10 Best Cheap Rolling Backpacks: Your Buyer’s Guide (2018)

cheap rolling backpacks

It’s back to school time at last. But there is not much to look forward to about that.

There’s the long nights of homework, endless quizzes, and worst of all, having to lug around an ungodly amount of reading material.

Every year, this last issue does significant damage to your shoulder and back, and we’re only now finding out how severe the damage is.

To understand the problem, researchers at Tel Aviv University conducted a study that demonstrated the very real risks of permanent nerve damage caused by carrying heavy backpacks all the time.

So why aren’t more people using roller packs already? There seems to be an unspoken rule that wheeled backpacks are either expensive luggage or a novelty for kids.

On the contrary, rolling backpacks are an affordable luxury that you’ll see in anything from pilots to lawyers to teachers. So why not students?

You may still fear the stigma of using one of these unique bags, but they come in a variety of modern styles. They still come with straps too, should you happen to want to haul your stuff the old fashioned way.

Once you decide this is best for your back and your wallet, you can read on below to check out our favorite rolling bags.

1. Rockland 19 Inch Rolling Backpack



After you’ve spend hundreds of dollars on textbooks, it can really hurt your wallet to spend hundreds on a way to carry them around.

If you are on a budget, the Rockland Rolling Backpack delivers a surprising amount of value for under $25.

It offers 40L worth of spacious compartments, measuring out at 13 x 10 x 19 inches. The largest compartment has a padded laptop sleeve which can hold laptops up to 15 inches. It also has three smaller compartments for pens, small electronics, and other trinkets.

The interior lining of these compartments rips fairly easily, but your contents will still be plenty safe from the elements behind its polyester exterior.

The bottom part of the bag is well reinforced, and the two water bottle compartments are well stitched. If anything is going to go wrong with this bag, it will be the handle not collapsing down all the way.

On paper, this bag offers just about everything you’d need out of a bag, and is also one of the cheapest options available.

But a disproportionate number of one star reviews on Amazon prove that those with high demands might not be too happy with the quality of this bag.

It’s up to you to decide how high quality your bag needs to be, but if you are only getting a backpack because you need to, you will survive with this pick.

Price: $23.93

Buy the Rockland 19 Inch Rolling Backpack here.


  • Low price tag
  • Padded laptop compartment
  • Large 40L storage capacity


  • Handle is somewhat flimsy
  • Liner fabric rips easily

Find more Rockland 19 Inch Rolling Backpack information and reviews here.

2. Pacific Gear Treasureland Backpack



The Pacific Gear Treasureland is a lightweight hybrid pack that strikes a perfect balance between storage and maneuverability.

This backpack has soft and silent wheels that can handle rough terrain with ease. They are small, but they sit about 13.5 inches apart to provide a stable ride.

The pack’s total dimensions equaling 18 x 13.5 x 8.5 inches.

That leaves you with 33.8L of storage volume to pack books, clothes, and whatever else you need.

The bag has a number of zippered compartments, including a large main compartment, a pencil pocket, two small side compartments, and a small front compartment.

This bag doesn’t have a a sleeve for your laptop, so don’t count on being able to safely store electronics.

However, its molded polycarbonate bottom does an adequate job of protecting your less fragile goods.

Price: $44.99 (25 percent off MSRP)

Buy the Pacific Gear Treasureland Backpack here.


  • Molded polycarbonate bottom
  • Lightweight and maneuverable
  • Good compartmentalization


  • No laptop compartment
  • Small wheels struggle with curbs

Find more Pacific Gear Treasureland Backpack information and reviews here.

3. Targus Compact Rolling Backpack



At under $50, Targus’ Compact Rolling Backpack is a solid deal on a fully equipped rolling backpack. It is lightweight and durable. It also has a generous 31L storage volume across two pockets and a smaller compartment fro trinkets.

This bag measures out at 7.5 x 13.4 x 19.2 inches, with the main compartment making up a bulk of this space.

The main compartment has a removable sleeve to protect laptops up to 15 inches, but curiously, it is on the front of the main compartment rather than the back.

This is an annoyance, as the bag will flop forward when the main compartment is opened all the way unless you counterbalance it with more stuff.

Still, the other compartments work fine, especially the two deep side mesh pockets. One of these side pockets is zippered.

The bottom of the pack is reinforces with PVC, and will handle plenty of abuse. The pack’s wheels, however, will scratch and eventually break if you are too rough on them. They are also loud compared to the other bags on this list.

Still, for the price, this is a great way to relieve your back of the impossible duty that is holding all of your textbooks.

Price: $49.00

Buy the Targus Compact Rolling Backpack here.


