Wheeled Carry-On Backpacks: What to Buy, What to Avoid

For travelling light with both wheels and straps

Our combined decades of travel have led us to delight in the convenience of a small, light backpack that we can also roll.

We’ve thus been carefully examining and reviewing rolling backpacks for the past several years and constantly updating this article as we try out bags and analyze brand reliability results from consumer testing organizations across Europe and North America. We also continuously read about others’ experiences on travel blogs in a variety of languages.

osprey-ozone-convertible-wheeled-backpack-cut-out

Osprey Ozone Convertible 22"/50L Wheeled Luggage

Currently we feel that the Osprey Ozone 22″/50L is the best rolling carry-on backpack. It’s a great combination of lightness and durability, it’s comfortable to carry as a backpack, and the wheels slide it over rough terrain without issue. The piece includes all of the features we require, including notably a detachable day bag, and it meets the carry-on restrictions for the vast majority of airlines in Europe and the Americas.

Check prices on Amazon

Table of Contents

Update history of this article

Originally published: June 24, 2016

Updated March 28, 2017: Information on the new version of the Meridian and the models from Granite Gear and Eagle Creek has been updated.

Updated April 30, 2017: Eagle Creek options updated. They are coming in very close to the Osprey options, but we still prefer Osprey.

Updated May 31, 2017: Added Lowe Alpine option and minor updates.

Updated July 24, 2017: REI option not available.

Updated Aug. 4, 2017: Minor changes to introduction.

Updated August 18, 2017: Added Thule information.

Updated Sept. 5, 2017: Info on Meridian hip strap.

Updated Feb. 6, 2018: Minor fixes, added word “rolling”.

Updated July 11, 2018: Added updated information throughout, changed some recommendations, and added more photos.

Why Travel with Only a Rolling Carry-On Backpack?

My first extended backpacking trips were around South America and I carried a traditional pack on my back. As I continued to move through the world I switched to a traditional large suitcases, which would get quickly destroyed by bumpy streets in São Paulo and aggressive baggage handlers in Chicago and Paris. I replaced more than a few.

Like most frequent travellers, I eventually whittled things down to start travelling as lightly as possible, and reached that nirvana of travelling with only a carry-on.

And from there, finding the perfect carry-on backpack with both backpack straps and wheels was gravy. Now I could hop off a French train, roll through the station, and jump onto a rented city bike with my belongings on my back.

Here’s a boxy, unbranded rolling carry-on backpack that I picked up in Paris. I loved the convenience of both straps and wheels, but it was uncomfortable to carry for long, pieces broke, and the handle was prone to sticking.

Rolling the Osprey Ozone Convertible 50L / 22in while waiting for a train in Spain with the daypack on my back. It’s held up well for me for over a year and a half of intensive round-the-world travel.

The Osprey Ozone Convertible 50L / 22 in has been the culmination of this series of improvements; the daypack allows me to always have a few key travel essentials on hand and the bag is smooth-rolling and a comfort to carry.

Why limit yourself to a carry-on?

If you’ve got more than a carry-on, you’re humping around more stuff than you need, and the quality of your actual experiences is going to suffer. Do you want to come home with memories, or junk you’ll never use? Do you want to spend extra time figuring out what to do with a big bag, or be able to change directions at the drop of a hat? That said, if you really think you must travel with larger checked luggage, skip the present article and head over to our coverage of the best options for full-size wheeled travel packs.

Why wheels?

The wheel is not an invention to be ignored, dear backpackers! Wheeled luggage keeps your back from getting hot/tired; if you have them you’ll use them 90 percent of the time. Save your energy for going out dancing, hiking, sightseeing, and the rest.

Why backpack straps?

For those moments when you need the flexibility of converting to a backpacker, quality backpack straps are a lifesaver. They’re particularly useful when you encounter lots of stairs in a city metro, when you’re off the pavement in the wilderness, when you want to hop on a bike for a moment, when it’s raining and the streets are full of puddles…. We don’t use them all that often, but we’re sure glad to have them when we do.

