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Published Jun 7, 2022 9:36 AM

If you need a bag that fits everything and rolls, you can’t go wrong with a rolling duffel bag. They’re an optimal upgrade for anyone who needs a little extra help. It wasn’t until I had to go on cross-country flights with a toddler that I realized how handy luggage with wheels really is. Take your travel to the next level with one of the best travel duffel bags with wheels. They are perfect whether you’re wrangling little human beings, have over-packed your bag, or are allergic to carrying things.

To that end, we’ve put together a guide to the best rolling duffel bags on the market. Take a peek and find one that’s best for you.

Methodology

Aside from a small duration of my adolescent years, I have never owned a suitcase and have only used duffel bags. I’ve used cheap duffel bags as well as shelled out for a fancy name-brand duffel. That personal experience is what I drew on to review the best duffel bags recently. I also incorporated research skills developed while writing articles on paracord bracelets and gun oils where there are more options than stars in the sky. 

With the knowledge of duffel bags still fresh in my memory, the first step in researching the best rolling duffel bags was to tap the pool of knowledge with my fellow writers here at Task & Purpose. Once I had a few recommendations I added them to my list of options and began searching websites like Amazon, Cabelas, and Walmart to find other choices. Each bag was evaluated by the type of material, brand reputation, pricing, and categorical efficiency. Any questions that remained unanswered by this time were sent to the manufacturer so I could give you the right information. The end result is this buying guide, for you to be able to select from the best rolling duffel bags on the market. 
Task & Purpose has also covered range bags, go-bags, climbing packs, fishing backpacks, and even backpack coolers. We’d love to hear your preferences and experiences, so drop us a comment below. You can also learn more about Task and Purpose reviews here.

There is no other rolling duffel quite like the Eberlestock Hercules. This is a behemoth of a bag with 11,862 cubic inches (192 liters) of storage space. It was designed for hunters, military, and law enforcement so they’d have a mission-ready bag. On the outside are six decent-sized pockets with lockable zippers. In the top portion of the bag are Velcro dividers for keeping your clothes and gear organized. The drop bottom features retention straps for compound bows, a zippered section for dirty clothes, or could be used with foam to store firearms. Perched atop the bag is a clear plastic pocket for IDs and documents that can be quickly accessed by zipper. Once you’ve got it packed and ready to go, you can use the two cinch straps to tighten it all down and keep things from moving around. It is available in coyote brown, dry earth, grey, and Multicam color patterns.

Product Specs
  • Size: 11,682 cubic inches
  • Material: 500D ripstop
  • Weight: 14 pounds
PROS

Internal dividers

Drop-bottom compartment

External pouches

Lockable zippers

CONS

Heavy base weight

High price point

Samsonite has been a top name in luggage for decades, but I’ll always think of that one scene in Dumb & Dumber. All jokes aside, the Samsonite Andante 2 is a quality duffel bag with wheels at an affordable price. This is a simply-designed 28-inch long drop-bottom duffel bag featuring a U-shaped opening for the top compartment. Flanking the main bag are side pockets, one of which has water-resistant material inside, making it ideal for shoes. The drop bottom allows you to neatly organize your clothes or supplies for any trip. Built into the frame are two inline wheels and a collapsible drag handle for convenient rolling. You can get it in all black, moss green and black, or river rock and black color patterns. There’s also a smaller 22-inch and a larger 32-inch version available to meet your needs all the same.

Product Specs
  • Size: 5,488 cubic inches
  • Material: Polyester
  • Weight: 7 pounds (28-inch)
PROS

Shoe pocket

Collapsible drag handle

Water-resistant

Drop-bottom compartment

CONS

No external pockets

Limited grab handles

Honorable Mention

People who like to mix pleasure and business often struggle to find something that works for both. The TPRC Sierra Madre II solves this problem with a retro look and drop-bottom duffel on wheels. Measuring 36 inches long, this large duffel offers 142 liters of storage. You can access the main compartment with a large zippered U-shape opening. Flanking that compartment are two side pouches, one of which is ideal for shoes. On the front is a smaller zippered pocket, and the top sports bungee straps for quickly securing outer layers or blankets when traveling. The drop-bottom compartment opens with a zipper and is not hindered by the inline skate wheels and retractable handle. TPRC also offers a 21-inch and 30-inch version, all at a bargain price.

