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Best wheeled backpack 2018 – [Buyer’s Guide]Last Updated April 1, 2020
Best wheeled backpack of 2018
I have a variety of material used in the construction of wheeled backpack including metal, plastic, and glass. The rating is based on multiple factors: The 3 metrics ‐ Design, Materials, Performance, and other indicators such as: Popularity, Opinions, Brand, Reputation and more.
Check them out and decide which one suits you the best to splurge upon. Here are my top picks with detailed reviews, comparison charts and buying guides to help you purchase the perfect item for your needs.
Test Results and Ratings
№1 – Aoking 50L Waterproof Travel School Business Rolling Wheeled Backpack with 15.6“ Laptop Compartment
Why did this wheeled backpack win the first place?
I also liked the delivery service that was fast and quick to react. It was delivered on the third day. I am very happy with the purchase. It is definitely worth its money. The product is top-notch! The product is very strong. Its material is stable and doesn’t crack. I really enjoy the design. It is compact, comfortable and reliable. And it looks amazing!
№2 – Aoking 20/22 Inch Waterproof Travel School Business Rolling Wheeled Backpack with Laptop Compartment
Why did this wheeled backpack come in second place?
Seems that the material is good. It has a very beautiful color but I don’t really like the texture. I recommend you to consider buying this model, it definitely worth its money. I really liked it. It is amazing in every aspect. It did even exceed my expectations for a bit, considering the affordable price. This is a pretty decent product that perfectly fitted the interior of our office.
Why did this wheeled backpack take third place?
It doesn’t squeaks nor bents. Looks great in my apartment. We are very pleased with the purchase — the product is great! This price is appropriate since the product is very well built. It is inconvenient to use due to the size. I am going to get something different next time.
wheeled backpack Buyer’s Guide
Size of Backpack
Usually people like rolling backpacks to get more space which can carry many items as well as which is capable to hold all the necessary items on holidays.
Rolling backpack’s storage and capacity is the most remarkable features. Unlike other backpacks it has almost similar features but the main difference is in the capacity.
Carrying option is another remarkable consideration while you are planning to choice the best rolling backpacks. Due to large size with high capacity capabilities this bags are heavier than ordinary bags so it is hard to carry the bag on hands.
However it is nice that if your rolling back contains or wheels to carry. With a combination of wheels and shoulder straps it make a wonderful carrying option that make your trip easy and comfortable.
When your bag is large in size and capable to work as a heavy duty backpack then it should made with high quality construction materials. Moreover almost all the high quality rolling backpacks has made with quality polyester or nylon.
However if your backpack has a stand for turning with wheels then the stand should made with metal and stainless still would be great choice. To ensure your nonstop journey it would be great if you choice a bag which is waterproof.
Lowepro Pro Roller x300 AW
For this release Lowepro rolled out its “MaxFit” system, which uses adjustable dividers in a micro-fitting structure to pack gear as closely and efficiently as possible. To that end, the Pro Roller x300 AW allows for a couple of pro DSLRs, eight to ten lenses up to 600mm in focal length, assorted accessories and a 17-inch laptop. The Maxfit system ensures all this gear is safe and secure, while the revamped wheels allow you to glide smoothly through busy streets and airports.
Lowepro Pro Runner RL 450 AW II Rolling Backpack
Another backpack/roller hybrid, the Pro Runner RL 450 AW II is designed to allow for streamlined organisation of gear to make it accessible at a moment’s notice. Manoeuvre with confidence through crowded airports or busy streets, with enough space to carry two pro DSLRs with attached lenses, 5-additional lenses, flashguns, a 15-inch laptop, two tablets, a pro tripod and other accessories.
I’ve spent the majority of the last 3½ years traveling the world. I’ve lived and worked in 2different countries across five continents, including spending months all over Europe, five months in Australia, a month in Brazil, plus time in Southeast Asia, and more. That whole time I lived out of a backpack.
Before I started traveling basically full time, I had traveled in Africa, China, and throughout Europe with a variety of terrible backpacks and luggage, so I know what’s best to avoid. I’ve also met dozens of travelers from all over the world and have talked about backpacks with them, some of whom were also testers for this guide.