The Very Best Rolling Carry-On Backpack: The Osprey Ozone Convertible 22 in/50L

We’re not the only ones to like the Osprey Ozone Convertible 22in/50L. The piece itself and the brand in general get great raves from bloggers, consumer reviews, and online travel magazines.

In our research for this article we also consulted results from consumer testing organizations in Europe (Which?, Que Choisir,  60 Millions) and America (Consumer Reports), which, although do do not cover this particular subcategory of carry-on, do offer pointers in terms of quality, rolling design, and durability, as well as some limited specific brand testing insight. Backpacker sites and forums tend to disdain wheels, although they are at least starting to catch on with some. And for travel writers who cover luggage, the Osprey line is at or near the top of the list. In fact, we have yet to find an overall negative travel blogger review of an Osprey Ozone piece.

Overall, Amazon reviews are also overwhelmingly positive. The high points that everyone consistently came back to for the Osprey Ozone Convertible 22″/50L are its practical features, lightness compared to other wheeled bags, and its sturdy construction. Complaints were generally related to the type of luggage itself; wheels plus straps means slightly less interior space than you would get with a carry-on that has only one or the other. This is not the bag for those looking to cram in the most stuff — if you want to carry a bit more see the Osprey Meridian in the next section.

The Advantages of the Osprey Ozone Convertible 22″/50L

The Key Feature: A Detachable Daypack

The daypack can be separated and hooked onto the shoulder straps of the main bag. This both balances the weight and keeps valuables close at hand and in sight. It’s a major advantage of the Osprey Ozone Convertible 22/50 over its competition.

You almost certainly want some sort of a daypack, and many of the otherwise fine bags that we reviewed are simply lacking this feature. You can of course buy a daypack as a separate piece, but being able to attach it to your main pack is much more comfortable (for the Osprey Ozone there is also a loop that allows it to be quickly placed over the handle of the main bag, rather than attached).

In backpack mode, the daypack can hook easily hook onto the sternum strap of the main bag, which is more practical and balanced than having it attached in the back. It’s also much more secure from pickpockets.

Other daypack features: The back panel allows for some ventilation, and there is a sternum strap to keep your shoulders comfortable. You’ll find a laptop sleeve in the main compartment, a thoughtful heat-embossed pocket on top to keep your smartphone or sunglasses from scratching, a hidden interior zippered pocket for important items, and other interior organizational mesh pockets. The two mesh side pockets for water bottles and snacks serve their function as well; this is an obvious but very appreciated feature. A safety whistle is integrated into the straps of the daypack.

How it Rolls: Large Wheels, Excellent Clearance

The Osprey Ozone Convertible 22/50’s wheels. This photo was taken after a year and a half of heavy round-the-world use. The wheels show some scratches and dirt, but still roll as smoothly as day one. Note that there are no marks on the high-clearance base — an area that generally suffers a lot of damage with other roller bags.

The main bag has slightly oversized wheels are set into the frame on sealed bearings. These are not flimsy plastic wheels that will pop off the first time the bag hits a conveyor belt, nor are they the controversial “spinner wheels” (pro: you can push your carry-on ahead of you, and supposedly turn easier; con: they take up more space, and break off easily). This means that as with any convertible carry-on you’re simply going to pull this behind you.

The Osprey is particularly notable for its higher clearance, so you can pull it over bumpier paths with no problem. The handle can be locked at two heights for comfort.

How it Carries: Comfortable Shoulder, Sternum, and Hip Straps

The shoulder and hip straps unclipped from the Osprey Ozone Convertible 22/50.

The main bag’s backpack function includes shoulder, sternum and hip straps that can be quickly revealed when you need them and tucked away into a zippered compartment when you don’t. You can also remove them entirely if you feel they won’t be necessary for a particular trip.

Note that they are thinner than those of a standard backpackers pack, which means that they pull out easier and take up less space. The still remain quite comfortable for the amount of gear one can carry with this bag.

