The Best Wheeled Backpacks for Travel

The Best Wheeled Backpacks - Two Traveling Texans
by Anisa // 22 Comments

I have used a backpack as my carry-on bag / personal item for years.  It was just the most comfortable way for me to travel. Unfortunately, my backpack has been getting heavier with all the photographic and video equipment I need for this blog!  I was getting tired faster and I was starting to get worried about back problems down the road.

I decided that buying a wheeled backpack was the way to save my back and make travel easier.   Backpacks with wheels are becoming more popular and there are a lot of models to choose from. In this post, I want to explain why you need a rolling backpack and help you choose the best wheeled backpack for travel for you.

Note: This post contains affiliate links.  Please see disclosure for more information.

Do You Need a Backpack with Wheels?

If you are one of those people who goes out all day with just a wallet-sized purse, maybe you don’t need a rolling backpack.

We usually need our camera, GoPro, tripod and other camera accessories (i.e. lenses, gimbal, selfie stick), battery charger, iPad, and some water and snacks.  Even with a lightweight backpack for travel and a lighter tripod, it gets heavy especially if we are out all day exploring.  I started just wanting to sit down and rest rather than keep walking. It can’t be good for long-term health.

I wish I could be better at packing light, but in most cases, we needed all the gear.  Maybe we could have managed without the snacks – but we don’t want to risk anyone getting hangry! We needed to figure out a better way and that’s when I decided the best backpack for travel is one with wheels.

The best backpack for back pain is one that you don’t have to carry on your back!

Choosing the Best Wheeled Backpack for Travel

People have different priorities and preferences when they travel.  There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution that meets the needs of every traveler, so choosing a backpack for travel can be difficult.

The best rolling travel bag for you depends on your specific needs.  There are a few basic questions to consider when you are ready to buy a backpack for travel.

Let’s take a look at different considerations along with a few recommendations.

ConsiderationWhat to Look ForRecommendations
Do you want it to be the one bag you take?You need a backpack that is big enough to hold everything you need. You may also want to choose one with a detachable day pack for even more flexiblity.YH & GS Rolling Waterproof Backpack

AOPMGOE AOKING Water Resistant Rolling Wheeled Backpack
Are you traveling for business or with a laptop?You need a stylish travel backpack with wheels that protects your laptop.MATEIN Rolling Backpack

High Sierra Wheeled Laptop Backpack
Would you like the flexibility to not always have to carry the whole bag with you?You want a backpack with a detachable day pack. Alternatively, you could buy a foldable backpack (like this one) to carry inside your luggage.Hynes Eagle 2 in 1 Travel Rolling Backpack
Does it need to be small to meet strict airline (i.e. Ryanair and other European low-cost carriers) luggage rules?Check the carryon baggage rules for the airlines that you usually fly on and make sure the backpack you choose meets the requirements.J World New York Sunny Rolling Backpack
Are you on a tight budget?You can find lower-priced backpacks with wheels, they may not have all the different pockets or other features that more expensive backpacks do.Everest 1045m Wheeled Backpack
Will you be packing a lot of photographic equipment?You need a backpack that has space for all your photography gear and will make sure it does not get damaged.Neewer 2-in-1 Rolling Camera Backpack Trolley Case

Deco Gear 3-in-1 Travel Camera Rolling Backpack
Is the backpack for kids?You want a bag that is lightweight that your kids will like. Choose a rolling backpack for kids that fits their personality or interests.Naturally KIDS Unicorn Backpack

Yodo 3-Way Kids Rolling Backpack
Do you need it to be able to keep food and drinks cold?You want something that is well insulated, a rolling cooler that can also be used as a backpack.Yorepek Cooler Backpack with Wheels

The same thing applies with choosing the the best backpack brand for travel.  Different brands specialize in different types of backpacks. YH & GS, High Sierra, Samsonite, Targus, Everest, Matein, Hynes, JWorld, and JanSport are some of the best rolling backpack brands.

Top of the Line, Best Rolling Backpack for Travel

YH & GS makes the best backpack with wheels for travel on the market offering numerous innovative features that set it apart from other rolling backpacks.

One of its standout features is the large, (7-inch) wider wheel, which is a patented design. This unique wheel design allows the rolling backpack to effortlessly climb hotel stairs and navigate through airplane aisles without concern about the wheels turning sideways or causing wear on the backpack.  With a wheel cover compartment, the YH & GS rolling backpack ensures that your clothes stay clean and stain-free during use.

The backpack’s handle is made of ABS material, ensuring durability and reliability over time. There’s no need to worry about the handle not closing properly, as it functions smoothly.  It also has adjustable shoulder straps that are ergonomic and comfortable, and a thickly padded back panel that provides ample support when carrying it as a traditional backpack.

The rolling backpack offers a generous capacity, measuring 21.6 x 14.1 x 10.2 inches (553626cm). The padded laptop compartment can hold up to a 17-inch laptop, along with additional pockets for smaller devices and items. With 52L of space in the main compartment, the backpack can accommodate books, clothes, documents, and more.

The YH & GS rolling backpack is also designed for night time safety, featuring a reflective strip that enhances visibility during low-light conditions.   Additionally, the design includes lockable zippers for increased security during travel.

