Last updated: 16/10/2022

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A backpack with wheels takes the load off you in everyday life. It can be pulled behind you on wheels, offers structured storage space and ideally also comfort when carried on the back. Depending on the purpose of your backpack, the demands on a backpack with wheels vary.

So that your backpack with wheels can give you the best possible value and make your purchase decision as easy as possible, we share the most important criteria for evaluation in our backpack with wheels test 2022. We compare different versions and alternatives to a backpack with wheels. In addition, answers to the most important questions about the topic are available in the guide.




Summary

  • A backpack with wheels combines the advantages of a suitcase with the handiness of a regular backpack. Its trolley function allows you to pull a backpack with wheels behind you, or you can convert it into a backpack by sliding the telescopic handle back into the holder.
  • Whether as a substitute for a handbag, laptop bag or travel backpack, there’s a backpack with wheels for your use. In everyday life and at work, you’ll always look professional and casual. When travelling, your rollable backpack offers you storage space, comfort and relief.
  • A trolley school bag is also suitable for school children. There are models for girls and boys. The school bag offers compartments for school books and snacks. When travelling, the wardrobe trolley keeps a child’s clothes sorted and easy to transport.

The Best Backpack with Wheels: Our Picks

Buying and evaluation criteria for a backpack with wheels

When looking for a backpack with wheels, you will find a large selection on the internet. There are some criteria to consider when deciding on a backpack with wheels. To make your decision easier, we have listed a few criteria below. You can use the following criteria to compare different versions so that you can find your backpack with wheels:

The following section explains in more detail how you can accurately assess these criteria.

Dimensions

The dimensions of your backpack with wheels are important for its manageability in everyday life. If you use your backpack with wheels as a trolley for work and public transport, it should be space-saving and easy to convert.

If the backpack is intended for everyday use, or as a handbag, it should be large enough for your personal belongings without being too bulky. Also, if you can pull the backpack and minimise your back strain, plenty of space also invites you to carry many items.

The maximum dimensions for hand luggage are usually 55 × 35 × 20 centimetres.

In addition to being handy in everyday life, the dimensions are also important when travelling. If you travel a lot by plane for work, the dimensions of your trolley backpack should be within the usual baggage regulations. For a backpack with wheels for children, the purpose is particularly important.

If the trolley backpack is intended for school, books and school utensils must fit comfortably inside. If it is a wardrobe trolley for children, the dimensions are designed accordingly for clothes and storage space.

Weight

As an everyday item, your backpack with wheels should be light. Not only the backpack, but also the wheels have a weight of their own. Lightweight backpacks with an ergonomic construction model are the most comfortable.

For children, it is especially important to relieve them of the weight of the backpack. It is recommended that the weight of a backpack should not exceed 10 percent of the child’s own weight.

With a lightweight backpack you are well equipped for a flexible everyday life. You can quickly convert your backpack with trolley function between the arrival of the next train and carry it on your back. Even when travelling, your backpack offers you as much free weight as possible to carry personal items with you. The less dead weight, the more suitable it is as hand luggage.

Volume

The volume of a backpack with wheels describes the capacity of the backpack in litres. If you need a lot of storage space in your backpack as a backpacker, you should look for a packing volume that best suits your travel conditions.

Comfort comes into play in connection with volume. Make sure that your backpack with wheels is comfortable to wear on your shoulders when full.

Comfort is also related to the dimensions or the material. You will notice the effects of this most under load.

Use

A backpack with wheels is used in all areas of life. If the backpack is intended for lifestyle, its design is particularly important.

As a daypack or as a replacement for a handbag, your backpack trolley should match your style.

As an everyday backpack and daypack, your backpack with wheels should have enough practical dividers and compartments. If you’re working remotely or studying, a laptop compartment offers the safest storage for your mobile office. If you use your backpack with wheels as lightweight luggage, the dimensions, weight and material are important.

If you’re going on a city trip, comfort and storage space are important. For children, there are special trolley backpacks for school. They are designed as rolling school satchels. To relieve the child of carrying weight on trips, there are wardrobe trolleys. These trolleys are specially designed for transporting clothes.