Easy-Access Pockets

The main bag’s top easy access pocket

The main bag, like the daybag, has an easy-access top pocket for those things that you will need to get to quickly without opening your luggage. The section on the back of the bag for the shoulder straps and hip strap can instead be used as a place to stash passports and other valuables, or, since it’s separate from the main compartment, to stash wet/dirty clothes.

The Osprey Ozone Convertible 22″/50L in Fits as a Carry-On

We’ve used the this piece around the world and always been well within carry-on limits. We’ve found that as long as you don’t overstuff it, you can take it on any flight and use the daypack as your personal item.

Of course you should still do your own checking, as airline size requirements for carry-ons do vary within the USA as well as abroad. To further confuse things, many luggage manufacturers are inaccurate about their stated sizes (which can be complicated to measure in any case). Also note that a few budget airlines, particularly in Europe, don’t allow you to carry a separate personal item; in these cases you will want to have the daypack attached but not too filled so that it doesn’t put you over the carry-on size limit for the depth of the piece — this flexibility is one of the things that makes having a detachable daypack so useful.

Other Features

  • Light, sturdy frame: The aluminum frame is key to both the sturdiness and lightness of this piece.
  • Internal and external compression straps: If you go a bit too wild with your packing and need to cinch your luggage down, there are straps for this purpose both inside the main compartment and outside the bag.
  • Lightweight: The main bag by itself weighs 5 lbs 1 oz (2.3 kg) and it’s 6lbs 2 oz (2.78 kg) with the daypack, making it by far the lightest bag available of this size with comparable features. You can lighten up a bit more by removing the main bag’s backpack straps, which weigh 11.6 oz (0.33 kg).
  • Tucked-away handles: The “low-profile” handles stay out of the way when not needed, so that they don’t catch on things as you pass.

A Few Drawbacks — But They Don’t Hold Us Back

  • Tipping: If we overfill the Osprey Ozone Convertible 22in/50L’s daybag and attach it to the main piece, the whole bag is prone to tip over and then needs to be leaned against something. We’re not the only ones to notice this defect; some reviewers on Amazon and elsewhere have had the same problem. The issue can be alleviated by packing heavier items at the bottom and back of the bag, instead of in the daybag. This tipping issue, by the way, is common for every single competing product as well — it seems that the perfect anti-tipping design has yet to be invented.
  • Internal space: This is not the bag for those who want to completely maximize the internal storage of their carry-on, as the sturdy wheels and straps do eat into some space. The Meridian model discussed below is a better choice if you need more your interior space because it reduces the straps, eliminates the hip belt, and can stretch a bit deeper.
  • Sporty style: The design and colors (especially the non-black options) may be too sporty/techy/backpackery for some. See below again; the Meridian is a better choice if you want a slightly more sober look with the same features.

The Durability of the Osprey Ozone Convertible 22″/50L and Follow-up on its Lifetime Guarantee

The Osprey Ozone Convertible 50L/22in with the full daypack resting on top in front of the Palau de la Música in Barcelona.

We’ve never had an issue, and other reviewers tend to agree that Osprey provides excellent durability. They report that particularly Osprey’s zippers, handles and wheels in sealed bearings stand up to heavy use.

Osprey’s “All Mighty” Guarantee (“any reason, any product, any era”) puts it among the top few luggage manufacturers in standing by its work.

If a handle, buckle, zipper, whatever breaks on the road, you can get it repaired and sent back to you free of charge, and if they can’t fix it they’ll replace the bag. You pay only to send it in. If you’re on the road, just contact the international customer service center closest to you. Importantly, travelers have reported in that Osprey actually follows up on this promise, quickly, without fuss, and for free.

A Video: Opening up the Osprey Ozone Convertible 22″/50L

Here’s a video of the piece being opened up and turned about in all of its glory.

Less Sporty, More Internal Space: The Osprey Meridian 22″ Wheeled Luggage

Osprey Packs (10000500) Meridian 60 L/22' Wheeled Luggage, Metal Grey

The Osprey Meridian 22″/60L Wheeled Luggage is the grown-up older sibling to the Ozone. It is also an excellent choice and is generally just as wellliked by reviewers and bloggers who have found it to hold up well in their travels.

