If you’re in a hurry and are here to find out what the best Wheeled Backpack is then we have a tie between the Osprey Sojourn Wheeled Backpack and the eBags TLS Mother Lode Rolling Weekender for the best one.
Have you ever had to carry a backpack that was overfilled with books or other heavy items for a long time? At some point, practically everyone has been forced to carry a backpack that was too heavy for too long, which is not only uncomfortable but it can also lead to back problems. Backpacks are convenient because of the ability to carry cargo while on your back, leaving your hands free for anything else.
But when a backpack gets too heavy, it can become less convenient. If this is a common situation that you find yourself in, then it’s time to consider purchasing a wheeled backpack. These are bags that can transform from sitting on your back, as a backpack does, to being wheeling behind you as a suitcase does. This is a great option for traveling too as you can carry lots of things in the most comfortable and convenient way. In a hurry? Carry it on your back. Too heavy? Pull it smoothly behind you!
Wheeled backpacks are available in many varieties so it can be difficult to choose the best one for your specific needs. Because of that, we detail some helpful information that can help you with your buying process and look at five of the best wheeled backpacks for travel, work, or everyday use on the market.
Here are the best Wheeled Backpacks that we will be reviewing:
- Osprey Sojourn Wheeled Backpack
- JanSport Driver 8 Core Series Wheeled Backpack
- High Sierra Powerglide Wheeled Backpack
- J World New York Sundance Rolling Backpack
- eBags TLS Mother Lode Rolling Weekender
Factors to Consider Before Purchasing
Number of Wheels
Many wheeled backpacks feature two wheels and one or two “feet” in the front so that the backpack can stand on its own. The two-wheel system is great because it lets you transition easily from wearing it on your back to pulling it along behind you. Two wheels can only be pulled along behind you, but let you easily and quickly walk across rougher terrain like cobblestones or even regular sidewalks better than four spinner wheels can.
With the small size of a backpack compared to a suitcase, four spinner wheels can be very difficult to steer with the long handle of the backpack as it is closer to the ground. Imagine pushing your vacuum around with a lightweight aluminum rod!
It’s a good idea to consider the function of the handle on your pack, this and the wheels are the differing factors to a regular backpack and shouldn’t be overlooked. The handles of wheeled backpacks usually have their own pockets so that they don’t get in the way of the straps or storage areas. The options are, a traditional 2 stem with one long handle, or one single stem with a smaller handle, there is a slight difference in weight between the two options but otherwise, it’s down to personal preference.
Your two handle options: 2 stems (left) and a single stem (right).
It’s good to consider the comfort of the handle, but you should also consider how comfortable the backpack will feel on your back. It’s good to look at the additional protection for your back so that you don’t feel the poles of the handle when you’re carrying it. Some wheeled packs are designed more like a wheeled case that you can carry, where others are designed as backpacks you can wheel – so consider how you plan to use yours.
You may lose a small percentage of overall storage capacity compared to a non-wheeled backpack because of the extra room the back padding and retractable handle take up. Though on the other hand, you may find some wheeled packs hold more than a regular pack because they know the owner can relieve pressure on their back by pulling the case along on the ground.
As mentioned some wheeled-backpacks are closer to wheeled suitcases with shoulder straps attached where others are more regular backpacks with wheels attached. This is mainly indicated by the size of the pack. Consider how big of a pack you are comfortable carrying and how much you usually bring with you when traveling.
Some backpacks offer lockable zippers in order to prevent unauthorized people from gaining access to what’s inside. This is a good feature to look for as you may be using a wheeled-backpack for travel, more than day-to-day use, and keeping your belongings safe during travel is important for peace of mind and a hassle-free trip.
Hip Belts and Chest Straps
Since wheeled backpacks usually carry a heavier weight than a traditional backpack, consider finding a backpack that offers hip and chest straps that wrap around your body and can make carrying heavier loads easier on your back and shoulders by distributing weight to your hips and legs.
Benefits of Wheeled Backpacks
More Storage Options
When compared to suitcases, wheeled backpacks offer more diverse options for storage compartments. Wheeled backpacks offer you one, two, or three main sections, front pockets, hidden compartments, and sometimes a place for your water bottle. Whereas only softside suitcases offer any external pockets and you’ll likely never find a suitcase with a bottle holder.