In summary, the YH & GS Waterproof backpack on wheels is the epitome of a top-of-the-line rolling backpack for travelers. With its patented large wheel, sturdy construction, ample storage space, comfortable straps, and thoughtful design features, it guarantees a convenient, safe, and enjoyable travel experience.

Check price for the YH & GS Backpack on Amazon.

Another Good Rolling Backpack With a Day Pack

The Hynes Eagle 2 in 1 Travel Backpack is a versatile and durable rolling backpack, ideal for both men and women. It comes with a 20L detachable day pack, which fits easily under seats and passes through luggage handles.

With a total capacity of 63L and the ability to fit a 15.6-inch laptop, this rolling backpack is ideal for minimalist travelers looking to pack efficiently for extended trips. The set includes three packing cubes for easy organization. The versatility of carry options, including tote, backpack, and trolley, adds to its appeal, allowing users to adapt to different travel situations.

The backpack features an adjustable sternum strap for extra comfort, and is made of water-repellent polyester whichoffers protection and longevity. With a Type A charging port and headphone jack, staying connected is effortless.

Overall, it’s a practical and airline-approved choice for various travel needs.

Check price of Hynes Eagle 2 in 1 Wheeled Backpack on Amazon.

Best Rolling Backpack for Business Travel

The weight of your laptop and other business supplies add up and can make it uncomfortable to carry on your back or shoulders. A roller backpack can be a good option for business travel if you choose the right one.  

You will need to make sure it looks professional and will keep your laptop safe. If you have a larger laptop (16-17 inches) finding the best rolling backpack laptop bag may not be as easy as it sounds.  I read product descriptions that said the backpack would hold a 17-inch laptop followed by reviews with people complaining that it actually did not.

I think the best rolling backpack for a laptop is this one made by MATEIN.  It has room for your laptop (up to 17), a change of clothes, a tablet, and all your gear. plus it is water resistant.

The only thing this laptop rolling bag is missing is a USB port.  It’s hard to find a rolling backpack that does.  The only rolling backpack that I know with a USB port is this one, but it is a bit pricey.  It’s probably best to make sure you bring along your portable battery charger, like this one.

Check price of MATEIN Rolling Backpack on Amazon.

Best Backpack for Camera and Travel

Much of the weight in our backpack is our photography, video, and drone gear.  Photographers and aspiring photographers know that you can’t just throw your equipment in a bag and go.  It needs to be protected, the equipment is expensive and fragile.

The Neewer 2-in-1 Rolling Camera Backpack Trolley Case is the ideal choice for traveling photographers. With its spacious capacity and configurable compartments, it can hold 2 DSLR bodies with lenses attached, along with extra lenses, a flash unit, a 15-inch laptop, and other accessories.

The waterproof nylon material ensures durability, while the smooth wheels and adjustable 19.7-inch metal pull bar offer easy mobility. The backpack’s user-friendly design includes side straps for a tripod, tuck-away shoulder straps, and a rain cover for added protection. It’s a reliable and convenient solution for photographers on the move.

Check price of the Neewer 2-in-1 Rolling Camera Backpack on Amazon.

Best Budget-Friendly Rolling Backpack

If you are looking for a lower priced bag, consider this Everest Rolling backpack.  It may not have all the bells and whistles of the other more expensive bags, but if you are looking for a small rolling backpack it will do the trick.  

It has multiple zippered pockets so you can easily access your gear, but keep in mind, it doesn’t have a sleeve for a laptop.  At this price point though, it’s the best rolling backpack.  You can look at other cheap rolling backpacks here.

Check price of the Everest Rolling Backpack on Amazon.

Most Versatile Backpack On Wheels

This Hypath travel bag is a 2 in 1 luggage solution that can be used in eight different ways.   The main part of the bag holds 42L and the smaller detachable bag holds 23L.

These two pieces can be combined to be used as a rolling wheeled carry on, backpack, duffle bag, or separately.   This gives you the most options of any luggage that I have seen!  Additionally, there are lots of different pockets inside the bag to help you stay organized.

It’s reasonably priced and high-quality.  If you don’t like it, Hypath will buy it back from you, no questions asked!

Check price of the Hypath Rolling Backpack on Amazon.


The Best Rolling Backpack for Kids

I know a lot of parents have had their children switch to rolling backpacks for school because they are worried about the damage the weight could be doing to their backs.  I think the same thing applies to travel. For young children, you can’t give them a rolling backpack for adults, you are going to want a lightweight rolling backpack for kids.

When looking for a children’s rolling backpack, the most important thing is that they like it! Luckily, there are plenty of different options on Amazon so that you can find something that your child will be excited about.

See More Kids Rolling Backpacks on Amazon.

Best Rolling Backpack Cooler

A wheeled backpack cooler may not be the best bag to travel with if you are flying.  For a road trip though, it could be ideal, especially if you plan on picnicking or spending a day at the beach.  The Yorepek rolling backpack cooler looks perfect for this type of situation.

