Looking for creative ways of attaching a backpack to a rolling suitcase? We’ve got you covered! This guide includes all the different ways of attaching backpacks to suitcases, including some you might not have thought of already!
Some of the methods require an add-a-bag strap you’ll need to buy, while others use just the items you have at home. And there are a few simple options that don’t require any additional straps, other than those that are already on your pack.
First thing’s first – check if your backpack has a luggage strap or sleeve in the back. If there’s its a backpack with a luggage strap there are two options:
Some bags have zippers on either side of the sleeve, so it functions as a pocket when it’s not used as a luggage strap. Also, some backpacks will have a hidden luggage sleeve that you can only access when the bag is turned horizontally.
In any case, before you go out and buy an additional strap, just make sure to check your bag thoroughly to see if it is indeed a backpack with a trolley.
If you’re 100% sure that your backpack doesn’t have one of those, you can use any one of the methods below to secure your backpack to a rolling suitcase.
If your backpack doesn’t have a luggage strap and you’re not in a rush, it’s best to buy an add-a-bag strap. There are several different kinds, with pros and cons to each of them.
Elastic add-a-bag straps are great for big and bulky backpacks mostly because of the adjustability. You don’t need to worry whether the strap is big enough to go over your backpack if it’s elastic and it’s very easy to set up and use.
Another type of add-a-bag strap is the short buckled strap. You attach this to the grab handles of both the backpack and the suitcase, and the bag just hangs there. It’s securely attached, but it will move around a lot while you’re handling the suitcase. This isn’t my favorite way of attaching a backpack to a rolling suitcase, especially one with a lot of extra straps that can get caught in the wheels.
Perhaps the most secure option for backpacks is a luggage sleeve with a buckled strap. You secure the sleeve to the extended suitcase handle with Velcro and then tie up the backpack with the long buckled strap. It will keep the backpack securely in place, allowing you to maneuver multiple pieces of luggage with just one hand.
If your backpack doesn’t have a luggage strap and you don’t have the time to buy one, you can use one of the existing straps to secure it to a rolling suitcase. I’ve tried the handle, the shoulder straps, the hip belt, and the sternum straps, and here’s what I can report back.
For bigger suitcases, you can just hang the backpack onto the body of the suitcase. Pull the telescopic wheel handle through the backpack handle and let it hang there. You will need to pay attention to all those extra straps just to make sure nothing is dragging on the ground.
This method won’t work all the time though – I tried it with my luggage and the backpack handle was too narrow for the suitcase handle. However, if your suitcase has a single-barrel telescopic handle, this should easily work for you.
Alternatively, you can turn the backpack horizontally and pull the suitcase handle through the shoulder straps. It’s best to tighten the straps as much as possible, to ensure the backpack doesn’t drop down. Also, you should make sure that the other straps aren’t hanging too low, otherwise, they might get caught in the wheels.
If your backpack has a sternum strap and a hip belt, you can use those two straps. Position it vertically with the shoulder straps facing the handle and secure the straps around the suitcase handle. Then tighten the straps as much as you can to create a makeshift DIY trolley sleeve.
The pack will probably still be a little loose since both of those straps are positioned quite low on the handle. However, you should be able to grab both the suitcase and the backpack handles with your hand, for easy maneuvering of the bags.
Does your backpack have bungee cords on the front panel? Try pulling the handle through those and then maximally tightening them. This won’t always work, but it’s certainly worth it to give it a try.
This method works best with smaller backpacks so that you can still hold onto the suitcase handle without the bag getting in the way. If the pack is too loose for your liking, try grabbing both handles at the same time – this should keep it more secure, and give you a good handle on the luggage.
If all else fails, you can always put your backpack on top of the suitcase and use a belt to tie it to the suitcase handle. It doesn’t even have to be a proper belt with a buckle – you can use a bathrobe belt, as long as you tie a really tight knot.
This isn’t the most sophisticated solution out of the bunch, but it works and it’s great if you don’t have to time to buy additional straps. It’s quick, easy, and everyone has some sort of belt lying around the house!
A lot of brands are doing their best to meet customer demands by designing carry-on backpacks with luggage sleeves. If you don’t like any of the methods here, it’s probably best to just buy a backpack with a dedicated trolley sleeve.
There are a lot of different backpacks with luggage straps out there and there are at least a dozen that are just perfect for you. So, the next time you are shopping for a backpack, make sure that one of its features is a convenient luggage strap.
Anna is the co-owner of expert world travel and can't wait to share her travel experience with the world. With over 54 countries under her belt she has a lot to write about! Including those insane encounters with black bears in Canada.