Here are the differences from the Osprey Ozone Convertible 22″/50L:

  • The Meridian’s design is a bit more muted / serious / businessy.
  • The Meridian’s materials (1680D ballistic nylon and 420D nylon pack cloth) feel a bit heavier duty and durable than the Ozone Convertible’s (210D nylon shadow box); not surprisingly the Meridian weighs a bit more (8.37 lbs, or two pounds more than Ozone Convertible).
  • There is no hip belt on the Meridian (some reviews will tell you otherwise but they are talking about the pre-2016 version). This means that the Meridian is not as comfortable to carry on your back for long stretches as the Ozone Convertible, but most people rely much more on wheels anyway with either bag.
  • The Meridian holds slightly more with a 60L capacity. This is partly due to the lack of a hip belt and to thinner backpack straps, but it also stretches to hold more depth (be careful not to overstuff it to stay within your carry-on limits).

Overall, we think that most people looking at this type of piece are looking to travel as light as possible, which is why the Osprey Ozone Convertible beats out its sibling for us, though just by a hair. For more, see our full comparison of Ozone Convertible and Meridian, plus the Osprey Sojourn 22″ (the later is designed more for backpacking).

The Meridian shares most of the same features and the excellent warranty of the Ozone. There is also a larger (28″) version of the Meridian for those carrying more gear, and a larger Osprey Shuttle line for those not needing backpack straps.

Other Osprey Ozone Sizes and Variants

Other Rolling Carry-On Backpacks

If you’re looking for something simpler, slightly different features or styling, or want to spend less, there there are a few other options worth considering. We try to look at every single quality option out there; let us know in the comments if you feel that something important is missing.

High Quality but Not Quite the Right Features: Eagle Creek Wheeled Backpack Carry-Ons

Eagle Creek Expanse International Carry-on Luggage, Black

We find that Eagle Creek’s convertible rolling cabin bags come in at a very close second to Osprey’s. Eagle Creek has a solid reputation for durability and tops the list for luggage brand satisfaction in surveys by consumer organizations. Also, like Osprey, Eagle Creek offers a solid lifetime warranty and has repair centers around the world. If something goes wrong you pay to get the bag to a repair center, and they take care of the rest.

There are a number of Eagle Creek bags worth considering with nearly exactly the same options as found in the Osprey Ozone lines. But in spite of the general high quality, none of them had quite the right combination of features, plus some complain that Eagle Creek’s big puffy carry-ons’ handles stick out too much and at just the wrong height, catching on plane armrests when rolling down an aisle (Osprey Ozone’s handles are certainly more out of the way when not in use).

Eagle Creek Expanse Convertible International Carry-On: This is the latest entry from Eagle Creek, and the non-Osprey option that comes closest to being a bag that we would buy. As with everything from Eagle Creek, the overall quality and durability is excellent. We ran a full comparison of it against our main pick and our main gripe was Eagle Creek’s lack of a detachable daypack, which is so useful for travelling or getting past security with a single carry-on, but then having a daypack to zip off and take out for the day.

The Eagle Creek Switchback International Carry-On can still be found from some retailers. It has pretty much the same features as our top pick. It has rather comfortable backpack straps and a hip belt for when you want it on your back, plus high clearance wheels for rolling over cobblestones and other rough terrain. The daypack can attach to the front straps, and it has a laptop sleeve.

People who use this piece and review it have loved it. But when available it generally costs much more than our main pick, so thanks to that and a few other complaints from customers, bloggers, and reviewers (tips over too easy, protruding handles…) this piece still isn’t what we’d go for unless it becomes available at a major discount.

The bag weighs 6 lbs. 8 oz. (2.95 kg.) and measures 14 x 21.5 x 8 in. (36 x 55 x 20 cm.)

Eagle Creek DoubleBack Carry-OnWe kind of like it that this piece’s daybag quickly snaps onto the main bag, but other than that we find the offered range of features a bit weird. The daybag has a hydration pouch but no laptop sleeve, whereas the main bag is actually much less suitable for outdoorsy use than the above Eagle Creek Switchback International. Here’s our full comparison of the two. But to be brief, this one isn’t going to be ideal for most people.

