We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs.

Written By
Published Aug 15, 2022 10:07 AM

Calling all students, urbanites, and traveling salesmen (if those are still a thing) — it’s time to claim a superb rolling backpack for your bustling life. Sure, an EDC backpack is perfect for day-to-day use, and waterproof backpacks are better suited for wilder excursions, but what can be better than a typical static backpack than one with wheels? Beneath their somewhat gimmicky appearance often lies quality luggage solutions capable of pulling multiple duties for many types of hardworking folk. There’s a clear purpose for each of them, from bookbags sitting beneath a desk to carry-ons sitting beneath an Airbus seat. What may not be so clear is which one is the right pick for you.

To answer just that, we rounded up the best rolling backpacks on the internet. Whether you’re hunting for a suitable bag for the next business trip or need something for the tots and the new school year, there’s a product for you here. So, come on down, scroll on through, and enjoy sifting through the best rolling backpacks on the market.

Ambor’s Rolling Backpack is an easy winner and the most well-rounded package in this guide. Whether you’re a traveler, a student, or just some bustling urbanite hopping from the subway to your workplace, there’s a use case for anyone. The generous 39-liter storage capacity, among the highest on this list, ensures this and is spread across three cavernous pockets. The larger main pocket includes a handy laptop slot which, depending on your size choice, can fit a 15.6- or 17.3-inch laptop and be strapped in place. The secondary pocket is large enough for books, paperwork, or smaller articles of clothing, and the quick access pocket can hold work supplies and even smaller electronics.

From the dense, water-resistant construction to the padded interior linings, the overall construction is just about faultless. Consumers from all over have lauded the completeness and practicality of such an understated-looking bag, making even the smallest nitpicking a tedious task.

If you had to complain, the rounded shape and two-wheeled platform may make it quite prone to tipping over when stuffed to the brim. And its generous main compartment, while it straps your electronics, does not strap down clothing.

Product Specs
  • Storage compartments: 3
  • Storage capacity: 39 liters
  • Weight: 4.7 pounds
  • Dimensions (L x W x H): 7.8 x 13.5 x 19.8 inches (small), 8.2 x 15 x 21.2 inches (large)
Why It Made The Cut
  • Strong, robust construction envelops a package riddled with a brilliantly laid-out storage arrangement to create one of the best rolling backpacks, hands down.
PROS

Your choice of two sizes

Generous yet well-organized pocket layout

Water- and tear-resistant materials

Basic, understated design

CONS

Bulky shape and two-wheeled platform means it’ll tip

The Vidoscla Trolley Backpack runs hot on the heels of its pricier competitors and, while advertised as a kid’s rolling backpack, it’s actually sized right in line with the grown-ups’ backpacks. At the time of writing, it stickers at an inviting $43, slightly discounted from its usual $47. Ringing in for half as much as its peers buys you a compelling product that graces tight budgets, with three large pockets totaling 33 liters of storage. Buyers have a choice of colored accents as well as your pick between two- or six-wheeled detachable platforms, the latter of which is ideal for smoother rolling and climbing stairs.

Constructed of dense, water- and scratch-resistant materials like its peers, it’s a practical pick that’s definitely worth a look if you’re keen on saving 10s of dollars. Just don’t expect perfection; it’s still a cheap rolling backpack.

For instance, the Trolley Backpack’s interior versus its rivals is quite spartan and akin to a basic children’s school bag. The three pockets are just, well, um, pockets. There are no straps for clothes and electronics, and there aren’t even slots for writing materials. Build quality is comparable to standard school bags, as well. Reports of loose latches on the trolley and worn straps have been noted.

Product Specs
  • Storage compartments: 3
  • Storage capacity: 33 liters
  • Weight: 3.7 pounds
  • Dimensions (L x W x H): 7.8 x 12.9 x 19.6 inches
Why It Made The Cut
  • Vidoscla carves a cozy spot for itself in the market with a viable bag for school and travel at nearly half the cost of its premium peers.
PROS

Friendly price tag

Dense, water- and scratch-resistant material

A suitable size for work, school, and travel

Choice of two- or six-wheeled detachable platforms

CONS

Its peers can carry way more

Some build quality hiccups

Honorable Mention

The Ligsan Rolling Backpack is a practical choice, nearly unseating the Ambor as the best rolling backpack if it weren’t for the latter’s lower cost of entry. Ligsan blows the other entries out of the airport terminal with a 45-liter capacity and four pockets without bloating in size or weight. If anything, it’s only marginally chunkier in its appearance. Its main pocket includes a strapped laptop slot as well as a separate strap for securing clothing, and there’s a smaller quick-access compartment up front for grabbing smaller items in a pinch. Much like the previous items, its design has created an effective, all-around backpack for workers and students alike.

It’s quite difficult to fault aside from its lofty price, similar to the Ambor it rivals so closely. The listed price at the time of writing is right at $96, discounted from its usual sticker of $116. That places it far ahead of the second cheapest options that we’ve curated. For that price, you could also nitpick by saying it should offer extra options for colors, sizing, and wheels, which it doesn’t.