In addition to being the A/V editor here at Wirecutter, I write about travel and tech for Forbes and CNET and on my personal site, BaldNomad.
Because I am but one average-sized man, I recruited some help testing out the packs. Most of our testers were experienced travelers. More important, they were all different sizes and shapes. Five women, ranging from feet inches to feet inches, and five guys, ranging from feet inches to feet inches.
Who this is for
A travel backpack is for people who want to travel around the world unencumbered by heavy, slow-moving wheeled luggage. An internal-frame backpack in the 40- to 60-liter range has more than enough room for all the possessions you need to travel anywhere in the world for an indefinite amount of time—as long as you’re okay with doing laundry once you get there. Whether it’s clothes, a camera, and a laptop to work as a digital nomad (like me) or clothes, shoes, and gear to enjoy the daylife and nightlife everywhere you go, you can fit it—though not your entire wardrobe and office—in one of these packs. (If you want to carry heavy jackets, going-out clothes, multiple pairs of footwear, or other bulky gear, you may want something a tad bigger). It’s perfect for someone backpacking through Europe for a few weeks or months. Someone who wants the freedom to walk from the train terminal to their hostel without hating life. Someone who wants to be able to explore a city without having to find a place to stow their luggage, and doesn’t want to be miserable lugging it across cobblestones and down tiny alleyways. It is not for business travelers who want to maintain appearances, nor is it for outdoor enthusiasts looking to spend six weeks in Patagonia.
However, a backpack can be a very personal choice, like picking out a wallet or a purse: You know what you want, and that might be different from what someone else wants. That’s fine, but please take a moment to read through what we were looking for. A lot of you probably want very similar things to what we want, which is why this guide is so specific. So in order to come up with a guide that’s even remotely useful, we had to come up with some specific rules as to what we were looking for. I used what I learned in my years of near-constant travel, plus what I found out from other travelers I know, to come up with what we think most people would want in a travel backpack. Some aspects might seem obvious, others counterintuitive, but living out of something you carry with you fine-tunes your sense of what you want and need rapidly.
If you’re not sure if traveling with all your stuff in one bag is for you, check out my column on why you should always pack light. More than any other travel advice, packing light is by far the most transformative and life-changing. It is the greatest gift you can give yourself, other than the actual travel. Travel gets easier and better with minimal luggage. I can’t overstate this.
If you want something that rolls, check out our guide to the best carry-on luggage. And if you want something that you can carry on your back for shorter periods of time and is business-casual-friendly, check out our review of the best carry-on travel bags.
How we picked
There were at last count at least 80 trillion different types and styles of backpacks. No one guide could possibly cover them all. To make matters murkier, there are no hard lines between what constitutes a travel backpack and what constitutes a backpack you can use for travel. But if you look into reviews and articles about traveling the world with backpacks, it’s pretty clear what is not a travel backpack, so that’s a good starting point.
First off, a travel backpack is not a “spend several days away from civilization” backpacking backpack for the wilderness. Those packs are similarly designed but place greater emphasis on ease of access to things you’d need on a trail (like tools and snacks), weather protection, and lighter weight. They minimize use of heavy-duty materials and zippers and have a host of external straps and pockets that make them less likely to survive being checked and abused by baggage handlers. They also tend to be expensive because lightweight, water-resistant materials don’t come cheap. For extended-travel use, other annoying things about backpacking backpacks are that they tend to load only from the top and are sealed with a drawstring. This design saves weight and means one less thing to break, but is a total hassle to deal with in the event you want something from the bottom, because you have to unload and then reload the entire pack. That’s not to say that these can’t be used for international travel, but they’re not worth the trade-off in weight or durability.
Similarly, a travel backpack is not a shapeless duffel bag that offers no support. A duffel is the cheapest way to haul a bunch of stuff onto a plane, but the ergonomics are ill-suited to walking around a city. A fully loaded backpack, even a small one, easily weighs more than 20 pounds. My Farpoint 5usually hovers just north of 30, though that includes a DSLR, two lenses, battery pack, laptop, GoPro, and other work-related gear. Regardless, that’s a lot of weight to put on one shoulder.