Material

The material and its workmanship are crucial for durability and wear resistance. Seams should not come loose at any time. An overview of the most commonly used materials for backpacks with wheels can be found here:

type advantage disadvantage
Nylon / polyamide high durability and abrasion resistance not very environmentally friendly
Polyester lightweight, UV-resistant, colours do not fade slightly more environmentally friendly than nylon
Leather durability, abrasion resistance heavy, long drying time
Cotton more fire-resistant than synthetic fibre no longer often used for backpacks

If the straps are comfortably padded, and have an appropriate construction, they offer the highest possible carrying comfort. A high-quality carrying handle is also padded and firmly attached to the backpack. This means that the strap does not constrict the hand or tear when carrying the backpack with wheels.

Additional handles for different carrying options are advantageous. The telescopic handle with the trolley function should be robust. A telescopic handle made of aluminium is light and sturdy, and thus offers pleasant and safe pulling. The outer material should also be water-repellent and wipeable to a certain degree. When towing, dirt can splash onto the bottom of your backpack in muddy or rainy weather.

In that case, or even during a rainstorm, your clothes and laptop should stay dry inside the backpack. Sustainability is also an aspect you can look for in the material. If the material is a recycled product or even vegan, the backpack with wheels may even fit your lifestyle.

Wheels

Common for a backpack with trolley function are 2 wheels. A trolley backpack has its 2 wheels attached directly to the backpack. Plastic wheels are often noisy when pulled and can break more quickly. Rubber wheels are more durable and roll more quietly.

Type Advantage Disadvantage
Plastic wheels Easy to carry Noisy when rolling
Rubber wheels Quiet rolling over any floor May be somewhat heavy

With 4 wheels, the luggage is more like a trolley, or a small suitcase. The number of 4 wheels adds to the stability while pulling. In addition, 4 wheels allow the luggage to be pushed as the wheels can turn 360 degrees. Some children’s trolleys or school bags with trolley function have 6 wheels. These are attached to a removable frame. The frame can be removed from the back section.

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a backpack with wheels.

Here are some things to consider before buying a backpack with wheels, or wheeled carry-on luggage. After reading our guide, it will be easier for you to find the right backpack with wheels.

What is special about a backpack with wheels and what advantages does it offer?

Unlike a standard backpack, a backpack with wheels combines the advantages of a rolling suitcase with the ergonomic handiness of a backpack. You can pull a backpack with wheels behind you or carry it on your back.

Rucksack mit Rollen-1

A backpack organises your life. A backpack with wheels takes the load off your life.
(Image source: Josiah Weiss / unsplash)

A backpack with wheels is not the same as a trolley. A trolley is a piece of luggage that is only meant to be pulled. Trolleys have 2 wheels and a telescopic handle that can be retracted. When the telescopic handle is retracted, you can carry a trolley by hand using the handle.

In contrast, a backpack with wheels is mainly a piece of luggage that is carried on the back with shoulder straps. It also has 2 wheels and a telescopic handle. The advantage of a rolling backpack, however, is that you can switch between the trolley function and the backpack at will.

Advantages
  • Format of a backpack
  • can be pulled with the trolley function
  • relieves and protects the backpack
  • supports professional appearance
Disadvantages
  • heavier than standard backpack
  • uncomfortable straps if necessary
  • roller housing can press on lower back if poorly constructed

For business people, a backpack trolley also provides a visual level of professionalism. This is handy for freelancers, or if you are carrying additional equipment for your camera, or laptop. Depending on your needs, you can switch between a professional suitcase or casual backpack look.

Frequent travellers will benefit from the systematic layout of the wheeled backpack, as items can be stored in the same order as in a suitcase. Usually, the opening of a travel backpack is only possible from the top or bottom. Similar to a suitcase, a backpack with wheels often offers you the possibility to access your personal belongings from the front.

What types of backpacks with wheels are there?

Below we have listed the different types of backpacks with wheels for you. You will find more detailed information about the different alternatives, as well as their advantages and disadvantages.

Laptop backpack / daypack with wheels

A laptop backpack is specially designed to store your laptop safely and your work utensils systematically. Like the standard backpacks, a laptop backpack with wheels is also equipped with a carrying handle on the top and ergonomic backpack straps.