Product Specs
  • Size: 142 liters
  • Material: Unlisted
  • Weight: 6.3 pounds
PROS

Lightweight

Shoe pocket

Drop-bottom compartment

Bungees for storing sweatshirts or blankets

CONS

Too big for overhead bins

Wheels are difficult to service

Best Lightweight

Rolling duffel bags tend to weigh on the heavier side given the additional hardware needed to make them fancy luggage with wheels. If you’re a weight fiend who wants to cut it where you can, the Wrangler Wesley is a solid choice that weighs just over six pounds. The overall dimensions offer a whopping 4,600 cubic inches of space to boot. Unlike the other entries on this list, the Wesley utilizes blade-style wheels that are a little smaller. This saves weight but limits the functionality on the concrete. The main compartment is neatly hidden behind two small zippered pockets and can be accessed through a zippered U-shaped opening. Because this bag has a more upright design, it could be challenging to access in cramped quarters or vehicles. Both sides of the duffel have long zippered pockets for storage as well. There is a carrying handle on the front and top of the bag. This is in addition to the telescopic handle that can be zippered away when not in use. Available in four colors, the Wrangler Wesley is a budget-friendly lightweight option.

Product Specs
  • Size: 4,680 cubic inches
  • Material: 600D polyester
  • Weight: 6.2 pounds
PROS

Low base weight

Telescoping handle hides away

Carrying handle on the front

Four external pockets for organization

CONS

Blade wheels are not great in all-terrain

Designed for upright use

Best All-Terrain

Whether you’re setting up base camp for a week of hunting or heading into a patrol base for tactical operations, the chances are that you’ll need a rolling duffel bag that won’t get stuck. The 5.11 Soms 3.0 rolling duffel sports beefy wheels that have alternating tread to grip the terrain. This is a large duffel bag that offers 126 liters of volume you can easily access with a zippered U-shaped opening that runs the full length of the bag. It’s built to last with compression-molded sides and an impact-resistant bottom panel that’s been reinforced with fiberglass rods. Outside the bag are three large zippered pockets to help you keep small stuff organized. Each pocket has hook-and-loop paneling for your morale patches. On top of the bag is a clear ID or document panel that is secured by a zipper. For all the storage volume, this bag has a heavy base weight, so pack smart.

Product Specs
  • Size: 126 liters
  • Material: Nylon
  • Weight: 16 pounds
PROS

Lage U-shaped opening

Clear ID pocket plus Velcro patch panel

Large external pockets

Reinforced frame

CONS

Heavy base weight

Overtly anti-discreet

In a world of consumerism, it may seem crazy to want less, but those that do typically don’t need a large duffel with wheels to carry it all. Enter the Rockland 22-inch rolling duffel with just under 3,000 cubic inches of volume. This is a perfect choice for weekenders or flight attendants, as it’s big enough to fit a couple of outfits and a toiletry set. The U-shaped zipper runs the full length of the bag, offering a wide opening to pack from. There are no side pockets, but the front offers four small zippered pockets for storing tickets, chapstick, or similar small items. Because this bag is so small, there is a shoulder strap included, but the key to this bag is the wheels and telescopic drag handle.

Product Specs
  • Size: 2,904 cubic inches
  • Material: Polyester
  • Weight: 4.36 pounds
PROS

Many color options

Fits overhead bins

Shoulder strap included

Telescopic drag handle

CONS

No side pockets

Not ideal for lengthy trips

If you’re looking for a gargantuan duffel bag, the solution is easily the Gothamite 42-inch duffel bag. This massive bag offers 13,608 cubic inches of volume, making it necessary to have a rolling system to move it around. With a base weight of only 9.2 pounds, it will quickly get too heavy to carry. The Gothamite 42-inch duffel doesn’t have any internal organizers like the Eberlestock Hercules, but it doesn’t have the fancy price tag either. You access the main compartment through a bag-wide U-shaped zipper. On the side are two 14- by 12-inch zippered pockets for smaller items. This bag is so large it has three inline skate wheels instead of just two. There is a collapsible drag handle that conveniently hides away in a zippered pouch.

Product Specs
  • Size: 13,608 cubic inches
  • Material: 1,200D polyester
  • Weight: 9.2 pounds
PROS

Three inline wheels

Two side pockets

Hideaway telescopic drag handle

Massive main compartment opening

CONS

High price point

You’ll need to buy more stuff to put in it

Best Waterproof

We’re definitely spoiled in the USA when we don’t have to board planes without stepping outside, which is not the case elsewhere in the world. If you want to be ready for any weather, the Patagonia Black Hole duffel is weather-resistant and fits a ton of stuff. The key is the PU-coated polyester ripstop fabric that offers superb durability and fights weather to keep your gear dry. The wide U-shaped opening allows you to pack the 100-liter bag with ease. Under the lid are two mesh pockets for organizing small stuff and there’s one external pocket for convenience. Keeping you prepared are the oversized wheels that work in tandem with the collapsible drag handle for easy wheeling. While the bag isn’t too big to carry, there isn’t a shoulder strap option.

