Wheeled backpacks have become increasingly popular over recent years. With more people traveling just with hand luggage, due to the increasing fees associated with airplane baggage, wheeled backpacks are the perfect option for traveling. They give you great flexibility to carry your luggage over your shoulders, or if you want a rest, to wheel it along behind you. You can also get larger models, which you can take on your travels instead of a regular suitcase.
They are a versatile piece of luggage that is both stylish and functional. As you’ll see below, many have fantastic designs which allow you to fit a tremendous amount of belongings into them. Today we’re going to share our guide to the best wheeled backpacks for 2020, as well as what to look for when you’re comparing different models.
Types of Wheeled Backpacks
Not everyone will be looking for the same type of wheeled backpack. For example, if you are traveling for business, you will be looking for something smarter than one you’d use for leisure travel. This is why there are now backpacks made for every situation and occasion. These are the different types of wheeled backpacks you can expect to find.
When traveling for business, most of us are looking to be well-organized and comfortable. A good backpack for business travel should help make your trip easier and hassle-free. Find a backpack that’s designed specifically for travel, and you’ll be able to easily wheel around your belongings to give you the professional appearance you so desire.
Leisure backpacks are perfect for anyone going on vacation, where you may pack a lot of belongings for your trip to suit different climates and places you’re visiting. Often during leisure travel, especially on more adventurous trips, we can expect to carry our bag over different surfaces, which is where the backpack element comes in handy. If you are walking over cobbled streets, then you can simply put the bag on your back during that time to make walking easier.
These backpacks are similar to regular backpacks in design, with wheels simply added on for ease of carrying. These bags mainly open from the side and contain different compartments to make packing easier. They are perfect for people who get tired of carrying a heavy bag on their shoulders, as you can easily change to wheeling the bag along.
If you like to travel and still arrive at your destination looking professional and well put together, professional backpacks are a great choice for you. Usually, users of these backpacks will primarily want to wheel them along while traveling to meetings or events. However, when the working day is done, you can put the bag on your back for a more relaxed and casual look.
Advantages of Wheeled Backpacks
I’m sure you can see by now that the biggest advantage of wheeled backpacks is their versatility. They meet the constantly changing needs that we have during trips, and regardless of the surface we are walking over or the situation or location we are in, we have suitable luggage to use that day.
If you do suffer from any back issues, you’ll find these bags to be a complete savior. For individuals who struggle to carry backpacks all day long, you’ll appreciate having the break from a heavy bag on your back and pulling it along behind you for a while. In train stations or busy airports, sometimes wheeled bags can become difficult, especially while traveling up and down escalators. In these situations, you can simply pop the bag on your back, and you’ll be able to get ahead of the crowds.
What size backpack to choose?
As with any bag you would purchase for travel, the size of the bag you need is dependent on how much you plan to put inside the bag. You’ll want to consider the number of days you are traveling for, or tend to travel for throughout the year. Don’t just go for the biggest or smallest model available without thinking if the space it provides is going to be right for you.
If you are traveling for four days or less, 35 to 50 liters is a good capacity. For trips of a week or so, you’ll find 50 to 70 liters to be more suitable, and this will give you enough space to pack a clean set of clothes for most days of your trip. If you are going on an extended trip, or are required to carry specialist equipment or cold-weather gear, I’d suggest going even higher to a 70 to 100 liter capacity bag. You may see compressed strapping mentioned in bag descriptions, but this shouldn’t influence the size of the bag you purchase. That should purely be determined by the number of belongings you intend to carry on your trip.
Features of a Wheeled Backpack
The following are features to look for when you are comparing wheeled backpack options:
Most rolling bags will have a side opening, instead of the traditional backpack that opens from the top. Usually, it’s so difficult when you lose something in your backpack at the very bottom, and you have to search through all of your belongings to find it. Rolling backpacks are more similar to duffel bags in design, with the addition of straps to carry it like a backpack.
Most people naturally judge a bag by its appearance, and if you are traveling for business or professional reasons, it’s important to make a good first impression. Unfortunately, people still judge each other based on first appearances. A rolling backpack will definitely make you look more professional than a regular backpack, but you still have the choice to carry it on your back when you are away from your business locations.
If you are planning to use this backpack regularly, you’ll want to make sure it’s ergonomically friendly. Find a backpack that is lightweight, and that sits well on your body. When you first get your bag, test it out and adjust the straps to ensure that you’ll be able to comfortably wear it for an extended period of time on your back. While a stylish bag might be your number one priority, if it’s uncomfortable to wear, it’s not particularly useful.
