The Best Rolling Backpack

High Sierra Freewheel Wheeled Backpack

Our Top Pick for 2016: High Sierra Freewheel Wheeled Backpack
Read our full review.

See it on Amazon for $47.99*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.
Too expensive? See our budget pick.

Every traveler who has a respectable number of frequent flyer miles knows just how imperative it is to have a rolling backpack that gets the job done. Even if you don’t intend on going to five different countries in the next five months, generally speaking, you’re going to want to have a rolling backpack that you can depend on to transport your belongings in a manner that ensures their safety your sanity. Wheeled backpacks save you lots of energy in the long-term, and it’s possible that they might even be able to facilitate a better overall state of health than conventional backpacks. For their durability, features, convenience, and overall quality, the following rolling backpacks have been rated as some of the best available on the market.

Table of contents

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Laptop Pocket Holds 17″ Scren
Multi-Compartment Design
Smooth Jumbo Wheels
Quick Change Back Panel 
Fully-Padded Computer Sleeve
Push Button Handle
Water Bottle Pockets
Smooth Rolling Wheels
Includes Laptop Compartment
Hidden Pockets For Storing Valuables
Media Pocket With Headphone Port
Concealable Shoulder Straps
Large Organizer Pocket
Hideway Handle
Padded Grip Handle

*Price at time of publishing and may not reflect current pricing.

#1 Gold pick (Winner): High Sierra Freewheel Wheeled Backpack

High Sierra Freewheel Wheeled Backpack Gold Pick

View it on Amazon for $47.99*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-gold-winnerThe High Sierra Freewheel Wheeled Backpack has been made with a large, multi-compartment design. The backpack features corner-mounted wheels for smoother rolling. The rolling backpack has a fully-padded cushion zone computer sleeve that can accommodate laptops that are as big as 17 inches (the compatible laptop sizes are 13 inches, 15 inches and 17 inches respectively).

The rolling backpack also features a deluxe media pocket, which has a headphone port as well. To increase the convenience of the rolling backpack even more, the rolling backpacks handle has been designed with hideaway telescoping functionality.
Overall, this backpack is meant for both athletic and outdoor use. The main material used to construct the fabric is nylon, giving it a particularly strong amount of durability and weather resistance.

To increase the interior ergonomics, there is also a primary padded back panel. Additional convenient features include a side beverage pocket, a triangle clip that can be used to attach extra gear, corner guards, and a kickplate that can be used to protect the bag from any abrasive contact with the ground.

The backpack also features a mesh padded grab handle and a reflective strip that can be used for increased visibility. If the owner decides to wear the backpack on their back in a conventional manner, the backpack features mesh padded shoulder straps to lower the amount of strain that might be experienced over a long commute.

The front compartment of the backpack features a large, front-loaded design. The large and zippered compartment is made with an organizer, including a media pocket, several open pockets, and a key fob as well.

The backpack also features adjustable panel mesh, specially contoured, and padded shoulder straps that have been made with a special tuck-away design inside of the padded back panel. There are also open side pockets that have been incorporated to allow the owner to hold any of their water bottles or other miscellaneous items.

One customer testified that the aesthetic appeal of this rolling backpack is that it resembles a traditional backpack more than a conventional rolling backpack. The customer was highly pleased with the way that the handle can be hidden away when it isn’t in use, and it extends with just the press of a button. The customer was also pleased with the inner padded sleeve that can be used for laptop computers. Overall, the customer reported that the High Sierra rolling backpack provided them with everything that they needed.

The interior holding capacity is 14 to 15.6 inches in total, and the overall dimensions of the backpack are 13.5 x 8 x 20.5”; this is the one size that the backpack is available in. The total weight of the backpack is 1 pound, and the overall shipping weight is approximately 6.1 pounds. The backpack can be purchased exclusively in black for the price of $49.95. All purchases are covered by a limited five-year manufacturer’s warranty.