Adding backpack straps to a duffel can help, but that’s still inferior to a fully supported internal-frame pack that distributes the weight onto your hips, which are much stronger than your back and shoulders. Frameless bags can pack more gear into a smaller space and are more likely to fall within carry-on size restrictions, but if you’re going to be doing a significant amount of walking, you’ll want something with a frame.
For any extended travel, the key is this: You can’t bring it all with you. So don’t.
If you’ve never traveled this way, that can seem daunting, but it’s actually easier than you’d think and the benefits of doing so are legion. I’ve done all my travel in the last 2.years with a 40-liter backpack (and a 15-liter daypack, but that’s all work stuff). I tend to overpack a bit, but 40 liters lets me carry everything in the list above. This varies a bit depending on where I’m headed, but not by much. Some travelers can get away with a more daypack-size 25- to 35-liter bag, but at that point, they’re doing laundry basically every few nights, which isn’t ideal.
Speaking of daypacks, a feature we considered crucial for our main pick was an integral daypack: an LEM to the main pack’s CM. I have found this to be incredibly useful and convenient in my travels and I wouldn’t buy a travel pack without one. Many of the travelers I’ve shown this feature to liked the idea, though most didn’t know it was an option. Basically, your clothes and such stay packed in the big bag at the hostel and you take your camera, laptop, and other necessities out with you for the day—all without having to repack. When you’re in transit, you have the option to wear the daypack in the front (which personally I can’t stand), or attached to the main pack and out of the way.
I’m not a huge fan of the latter, as they don’t usually offer much padding for the contents and most won’t hold a laptop. (But if you are, our pick in our travel gear guide is better than most in both regards.) If you want those features, consider our carry-on pack.
Fit is key
One of the most important aspects of choosing a backpack is getting one that actually fits your skeleton. This doesn’t have a direct relation to your height, though in a general sense, most tall people have longer torsos than most short people. Then again, I’m feet 1inches, and my torso is 2inches. Our own Tim Barribeau is feet inches, but his torso is 1inches. Hollie, one of our testers, is feet inches with a torso height inch shorter than that of Carolina, who’s feet inches. REI has a great guide on how to measure your torso height, if you don’t know yours.
Flaws but not dealbreakers
The Farpoint 5doesn’t have all the cool features some other packs have. No hip-belt pockets, for example. The straps also aren’t as cushioned as some, and the pack is not nearly as adjustable, though our male testers had no problems with fit. It has far fewer organizational pockets in the daypack and main pack, and this, more than anything, I wish Osprey would improve.
Also, the hip belt isn’t as generous as some other options. Jonathan, our largest tester, found that—and I’m quoting exactly per his request—the straps didn’t fit his “big fat tummy.” If your belly is on the plus side of plus-sized, this might be an issue if you’re considering the Farpoint 5The REI pack, however, fit him fine.
We believe the Farpoint 5can carry everything you need for extended adventures. The exception is if you’re traversing multiple climates or need to bring heavier clothes. The Osprey Farpoint 70 and Fairview 70 are just slightly larger versions of their 5counterparts (so anything we’ve said about the 5applies to the 70).
Many airlines now charge you for checking luggage, depending on the length of the flight. One of the considerations we had putting this guide together was whether or not to consider carry-on size as a requirement for our picks. Turns out, the answer is more complicated than we expected.
So where does that leave us? Our main pick is 2by 1by 1inches and has soft sides (the other picks are larger). I’ve brought it onto airplanes as a carry-on several times. Most airlines’ staff probably won’t notice (or care) that it’s an inch or two over the limits. If they do, and you have to check it, how much money is this going to cost you? How often, even on an extended adventure, are you going to fly? Even in the worst case, the times you can’t carry on might cost you a couple hundred dollars a year. In our opinion, having the perfect bag that holds all your stuff comfortably—a bag you’ll use every day—is worth the potential expense.