A good set of wheels is important for a wheeled backpack. Its unique benefit is the ability to be carried on your back and also wheeled along behind you. This is one of the most important features of a wheeled backpack, so you’ll want to ensure it has good, sturdy wheels when you purchase it.
Things to look for in a Wheeled Backpack
Rolling backpacks are generally made from a stronger material than a regular backpack, which is usually constructed from canvas or a synthetic material. Regular backpacks need to be lightweight, as they must be carried on the back of the user at all times. On the other hand, rolling backpacks aren’t so limited by weight, as they can also be wheeled along. They are commonly made from nylon. This is one of the most important things to look for when purchasing a wheeled backpack, to ensure you are getting one that’s made from a strong and long-lasting material.
As we’ve suggested above, try to find a backpack made from nylon, or alternatively, Cordura. The better the material you invest in, the longer your backpack will last, and it’s much less likely to split open at an inopportune moment. Look for a tightly weaved material that fully covers the edges of the bag, as that’s where you are most likely to get damage and weaknesses. As far as the internal materials, the frame should be made from aluminium, as opposed to weaker plastic or stamped steel options. For the wheels, we recommend ones that are large in size and made from polyurethane, so they can endure even the most uneven of surfaces.
Size is one of the biggest considerations when comparing the backpacks listed below. It’s all about what you need your wheeled bag for, and how long you are planning to travel for. If you are only planning to use it for short business trips, don’t bother with buying a massive bag. On the other hand, if you are going on an extended trip or carrying plenty of equipment, a 30L bag isn’t going to fit all of your belongings.
You’ll find wheeled backpacks in a wide variety of colors and designs, so there’s bound to be one that takes your fancy and suits your personal style. Bags with multiple pockets make packing and organization much easier. While style shouldn’t be your top consideration, it’s something to consider, especially if you are looking to make a good first impression for business or professional reasons.
A backpack is almost completely redundant if it’s not at least reasonably comfortable to wear. While you can’t expect it to cause absolutely no pain to your back after several hours of wear, you want to find a bag that has comfortable straps and padding. Wider, padded straps are best for the health of your spine and back, and when you first receive your new purchase, we recommend loading it up and practising carrying it to check its fit. If you think you will spend a lot of time carrying the backpack, then a hip belt can help to reduce some of the pressure on your back. Compression straps will also help with this, and bring the load of the bag closer to the center of gravity. Finally, if you are traveling in a hot climate, a breathable bag is important to look for.
If you are planning to use the backpack feature a lot, then a lightweight bag would be the ideal choice for you. However, finding a bag that is both sturdy and lighter in weight can be a difficult task. Try to find a bag that is a good compromise between the two, which will help it to function well as both a good backpack and wheeled bag.
Best Wheeled Backpacks: Our Top Picks
This padded black rolling backpack from Yorepek is 40L in capacity, making it a stylish and functional choice for business travelers. It has a separate fully-padded laptop pocket that can hold devices that are up to 17 inches in size. The main compartment is extremely roomy, perfect for business trips with files and books. Two mesh side pockets will hold your water bottle and umbrella, so they are easy to grab on the go.
Style & Design
With breathable and adjustable straps that can be tucked away into the pocket, this backpack is the perfect 2 in 1 solution. It’s a comfortable choice for travel and is made from durable material. The black color and design make it great for professionals and those looking to make a good first impression.
Made from water resistant polyester, this backpack features a durable, adjustable aluminum telescoping handle. The rubber wheels are extremely smooth on the ground, and two-way metal zippers provide security when you’re on the go. The straps are made from breathable air mesh, which relieve your shoulders from excessive pressure when used as a backpack.
This bag makes it extremely easy to switch between its two functions and features a kick plate to protect it from abrasion. Lockable metal zippers allow you to lock up the backpack to protect yourself from theft. The shoulder straps are adjustable with mesh fabric, and the bag features adjustable side compressions straps.
- Sleek black design for business travelers with a 40L capacity
- Adjustable and comfortable shoulder straps
- Perfect for carrying a laptop and books or files
If you are looking for a smaller backpack, the JanSport Driver 8 Rolling Backpack is a great choice for you. It comes in a variety of colors, suitable for business and leisure needs, and can comfortably hold a 15-inch laptop. With a side water bottle pocket and front organizer pocket, you’ll be able to pack in an organized manner. Its capacity is 36L, and it weighs just 3 kg.
