Please sign in to post.

Wanted Review of the RS Rolling Backpack

I am considering buying the RS Rolling Backpack during black Friday sale in November. The last few trips I have used my 360 hard size luggage and loved it. I am hoping to go on a RS tour next summer and think this would be a good option. Especially since there will be no porter service and using more public transportation. I would love to hear everyone's review of it. I wish it had built in TSA locks.

Posted by
24 posts

Hi LF, I bought that piece of luggage for my RS tour last year, and if I could go back in time, I wouldn’t do it. The cons outweighed the pros for me.

Here’s what I liked:
- good wheels
- Good outer pockets
- Good handle
- I’m satisfied with the overall quality
- The dimensions are great for international carry-on

Here’s what I didn’t like:
- it is NOT a good backpack. It’s a fine roller, but incredibly uncomfortable as a backpack
- It is SMALL inside. If you do the math based on stated dimensions, remember that the wheels and handle take up a fair bit of room, so your actual packing space is less than you might expect.

In the end, it was just too small for me for a trip to Europe (and I packed light and washed clothes in the sink on my 8-day tour).

But these pros/cons are just my Personal assessment. If you think it might work for you, pm me and I’ll sell you mine :)

Posted by
348 posts

My daughter (age 15) and I both use the rolling backpack and like it very much. We’ve had them several years, and they’ve made many trips, both domestic and international; car, train, plane. We only do carry on for airplane trips, so I can’t comment on its sturdiness with respect to baggage handling (I assume you will check it since you mention TSA locks).

I use mine only as a roller, since I also carry my (disabled) son's backpack when we travel. I like the rolling backpack because it is smaller and lighter than the rolling carryon -- I don't need the extra room, and the bag fits under the airplane seat if I need it to go there.

My daughter uses it both as a roller and as a backpack. She rolls it through airports and on smooth surfaces and puts it on her back if we are doing a lot of stairs. She is a very light packer (usually about 12-15 lbs total weight), so the extra weight from the wheels isn't a problem, and she prefers to have the option of rolling her bag when it makes sense. Works great for her.

I agree that the bag is fairly small, but I consider that to be an advantage— it keeps me from stuffing in all the crap I don’t really need. We usually stay in apartments and do laundry every 4 or 5 days, so with that, we have no trouble fitting in what makes us comfortable for a trip of at least a couple weeks, and could go plenty longer (if we had that much vacation time!).

Posted by
24 posts

DebVT mentioned checking the bag... I did end up checking my bag because I flew Condor last year and ran into weight limits (very low at my ticket price - that was frustrating because I bought it to meet size requirements! Oh well, that’s another story!). But to check it I bought a ... what to call it? ... a stretchy sleeve on Amazon to pull over it for checking because I thought the bag had several “snaggable” features (like the water bottle holder) that were advantages as a carry on, but maybe weaknesses as a checked bag. The sleeve (< $20) worked really well and kept my bag in pristine condition. If you think you might check the bag, I recommend this add-on (pm me if interested and I’ll look up the product I bought).

Posted by
24 posts

Here’s what I bought to check my bag ($16):
Amazon: Youth Union Luggage Protector Cover for Travel, Fit for 18'' 20'' 22 Inch Suitcase, Washable

As an aside, can anyone tell me how to make this an embedded link?

Posted by
31180 posts

Kirstin,

I don't know which Luggage Cover you were describing, but you can have a look on the link (click on the highlighted part).

You can embed links by copying the URL (Control+C or whatever you use on your computer), and then clicking the globe symbol which is shown above this window. Insert the copied link in the window that appears when you click the globe, and then click "OK". If you highlight text (as I did above with "luggage cover"), that's where the link will be placed.

Posted by
1175 posts

I have had the rolling backpack for around 7 years now. I bought it because I was carrying heavy binders for work. I needed a roller bag.

