The 8 Best Rolling Backpacks of 2021

Reduce back strain with these smart choices

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Our Top Picks
Lightweight and durable, this versatile backpack offers ample storage and on-the-go convenience.
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With tons of designs to choose from and an affordable price tag, this backpack is a great choice for kids and adults alike.
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This reliable pack is versatile enough for everyday use, with an optional expandable pocket if you find yourself needing space.
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This bag deserves an A+ for durability, thanks to corner guards, a kick plate, and optional tuck-away back straps.
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Kids will love this rolling backpack that comes in multiple fun designs, from owls to strawberries and more.
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Made of a weatherproof material, this customizable option will keep the contents dry if rain strikes.
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This backpack makes traveling a breeze with its smooth rolling inline-skate wheels, durable material, and spacious compartments.
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This backpack has a waterproof hard shell that will keep your valuables protected, plus tons of pockets for organization.
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A rolling backpack is the best of both worlds. With the option to strap it on your back or wheel it around, this versatile tote is just the thing for folks on the go. Whether you need something for business travel, your daily commute to work, vacation, college, or are shopping for a school-age kid, there's a wheelable backpack out there for you. 

When browsing options, you'll want to consider the size, material, pockets, and compartments. Need a laptop sleeve, a waterproof shell, or an extra-large design? Do you want a pack that'll last for years, or are you looking for something to get you through one trip or school year? In any case, make sure you get a backpack that checks all your boxes.

"For me, having multiple compartments for all of my electronics as well as being lightweight are the two most important features of a rolling backpack," says travel expert Sarah Dandashy of Ask a Concierge. "Of course, a nice sleek design is imperative too—something classy yet functional." With these pointers in mind, we rounded up standout options at every price point.

Here, the best rolling backpacks on the market.

Best Overall: Osprey Sojourn Wheeled Travel Pack

Osprey Sojourn Wheeled Travel Pack

Size: 14 x 9 x 22 inches | Material: Nylon, mesh | Extra Features: Internal compression straps, deployable backpack harness | Number of Wheels: 2

What We Like
  • Deployable back harness

  • Rolls smoothly

  • Meets carry-on size requirements

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • No laptop compartment

Our number one pick is this wheeled beauty by Osprey, which comes highly recommended by Dandashy. "The Sojourn is the ultimate for me, lightweight and a great design," she says. Measuring 22 x 14 x 9 inches, it's the perfect mid-size for everyday use while also meeting airline requirements for carry-ons.

It's pleasantly lightweight, too, with a deployable back harness and a hip belt to evenly distribute weight and reduce pressure on your shoulders. While it doesn't have a designated laptop sleeve, this rolling backpack has a sizable main compartment and four zippered pockets. We also like that the extending handle and well-designed wheels make it super easy to maneuver when you'd rather not carry it.

Best Budget: Rockland Double Handle Rolling Backpack

Rockland Double Handle Rolling Backpack

Size: 12 x 8 x 20 inches | Material: Polyester, plastic | Extra Features: Side mesh water bottle holder, telescoping handle | Number of Wheels: 4

What We Like
  • Budget-friendly

  • Lots of colors

  • Suitable for adults or kids

What We Don't Like
  • Small

The wallet-friendly Rockland Double Handle Rolling Backpack is an excellent choice for adults and kids alike. Measuring 17 x 13 x 10 inches, it's slightly smaller than average, but the compact design makes it all the more portable.

This backpack-suitcase combo is made of durable polyester with a plastic stand and a metal telescoping handle. It comes in a handful of colors and patterns, including sophisticated neutrals, polka-dots, and leopard print.

Best Small: Targus Compact Rolling Business and Travel Commuter Backpack

Targus Compact Rolling Business and Travel Commuter Backpack

Size: 13.8 x 9 x 19 inches | Material: Polyester, neoprene | Extra Features: Laptop pocket, two side mesh pockets/water bottle holder | Number of Wheels: 2

What We Like
  • Compact size

  • Designated laptop sleeve

  • Convenient compartments

What We Don't Like
  • Heavy for its size

Targus' Compact Rolling Business and Travel Commuter Backpack is a great lightweight and reliable pack versatile enough for everyday use that's also 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. The best part? An optional extended compartment for when you need to pack a little heavier.