Style & Design
The bags dimensions are 21” x 14” x 10”, and it’s specifically designed for a lifetime on the move. With a padded grab handle and a fully padded back panel, it’s great for those who like to be organized when they travel. It has a front stash pocket and utility pocket with a built-in organizer, so you’ll be well prepared for your next trip. It comes in a great range of colors, including classic shades for business, and lighter, brighter ones for leisure travel.
This bag is made from 600 Denierpolyester / 420 Denier Nylon and features two large main compartments. It’s perfect for outdoor lifestyle use and is made with durable construction to last.
The tuck-away shoulder straps make it easy to convert into a backpack, but for wheeling around, it has 80 mm in-line skate wheels. Skid rails give added protection, and the side water bottle pocket means your bottle is easy to access on your travels. Every JanSport bag comes with a lifetime promise.
- 36L in capacity, making it the perfect hand luggage bag
- Available in a range of colors for business and leisure use
- Comes with a lifetime promise and is built to last
This 38L rolling backpack is perfect for college, school and travel, and weighs just 4.9 pounds. It’s made to hold laptops up to 15.6 inches in width, and can also easily hold bulky school books or work files. The organizer compartment will make traveling a breeze, and the Velcro pocket at the back is handy for carrying a small towel.
Style & Design
The bag features a built-in laptop pocket and a water-resistant bottom panel, and the corner guards and kick plate help to protect your bag. Lockable metal zippers ensure your belongings are safe and secure during your travels.
Made from durable polyester fabric, this is a great choice for teens and adults alike. With a durable aluminum telescoping handle and strong, reliable rubber wheels, this bag will last you for years of travel.
The straps are adjustable and breathable for easy carrying, and can be easily tucked away into the zipper pocket after use. The wheels are sturdy on uneven surfaces, and the handle can adjust to fit your needs.
- Great design which helps you travel in a more organized manner
- Adjustable and breathable staps
- Handle adjusts to suit your height for easy wheeling
This Kipling Sanaa wheeled backpack features a classic Kipling design and textile material and comes in a vibrant cherry red color. While it’s a more pricey option, when you purchase from Kipling, you know you are buying a long-lasting, high-quality product, that’s both stylish and functional.
Style & Design
The backpack features a flap pocket and zipper pocket inside. With five exterior pockets, this backpack is perfect for long weekends away and everyday school or business use. It weighs just 4.22 lbs and measures 12.5 x 18.5 x 10.75 inches.
Made from crinkle nylon on the outside, this backpack has the classic Kipling look and feel to it. It has a textile lining and is soft and comfortable to wear on your back.
With a telescopic handle and comfortable shoulder straps, it’s a versatile piece that’s easy to use. The two padded straps make it very comfortable to wear on your shoulders for an extended period of time.
- Lightweight at just 4.22 lbs
- Features the classic Kipling design and material
- Vibrant red color
- Soft padded straps make it comfortable on your shoulders
This black backpack is functional and lightweight, with a dedicated laptop compartment. The material has a water-resistant coating, so it’s perfect for traveling in different climates. It’s easy to wheel along, and the smooth-rolling wheels make it a pleasure to use.
Style & Design
This backpack from High Sierra is ideal for anyone who likes to stay organized while on the go. The organizer compartment features multiple pockets, including a mesh zippered pocket and key fob hook. The dedicated laptop compartment is fully-padded, protecting your laptop from shocks or scratching while traveling. Its dimensions are 20.5 x 13.5 x 8 inches.
Made from 600D Duralite, this material has a ripstop and waffle weave that features a water-resistant coating. It’s exceptionally strong for a lightweight material.
The single-tube telescoping handle makes this bag easy to navigate your travels with, and it stores neatly inside a zippered cover when not in use. The smooth-rolling wheels are inline-style and are corner mounted for better stability and a smooth ride.
- Made from 600D Duralite with a water-resistant coating
- Multiple pockets for better organization
- Easy to convert between a backpack and rolling bag
This rolling backpack from Gladiator is durable and is perfect for business and professional travelers. With a sleek black polyester design, it weighs just 4.8 pounds, so it’s easy to carry on your back when needed.
Style & Design
This rolling backpack has a built-in fully padded laptop pocket that fits a laptop up to 15.6 inches in size from any brand. The mesh water bottle pockets on the sides are 13 inches tall, and the exterior dimensions of the bag are 18 x 8 x 13 inches.