The Yorepek rolling cooler can hold up to 25 cans, so it’s a good size for a small group  The interior is insulated and has leak-proof liner.  It has 1 main roomy storage compartment, 2 side mesh pockets, 2 large front zipper pocket to keep utensils, 2 zipper pockets on the lid for towels, cell phone and other small items, and 1 beer opener on the shoulder strap.

It’s the best wheeled cooler to use when you have to walk over rugged terrain since it can convert easily to a backpack. If you want to use it as a backpack, tuck away the handles and pull out the straps.  

Check Price of the Yorepek Rolling Backpack Cooler on Amazon.

Pros of a Wheeled Backpack

It will save your back! Nothing is more important than your health, serious injuries are the worst.  You will be able to do more because you won’t be as tired.

The flexibility to roll the backpack or carry it on your back if needed is a useful feature.  I remember one night in London we realized we were going to have to run if we wanted to catch our train.  Russell quickly converted the straps so he could put the backpack on his back and we ran. Yes, we did make our train.

Some of the best rolling backpacks for travel also still fit under the seat and meet the strict carryon rules of even the cheapest airlines.

Cons of a Rolling Backpack

Like just about everything else in life, even the best rolling backpacks for travel are not perfect.  There are a few points you should consider:

  • You won’t be able to roll your backpack on uneven ground.  In other words, a wheeled backpack is not ideal for hiking.
  • Wheeled backpacks are a bit heavier than normal backpacks.  The good news is that you won’t be carrying them as much because they have wheels.
  • Unfortunately, the same anti-theft features that you will find in regular backpacks don’t seem to be available in rolling backpacks (yet!).  I couldn’t find any rolling backpacks with the RFID blocking technology, which helps protect you against electronic pickpocketing and identity theft.  Some wheeled backpacks have a concealed pocket for valuables like your wallet and a few other anti-theft features. Hopefully, someone will start making anti-theft rolling backpack luggage soon.  In the meantime, maybe invest in a TSA-friendly lock like this one?

We have both a wheeled backpack and a regular backpack.  That way we can choose the best bag for the situation.

Camera and lens - The Best Wheeled Backpacks for Travel- Two Traveling Texans
You have to take into consideration the gear you will be traveling with.

Using Your Wheeled Backpack

In order to get the longest life out of your new rolling backpack, there are a couple things that you should keep in mind:

  • Don’t overfill your backpack.  I read some rolling backpack reviews where people are having issues with zippers.  In many cases, I think it is because they try to fit more into the backpack than they should.
  • Don’t roll your backpack when the surface is rough.  This will damage the wheels and they won’t roll as smoothly or last as long.  If you are dealing with rough terrain, it might be best to use the straps and carry it as a backpack.

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Rolling Backpack Accessories

As I mentioned, some rolling backpacks don’t have the same number of features as other travel backpacks, so you may want to consider purchasing some of these affordable accessories:

  • Foldable day pack – If you know that you are going on a day hike or some other adventure where rolling your backpack is out of the question and you don’t want to carry along everything you have in your bag, you might want to take a smaller bag for the day.  You can find a backpack that folds up tiny and will fit inside your rolling backpack like this one.
  • Portable Charger – These days I am so dependent on technology, I don’t want to risk being without power.  It is much cheaper to bring along a portable charger than pay for a rolling backpack with a USB port. We use this one.
  • TSA Lock – Until the rolling backpacks add some anti-theft features, consider spending a few dollars for a lock.  I recommend getting a TSA approved lock – like this one –  just in case you have to check the bag.
  • Backpack Cover – If you travel with a lot of electronics or photography gear you want to make sure that it is protected from the elements.  While most rolling backpacks are water resistant, few are waterproof. You don’t need the best waterproof backpack for travel.  Instead, get a backpack cover like this one if it is not included with the backpack when you buy it.
  • Luggage Scale – Some airlines even have weight limits for carry-on bags! If you are worried about getting hit with the dreaded overweight baggage fees, get a luggage scale like this one.  Then you can check the weight before getting to the airport and make adjustments if necessary.

The Best Backpacks for Travel

I made the investment in a rolling backpack and it has definitely made my travel easier.  If you are looking for a good backpack for travel, try one that you can also roll.  Your back will thank you for it.

What kind of backpack do you like to travel with?


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man with backpack at a viewpoint with text

Expert Tips for Choosing the Best Backpack Travel Bag

  • You need to know your priorities and preferences to choose your backpack bag for travel.  There is no one right answer.
  • If you are searching for a carry on backpack with wheels, know the carry on rules of the airline you are flying.  If you are traveling internationally or in Europe, they may be stricter than in the US.  These bags can be checked if needed, but you will need to remove all valuables.
  • Consider purchasing some accessories to complement your wheeled backpack.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This means we will receive a small commission for some purchases made using links in our blog with no additional cost to you.  Please be assured we would not promote any product unless we believe that our readers will also benefit.  The commission does not influence the editorial content of this site.

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Last Updated on July 20, 2023

About the Author

Anisa is an experienced international traveler with extra pages in her passport and stamps from 41 different countries across 5 continents (and counting). She was born and raised in Texas. After a 13 year stint in NYC, she moved to England to live with her husband.