I have taken it on several other trips just to try it out. It is European sizing so is smaller than most US roller bags. That said, I have used it on a 3 week long winter trip. It got down to -20F and I had room for plenty of clothes even then. This was a Christmas trip so I had dressy outfits as well as outdoors outfits and Christmas gifts.

I usually use the bag in roller mode but have used the backpack feature for stairs and post holing through hip deep snow (see above winter trip). The wheels are spaced so they do not touch your back. You don’t have to worry about street goo. The bag is a bit rigid on the back but not uncomfortable. I wouldn’t want to go on a long hike with it though!

Many have complained about this bag tipping over. It’s true. If you put heavy things in the top of the bag it will tip. I usually lean the bag against something.

Here is another discussion thread on the subject

Edit to add: I also wanted to talk about how easy it is to convert the bag. The straps are tucked in to a pocket. It’s easy to pull them out and clip the straps in place. They stow with the same ease. In short, it’s easy to transition from roller to backpack and back again.

I also want to say that the internal space of the pack is around 30 liters. There’s plenty of room for light packers.

Posted by
182 posts

I recommend this product. I've had mine for about 5 years. I travel to Europe for 3-4 weeks every summer and I can fit everything I need in it (and a large-ish back pack).

Although I wouldn't want to carry this as a backpack all the time, the feature is useful if you need to walk places that have stairs or cobblestones. I roll it most of the time, then when needed, through it on my back until I can wheel it again.

It has really held up over time, too. It is sturdy and good looking. I did have an issue with the telescoping handle, but I called RS and the offered to send me a replacement for free (excellent customer service). I managed to fix the problem myself with a small screwdriver, so I did not take them up on the offer.

It is small - but take this as an opportunity to learn to pack light. We do laundry in hotel sinks, and I've learned to pack dark, solid color clothes that all match each other.

The size is plus, though, for overnight/weekend trips, too. It's easy to manage and fit in the car.

Posted by
175 posts

Does anyone know the return policy? I weigh everything before I put my items in and use packing cubes. I wash my clothes in a sink. I bring a messenger bag for my person item / day bag.

Posted by
846 posts

I have one and from what you mentioned as to how you work things when travelling you and I are very similar and I think you would like it. I bought mine in 2014 for our RS Greece Trip and have used it for that one plus 2 more 3 week trips and it has held up great. (I also use it for US travel):) I don't find it to be too small at all as I am a pretty light packer and wash my clothes in the sink as I go. Most of the time I use it in its roller position and it works great. It is good to for those times you need it as a backpack, like lots of stairs, but I don't normally feel it is necessary to keep it as a backpack for very long, so that part is less important to me.

Posted by
1583 posts

Why don't you just get a dedicated travel backpack like a tortuga or a Cotopaxi Allpa? They are really well thought out, include packing cubes, are comfortable, designed to fit in overhead bins, and don't have the space and weight downsides / compromises of having wheels and a retractable handle. Wirecutter has a good summary.

Posted by
516 posts

LF: as you have seen, some pros, some cons, some raves, some rants. I don’t know what 360 is but it sounds like you are thinking of going wi5 one bag and a personal item instead of multiple bags. Highly recommended. The smaller Euro size will require compromises and changes in your packing style. Give yourself of plenty of time to figure it out before you hit the skies with your new bag.

Buying new luggage is great fun but intimidating if you are also radically changing your style. The topic of packing lightly is endlessly discussed here and there are dozens of websites and video clips on the subject. It’s pretty much been perfected but you may not find the idea to your liking. Strongly urge you to try an excursion with your new bag to test out any changes to your traveling style. Plan a car trip, stay three or four nights to make sure you practice all of the new tasks like sink laundry and packing up every morning to catch the bus.

Try to have fun.

Posted by
9068 posts

I had one. It's not a bad bag but I didn't like the backpack feature. It wasn't comfortable. I tried it out a few times domestically but never traveled with it internationally. I gave it away to someone who really liked it.

By the way....what is 360 hard size luggage?

Posted by
20896 posts

360 refers to a hard side spinner.