Made from 90% durable polyester fabric and 10% PVC, this bag features sturdy metal zippers.
The shoulder straps are adjustable with sturdy metal hooks. The handle for wheeling the bag is made from durable aluminum, and it has strong and reliable rubber wheels.
- Perfect for business and professional travelers
- Sleek black polyester backpack
- Made from 90% durable polyester and 10% PVC
This 19-inch wheeled duffel is perfect for leisure and business travel. With multiple zippered compartments, you can easily organize your belongings for any trip, and the three color choices are stylish for male and female users.
Style & Design
With a spacious main compartment and multiple smaller compartments, this bag is perfect for anyone who likes to keep organized on vacation or business trips. It measures 19 inches in height, and the plain colors are perfect for work trips. Weighing only 4.8 lbs, it’s a lightweight option for carrying on your back.
The compartment to carry your laptop in is padded with thick foam, and the bag contains an outer pocket for small daily items. The rod is made from aluminum alloy and can be used on rainy days.
The bag has a cotton handle on top and thick wide shoulder straps, making it comfortable to wear on your back. The humanization padded back means it’s comfortable to wear over a long period of time, and the rod for wheeling the bag is extremely sturdy.
- Only 4.8 pounds in weight
- Good protection when carrying a laptop
- Sturdy aluminum rod for wheeling the backpack
Samsonite are renowned for their high-quality products, and this wheeled backpack is no exception. It’s resistant to tears and pulls and is comfortable to wear with a padded back panel. Its orange and black design makes it stylish and functional, and it’s a versatile bag for leisure and business travel.
Style & Design
This contemporary wheeled backpack weighs just 4.6 pounds in total and measures 19 x 14 x 8 inches. It’s perfect for short trips, with a laptop compartment holding a device up to 17” in size.
Made from Nylon, this is a sturdy bag featuring many organizational pockets to fit all of your devices and accessories for work and leisure.
Samsonite’s backpack features in-line skate wheels and an ice-pick pull handle, making it easy to roll along any surface. The straps are made for maximum comfort, and you’ll enjoy carrying this bag with its padded back panel.
- Stylish design for work and travel
- In-line skate wheels and ice-pick pull handle
- Weighs just 4.6 pounds
This Synergy padded wheeled laptop bag with trolley handle from Wenger weighs only 2.76 kilograms, and is perfect for business and leisure travelers. If you’ve ever used their Synergy backpack before, you’ll know how great the design is, and now it comes with wheels.
Style & Design
This bag is triple protect padded with a 16” laptop pocket and a dedicated 12.9” tablet pocket. You’ll find the zippered mesh accessories pocket and essential organizer super handy for keeping you well-organized while on the road. Its dimensions are 11.8 x 15.4 x 20.9 inches.
This bag is extremely soft, and the materials and workmanship help to justify the price. The product has a Velcro wheel cover and secure lock handle.
With easy-glide wheels and a secure lock handle, you’ll feel confident navigating new airports and spaces with this wheeled backpack.
- High-quality bag made with fantastic workmanship
- Soft outer to the bag
- Secure lock handle and easy-glide wheels
Skymove’s wheeled backpack comes in three different colors and is perfect for business travelers to use as carry-on luggage for short trips. It will fit underneath an airplane seat and weighs just 4.6 lbs.
Style & Design
The backpack’s dimensions are 19 x 13 x 8 inches and features a 45L main compartment. There is a padded computer sleeve large enough to carry a 14-inch laptop, as well as two side pockets and a front pocket.
Made from durable 1200D oxford fabric, this bag has an aluminum alloy rod, so can be used in all weather.
This bag has a great back wheel cover design, which you turn down to cover the wheels. The comfort thick wide belts can be put into the back concealed pocket, so they won’t get damaged while the wheels are in use.
- Great back wheel cover design
- Made from 1200D oxford fabric
- 45L main compartment, but can still fit under an airplane seat
This stylish 29 liter capacity rolling backpack is perfect for business and professional travelers. Black in color, it looks professional and sleek and has a large storage pocket to fit a laptop of up to 15.25 inches, and a separate tablet compartment. With its quiet roller wheels and a retractable handle, it’s made for easy transportation.
Style & Design
With a durable exterior and soft-touch top handle, this bag is made for style and comfort. It features elastic straps to help with packing clothing and has a large workstation to store accessories, key fobs and pens. It’s made with business travelers in mind, and you can fit plenty of gadgets and work devices in this bag with no problem.