Product Specs
  • Storage compartments: 4
  • Storage capacity: 45 liters
  • Weight: 4.6 pounds
  • Dimensions (L x W x H): 7 x 13.3 x 19.6 inches
Why It Made The Cut
  • Ligsan rewards buyers willing to spend a smidge extra with a large rolling backpack loaded with space spread across many unique, usable compartments.
PROS

Immense storage capacity

Doesn’t sacrifice size or portability

Tiny front compartments for separating smaller items

CONS

On the pricier side

Cheaper bags have more options

Best for Kids

The J World New York Sunny is here to give the little one’s something to show off to the other younglings in the classroom and on the family trip. Because what kid doesn’t love some outlandish styling? This rolling backpack for kids is a colorful, shrunken-down interpretation of the models for grown-ups, with height and width that are down just a couple of inches. The storage layout is quite simple, with a gaping maw of the main pocket for swallowing textbooks and lunchboxes, plus a smaller compartment complete with a smartphone slot and nooks for writing utensils.

The literal highlight of it all is the vast array of designs available to ensure your kiddo’s bag is unique enough to never wind up in the lost-and-found again. The palette has enough variety to appeal to most elementary and even middle school children.

However, the caveats of a children’s rolling backpack are clear. Its straightforward interior layout means there won’t be much organization when packing for a trip, and with the lowest capacity on this list, let’s hope it’s not a long one. Overall quality is stellar, but there have been some reported hiccups along the way.

Product Specs
  • Storage compartments: 2
  • Storage capacity: 28 liters
  • Weight: 3.5 pounds
  • Dimensions (L x W x H): 8.5 x 12 x 17 inches
Why It Made The Cut
  • The Sunny’s shrunken-down stature combined with a basic storage layout and charming color palette make for a great children’s backpack that’s both stylish and practical.
PROS

Fun and lovable color variety

Perfectly sized for children and preteens

Non-confusing storage

layout Inoffensive pricing

CONS

Probably not the most spacious choice for traveling

Mildly questionable longevity

The perfect solution for campuses the size of small towns, the Targus Compact Rolling Backpack is an excellent rolling backpack for students. Its understated design gives it a professional aura that will suit many environments while retaining usable storage and a trim profile. It follows in the footsteps of our top picks, with a cavernous main compartment — total capacity is not disclosed — complete with straps for securing your laptop and clothing. There’s a nifty quick-access pocket up front with a secondary tablet pocket beneath it, enabling you to carry two large electronics. It’s designated for tablets, although I reckon I could also squeeze one of my smaller laptops in there. Room for phones, writing utensils, and even car key fobs are also included.

Perhaps best of all is its middle-ground pricing, with a sticker of $70 at the time of writing. It should be noted that the price is heavily discounted off its regular $95 sticker, which places it smack in between our Best Overall and Honorable Mention winners.

Also in the spirit of its peers is similar acclaim for its stout quality and practicality. However, there have been minor complaints of stuck or broken handles.

Product Specs
  • Storage compartments: 3
  • Storage capacity: N/A
  • Weight: 4 pounds
  • Dimensions (L x W x H): 9 x 13.8 x 19 inches
Why It Made The Cut
  • In the challenging realm of higher education, it helps to carry everything you need in one place. Thankfully, this compact, waterproof option offers just the right amount of storage for that.
PROS

Two dedicated storage nooks for larger electronics

Relatively light and compact profile

Discreet styling works in many environments

Middle-ground pricing undercuts its rivals

CONS

Not the most spacious for long haulers

Finicky handle in rare cases

With one of the highest capacities in this guide and a four-wheeled platform, the Matein Rolling Backpack is the closest thing to traditional rolling luggage as a backpack can be, and is the best rolling backpack for traveling. The 360-degree wheels create a stable, supportive platform, no matter how heavy you pack all 40 available liters. Of that storage space, most are dedicated to the expansive main compartment, relegating the other pockets to act as quick-access pockets for smaller articles or miscellaneous valuables. While that may not make it the most practical choice for day-to-day work, it’s the easiest to pack to the brim for extended journeys.

Quality is nearly flawless, with unanimous praise for its durability. Only minor complaints exist, and are few and far between, usually regarding stiff wheels or tipsy weight distribution when stuffed.

The biggest drawback against the Matein is that rolling backpack luggage will always lack storage space versus traditional luggage. The compact profiles they must maintain for easy mobility severely handicap their carrying capacity for long trips. However, that does make them usable as carry-ons under plane seats or inside overhead bins.

