide scuffs, which is great for the long-term traveler who wants to keep this one for a while.
There are also corner protectors and a recessed wheel housing to ensure those durable rollers keep rolling for years to come.
The backpack functionality is also very handy as it zips off for the times when you just don’t need it on a trip. However, when you are using it, they give you padded shoulder straps to carry this thing in comfort.
Eagle Creek certainly have not forgotten about your laptop either as they offer a secure padded laptop sleeve to keep it safe. And the lockable zippers with a central securing point are right on point for today’s anti-theft backpacks.
Are you looking to get a wheeled backpack for travel or as an EDC backpack?
If you’re looking for a bag specifically for travel, then look at backpacks that open up like suitcases. This is going to make packing a lot easier, and it will actually allow you to fit more clothes inside the bag.
In addition to that, if you want a carry on wheeled backpack, be sure to check the exact dimensions of the bags. Not all of the packs I’ve showed you here are small enough to be carry ons, so it’s best to double-check everything to avoid any surprises.
On the other hand, wheeled backpacks that are great for everyday use will actually have several smaller compartments. This is great for organization, especially for people who carry a lot of stuff in their bags – laptops, chargers, notebooks, files and folders etc.
I showed you both types of backpacks in this review, and it’s pretty easy to tell them apart.
Even though we’re talking about wheeled backpacks, carrying comfort is still very important. Sometimes you’ll have to carry it on your shoulders, and in those instances you want to be as comfortable as you would be with a normal backpack.
Which means no wheels poking you in the back, adjustable shoulder straps, padded backpanel and some sort of protection between the wheels of the pack and your clothes. There’s nothing worse than having to put the filthy wheels directly on your clean clothes – that’s a huge no-no, and I haven’t included any packs that don’t have some sort of cover.
But, not all of the backpacks have a very comfortable backpanel. Some have rather thin shoulder straps, just like on most wheeled duffel bags. This is okay if you know you will be wheeling the pack around anyway. But if you think you’ll spend more time carrying it on your back than wheeling it around, then look for packs that have thick padding in the backpanel and harness, as well as some sort of ventilation (usually breathable mesh).
I’ve showed you backpacks that cost anywhere from $50 to several hundred dollars. And that’s because I wanted to include options for everyone – there’s something for people who are on a tight budget and looking for a quick solution, as well as for those that really want a premium backpack and are willing to pay a lot of money for it.
Does that mean that all of the cheaper bags suck? Not at all. You can get some truly amazing wheeled backpacks for less than $100, which is a really good deal. But they’re not going to be backpacks from well-known brands.
If you want to go with Osprey or a similar high-end brand, you will have to spend a lot more money. But there’s no doubt that you will get a premium travel backpack that you can use for years to come.
So, not all of the packs featured here have a dedicated laptop compartment, and those are usually the travel backpacks. If this is a must-have feature for you, be sure to check the pros and cons boxes to see if a backpack has a laptop compartment. And you can also check the size of the sleeve/compartment in the same section, and see if it can actually fit your laptop.
Can’t decide which of these wheeled backpacks you should buy? That’s fine – go with one of our three top choices, and you won’t have any regrets!
The best rolling backpack overall is the Wenger Synergy pack. It has all of the features you could possibly need from a wheeled backpack, including thick padding and ventilation on the backpanel and harness.
And it has a triple padded 16” laptop sleeve, which will do a great job at protecting your tech. That’s in addition to the 13” tablet sleeve that can easily fit a smaller laptop. On top of all that, this backpack has a very roomy main compartment, which is suitable for both books and clothes.
Osprey Sojourn is without a doubt the best option for travel. It’s an amazing backpack with a spacious main compartment, multiple internal pockets for easy organization and tie-down straps that keep everything in place.
And with the ventilation and thick padding in the backpanel and shoulder harness, you’ll stay comfortable even when you’re carrying it on your back. Its only fault is the lack of a dedicated laptop compartment, so consider if you’re okay with not having that feature before you get the pack.
The Aoking wheeled backpack is easily the best everyday option. With oversized wheels, it is the only backpack that can handle being wheeled up and down the stairs, which is something we all do if we’re being honest. It has a spacious main compartment with a 17” laptop sleeve, a front compartment with an organizer panel and padded and ventilated backpanel and harness. And it comes with a detachable wheel cover, which is super easy to clean.
Head to Amazon to see the exact prices of these backpacks. And if you still haven’t found the right backpack for you, check out our related posts for more options!