In our research stage we checked out a number of companies that make great packs, but none of those packs met all our criteria. In most cases this was because the company specialized in top-loading bags, bags with wheels, bags that were too big, or big bags without a daypack. These brands included Black Diamond, Berghaus, Dakine, eBags, EMS, Ferrino, Gregory, High Sierra, Kathmandu, Kelty, Minaal, MEI, The North Face, Ortovox, Outdoor Research, Patagonia, Rick Steves, Timbuk2, and Victorinox.
This durable, water-resistant, lightweight backpack by Outlander is the best-rated backpack for traveling purposes.
With a stylish look, this packable go-anywhere pack is for super-minimalists who make every gram count. Ultra-light. Ultra-durable. Ultra-awesome. The backpack is perfect for day-to-day use or occasional travel.
Folds into a zippered inner pocket to fit anywhere. Unfolds from pocket to backpack. This backpack is a must-have on every trip and a great gift for everyone too.
Multi Compartments to keep things organized: Features a classic shape with several pockets for storage and organization. This backpack has a roomy main compartment, two front zipper pockets to hold small accessories, one internal security zippered pocket for valuable items and two side pockets for water bottle or umbrella.
Water-resistant and DURABLE: The backpack is made from highly rip and water-resistant nylon fabric, which provides strength and long-lasting performance, with minimal weight. Stress points are reinforced with bar tacking for increased longevity. Durable 2-way Abrasion Resistant SBS Metal Zippers across the backpack is used.
COMPACT: Folds into a zippered inner pocket to fit anywhere. Unfolds from pocket to backpack. A must-have on any trip.
LIGHTWEIGHT: Stuff the bag into its own pocket for storage and unzip it when you reach your destination. Avoid overweight baggage charges by simply unfolding it from your luggage and using it as a carry on for your excess baggage.
This bag by Outlander is a True Space Saver. Very Lightweight (0.4Pounds/0.Pounds) and Roomy (20 Liters/3Liters).
The ripstop material used in this backpack is obviously not the most durable material out there (or how could the pack be so light?), so some common sense will tell you to take care when packing anything with sharp edges that might penetrate the material.
All in all, this affordable backpack is perfect for traveling purposes or even for day to day use.
You can pack all of your gear in this extra-roomy, full-featured laptop backpack. This bag gives excellent protection for a laptop and tablet.
This backpack comes with a checkpoint-friendly design to get you through airport security quickly. Just open up the case fully to let the case get scanned without removing your laptop.
The SwissGear ScanSmart Backpack features interior and exterior organizer pockets, an airflow back system, and water bottle pocket.
Straps you can barely feel: This backpack comes with Ergonomically contoured, padded straps for all-day comfort.
The negatives to this bag are its size. If you do not need a bag this large, opt for a smaller bag. By its self, the bag is pretty heavy.
Main compartment provides space for larger items and organization for flat documents and small accessories. Secondary compartment offers a series of organizer pockets to hold tech accessories and other small items. Dedicated side-access iPad pocket. Hip-side Power Pocket with integrated cable port to allow access to portable power or audio.
All in all, this is a great backpack for daily office work.
Some Features of this Backpack are
MULTI-COMPARTMENT & CLASSIFIED: MAIN pockets & INNER small pockets & SEALED SIDE pockets, provides a separated space for your Laptop, iPhone, iPad, pen, keys, wallet, books, clothes, bottle and more. Easily find what you want.
SAFETY: Included a Theft proof combination lock and durable metal zippers, which protects wallet and other items inside from thief and offers a private space.
Includes additional bag
This is a pretty good backpack for hiking except that the bag is built in a way that all of the weight is at the end and not close to the back.
No matter how much you choose to carry, dual compression straps of this pack stabilizes the load. This backpack is just perfect for travel and hiking purposes within this price range.
This backpack can be considered as BAD ASS PACK.