Product Specs
  • Storage compartments: 5
  • Storage capacity: 40 liters
  • Weight 5.5 pounds
  • Dimensions (L x W x H): 9.5 x 13 x 19 inches
Why It Made The Cut
  • What separates the Matein 4-Wheeled Rolling Backpack from your typical rolling luggage? Nothing more than two shoulder straps for that extra carrying option, a healthy amount of storage, plus robust construction.
PROS

Supported by four spinning wheels

Generous main compartment with electronics pockets

Smaller pockets included

Far more affordable than most standard rolling luggage

CONS

Backpack profile means it’s smaller than most rolling luggage

Things to consider when buying rolling backpacks

Size and portability

How big is it, and how easy is it to lug around? The duties of a rolling backpack ensure that most, if not all, are appropriately sized to be worn on one’s back and fit in airplane storage compartments. Many are quite lightweight, with the heaviest options hovering around five pounds. Of course, this is negated if you’re a pack mule lugging a lot of textbooks, computers, or depleted plutonium. 

Many large rolling backpacks will be roughly 20 inches tall, with rolling backpacks for kids typically measuring three to four inches shorter and approximately one to two inches narrower. The main gripe against rolling backpacks is their lack of space versus traditional luggage cases.

Storage space

Being smaller than conventional luggage, rolling backpacks will have to get clever in how they carry things while retaining their highly mobile size. Whether a backpack has two, five, or even a dozen compartments, there will always be an ultra-large “main” compartment that comprises most of the storage capacity. Rolling backpacks will often have pockets for laptops or straps for securing clothing, just like standard luggage cases. Rolling backpacks for kids may forgo some storage solutions for a more rudimentary layout better suited to holding school supplies and lunch boxes. In contrast, rolling backpacks for school or work may sport extra slots for additional electronics or paperwork.

Durability and build quality

This is a bit trickier of an area, as many companies don’t disclose exact materials aside from “high-density this” and “wear-resistant that.” But it’s just as important as any other factor as you’d want a product that can last you through years of work trips or back and forth across the university campus. Good tell-tale signs would include generous use of thick nylon construction and stitching, similar in materials to some tactical accessories. Plastic or leather reinforcements near the base will lessen the chances of the rolling backpack giving out and act as a sturdy platform for mounting wheels, and metal handles will be more resilient than plastic.

FAQS about rolling backpacks

Q. How much do rolling backpacks cost?

A: Premium rolling backpacks from popular, well-received brands typically ring in around $80 to $100, with the bulk of them sitting at $90, including our Best Overall and Best for Travel winners. Our Best Value-winning Vidoscla stickers at nearly half that with a $43 price tag, while our Best for Kids and Best for School winners occupy a middle ground, between $55 and $70.

Q. Are rolling backpacks better than standard backpacks?

A: Objectively speaking, they’re better because they’re more functional and mobile. They don’t sacrifice storage space or specialized pockets for valuables, yet they include wheels and handles for use as rolling luggage for airports or road trips. If anything, they can be just a tad bulky from their extra hardware.

Q. How heavy is “too heavy” for a rolling backpack?

A: “Too heavy” is a subjective term varying from person to person, but you don’t want to overload your bag. Over-encumbering your luggage can lead to back fatigue and even injuries when worn as a backpack and when worn improperly, and the towing handle and wheels could break under excessive stress.

Q. Can rolling backpacks be used for personal/carry-on luggage?

A: If they’re the right size to fit, which most of them are, then absolutely. Having to pull double duty as a backpack and not just rolling luggage, they’re forced to maintain a slimmer profile, enabling them to better fit under seats and in overhead bins. The real determining factor is packing wisely.

Final thoughts

The Ambor Rolling Backpack is a superstar of a rolling backpack whose configurations, durability, and well-thought-out storage make it a superb all-purpose backpack. The Ligsan Rolling Backpack is also a worthwhile runner-up, and it deserves a look for its similarly ingenious use of storage space down to the tiniest pocket. The Vidoscla Trolley Backpack rewards the thrifty by delivering even greater reconfigurability while retaining usable storage at a great price and is our Best Value winner.

For those looking for a little more focus, the J World New York Sunny is a vivid and compact choice, acting as the perfectly-sized rolling backpack for kids. At the same time, the Targus Compact Rolling Backpack adds extra valuable equipment space for college and high school students. The Matein 4-Wheeled Rolling Backpack rounds out the group as the ultra-roomy, ultra-mobile airport companion, making it the best rolling backpack for travel.

Methodology 

Our guide to the best rolling backpacks has been primarily curated through extensive research, diving deep into manufacturer specs and, more importantly, real-world ownership experiences. The best products were durable, reliable, and superbly capable luggage items that can be used anywhere, with focus shifting as categories called for a more honed-in skillset, such as children or airline travel. Products with little-to-no feedback or egregious quality control were binned in favor of rolling backpacks you and I could easily trust. 

Amazon primarily served as our key encyclopedia of consumer input and specs due to the higher density of needed information. Note that some entries and their variants can also be purchased from Target and Walmart or manufacturer sites such as J World and Matein. As always, readers are always encouraged to learn more about how Task & Purpose generally curates its buyer’s guides.