Product Specs
  • Size: 100 liters
  • Material: Polyester ripstop and PU coating
  • Weight: 9.25 pounds
PROS

Environmentally conscious

Oversized wheels

Internal mesh pockets

Weather-resistant

CONS

Premium pricing

No shoulder strap options

What to consider when buying a rolling duffel bag

Rolling duffel bags are a subcategory in their own right, but we’re gonna break these large-wheeled bags into a few types based on design. 

Types of rolling duffel bags

Sporty 

We’re talking about the duffel with a main compartment and/or side pockets that were perfect for football, soccer, or whatever sport you needed gear for after school. These bags are simple and effective because there aren’t a million places to put everything. They can be made of any material, but most often you’ll find polyester. The biggest feature is the rolling system to make transporting your gear easier. 

Drop-bottom

The next evolution in duffel bags is the drop-bottom system. This is just like a sporty-style duffel bag, except it has an extra compartment under the main pocket — thus the name “drop-bottom” because if you drop something, the raised walls of the compartment down under will keep it all in. These can be great for keeping clean and dirty clothes separate, or just staying organized.  

Upright

Probably the least common style is an upright rolling duffel like the Wrangle Wesley. These bags work a little more like a suitcase in that the openings are more vertically oriented. 

Key features of rolling duffel bags 

Wheels

Easily, the most important part of any rolling duffel bag would be the wheels and axle system. Most of the bargain-priced luggage will have blade- or caster-style wheels that will work but aren’t ideal for uneven surfaces or rough terrain. Wider wheels and wheels with tread would be better-suited for off-pavement usage. Either way you go, you’ll want to make sure that the wheels are “serviceable.” This is just a fancy way of saying you can replace them if something gets funky. 

Drag handle

The next most important feature on any luggage with wheels would be a handle to drag said wheeled luggage around. This could be a hard-formed or soft-shaped handle, but those tend to keep your bag close to your feet and could be a tripping hazard. The best option would be any handle that extends or telescopes out to keep your bag safely behind you. 

Frame

Some duffel bags on wheels will have a hard form or frame to keep the back rigid during transport. Most likely this will be made out of aluminum to keep the bag lightweight. You’ll want to make sure it won’t create hazards or snags when packing, but most of these will be tucked away for aesthetic reasons. 

Pricing for rolling duffel bags 

Pricing will vary depending on the brand, design, or materials used. If you’re looking for a bargain price, I’d recommend staying below $50, as this is easily affordable and will get you a basic bag. That being said, I would encourage saving for a month or two to purchase a more moderately priced rolling duffel bag in the $50 to $150 range. You’ll get better quality bags with more features in this range. Bags priced above $150 are going to be your premium choices that will have the best materials and quality. 

Tips and tricks

As with something you do for decades upon decades, you pick up a few tips and tricks along the way in terms of selecting the right product, and/or using it. That’s the case with us and rolling duffel bags. To help you bridge the information gap, here’s a selection of what we’ve learned along the way.

  • Don’t throw rolling duffels, as you could damage the frames or wheels.
  • Utilize dry bags or trash bags if you’re worried about weather damage. 
  • Dry bags and trash bags make great organizers, too. 
  • Always pack the least frequently needed items first, as this will help keep your bag organized.
  • Buy one or two spare wheels if you can to reduce repair time.

FAQs about rolling duffel bags

You’ve got questions, Task & Purpose has answers.

Q: Are rolling duffle bags better than suitcases?

A: This is rather subjective. Suitcases tend to be hard-bodied or have a rigid form, whereas duffel bags tend to have a soft form that is a little roomier, allowing for packing hefty gear. 

Q: What is a drop-bottom duffel bag?

A: A drop-bottom duffel is a newer design that’s a suitcase-duffel hybrid. These bags have a separate bottom compartment like the Eberlestock Hercules instead of a singular large open compartment.

Q: Can you add wheels to a duffel bag?

A: Yes, if you get creative. It’s easier to just buy a rolling duffel, though. 

Q: Are rolling duffel bags worth it?

A: Yes. Rolling duffels are great for anyone who has barriers to carrying a duffel the traditional way.

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