The exterior is made from durable polyester, while the top handle is made from soft-touch neoprene. The two backpack straps are padded to ensure comfort, and the interior pocket has a soft lining to protect your tablet and laptop from scratches and bumps. There are two additional side mesh pockets, perfect for water bottles and umbrellas.
This backpack makes it easy to transition between its two functions and is extremely comfortable to wear on your back with the padded straps. The fold-away cover acts as a wheel cover when it’s in use as a backpack. Weighing just 4.26 pounds, it’s 20% lighter than many other bags on the market.
- The perfect bag for professionals and business travelers
- Has both laptop and tablet compartments
- Only 4.26 pounds in weight
This rolling backpack from J World comes in a vibrant range of colors and designs, which are fun for leisure travel. This convertible bag allows you to reduce the load on your back when using the rolling wheels, while still offering the portability of a backpack. It has a good capacity of 38L, making it perfect for leisure trips or school and college.
Style & Design
In a fun range of colors, you’ll certainly stand out with this bag. Its capacity allows you to carry a laptop up to 15.6 inches, notebooks, textbooks and much more. Measuring 20 x 14 x 9 inches in total, it’s a good option for shorter trips. There’s a place for everything with many compartments and pockets, as well as pen and small item storage.
J World’s backpack is made from 600D polyester, with a fabric lining and zipper closure. The polyester is durable ripstop and the bag has a metal frame. It also features reinforced edges and a molded rubber bottom. It’s water-resistant to keep your belongings dry.
This backpack converts quickly, and you can pull out the backpack straps in seconds for when you’re going up stairs or walking on rough ground. The straps tuck away into the back pocket when rolling without having to unzip anything.
- Converts quickly between a backpack and wheeling bag
- Bright range of fun colors for leisure travel
This lightweight wheeled backpack from Everest Deluxe comes in a wide variety of neutral and vibrant colors. Weighing just 2.4 kg and with a capacity of 27.9L, it’s a good value option for leisure travelers.
Style & Design
You can choose from some fun colors such as bright turquoise and pink for this bag. Its dimensions are 13.5 x 7 x 18.5 inches, and it’s extremely lightweight. Loaded with multiple compartments, it has an incredible six additional front pockets and three side pockets for maximum storage.
Made from polyester, this deluxe wheeled backpack is lightweight yet durable. The external snap waist buckle helps to keep your gear in place.
Everest Deluxe’s bag has a telescoping handle with a double-wheeled base, making it easy to roll. It can quickly convert to a backpack and has comfortable straps for transporting on your back.
- Great range of colors for leisure use
- Weighs only 2.4 kg and has a capacity of 27.9L
- Has an incredible amount of pockets for maximum capacity and storing smaller items
This rolling backpack comes in a wide range of colors and designs and is perfect for leisure travelers. Made of 100% polyester, it’s one of the cheapest options on the market, so it’s a great choice for infrequent travelers.
Style & Design
With a strong zipper closure, this bag is 12” x 8” x 20” in size. It features two zippered pockets on the front of the bag, one of which includes a built-in organizer. The main compartment is zippered and has a large storage opening with two mesh side pockets.
It’s made from 100% polyester, and the lining is created from the same material. It’s extremely durable and features a metal telescoping handle and heavy-duty plastic stand to keep it standing upright.
The bag features double skate wheels and then converts to a great backpack with padded shoulder straps. There’s a fabric handle at the top for carrying and a telescoping pull handle.
- Great price point for leisure travel
- Comes in a wide range of colors and designs
- A durable backpack with padded shoulder straps
This bag is a sleek and stylish nylon black backpack, that’s perfect for business and professional use. The large main compartment can hold many books and items of clothing, and the bag is waterproof on the outside.
Style & Design
The bag’s dimensions are 13 x 7.1 x 19.3 inches, and it can easily accommodate a 15.6 inch laptop. There is one front zipper compartment, two zipper pockets and two side zipper pockets.
Made from nylon, this waterproof bag is perfect for traveling in all elements. It’s well constructed with high-quality components, and a superior metal handle and rubber wheels.
This bag can be used in three different ways; as a backpack, business handbag or rolling backpack. When the straps are not in use, they are safely tucked away. This bag isn’t recommended for wheeling over bumpy surfaces, so carry it on cobbles or particularly uneven paving.
- Stylish nylon black backpack
- Can be carried in three different ways