Backpacks, they’re a traveler’s right hand. A good backpack will last years, work for all types of travel, and be comfortable enough to use all day. A bad backpack, however, will slow you down during long trips, decay or wear out early, and a truly horrendous travel pack can even cause severe back pain. That is why, as expert travelers, we must take pride in our choice of travel pack and we must be meticulous when shopping for the perfect travel backpack. Back in the day, rolling bags were bulky, ugly, and honestly kind of lame. But today, there exists a wide variety of rolling backpacks, with sleek designs, from top brands that truly make traveling a breeze. If you want to be able to fly through airports, navigate city streets, and roll through your adventures with ease, then a rolling backpack is the right choice for you. Dive in below, to check out which packs we think will make your travels a breeze
What to look for in a Rolling Backpack for Backpackers:
Like most things, not all rolling backpacks are created equal. If you don’t choose wisely, you could find yourself with a flat tire (so to speak), a busted zipper, or an overtly cumbersome pack. When picking out a rolling backpack for travel, be sure to consider what type of travel you’ll be doing, if you need a weatherproof exterior, and how long you typically travel for. Once you have the answer to those questions for yourself, make sure you pick a bag with rugged wheels that can handle all terrain and a tough exterior that is made to last.
What Size Rolling Backpack do you need?
The size of your travel back will depend on the type of travel you plan to do and the length of each trip. For short trips, say a weekend to a week long, domestic maybe? Then you’re probably going to need 35-50 Liter bag. If your trip is over a week, opt for the larger 50-75 Liter packs. The great thing about rolling backpacks is that no matter the size, they all seem to have a slender construction due to their rigid frame.
Advantages of Rolling Backpacks:
The obvious advantage of a rolling backpack is the ease of travel. Even serious backpackers get tired of lugging around heavy packs. Rolling backpacks offer the ease of a traditional rolling suitcase with the combined convenience of a bag you can throw on your back to haul through more rugged terrain like sand, snow, or mud. Another previously mentioned advantage is that rolling backpacks don’t bulge in all directions when packed tightly. Their rigid rolling frames keep the packs slender, even when they are packed tight.
Disadvantages of Rolling Backpacks:
While rolling backpacks may be a godsend for some travelers, they are not for everyone and many traditional backpackers will always opt for an old-fashioned pack. Rollers can be difficult on adventure trips, while they are designed to both roll and be carried on the back, they are not the most comfortable packs to strap on and lug up a mountain. The rigid frame can feel a bit cumbersome when the pack is on your back and therefore many travelers who are looking for a wilderness adventure will seek conventional packs.
Rolling Backpack Packs for Serious Travelers
The Osprey Ozone is the ideal bag for air travelers and adventurers who are looking for the perfect balance of light weight and durability. The bag in its form, is the perfect carry on size, is easy to maneuver, and will fit cleanly in airline overhead storage. The lightweight, durable frame will allow for easy maneuverability while rolling, as well as allowing for a comfortable fit when carried.
The bag is made up of a lightweight Nylon Shadow Box blend and an aluminum frame. The total weight of the bag is approximately four pounds. If air travel is part of your adventure, you would be doing yourself a huge favor by purchasing the Osprey Ozone.
The Osprey Sojourn is a durable roller that you can comfortably carry on your back for any adventure. The Sojourn comes in an 80 Liter 28-inch, 60 Liter 25-inch, and 45 Liter 22-inch designs. It has a top zipper pocket for small items as well as multiple large storage compartments. The bag has comprehension straps to help reduce the size of your load and daisy chains for additional attachment options. The wheelbase of the bag is lifted to account for rougher terrain and the lightweight aluminum frame makes the bag easy to pick up.
The “anti-gravity” back panel and elevated ventilated hip panel provide an incredibly comfortable carry experience. If you’re looking for a heavy-duty pack that carries well and will fit all of your gear, the Sojourn is the pack for you.
The Osprey Meridian series comes in a 75 Liter 28-inch construction and a 60 Liter 22-inch Construction. The Meridian has all your expected features form a high-end Osprey bag, including a zipper top pocket for easy access to smaller items, padded top and side handles, a large panel zip with a lockable slider, and a lightweight aluminum frame. The stowaway padded harness is easy to access when it’s time to carry your bag, and the compression straps help secure large loads. While the Meridian is the bulkier of the Osprey roller series, it remains a solid, lightweight, durable option for travelers looking to get the most out of their rugged rollers.
Hypath Convertible Backpack
The Hypath Convertible Backpack is both a roller backpack/carry on suitcase and a conventional day pack. The day pack detaches from the larger bag giving travelers the convenience and ease of a small day pack for daily commutes, while the larger bag serves as a roomy rolling carry on. The uniqueness of the Hypath Convertible is its versatility: the bags can be rolled, worn as a traditional front pack, worn as a backpack and a simultaneous front pack, carried like a duffle by the side strap, and stacked as a rolling carryon/ personal item daypack combo.
While the Hypath Convertible does not have the packable and durable features of an Osprey, the versatility of the bag makes it a great carry on for casual travel. I would not, however, use this bag for any hardcore adventure travel.
High Sierra Carry Wheeled Backpack
The High Sierra Carry Wheeled Backpack is 3 bags in one. This High Sierra bag is a carry-on roller, a backpack, and a day pack. The main compartment, with a book-style opening, allows the bag to be packed like a traditional suitcase. The detachable (by zipper) daypack, is the perfect sized personal item to carry for day to day commutes. The hidden padded backpack straps make throwing the bag on your bag simple and easy. This bag is ideal for casual travel, not outdoor adventures.
For Casual Travelers
High Sierra Freewheeled Backpack
The High Sierra Free Wheeled Backpack combines versatility and comfort into an ideal overnight bag. While the bag is not large enough for a multi-day trip, it is a roomy daypack with the ability to roll. The padded laptop sleeve and front storage area make the High Sierra Freewheeled Backpack great for business trips and students. The exterior pockets are great organizational tools that provide just enough extra storage to make this bag worth the purchase over a traditional daypack.
Samsonite Wheeled Backpack
The Samsonite Wheeled Backpack is an optimal bag for students and business travelers. Its fabric is abrasion and tear resistant, its inline skate wheels allow the bag to roll with efficiency and ease, and the laptop sleeve and headphone entry pocket make this bag modern, simple, and effective. While the construction is not as rugged as other more outdoors-focused competitors, this bag is ideal for staying organized, overnight business trips, and everyday commuting.
Jansport Driver Wheeled Backpack
This classic Jansport Driver Wheeled Backpack is ideal for students. The 36 Liter storage capability and Denier Polyester construction make this bag a durable evolution of the Jansport gear we all know and love. This bag is perfect for students lugging around heavy books and technology or as a small travel carry on that will carry 3-4 days’ worth of clothes. While the bag may seem bulky in appearance, its padded back panel and tucked away padded shoulder straps make the Jansport Driver comfortable, durable, and ideal for anyone looking for a rolling alternative to a traditional large backpack.