#2 Silver pick (Runner-up): Samsonite Luggage Mvs Spinner Backpack

Samsonite Luggage Mvs Spinner Backpack

View it on Amazon for $86.99*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-silver-winnerThe Samsonite Luggage MVS Spinner Backpack is made of 100% polyester. The backpack has been made with special laptop compartment protection which can accommodate laptops with a screen up to 17 inches. The backpack features quick-change back panel implementation that allows the owner to quickly access the straps whenever needed.

The hidden compartments of the backpack are lined with felt in order to facilitate the livelihood of the owner’s valuables. The front organizer pocket of the backpack is large and gusseted for easy access. There are there are zipper pockets that have been included in order to help owners store their water bottles.

One user testified that they have elected this rolling backpack to use as a home-to-work bag for their daily commute. Before settling on this backpack in particular, the customer had looked at a wide variety of other PC bags that had a spinner feature based on the traditional computer/folder/office design; this backpack delivered exactly what they were looking for in all categories.

The customer reported that they use the rolling backpack while walking, taking the bus, and riding the Metro train. The customer very much enjoyed the smoothness of the roll, and the way that the backpack could easily fit through differently-sized aisles. The customer reported that the laptop compartment was perfectly capable of accommodating their 14 x 9.5” laptop. The customer reported that the zippers were quite sturdy, and there were just enough compartments to facilitate all of their storage needs and more.

The customer advised other prospective owners that if there wasn’t enough space in the designated sleeve for their laptop in particular, then there is still lots of room in the main compartment that can be used to store the laptop just as easily.

The customer enjoyed the fact that the bag was not particularly heavy, and has an adjustable handle that can accommodate different owners of various different heights. The customer reported that one person was uncertain of the durability of the handle, but despite their worries, there was never any need to fear that the handle was going to break at an inconvenient time.

The only drawbacks that the customer had to report was the fact that the backpack was slightly taller than they might have preferred. The customer reported that their frequently-traveling friends noted that it may not be able to easily fit under most seats, but that the backpack should be able to easily fit into most overhead compartments without much trouble.

The only drawback was that customer would have enjoyed slightly larger wheels to help rolling over surfaces such as carpets and unpaved walkways. Besides their personal want for bigger wheels, this backpack provided exactly what the customer was looking for in order to make their commute from home to work much more convenient.

The dimensions of this rolling backpack are 19 x 12 x 12”. The shipping weight of the backpack is 8.8 pounds. The backpack is exclusively available in one size, in black, and it can be purchased for the price of $79.99.

#3 Bronze pick (3rd place): Olympia Gen-X 19 Inch Rolling Backpack

Olympia Gen-X 19 Inch Rolling Backpack

View it on Amazon for $49.99*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-bronze-awardThe Olympia Gen-X 19-Inch rolling backpack is made with 100% polyester. For increased durability and interior ergonomics, the backpack is made with textile lining. All of the compartments of the backpack feature zipper closure.

The polyester constructing the backpack specifically consists of supreme 420 D polyester along with 1680D polyester. The backpack features a pushbutton telescopic mono handle and multi-front zipper pockets that include an internal organizer. To facilitate a smooth roll, there are corner cut jumbo recessed wheels.

One customer testified that the backpack has been integral to their family for one specific feature: the fact that its size makes it easy to fit it into most school lockers. The customer testified that their 6th grader child’s school backpack always seems to be heavier than she is, so the wheels are often times a lifesaver. The customer reported that they have tried many different backpacks with wheels, but this particular rolling backpack is the very first one that has actually fit into the locker with no problems whatsoever. The customer was particularly pleased with the way that the wheels were large, and yet relatively silent.

The customer was also pleased with the overall durability of the frame, and all of their child’s books and folders were able to fit inside of it without any great effort.
Another customer testified that the rolling backpack was exceptionally sturdy and also featured a particularly comfortable handle. Much like the first testimony, this customer reported that this backpack was essential for their elementary school daughter.

The only drawback that customer reported that the side pocket, while it seems particularly deep, occasionally seems to let her water bottle fall out; therefore, her daughter has to be particularly mindful about making sure that her water bottle stays in place at all times. Besides the water bottle situation, the customer reports that the backpack is extremely helpful for its wide selection of pockets, it’s highly convenient size, and allowing her daughter to contain all of her school supplies very easily.

