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Rolling backpacks can take a lot of weight off of your child's shoulders—literally! When you factor in workload and after-school activities, backpacks for teens can weigh up to 20 or 30 pounds—an outrageous amount of weight on the shoulders, neck, and lower back which can cause issues later in life. Having the ability to roll that weight around rather than carry it can help prevent back and shoulder pain—and rolling backpacks now come in almost as many color and design options as traditional backpacks, so they can still be a source of self-expression.
Here, the best rolling backpacks on the market.
Best Budget: JWorld New York Lollipop Rolling Backpack with Lunch Bag
JWorld’s Sundance backpack has a 38.3L capacity and measures 20 x 14 x 9 inches. The brand claims their pack can hold an impressive amount—a 3-inch binder, 3 college level textbooks, notebooks, portable hard drive, lunch, plus room to spare.
The interior is padded and split into two compartments and a laptop sleeve. The exterior features three zipper pockets, two mesh pockets, a key clip, and pen/card slots for conveniently securing smaller items. This model is made from a less durable 600D polyester fabric but offers reasonable water resistance protection. The bag also has reflective strips for visibility and comes in an impressive variety of over 20 color and design options.
Best for Travel: JanSport Driver 8 Core Series Wheeled Backpack
When it comes to finding a reliable backpack for travel, it’s important to invest in high-quality fabric that can stand up to wear and tear that’s more than just your average everyday commute. We like the Jansport Driver 8 for this exact reason. Made from 420D nylon, the pack features two large compartments with zip closures, one being a laptop sleeve for secure storage and easy access.
In addition to the rolling feature, this pack also provides the convenience of a normal backpack with optional shoulder straps that can tuck-away easily when not in use. Jansport is known for being the top-selling American brand for school bags for a good reason—they also offer a lifetime warranty on all of their products, making it a great investment and versatile for travel or school use.
Best for Kids: JWorld New York Sparkle Kids Rolling Backpack
Traditional backpacks pose a lot of strain on young children, so getting them started on a rolling backpack at a young age can actually be a much better option for them in the long run. JWorld’s New York Sparkle Kids bag gives kids the option of having a telescope single handle roller or air-cushioned carrying straps that are both comfortable and convenient.
This backpack comes in six designs to fit your child’s growing interests including pink sparkles, cars, stars, and flowers. At 15 x 10 x 5 inches, this backpack offers a main zippered compartment and front-zip compartment with enough room for storing school supplies, lunches, toys, and books. The front pocket features an organizer with pencil holder and key fob, so belongings stay secure while they’re on-the-go.
Best Waterproof: Matein Waterproof College Wheeled Laptop Backpack for Travel
Waterproof and water-resistant may sound similar but when it comes to ensuring that your hard work and expensive hardware like external hard drives and laptops are 100 percent safe, you’re going to need to opt for a “waterproof” rather than “water-resistant”. That’s why we trust Matein Waterproof College Wheeled Laptop Backpack. Made with 1680D nylon—the same fabric used to protect soldiers from shrapnel—you can rest assured that nothing will penetrate this pack.
This bag deserves an A+ on durability, featuring corner guards, a kick plate, corner-mounted wheels, metal swivel hooks, and optional tuck-away back straps to convert into a regular backpack. It also features a zippered main compartment roomy enough for books and a separate, built-in, fully-padded laptop pocket which can accommodate 15-inch, 14-inch, and 13-inch Macbooks.
Best Compact: Targus Compact Rolling Business and Travel Commuter Backpack
Targus is an American manufacturer known for making durable, on-the-go accessories for professionals. Their Compact Rolling Business and Travel Commuter Backpack is a great lightweight and reliable pack versatile enough for everyday use and durable enough for travel. It features a large, main zippered compartment with a fully-padded interior sleeve designed to fit laptops up to 16-inches and two mesh pockets on either side of the exterior.
Made with durable polyester and a soft-touch neoprene carrying top-handle, it’s resistant to wear and tear and includes quiet roller wheels for a smooth commute. Its retractable handle is easy to use and the optional tuck-away shoulder straps convert it into a traditional backpack when needed. What we love most about this compact option is its optional extended compartment for when you need to pack a little heavier.
Best for College Students: High Sierra Chaser Wheeled Laptop Backpack
While teens and college students may be the harder sell on a wheeled backpack, due to their heavier course load, mandatory tablet use, and multitude of textbooks, they're arguably the demographic most in need of taking a little weight off their shoulders...so to speak.
The High Sierra’s Chaser Wheeled Laptop Bag comes in three colors and can fit up to a 17-inch laptop. Its multi-pocket design makes it easy for students to stay organized with a large main compartment, plus a zippered mesh pocket, pen pockets, a lidded media pocket, a key fob hook and a quick-access zippered accessory pocket for smaller items.
As with most rolling backpacks, High Sierra’s Chaser comes with optional padded shoulder straps that can be stored behind a padded back-panel for additional convenience and comfort. We love that this pick also comes with a USB port that allows easy access to media devices for on-the-go listening.