Best Waterproof: Matein Waterproof Rolling Backpack

Matein Waterproof Rolling Backpack

Size: 19.6 x 13 x 9 inches | Material: Polyester, aluminum handle | Extra Features: Waterproof, laptop pocket, 2 mesh water bottle pockets | Number of Wheels: 2

What We Like
  • Waterproof

  • Lots of storage compartments

  • Designated laptop sleeve

What We Don't Like
  • Relatively small

If you reside in a rainy climate (or are planning to visit one), this rolling backpack from Matein has your name on it. The outer material is water-resistant, and the bottom panel is completely waterproof. At 20 x 13 x 9 inches, it's on the smaller side. But what it lacks in size, it makes up for in features.

This wheelable pack has a roomy main compartment, a built-in sleeve for laptops under 16 inches, a zippered file holder, and a separate multi-pocket compartment for organizing all your smaller items.

Best for Kids: J World Sunrise 18" Rolling Backpack

J World Sunrise 18" Rolling Backpack

Size: 18 x 13 x 9 inches | Material: Polyester, metal handle | Extra Features: Airflow back panel, water resistant, safety reflectors, 2 mesh water bottle pockets | Number of Wheels: 2

What We Like
  • Reasonably priced

  • Suitable for children

  • Comes in kid-friendly prints

What We Don't Like
  • Not ideal for younger kids

Measuring 18 x 13 x 9 inches and weighing 4.5 pounds, the J World Sunrise is an excellent option for school-age children 8 and up. It comes in several kid-friendly prints, like strawberries, colorful dots, and owls, as well as some simpler hues.

Air-mesh cushioned shoulder straps make it comfy to carry, while a push-button handle and smooth wheels allow kiddos to roll it around with ease. We also like that it has a mesh water bottle pocket, a key fob, and a pencil holder.

Best for College Students: L.L. Bean Rolling Deluxe Book Pack

L.L. Bean Rolling Deluxe Book Pack

Size: 14 x 9.5 x 19 inches | Material: Nylon | Extra Features: Water resistant, 2 mesh water bottle pockets, built-in cord port | Number of Wheels: 2

What We Like
  • Lots of storage compartments

  • Weather-proof

  • Smooth-rolling wheels

What We Don't Like
  • Relatively short handle

For the best in quality, performance, and aesthetics, the winner is without a doubt made by L.L. Bean. All of L.L. Bean’s products are made in the USA and are built to last. Most traditional backpacks are made of polyester, which is durable but cheap—this is not the case with L.L. Bean’s Deluxe Book Pack. Featuring a waterproof 420D nylon, this pack uses a fabrication that was originally designed for military parachutes.

Slightly larger than most standard rolling backpacks, this pack has a 35-liter capacity, so it’s great for kids looking for a pack they can grow into and keep for years to come. The pull handle can be conveniently tucked into the unit or locked into place at two different heights. There are also well-padded shoulder straps in case it needs to be carried from time to time. The bag has two main compartments and an organizer for laptop storage, plus two mesh water bottle sleeves on the sides.

Best for Travel: Swiss Army Victorinox VX Sport Wheeled Cadet Backpack

Swiss Army Victorinox VX Sport Wheeled Cadet Backpack

Size: 20.8 x 14.4 x 10.23 inches | Material: Polyester | Extra Features: Laptop pocket, padded straps, built-in air-flow channels | Number of Wheels: 2

What We Like
  • Sleek design

  • Designated laptop sleeve

  • Meets carry-on size requirements

What We Don't Like
  • Wheels may be noisy

If you've got a trip coming up, you might consider getting this rolling backpack from Swiss Army. "The Victorinox is an easy choice with an affordable price-point and quality," says Dandashy. "Its look is a little more rugged, but you can never go wrong with anything Victorinox."

Measuring 21 x 14.5 x 10 inches, it's spacious but still compact enough to pass as a carry-on for air travel. Also, it has a padded laptop sleeve, an electronics pocket, and zip-away shoulder straps for ultimate convenience and versatility.