  • Lightweight and durable
  • Large 31L storage capacity
  • Two large side pockets


  • Wheels do not take abuse well
  • Poorly placed laptop sleeve
  • Wheels are loud

Find more Targus Compact Rolling Backpack information and reviews here.

4. High Sierra Freewheel Wheeled Backpack



The High Sierra Freewheel is a stylish and spacious backpack that can be worn on your back or just as easily rolled at your side. It has smooth-rolling wheels and a beefy telescoping handle that folds away and zips out of sight with ease.

The Freewheel has bumpers stitched into its corners, plus a reinforced bottom for rough handling. The bag material is nice, and the tuck-away should straps are well padded to offset the extra discomfort you will experience from the frame for the wheels.

The storage volume is good enough to justify the need for the wheels. But then again your insane bookload probably does that for you.

Thee Freewheel has about as much space as High Sierra’s highly-rated Swerve bag, minus the extra space needed for the wheels and telescoping handle.

Its main compartment has a laptop sleeve for laptops up to 15 inches in screen size, and plenty of space for books and binders.

Its two front compartments are smaller half-zip pockets for more important trinkets. One has an organizer for smaller objects. This pack has one water bottle pocket on the right side.

This bag’s combination of quality materials, convenient compartmentalization, and fair price make it a standout pick among cheap rolling backpacks.

Price: $59.95 and up

Buy the High Sierra Freewheel Wheeled Backpack here.


  • Smooth rolling wheels
  • Rigid reinforced design protects contents
  • Deep and spacious main compartment


  • Heavier and bulkier than non-rolling backpacks
  • Zippers can be finicky
  • Only one water bottle pocket

Find more High Sierra Freewheel Wheeled Backpack information and reviews here.

5. J World New York Sunrise Rolling Backpack



The Sunrise Rolling Backpack from J World New York is a stylish rolling backpack that competes with designer styles in its large selection of patterns. Just keep in mind, this is a budget bag like the Targus Compact.

Unfortunately, this means that is shares some of the same shortcomings. The wheels, for example, won’t last long if you roll them down stairs and across rough terrain. Likewise, the handle is a bit flimsy.

But on all other fronts, this is a well put together bag. Its light weight and comfortable padded shoulder straps mean that this bag would work well as a hybrid use bag.

You can hoist lighter loads on your back, and extend the telescoping handle to roll it when the bookload gets to be too much.

The Sunrise bag is 9 x 13 x 18 inches, and offers your standard array of three differently sized compartments and two water bottle pockets. Its total volume is 34L. The bag has a molded bottom to protect your supplies, but a built-in laptop sleeve is missing from the picture.

If you are looking for a rolling bag to last you a few years, then you may have to spend a little more to see the longevity you want. But if you are just looking for a simple rolling bag to make it through the schoolyear, the Sunrise is a great choice.

Price: $44.99 (9 percent off MSRP)

Buy the J World New York Sunrise Rolling Backpack here.


  • Large 34L storage capacity
  • Good compartmentalization
  • Comfy padded shoulder straps


  • No laptop sleeve
  • Wheels do not take abuse well
  • Handle is somewhat flimsy

Find more J World New York Sunrise Rolling Backpack information and reviews here.

6. S-Zone Wheeled Backpack



The S-Zone Wheeled Backpack is one of only a few packs on our list that cost more than $50.

But the sheer amount of value it offers from its quality materials and large size make a viable stretch option on a budget.

The bag is made from nylon oxford fabric, which is stylish and durable. The material is rather soft, which makes the bag fall forward easily.

The backpack has a storage volume of 38L, meaning it can be used as rolling luggage or a daypack just as easily.

At 21.7 x 13.8 x 7.8 inches, the S-Zone bag is decently bulky. However, it is still decently portable too, thanks to a quality telescoping handle.

Its shoulder straps are well padded, but are inconveniently hidden behind a zipper flap. It is totally unnecessary.

The S-Zone bag has three large compartments. Its main compartment has a laptop sleeve for laptops up to 17 inches.

The other compartments are better for smaller items. You also get two mesh water bottle pockets on one side and a zippered pocket on the other.

All in all, the S-Zone backpack is a great purchase despite its slightly higher price.

Price: $69.99 (22 percent off MSRP)

Buy the S-Zone Wheeled Backpack here.


  • Stylish and durable
  • Large 38L storage capacity
  • Good compartmentalization


  • High price tag
  • Zippered pocket for straps is cumbersome
  • Bag falls forward easily

Find more S-Zone Wheeled Backpack information and reviews here.