These backpacks are beneficial because they can be used in a variety of different ways due to how they transform. You can use them for school, work, road trips, or hiking and are also great for plane travel and longer journeys. The variety of designs you will find means you can use a wheeled backpack for practically anything and don’t have to consider how heavy it may become.
Lifting and Carrying
Wheeled backpacks are also great because on your travels you will inevitably meet a set of stairs, a massive puddle, or an insurmountable curb. When this happens to you, you can simply hoist your pack onto your back and proceed with confidence. Perhaps you could even lend a hand to anyone nearby if they are struggling to lift and carry their own, non-wheeled, luggage.
And lastly, wheeled backpacks are a great option as you can choose from a wider selection of specific materials that you prefer to carry around. Unlike suitcases where there is only a handful of choices, in backpacks, you can choose the size of the bag, the style, the design, and the colors.
Best Wheeled Backpack Reviews
This Osprey wheeled backpack is produced with ballistic nylon, and polyurethane, which is pretty much maximum durability. Not only that, but it’s super lightweight at just 8.9 pounds (the 80L model shown), is compact, looks sleek, and holds a ton of stuff. Its compact look is because of the straight jacket inspired compression straps on the outside to hold it all together when traveling.
This backpack is designed to offer optimal comfort while carrying it as a backpack with a breathable back panel and hip belt, but also comfort padding in all the touchpoints (shoulder straps and handles.) There are three different sizes for the Sojourn, 45L, 60L, and 80L – the largest being roughly the same size as a fully-grown man’s torso. It also has all-terrain wheels and an extra durable telescoping handle.
Osprey always gets a third paragraph in our review sections because of their “All Mighty Guarantee”. This includes, and we quote:
“(they will) repair any damage or defect for any reason free of charge – whether it was purchased in 1974 or yesterday. If (they) are unable to perform a functional repair on your pack, (they) will happily replace it. “
Think about that, you’ll never need another backpack! And the best part, it’s in their best interest to get it right the first time and provide you with an amazing product. Read the fine print on other warranties, this is a rare offering.
- All-terrain wheels and additional clearance underneath, ready for anything.
- Sturdy and comfortable retractable handle for pulling behind you.
- Extra durable materials used all over and compression straps to hold everything in tight.
- Breathable back panel and hip straps that better distribute the weight of the backpack.
- Available in three different sizes, 45L, 60L, and 80L.
- Tons of space in all three sizes with additional pockets and places to attach more if you need to.
- Covered by Osprey’s “All Mighty Guarantee” see the quote above for details.
- Slightly more rugged in style, may not be suitable for more casual or professional use in snooty environments.
JanSport is a highly respectable brand in the backpack market, there’s a good chance you even had one during your school days. This one comes in almost 20 different colors and designs which are all produced with the same durable nylon material. This backpack features large, all-terrain wheels that allow for maximized maneuverability on many different surfaces.
Furthermore, this backpack contains a retractable two-stage handle that can be adjusted to better fit your height and a padded grip that can help keep your hand comfortable over longer periods of time pulling it. This is a super lightweight pack at just 4.3 pounds, it has lots of different pocks for all of your stuff, and it’s a much more casual option than the Osprey above, great for everyday use, work, school, short hikes, or taking on the plane.
- Multiple pockets and compartments for storage organization, typical backpack-style storage.
- Durable nylon material and almost 20 different colors and designs to choose from.
- A trusted name in the backpack and luggage industry with more than 30 years in the game.
- Can secure up to a 15.1-inch laptop in a designated pocket.
- Comes with a side water bottle holder as part of its classic backpack look.
- Since this backpack is not able to store a large amount of content, it’s not recommended for longer trip, hikes, or camping.
This High Sierra Wheeled pack is made with a 600D polyester waffle weave, which makes the bag water-resistant and very durable overall. It features a multi-compartment design that includes a large compartment of 2,350 cubic inches and a designated place to keep everything from your keys to your 17-inch laptop.