In another testimony, a customer reported that they agreed that the wheels were particularly convenient for how silently they roll. The customer also reported that, unlike other rolling backpacks that they have purchased in the past, this particular rolling backpack does not have a tendency to tilt. This customer was highly pleased by all of the different compartments that made it very easy to find certain objects, without having to fish through one main compartment for a long time.

The dimensions of the Olympia Gen-X 19-nch rolling backpack are 7.5 x 20 x 12”. The shipping weight is 5.5 pounds. The Olympia Gen-X backpack is available in one size only. The backpack can be purchased in one of four different colors: black, blue, plum, and green. All different color variations of the backpack can be purchased for the price of $49.99.

#4 Budget pick (Best cheap): Everest Wheeled Backpack

Everest Wheeled Backpack

View it on Amazon for $38.08*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-cheap-budget-pickThe Everest wheeled backpack is made of 600 D polyester. The backpack can be equally effectively used as either a rolling suitcase or a conventional backpack used for transporting school supplies. The backpack has a sturdy telescoping handle along with a double wheeled base. The backpack also features easy glide zippers, along with multi-zipper pockets that the owner can make use to easily access all of their belongings relatively quickly.

The bag also features double handles that increase the overall portability.
One customer testified that because they were initially unsure of what to expect from the backpack, they actually bought two of the backpacks. The customer reported that they were in Europe for one month, so they used this backpack as their carry on. The customer used the backpack through France, Italy, and Spain.

The customer used the backpacks for their flights between several countries. Even though the customer went through rough cobblestone streets, the backpacks were able to survive all of the traveling that they were required to do. The backpacks did come back slightly worn down from all of the friction, but the customer was very happy with the fact that the backpacks saved them from having to use a large and heavy suitcase.

The dimensions of the Everest wheeled the backpack are 13.4 x 6.3 x 17.3”, and the shipping weight is four pounds. The backpack can be purchased in one of four different color variations: black, navy, red, and royal blue. All color variations of the backpack can be purchased for the price of $32.95.


Pre-purchase considerations

Holding capacity and compartments

The primary function of your rolling backpack can only be achieved if it is capable of carrying all of the belongings that you needed to carry without being overloaded. Before examining a rolling backpack’s features in too much depth, or getting swept away by how attractive the bag is, you should also make sure you have a rough figure on just what the exact volume of the interior of the backpack is.

Far too many travelers have made the mistake of investing in a backpack that seems to be perfect in every way except for the small drawback of being completely physically incapable of carrying all their things. It is not uncommon for some of the most high-end rolling backpacks to offer convenient hidden compartments. These hidden compartments can be used for the specific purpose of carrying your valuables that need just a little bit more exclusive
storage than the other belongings.

Needless to say, the most important thing that you should begin your search for a rolling backpack with is taking a very detailed account of exactly how much space all of your belongings will be taking up once it’s time to get on the move.

durability and functionality

Naturally, you are going to want your rolling backpack to be able to stand the test of time.
The highest-quality rolling backpacks out there will be made with a certain grade of material that ensures the highest degree of survivability. Rolling backpacks should not only be able to go anywhere – rolling backpacks should be able to survive just about anywhere.

You must never prioritize the attractiveness or aesthetics of the rolling backpack over its ability to survive the unpredictable environments that you will be taking it through on your travels, though this doesn’t mean that aesthetics can’t be an element of the choosing process; survivability should just always come first.

Because rolling backpacks will constantly be in contact with the ground, it is imperative that they are able to withstand any unexpected impact. In addition to being able to withstand the wear and tear of constant travel, a high quality rolling backpack should also have a very smooth roll as you walk along with it. The smoothness of your backpack’s roll can be greatly facilitated by wheels that have been specially mounted for the best convenience. Commonly, corner mounted wheels are one of the most effective implementations for ensuring that a rolling backpack has the smoothest roll that you can hope for.

fabric and fiber strength

Nylon is popularly praised as being one of the most useful synthetic materials that we have the privilege of using today. Some of the most dependable rolling backpacks will generally feature construction that consist heavily of nylon. As a mass-produced constructive material, nylon has gained the reputation for being one of the most durable fibers for consumer products in the world. Nylon is praised as being one of the most versatile natural materials that there are. From alarm clocks to bedsheets, nylon has been used for the purpose of making every type of fabric-based product that is intended to withstand wear and tear; rolling backpacks are no exception.