The whole point of a laptop bag is to protect your device, and that means having as snug a fit as possible. As well as looking for laptop compartments designed specifically for the size of your laptop, choose a laptop bag that uses soft but firm fabrics for the lining, much as you would expect to find inside a laptop sleeve, such as neoprene (the stuff used to make wetsuits) or faux-felt.
A good laptop bag will house not just your laptop, but your entire gadget arsenal. Look for an easily accessible pocket on the front containing at least two smartphone-sized pouches – one is really useful for storing a portable battery – as well as a pen-holder or two. There should also be space for a coiled pair of earphones, and a clip somewhere to attach house keys. An additional pouch or pocket, or at the very least some room in the main compartment, should be able to store power cables and adaptors.
Build quality is crucial if you want your bag to last. Make sure zips are good quality – metallic if possible for both the zipper and the teeth. Avoid small, plastic zips. Their inevitable destruction will leave the whole bag useless.
You can’t talk about backpacks (or any piece of gear) without highlighting features. Gear features are like drugs — they’re time-tested, they make you feel good, and you talk about them incessantly.
Internal Frame: As opposed to the external frame, this is the style of pack. Packs with the support on the inside are internal, packs with support bars on the outside are external.
Hydration Sleeve: CamelBak started the wave of hydration via tube-sucking, and now most packs have a sleeve inside the pack (or a separate outer sleeve) to place a hydration bladder. This also implies a hole for the tube so you can drink hands-free.
Trampoline Suspension: Some companies use trampoline suspension on the back panel. This is excellent for ventilation and an even weight distribution. Depending on the pack it can suffer at higher weights.
Load Lifters: These straps are essential to a backpacking backpack as they pull the pack closer to your back, adjusting the comfort and carry ability while you hike.
Brain/Floating Lid: A top compartment to hold easy accessible basic items. Detaches on some backpacks for reduced load and customization. Also closes the pack to sandwich bulky items outside of the confines of the backpack.
Convertible Day Pack: Some backpacks now have a convertible daypack included, often in the brain/floating lid. This makes day hikes a breeze without bringing a whole separate backpack.
Hip Belt Pockets: Everyone’s favorite feature — small pockets for chapstick, energy bars, smartphones, or cameras that are built right into your hip belt.
Shoulder Strap Pockets: Not seen very often, a pocket on the front of your shoulder strap for carrying a water bottle or smartphone.
Adjustable Sternum Strap (with whistle): The sternum strap helps to balance the load, and should sit roughly two inches below your collarbone. Most packs allow you slide your sternum strap up and down, and some wilderness backpack versions have whistles attached for easy SOS or animal scaring tactics.
Sleeping Bag Compartment: Instead of one long chute, some packs have a divider and separate zipper at the bottom called a “sleeping bag compartment.” You can put anything here that you want easy access to, not just a sleeping bag.
Ice Axe Loops: For the ice-loving trekkers, these are specific loops hanging off the backpack that make attachment very simple. Can attach other things here as well.
Trekking Pole Loops: Very similar to the above, and sometimes one and the same feature. Many hikers (long distance and day hikers) like to use trekking poles. Being able to store them in your pack is sweet.
Drawstring Closure: A method of closing your pack that involves tightening a drawstring that compresses everything down. Easy access, but not very weatherproof.
Rolltop Closure: A method of closing your pack that involves rolling up the remainder of fabric into a burrito-like shape, then snapping that closed with a buckle. This is pretty waterproof but can be annoying to get things out of.
Additional Backpack Fit Adjustments
Load Lifter Straps: These are stitched into the top of the shoulder straps, and they connect to the top of the pack frame. Ideally, they will form a 45° angle between your shoulder straps and the pack. Kept snug (but not too tight), they prevent the upper portion of a pack from pulling away from your body, which would cause the pack to sag in your lumbar region.
Sternum Strap: This mid-chest strap allows you to connect your shoulder straps, which can boost your stability. It can be useful to do so when traveling on uneven cross-country terrain where an awkward move could cause your pack to shift abruptly and throw you off-balance.