This backpack, like the JanSport above, is designed to look and feel just like a traditional backpack with zipper pockets of different sizes all over. It has a double stemmed retractable handle that tucks away, just like the shoulder straps do when they’re not in use. This is a very large pack that can carry a ton of stuff but can also look a little bulky and would not be welcome on a tight ride on the local metro.
- Multiple storage compartments in traditional backpack design.
- A home for all of your things, this pack is made to accommodate everything from keys to a laptop.
- Has a compartment to hold your laptop, anything up to 17 inches.
- Features a 600D polyester waffle weave that’s durable and water-resistant.
- Can carry a ton of stuff in it’s total 2,350 cubic inches of space.
- Does not feature a hip or sternum strap to help alleviate the stress of the weight when carrying.
- Can look a little bulky when carried as a backpack if full and may be too much for smaller people to carry comfortably.
This unassuming looking Rolling Backpack from J World New York is in fact offered in over 30 different colors and designs, and if you look closely, it includes rims on the wheels! Not only that but whichever design you choose will be made from a tough and durable 600 Denier Polyester material to keep your items dry.
The shoulder straps have cushioned padding and are adjustable to fit your height. The straps also tuck always easily in a pouch when it’s time to roll. And when it’s time to roll the long handle has a single stem that can suit your height, whatever it is! And lastly, with your safety in mind, each design features high-visibility strips so that you can be seen in lower light situations.
- This model has over 30 different colors and designs to choose from.
- The material is composed of 600 denier polyester with is water-resistant.
- Features comfortable cushioned shoulder straps that tuck away neatly.
- The single stem telescoping handle stops at multiple heights to suit you.
- Includes a built-in laptop compartment that fits up to a 15.4 inch laptop.
- Has two side mesh pockets to hold a water bottle or umbrella.
- High-visibility strips on the shoulder straps and back so that you can be seen.
- This pack may feel a little cheaper in its construction than others on this list.
- Due to its smaller size, it is not recommended for long hikes, camping, or other gear-heavy activities.
eBags makes fantastic products and this Rolling Weekender is definitely one of them. This is a bag that looks like a backpack but acts like a suitcase with a wrap-around zipper that opens sideways as a traditional suitcase does. It even has a zipped-off mesh pocket in the top section when it is open. It features lots of dividers, pockets, and compartments to keep all of your stuff organized, and if you just can’t fit it all in, this pack is expandable too.
With a casual look and high-quality design, this pack is the most professional-looking on this list. It even has compression straps to hold it together and shrink the pack down a little if needed. The real difference is in the detail of this bag, everything has been well-thought-out and positioned to best serve you. This pack truly is the “Mother Lode” and would be great for taking into the office or rolling through on a dirt path for a few nights camping.
- A great-quality pack that is well-thought-out with a space to keep everything.
- A huge capacity that can expand for more room, but has compression straps to keep it all compact.
- There’s a sternum strap that can help to alleviate the back and shoulders of stress from carrying.
- The main compartment opens just like a suitcase, with a mesh pocket in the stop section.
- A truly versatile pack, with a couple of colors to choose from, take it to the office or to the wilderness.
- Too many details, and little features here and there that make life easier, to list out here.
- No hip straps to redistribute the weight of the pack to the hips and legs, and this is a big pack.
- Really hard to find any additional faults with this one.
Each of these wheeled backpacks comes with a bunch of great features, all excelling in different areas. There’s something for those who want to stand out, something for those who want versatility, or even nostalgic comforts. Due to the variety of packs in this top 5 list, we, for the first time have a tie. The joint winners from this roundup are #1 Osprey Sojourn Wheeled Backpack and #5 eBags TLS Mother Lode Rolling Weekender.
Both of these packs offer larger capacity and since you’re looking for a wheeled backpack, you’re probably looking to carry more than a traditional everyday carry pack. Both can be taken anywhere with the Osprey being geared more towards outdoor activities and the eBags being more professional in appearance, but both bags can serve you well in any situation. The detail and the quality in both of these backpacks can’t be overlooked but you just can’t ignore that “All Mighty Guarantee” from Osprey.