7. Embassy Leather Wheeled Backpack



Embassy’s wheeled backpack is beautiful and durable thanks to its Italian leather outer layer.

True, this so-called “genuine leather” is not the same as the high quality material used in hundred dollar packs, but for under $50, you will still get a long-lasting and attractive pack.

This backpack has one main pocket, plus three small compartments and two side saddlebags. This gives you somewhere to put just about everything you tote in a day, but there is no laptop sleeve.

At 14.5 x 19 x 9 inches, the Embassy Leather Backpack is modestly sized. It offers about 40L of storage volume.

The telescopic handle is fairy sturdy, as are its wheels. Still, the bottom side could use some heavier padding. Overall, this pack is not without its flaws, but it is a reliable pick nonetheless.

Price: $39.85

Buy the Embassy Leather Wheeled Backpack here.


  • Durable leather exterior
  • Solid handle and wheels
  • Large 40L storage volume


  • No laptop sleeve
  • Underside needs more padding
  • Bag falls forward easily

Find more Embassy Leather Wheeled Backpack information and reviews here.

8. Everest Deluxe Wheeled Backpack



The Everest Deluxe earns its place among top cheap rolling backpacks for its surprising durability. Considering its low price, its wheels last a considerable amount longer than pricier picks like the Targus Compact.

And while handles will always be a weak point on wheeled backpacks, this one is pretty decent.

The Deluxe is 18.5 x 13.5 x 7 inches, giving it a volume of about 28L. This is fairly middle of the road. It makes for a nice compromise between capacity and maneuverability.

The bag has a sizable main compartment, but also five zip pockets and two slip pockets across the exterior. That’s on top of the secondary compartment.

The bag’s compression straps help make this bag easy to wear on your back as well.

But I wouldn’t expect you to do that too often, as the Everest Deluxe’s quality wheels and handle really embody what the rolling backpack life is all about.

Price: $36.99

Buy the Everest Deluxe Wheeled Backpack here.


  • Low price tag
  • Solid handle and wheels
  • Lightweight and sturdy


  • No laptop sleeve
  • Could be larger

Find more Everest Deluxe Wheeled Backpack information and reviews here.

9. CalPak Night Vision Rolling Backpack



The curiously named CalPak Night Vision doesn’t quite let you see in the dark. It does, however, provide 30L worth of efficient storage.

This middle-sized pack is 18 x 13 x 8 inches, and protects your goods on all sides with lightweight and durable Ripstop 600D.

The bottom of this bag is protected with molded polycarbonate material, ensuring no part of your backpack sags on the ground.

This bag has a zippered cover that protects either the straps or the wheels when not in use. This is not necessary. and can even get in the way in some situations.

But this is easy to forgive, as you’ll mostly be zipping the compartments and forgetting about this back zipper.

This bag has two large compartments and a front organizer pocket. Its largest pocket also has a padded laptop sleeve. The bag also has two water bottle pockets.

This bag might look a little generic, but that’s good for a rolling backpack, which should ideally fit in perfectly with the normal backpacks.

Price: $48.79 and up

Buy the CalPak Night Vision Rolling Backpack here.


  • Two mesh water bottle pockets
  • Lightweight and durable
  • Molded polycarbonate bottom


  • Small wheels struggle with curbs
  • Zippered pocket for straps is cumbersome

Find more CalPak Night Vision Rolling Backpack information and reviews here.

10. Granite Gear Haulsted Wheeled Backpack



Last but not least, the Granite Gear Haulsted offers just about everything you need out of a cheap rolling backpack.

This polyester bag is well padded and reasonably sized at 19.5 x 13.25 x 8.5 inches. It has two large compartments and two zip pockets. Plus it has two mesh water bottle pockets.

This makes for a volume of 33L. If you need a little more storage, you can spring a few extra bucks for Granite Gear’s Trailster backpack instead.

The Haulsted’s largest compartment has a padded laptop sleeve for devices up to 15 inches. The whole bottom of the bag is further reinforced with taurpalite for an extra layer of protection.

This bag even has compression straps to compact it down when it is not as fully packed. If you were to break the $50 budget on any rolling backpack, it should very likely be this one at just a few dollars over.

Price: $52.99 (62 percent off MSRP)

Buy the Granite Gear Haulsted Wheeled Backpack here.


  • Well padded on all sides
  • Solid handle and wheels
  • Large 33L storage volume


  • Interior frays easily
  • High price tag

Find more Granite Gear Haulsted Wheeled Backpack information and reviews here.

See Also

Heavy, Inc. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to Amazon. Our product recommendations are guided solely by our editors. We have no relationship with manufacturers.

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