Best Hard Shell: High Sierra Outdoor Travel Collection 22" Hybrid Backpack

High Sierra Outdoor Travel Collection 22" Hybrid Backpack

Size: 22 x 14 x 9 inches | Material: Polycarbonate, PU coating PC shell | Extra Features: Water resistant, detachable cargo net, secret stash pocket | Number of Wheels: None

What We Like
  • Hard outer shell

  • Meets carry-on size requirements

  • Lifetime warranty

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • Only one color available

We're also fans of High Sierra's Outdoor Travel Collection. The notably lightweight Hybrid Backpack is 22 x 14 x 9 inches with all the pockets and compartments you need for your next adventure.

Best of all, it's got a hard outer shell to keep any valuable or crushable belongings safe and secure en route. There's also a secret compartment on the back and a detachable netted front pocket for stashing last-minute items.

Final Verdict

If you're looking for a high-quality rolling backpack that'll last you several years or more, your best bet is the Osprey Sojourn Wheeled Travel Pack (view at Osprey). You'll appreciate its generously sized compartments, maneuverable design, and the fact that it meets carry-on requirements for air travel. For those looking for something more budget-friendly, we recommend the Rockland Double Handle Rolling Backpack (view at Amazon). While this rolling pack is on the smaller side, it's suitable for kids and adults and comes in a range of colors.

What to Look for in a Rolling Backpack

Size

When shopping for a rolling backpack, the most important consideration is the overall size. Mid-size options are about 21 x 14 x 9 inches, which passes as carry-on luggage for air travel and is usually plenty big for most laptops. Smaller designs are closer to 19 x 13 x 9 inches, give or take, and typically fit smaller laptops. If you need the space, you can also find some larger duffle-style options, which will be more like 35 x 16 x 16 inches.

Material

Like traditional backpacks, the outer material on most rolling backpacks is polyester or nylon. The durable fabric is often laminated or otherwise treated for water resistance. You'll also find hard-shell options, which are typically made of polycarbonates (PC), a type of heavy-duty thermoplastic.

Extra Features

Rolling backpacks typically come with at least a few pockets, but if you need something specific, look out for extra features. This could be a designated laptop sleeve, a water bottle holder, a key fob, a secret hidden compartment, a file divider, a tech pocket, a cord port, zip-away straps, or weather-proof flaps for stormy weather.

FAQs

Who should use a rolling backpack?

Anyone who likes carrying a backpack on their back most of the time but wants the option to wheel it around for longer distances should consider getting a rolling backpack. Also, if you pack light for a trip but plan to add more items while you're away, you won't have to worry about the strain of the extra weight.

Generally speaking, rolling backpacks are great for busy students of all ages, people who regularly take public transit, and frequent flyers.

How do you wash a rolling backpack?

Traditional backpacks can sometimes be laundered in a washing machine. However, since the rolling variety has metal and plastic components, this method won't work. Like suitcases, most rolling packs can be wiped down with a damp cloth or disinfectant wipe.

For stuck-on residue or stains, use a mild solution of soap and water and a soft brush if needed. In any case, make sure to let your backpack air dry completely before packing it or storing it.

How should you pack a rolling backpack?

For travel, the best way to pack your rolling backpack is to roll up all your clothes as tightly as possible to save space. (Packing cubes can work here too). Then use the various compartments and pockets to pack and organize your toiletries, tech gadgets, chargers, and other essentials.

If you're using a rolling backpack for school, place your textbooks in the largest compartment and your laptop in the designated sleeve. Then pack your pens, folders, notecards, and anything else you need for class in the other pockets.

Why Trust The Spruce?

Theresa Holland is an experienced commerce writer with a background in travel and lifestyle. She has been contributing to The Spruce since 2019, where she covers home goods, kids' products, and everyday essentials. For this story, she spoke with a travel expert and considered dozens of rolling backpacks, carefully evaluating the size, material, compartments, and extra features of each item before making her selections. You can find more articles by Theresa on Byrdie.

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