Rucksack mit Rollen-2

An extra compartment for your laptop and structured dividers protect your work utensils in the backpack with wheels.
(Image source: Andrew Neel / unsplash)

In the city, the trolley function of your backpack shows its advantage the most. The wheels of your backpack roll smoothly over the flat ground. If you’re travelling in narrow streets or need to get to the underground quickly, you can simply put your backpack with wheels on your back.

Advantages
  • Quickly convertible
  • rolls well on flat ground
  • separate compartment for laptop
Disadvantages
  • gets dirty on muddy roads
  • few fashionable designs to choose from

A laptop backpack offers a separate, padded compartment for your laptop. You can often close this with a Velcro fastener so that your laptop doesn’t wobble inside your backpack. This way, it is protected from light vibrations, such as dragging it over cobblestones, and stays in place.

Make sure you buy a backpack that fits your laptop size. If you have a 17-inch laptop, you need a backpack with a compartment designed for 17-inch laptops.

A backpack with wheels is especially interesting for photographers. A special camera backpack with wheels often has several compartments for storing lenses and a laptop. Small pockets offer protection and space for mobile phone, wallet and chargers.

If you use your backpack with wheels for work, a large compartment for clothes is a plus. This way you can store your work clothes neatly folded in your backpack and change when the time is right. The storage space also gives you room for your everyday personal belongings.

Hand luggage backpack with wheels

A backpack with wheels, designed for hand luggage when travelling by plane, is similar in design to a small suitcase. A front-loader feature gives you access to your clothes from the front and allows you to pack your backpack like a suitcase. A mesh pocket on the inside helps to stow travel items without slipping.

Rucksack mit Rollen-3

If you travel a lot in the city or between hotels, a trolley function is very practical.
(Image source: jeshoots / unsplash)

If your carry-on backpack is your only luggage, look for padded shoulder straps. A waist belt and chest strap will give you extra comfort, just like a regular travel backpack. If you can stow the straps in small compartments, you can protect the click closures from breaking.

Advantages
  • Laptop pocket
  • front-loader function if required
  • lockable zips
Disadvantages
  • higher tare weight than without wheels
  • plastic wheels can be very loud when rolling

An integrated laptop pocket and smaller outside pockets are easily accessible for stowing ID, your book, or keys. Ideally, the zips on your backpack can be locked. The size of hand luggage varies slightly depending on the airline. The most common dimensions for hand luggage are 55 × 35 × 20 centimetres, with a 5-centimetre margin of variation.

Therefore, make sure you check the baggage policy of your most frequently used airlines and match your backpack accordingly. If your backpack with wheels is primarily used as luggage, make sure it rolls smoothly and quietly. Rubber wheels are quieter than plastic wheels. The material of the bottom also plays a role. Avoid wooden bottoms, as wood offers a loud resonance surface.

Trolley school backpack with wheels

There are two types of school bags with wheels. One is a backpack with wheels and a trolley function. The other is a backpack with a removable frame. If the frame is removable, your child must not only look at the backpack, but also at the frame as an individual part, if necessary.

Advantages
  • Inner compartments
  • removable wheel frame if necessary
  • child”s back is relieved
Disadvantages
  • Frame has its own weight
  • may be difficult for children to convert to a backpack if the frame is separate

Make sure that the backpack lies firmly and securely on the trolley support or can be fastened. The backpack should not slip off the frame when pulled over kerbs.

A tip: Look for plain models. These are also suitable for adults.

There are special designs for girls and boys. But because of their inside compartments, school bags are also good for students, or as a daypack. For maximum durability, the wheels and the legs should be high enough. This prevents the bag from being chafed by the road when pulled diagonally.

Backpacker / travel backpack with wheels

For trekking trips and as a backpacker you need a robust backpack. You can get a normal travel backpack up to 80 litres. A travel backpack of only 40 litres is usually light luggage. The disadvantage is that lifting a fully packed standard travel backpack is often very difficult and carrying it is very stressful.

Rucksack mit Rollen-4

If possible, pack your travel backpack so that heavy objects are placed close to your back.
(Image source: Simon Migaj / unsplash)

As an alternative to a common travel backpack, you can also use a travel backpack with wheels as a backpacker. On long trips with many stops and a lot of luggage, you save energy and do something good for your health.

