10 Best Rolling Backpacks: Compare, Buy & Save

best rolling backpack

Rolling backpacks are essential for students and traveling professionals alike. If you need to haul a load of any significant size, then you will only hurt yourself doing so with a normal backpack. For the sake of your health, we put together a list of the best rolling backpacks for carrying your stuff the safe way.

What Are the Best Rolling Backpacks Available in 2019?

high-sierra-rolling-backpack Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Smooth wheels
  • Padded design
  • Spacious main pocket
Price: $209.97 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
jansport-rolling-backpack Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Smooth wheels
  • Lightweight
  • Spacious main pocket
Price: $98.90 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
samsonite-wheeled Amazon Customer Reviews
  • 34L storage
  • Sturdy zippers
  • Padded laptop sleeve
Price: $70.69 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
osprey-rolling Amazon Customer Reviews
  • 60L storage
  • Removable wheels
  • Sternum strap
Price: $325.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
targus-compact Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Lightweight
  • 31L storage
  • Two side pockets
Price: $87.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
j-world-ny-rolling Amazon Customer Reviews
  • 34L storage
  • Lots of pockets
  • Comfy straps
Price: $64.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
rockland-rolling-backpack Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Cheap
  • Padded laptop sleeve
  • 40L storage
Price: $57.33 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
olympia-wheeled Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Lightweight
  • Lots of pockets
  • Smooth wheels
Price: $67.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
kipling-alcatraz Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Solid handle
  • Padded laptop sleeve
  • Spacious main pocket
Price: $199.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
everest-rolling-backpack Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Cheap
  • Solid handle
  • Lightweight
Price: $49.80 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Our Unbiased Reviews
  1. 1. High Sierra Freewheel Wheeled Backpack

    Pros:
    • Smooth rolling wheels
    • Rigid reinforced design protects contents
    • Deep and spacious main compartment
    Cons:
    • Heavier and bulkier than non-rolling backpacks
    • Zippers can be finicky
    • Only one water bottle pocket

    The High Sierra Freewheel is stylish, spacious, and versatile. It is arguably the best rolling backpack, depending on just how much stuff you need to carry.

    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 shoulder 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 book load 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 rolling bags.

  2. 2. Jansport Superbreak Wheeled Backpack

    Pros:
    • Smooth rolling wheels
    • Lightweight and durable
    • Large main compartment
    Cons:
    • Only two compartments
    • No laptop sleeve
    • Handle is somewhat flimsy

    Nothing can compromise the classic look of the Jansport backpack. Not even a set of inline skate wheels or a retractable rubber handle.

    The Superbreak has both, yet manages to look like and feel like a normal backpack, albeit a bit heavier. Its urethane wheels are stable and roll smoothly thanks to high-quality bearings.

    The handle is a little flimsy compared to other bags, but it still holds up nicely. The bag’s material is durable enough to make up for it, and surprisingly lightweight too.

    As for its storage, the Superbreak measures 18 x 13 x 8.5 inches, making for a total 13L volume. This is plenty of storage for large textbooks and will leave you wanting for not.

  3. 3. Samsonite Wheeled Backpack

    Pros:
    • Large 34L storage capacity
    • Smooth and sturdy zippers
    • Raised and padded laptop sleeve
    Cons:
    • Handle is somewhat flimsy
    • Heavy even when empty
    • Small wheels

    Samsonite’s Wheeled Backpack is a sturdy pack that is a solid companion for travel and the classroom alike.

    This bag is 19 x 14 x 8 inches, offering a volume of about 34L for storage. The bag has two large compartments, two front compartments, and two side water bottle holders.

    The main compartment has a padded computer sleeve that can store laptops up to 15 inches. This sleeve is lifted a few inches from the bottom, reducing impact when you set your bag down quickly.

    Each compartment has smooth and sturdy zippers, making it a breeze to open and close them. The bag’s nylon material is equally sturdy, and will easily withstand rips.

    Not as solid, however, is the bag’s ice-pick style handle. The handle will always be the first part to go in a rolling backpack, so don’t be surprised when you see reviews complaining about them for just about every backpack.

  4. 4. Osprey Sojourn Wheeled Backpack

    Pros:
    • Massive 60L storage capacity
    • Removable roller suspension
    • Sternum strap and hip belt
    Cons:
    • High price tag
    • Too large for daily use
    • So-so zippers

    So far, most of our favorite rolling bag options bridge the gap between rolling luggage and everyday backpack. The massive Osprey Sojourn, however, is absolutely meant to carry everything you’d need for a trip around the world.

    This pack compares in size to serious backpacking bags, which almost makes it overkill for day to day use. But if anything will fill this bag up, it’s a math-heavy semester.

    The Sojourn stands tall at 25 x 14 x 14 inches and is only made taller by the removable high-profile suspension wheels underneath.