Scientifically put, nylon is a polymer. A polymer is a plastic that has very long and heavy molecules that are built up within infinitely repeating section of atoms, in a similar fashion to what might be interpreted as a metal chain. While nylon might seem flexible and soft, the truth is that having a nylon-constructed backpack is almost as if you have a form of chainmail protecting your rolling backpack from things that would decimate less durable materials. Ideally, you won’t need to know just how far nylon can be tested in its durability; however, it can’t hurt to have it in place.

interior and exterior ergonomics

In addition to having a durable exterior, the interior of your rolling backpack should also be something that you make a point to prioritize when choosing the best one. At the same time that the outside of your backpack is being protected, you also want to be sure that all of your precious belongings on the inside are being properly cared for by the interior construction.

It is very common that the interior of the backpack will be made with a certain degree of padding that keeps all of your belongings from being violently jostled around. As you roll your backpack from place to place, you might go over terrain that has a turbulent texture. Certain backpacks may have the interior of the hidden pockets lined with felt that allows you to protect your valuables with extra security. A backpack that does not properly protect the objects that it carries will cancel out its durability and craftsmanship by compromising the integrity of the objects that you need to get from Point A to Point B.

Naturally, the interior ergonomics of your rolling backpack should also be matched by an optimal level of exterior ergonomics, extending to the rolling backpacks handle. Because you will never know just how long you may need to be rolling your backpack around, due to possible unpredictable events of your travels, you want to be sure that the handle is one that you can comfortably grasp for an indefinite amount of time.

additional accessories

In addition to the basic functionality of the rolling backpack, transporting your objects from place to place, the rolling backpack may also feature additional implements that can increase its convenience to an even greater degree. Some of the additional convenient factors that are offered by your particular rolling backpack model might include a specialized media compartment that can be used for keeping your headphones and other miscellaneous devices.

The handle of the rolling backpack might also be outfitted with a special hideaway telescoping functionality to make the portability just a little bit more seamless. Another additional feature that the rolling backpack may offer you is a special compartment that you can use to store your laptop. There may also be back panel technology that allows you to quickly access the straps of the backpack with minimal effort. Generally speaking, the best of rolling backpacks that you can get for your dollar will generally go above and beyond the standard call of duty.

Conclusion (Wrapping it up)

While the simple purpose of a rolling backpack is to be able to transport your belongings from one area to the next conveniently, the success of this simple job will depends on several factors. The quality of the bag will depend on whether or not the manufacturer has implemented features to ensure that your belongings are properly protected and that you have the maximum degree of convenience. Always be sure to take a very detailed account of the interior and exterior ergonomics, the durability of the rolling bag, the strength of the main fiber constructing the bag, and any of the additional accessories. A passable rolling bag will simply be able to get your things from one place to another, but the best rolling backpack will be able to make your entire traveling experience go much more smoothly overall.

Discussion and comments

We want to know what you think. Do you own any of the products we discussed? Which did you buy and how did it work out for you?

Do you know of an even better product?

Comment below and help your fellow consumers make the right choice. Over to you!

Resources

  1. Sabrina Parada, Rolling backpacks can save your health and prevent long-term injury, Dailytitan.com, March 10, 2015
  2. Candace Horgan, Are Rolling Backpacks Better Than Carry Backpacks, Traveltips.USAToday.com, November 26, 2010
  3. Backpacks R Us contributors, Past present and future of the backpack, sites.google.com, May 9, 2013
  4. Nora, Wheeled backpacks: Why they are the best, and tips for buying one, professional hobo.com, December 10, 2012
  5. Rick Steves, Tips for choosing the best travel bag, April 21, 2015, www.RickSteves.com
  6. Chris Woodford, Nylon, Explain that stuff.com, November 12, 2015

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