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Wheeled Backpack Recommendations

Hello all, I am thinking of finding a wheeled backpack for my upcoming Italy trip. I usually like to roll my bag, but doesn't always work so well on cobblestones or all those steps in Cinque Terre! Does anyone have any experience with these? I am concerned that by getting a bag with both options, both options are compromised...

If you have used one and would recommend one, which would you recommend? I am hoping to get one at REI or my more local outdoors store, so mostly looking at Osprey, Eagle Creek, Granite Gear, and REI brand. The bummer about the ones at REI is that most of them are not carried in stock at my local stores, so I would need to order online before checking them out in person.

I have previously seen good reviews of the Osprey Ozone, which is similar in price to the Osprey Meridian, both of which are available at REI, but not at any of my local stores. REI also has the stratocruiser in the 22" size, which gets mostly good reviews and is slightly cheaper. At my local store, they have the Eagle Creek Morphus, Eagle Creek TNDM, Eagle Creek Warrior, and Granite Gear Crosstrek in stock. I just called to see what they have and still need to check them out in person.

I am not really interested in the zip-off daypack, since I already have a lightweight Osprey pack I was planning on using.

Most of these bags are $200-300. Is it worth the money to have something like this when I already have a nice wheeled suitcase?

Thanks!

Posted by
3656 posts

We've used the Eagle Creek "Twist 45L" that I think is no longer made. However, the quality is great as it is on all the Eagle Creek products we've used. And if there is a problem they are very nice and easy to deal with. Having said that, if you already have a good quality two wheel bag with GOOD quality wheels, you may not need the wheeled back pack. I would not consider taking a four wheel "spinner" bag. We've taken our regular two wheel bag to Europe with no problems at all.

Posted by
34 posts

Thanks - if it wasn't for all the stories regarding the steps in Cinque Terre I wouldn't consider a new bag! Also not sure of how many flights of steps I will have in each hotel...

Posted by
13221 posts

My husband has the Osprey Ozone 22" and loves it. Very lightweight but also good quality wheels, etc. We have given up on our Eagle Creek hybrid stuff but it did last ten years before failing. The bags they make now are sleeker. But he still prefers the Osprey.

Posted by
31524 posts

Cyndi,

Wheeled Backpacks sound good in theory but don't work as well as one might think in practice. Trying to include the two types of luggage in one product means that they don't perform either function as well. Some thoughts......

  • The wheels and handle assembly add weight, making the product heavier when use as a Backpack.
  • The wheels and handle reduce the available space to some extent.
  • Depending on the specifics of the body shape of the user, the wheels can sometimes dig into the back or hips. As the wheels will have collected dirt from the street, they can stain clothing as well.
  • There's no way to provide for torso range adjustment with this type of luggage, meaning the entire weight will be carried solely on the shoulders.

Hopefully Frank will spot this post, as I'm sure he will have some good comments to add.

Posted by
11452 posts

As Ken mentioned, I do have some ideas.

I will suggest you look at three rolling backpacks:

The first, surprisngly, is the Rick Steves Rolling Backpack. I've been using his and it is doing suprisingly well.

The second I can suggest is the Eagle Creek Flatbed Duffel. While this is not a true "rolling backpack," Eagle Creek sells an optional "Quick Snap Strap" that clips onto this bag and turns it into a backpack.

The third is the Eagle Creek Lync. This is a hybrid bag where the bag itself detaches from the wheeled frame. It also has removable backpack straps. This bag is not for adventure travel. REI should have these in stock.

I did review the Osprey Ozone 18 a couple of years ago but found that it didn't hold much and I wasn't excited about it. The 22" is bigger but you need to make sure it meets carry on size limits.

A rolling backpack is not designed to be worn over long distances. Only short ones. So, it won't be as comfortable or fit as well as a true backpack.

A little tip.....to keep wheels from getting dirt on your back when worn, use a disposable shower cap. Most hotels have them and one should stretch enough to cover both wheels. It may look a little silly but it will keep you clean. When using a rolling backpack, I carry a couple just in case they are needed--for the wheels, not my head.

I reviewed the above three mentioned bags on my website but I'm not allowed to give you the address.

Posted by
1994 posts

While I love my Osprey ozone, it's not a backpack, so you can drop it from your list. If you decide you want to get it as a rolling bag, mine has survived being checked a number of times, and I find that its light weight makes for much easier travel for me (vs my old 22 inch RS rolling bag). However, it is slightly more than 22 inches and I had to gate-check it in one instance when I was changing planes in Europe.

If you decide to go with the Eagle creek Lync, I'd love to hear about your experience. I did look at it in REI and it looked pretty fragile. I would not feel comfortable checking it. The sales person shared that opinion, although he said they haven't carried them long enough to know if that was going to be a problem.

Posted by
31524 posts

Edgar,

That's one reason I use a Backpack instead of a wheelie bag.

Posted by
943 posts

I've used the Rick Steves rolling back pack for 3 years then my wife stole it because she liked it more than her bag, it's an excellent travel bag. I now use a Patagonia MLC wheelie that works for me but I could travel just as easily with the RS bag.

Posted by
823 posts

Cyndi,

I have the older style REI Stratocruiser wheeled backpack/duffle. I love it. I can keep mine on my back and have both hands free to wrestle with my wife's luggage. The new style has a "kangaroo pouch" instead of the backpack zipping into the main luggage. I kind of like the new design better... I see that the Stratocruiser is on sale (in their outlet store) if you don't mind the green color...