    It has a storage volume of 60L, which could probably hold every book you’ll read all year even with its StraightJacket compression straps all the way fastened.

    And you’d actually be able to carry it on your back, thanks to the useful hip belt and sternum strap. Still, this bag would be overkill for most users.

    Osprey’s Ozone 46L Roller Pack has a lot of the same features, but those looking for a truly portable backpack should read on.

  5. 5. Targus Compact Rolling Backpack

    Pros:
    • Lightweight and durable
    • Large 31L storage capacity
    • Two large side pockets
    Cons:
    • Wheels do not take abuse well
    • Poorly placed laptop sleeve
    • Wheels are loud

    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 for 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 reinforced 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 one of the best rolling backpacks.

  6. 6. J World New York Sunrise Rolling Backpack

    Pros:
    • Large 34L storage capacity
    • Good compartmentalization
    • Comfy padded shoulder straps
    Cons:
    • No laptop sleeve
    • Wheels do not take abuse well
    • Handle is somewhat flimsy

    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. It’s lightweight and comfortable padded shoulder straps mean that this bag would work well as a hybrid use bag, where you hoist lighter loads on your back, and bust out the telescoping handle when the book load 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 school year, the Sunrise is a great choice.

  7. 7. Rockland 19 Inch Rolling Backpack

    Pros:
    • Low price tag
    • Padded laptop compartment
    • Large 40L storage capacity
    Cons:
    • Handle is somewhat flimsy
    • Liner fabric rips easily
    • So-so zippers

    After you’ve spent 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.

  8. 8. Olympia Gen-X 19 Inch Rolling Backpack

    Pros:
    • Lightweight and durable
    • Good compartmentalization
    • Smooth rolling wheels
    Cons:
    • Poorly placed laptop sleeve
    • Nowhere to tuck the shoulder straps
    • So-so zippers

    The Olympia Gen-X is a sturdy rolling backpack that takes inspiration from rugged camping bags with its neon colors and 420D polyester exterior.

    At 19 x 12 x 8 inches, it is a little more shallow than other options. This helps if you want a lighter bag, but hurts when you have four or more books that you carry every day.

    Still, 29L of storage is manageable, especially across three compartments that fully unzip. The bag doesn’t skimp on extra compartmentalization either. It has a water bottle pouch and a padded laptop sleeve built right in.

    Sadly, the Gen-X suffers from the same problem as the Targus Compact: its laptop sleeve is placed towards the front of the bag, which only makes the bag more prone to topple over itself. Another weird oversight is that there is nowhere to tuck the straps, causing them to drag unless you unclip them and tie them together.

    If you can overlook these two issues, the Gen-X is a reliable pack that may save you many trips to the chiropractor’s office down the road.

  9. 9. Kipling Alcatraz Solid Laptop Wheeled Backpack

    Pros:
    • Solid handle and wheels
    • Padded laptop sleeve
    • Large main compartment
    Cons:
    • Low quality zippers
    • Compartmentalized better for air travel
    • Could be larger

    The Kipling Alcatraz is a stylish bag with a cool (yet unnecessary) top flap and a spacious main compartment with a nice 15 inch padded laptop sleeve in.

    Because this main compartment takes up a large majority of the space, this bag seems ultimately better equipped for air travel than school use. Still, you can get by if you don’t mind your lunch potentially getting squished by your books.

    Also, the smaller side and front compartments are far from useless. They work great for storing keys, pens, and other knick-knacks.

    If you like to keep most of your stuff in the same compartment anyway, this bag will be a long-lasting companion for all sorts of adventures.

  10. 10. Everest Deluxe Wheeled Backpack

    Pros:
    • Low price tag
    • Solid handle and wheels
    • Lightweight and sturdy
    Cons:
    • No laptop sleeve
    • Could be larger
    • So-so zippers

    The Everest Deluxe earns its place among top budget 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.

More Info

Every year, students of all ages do immeasurable damage to their shoulders and lower backs by lugging around the ungodly amount of textbooks with normal backpacks.

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. The solution is clear: if you have a heavy book load then don't carry it with your back.

Why aren't more people using roller packs already? There seems to be this universal assumption that wheeled backpacks are only for kids. Yet, you can visit any airport in the world to see that this most certainly isn't the case. On the contrary, most professionals gravitate towards these bags wherever lots of foot travel and heavy supplies are involved. This most certainly applies to school.

Rolling backpacks come in a variety of modern styles, and most still come with straps, should you happen to want to haul your stuff the old-fashioned way. Once you're ready to put your health first, you can read on below to check out the best rolling backpacks around.

See Also

10 Best Rolling Backpacks Available Right Now

10 Best Backpacks for Sports: Your Buyer’s Guide

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