Advantages
  • Trolley function
  • relieves strain on the back
  • front-loading function
Disadvantages
  • heavier than standard travel backpack
  • not always suitable for back transport on long hikes

You can often open a travel backpack with wheels from the front. This front-loading feature gives you easy and quick access to your clothes and maximum comfort on your trip. When arriving during a city trip, it’s nice to be able to pull the backpack behind you.

Even when checking into a hostel, you can save yourself repeated lifting and pulling. However, take a small extra backpack with you for a day trip in the city or on hikes. Large, rollable backpacks are less suitable for a shopping trip or a mountain climb.

Who is a backpack with wheels suitable for?

A backpack with wheels is suitable for everyday use. If you travel a lot for work or because of your lifestyle, or if you often have to carry a relatively large number of items, your backpack with wheels will help you keep things tidy and save energy.

Rucksack mit Rollen-5

When travelling, a backpack with wheels combines the advantages of a trolley or suitcase with the handy format of a backpack.
(Image source: pxhere)

Depending on your life situation and your preferences, a backpack with trolley function can take a load off your shoulders in everyday life. Below you will find a list of people for whom a backpack with wheels is particularly suitable:

  • Photographers
  • Travelling businessmen
  • Frequent flyers with light luggage
  • Backerpackers on city tours
  • Students with laptops or schoolchildren

In our guide you will find more information about what is important in a backpack with wheels and what it can do.

What alternatives are there to a backpack with wheels?

If you are looking for an alternative to a backpack with wheels, you will find it here. We have summarised many of the alternatives to a backpack with wheels for you here in our guide. Here you will find a short overview:

  • Trolley: A trolley is a piece of luggage usually on 2 wheels. It can be pulled with a telescopic handle. Trolleys are often smaller in size. However, there is also a wide range of trolleys in hand luggage size. If the trolley function is particularly important to you, a trolley may be an alternative for you.
  • Frame with wheels: You can also buy a frame with wheels and equip your backpack with wheels. The advantage of this alternative is that you can choose any backpack of your choice. There are no limits to style and function. The disadvantage is that the frame is a separate item.
  • Children’s wardrobe trolley: A wardrobe trolley is a piece of luggage. It is constructed similar to a wardrobe and offers intermediate shelves for transporting folded clothes. With its usually 360-degree rotating wheels and external pockets, a wardrobe trolley offers maximum independence for children during a trip.

Check your use for your new backpack. If the trolley function is particularly important to you and you need your luggage for transporting work utensils, a suitcase in hand luggage size might be worthwhile. Take a look at one of the shops listed below. You’re sure to find the right alternative to a backpack with wheels for you.

How big is a backpack with wheels usually?

The size of a backpack with wheels is determined by the dimensions or volume. In the following table you will find an overview of the most common sizes of a backpack with wheels based on their volumes:

Backpack type size in volume
Laptop backpack / daypack 30 – 40 l / 15 – 40 l
Hand luggage up to 45 l
Trolley school backpack 25 – 35 l
Backpacker / travel backpack 40 – 80 l

The size that suits you best depends on how you use it. For travel backpacks, you can also measure your back length to determine which volume is best for you.

Is there a backpack with detachable wheels?

If you buy a backpack with wheels, the wheels are permanently attached to the backpack. You cannot remove them because they are integrated into the bottom of the backpack. There are trolley backpack models where the wheels are not permanently integrated.

A tip: If you are looking for a backpack with a separable wheel frame, look at the school bags. There is a wide range of trolley school bags with models that allow the trolley frame and the backpack to be separated.

In these trolley backpack models, the frame and the backpack are separate parts that can be taken apart and put together as needed. Here you can remove the frame with the wheels from the backpack.

Is there a waterproof backpack with wheels?

A dry bag is a waterproof backpack. They are often shaped like a sack and are rolled up at the top to close. This is then called a “roll top”. A waterproof backpack is used for water sports or underwater excursions, such as snorkelling.

Advantages
  • waterproof
  • wipeable
Disadvantages
  • heavy material
  • not available as a backpack with wheels

We did not find a dry bag with wheels in our research. However, there are large bags, or “duffle bags”, available as waterproof luggage. These often have detachable backpack straps that allow you to carry your dive gear on your back for longer walks.

Image source: everst/ 123rf.com

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