This pack comes in four different sizes, the smallest of which (55cm) fits cabin bag requirements. It comes with durable, sturdy exteriors and has two zippered side pockets for additional storage options. The main compartment is frills-free and gives plenty of room, even in the cabin size version and is by far the roomiest wheeled backpack/carry on bag that I have used.
The zippers are lockable and the many handles give you flexibility in carrying and lifting, which is great when you are looking for a smooth transition from rolling it along to carrying it down escalators and stairs.
It doesn’t have an adjustable harness with a hip belt, and for that reason I would say it isn’t suitable for longer travels, but this is definitely the best wheeled backpack for European travel. If you are looking to do some city hopping than this pack is comfortable enough.
Lowe Alpine AT Lightflite Carry-On 4from £57.94*
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Chronic back pain need not prevent you from traveling. The rolling backpack will be easy to maneuver around in the airports, bus and train stations.
Note that this does not mean that there will be no exertion at all. When you are lifting the pack out and into the trunk of the cab, you will need to be careful about your back. So do watch out for yourself.
If you work in an office, you are hunched over your computer every day, you know you are at serious risk of back and neck pain. In fact, you may already be suffering from the same. This could be an indication that in future, you will suffer chronic back pain or neck pain.
You have been breaking your back for over ten months in the office. Do not punish yourself when traveling. A wheeled backpack can help you relieve your back.
If you travel a lot, using a regular backpack all the time may not be harmful to you when you are young, agile and energetic. However, in future, it will cause some serious repercussions. It is better to use backpacks on wheels more than you use a regular pack. Protect your back for the future.
A backpack like High Sierra Freewheel shown above will be a good investment for you.
Backpacks on wheels are easy to use
If you buy a backpack that has a retractable handle, you will find it easy to use. Just pull it out to your preferred height. It will click and lock right into place.
However, do note that some packs come without this handle. This could cause a wee bit of a problem to tall people.
Just make sure you buy a wheeled pack that has good handles. That should save you the trouble of stooping over to haul your pack along.
This is something that most other luggage options do not offer. For example, you can carry the pack on your back when you want to move faster. You can also carry it on your back when you are tired of pulling it behind you.
When you have a bad back, you can just pull the backpack behind you. Usually, the wheels are big enough, thus offering enough ground clearance.
When going on rough terrain, hoist it on your back. When you are taking a flight of stairs, you can carry it on your back and put it down on even floors and grounds.
If all else fails, you can even push the pack ahead of you. I have seen many people do that although I have never considered the wisdom of that.
You can find very secure backpacks on wheels
Look for a backpack with lockable compartments. Strong metallic anti-corrosion zips, secure, dialed security locks and so many features make this backpack a good investment.
However, note that for these extra features, the backpack may cost more money. But it is better to pay more and get more features than pay less and get fewer features.
Might have a removable day pack
This is like buying a two in one case for the price of one, a very good bonus indeed. You can use the daypack for personal items while you check the larger backpack. However, please note that not all packs on wheels come with this, so you will have to look for the one that has this.
Waist strap, sternum strap and even the side compression straps are available in the best wheeled backpacks. These will help you to reduce the size of the pack and make it more manageable when you are not carrying a lot of stuff. In that case, you may even use the said backpack for hiking.
A good travel back pack is endowed with handles. This is not the towing handle only, but side and top handles as well. Believe it or not, when swinging the pack into the trunk of a cab, or into the train luggage rack, the handles are much handier. You will use more brain, and less brawn.
You may also have to use the side handles to carry your travel pack like a suitcase, but only for short distances.
The Lowe Alpine Wheeled Pack has compression straps, top and side handles for the utmost maneuverability. It is a joy to have such a traveling companion, although it is a bit bulky.
First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.
Most important, have fun and choose your wheeled backpack wisely! Good luck!
So, TOP3 of wheeled backpack
- №1 — Aoking 50L Waterproof Travel School Business Rolling Wheeled Backpack with 15.6“ Laptop Compartment
- №2 — Aoking 20/22 Inch Waterproof Travel School Business Rolling Wheeled Backpack with Laptop Compartment
- №3 — High Sierra Freewheel Laptop Backpack