The Eagle Creek DoubleBack Carry-On gets good rankings from customers and from various bloggers. The key stress areas are reinforced with hypalon (a synthetic rubber) and the relatively large wheels are set into a durable, protected housing.

The shoulder, sternum, and hip straps, along with the padding to protect your back, are located on the front of the piece (not on the side with the wheels). This is opposite the design of the Osprey piece, and some reviewers found this a bit clumsy or at least weird-looking. On the other hand, this ensures that what is naturally the softest part of your bag is against your back. You can completely remove the straps if you think you won’t be using them and you want more room (you’ll then have a padded pocket for a laptop).

The louder style (in certain color options) can be off-putting for some tastes; on the other hand it stands out on a luggage carousel.

The Eagle Creek Flip Switch Wheeled Backpack weighs 6 lbs 7 oz (2.9 kg) and measures 22 x 14 x 9 in (56 x 36 x 23 cm). There is also a bigger 28″ version for those not concerned with carry-on sizing.

Eagle Creek Lync System: The trick with these convertible pieces is that the wheel housing detaches and can be stored separately, as do the straps. In theory, you can then decide which you want to use for a particular trip. In actual fact, this doesn’t save you much space or weight and you’re likely going to want both backpack straps and wheels; that, at least, is our whole premise with this article, born of years on the road.

At last check these bags were not widely available, but you can check for the Eagle Creek Lync 20 inch,  22-inch, and 29-inch versions.

Not Really a Carry-On: The Granite Gear Cross-Trek Wheeled “Carry-On” with Removable 28L Pack

The Granite Gear Cross-Trek Wheeled Carry-On is a solid, well-constructed carry-on bag at a better price than our main pick. Reviewers found it to be durably built with heavy duty zippers, and solidly built wheels.

However, its detachable daypack is quite a bit bigger than the Osprey Ozone’s, which may be convenient for those wanting to travel heavier, but could also raise issues if carried as a personal bag on some airlines. And put together the daypack+mainbag combo is too big to be considered a carry-on. You could carry the detachable day bag inside the main bag if necessary on a flight, but that doesn’t allow much space for your actual stuff.

Many familiar features are there: compression straps, a variety of interior organizational pockets (including a laptop sleeve) and two water-bottle side pockets. Some reviewers complained that it took too long to zip the daypack onto the main pack.

The backpack has shoulder, sternum, and hip straps. The entire piece weighs 9 lbs 11 oz (4.4 kg). If you don’t mind the extra weight and the oversized daypack, this can be a suitable alternative to our main pick — and it’s certainly cheaper. It may even be preferable for those willing to check a bag or those travelling only by ground, and travel a bit heavier.

There is also a “duffel” version of this bag that lacks the daypack.

Cheaper: The High Sierra AT7 Carry-On Wheeled Backpack

The simple and affordable High Sierra AT7 has wheels, backpack straps, and a detachable daybag.

In general customer and travel blogger reviews have been positive on its design, but the build quality is hardly at the level of Osprey or Eagle Creek. There are complaints about the wheels being set at different heights as well as breaking easily and about the quality of the zippers. It can be difficult to get the two bags attached together, and they don’t have a lot of organizational pockets.

All that said, it’s much cheaper than our main pick and could be acceptable if you don’t travel often.

There is a smaller, simpler “computer” version without the daypack that is more intended for students with too many books. But see also our reviews of the best rolling laptop bags.

With Spinner Wheels: The Samsonite Luggage MVS Spinner Backpack

If you really want spinner wheels for some reason, or a smaller and much cheaper piece, the MVS Spinner is an option.

We don’t recommend spinner wheels as they break off more easily and don’t serve much of a purpose, particularly with smaller carry-ons that you will never end up pushing in front of you.

Samsonite luggage has been generally reasonably well-rated by consumer organizations for its durability (and the British organization liked some of its apparently more rugged hard luggage), but this piece has gotten a number of negative comments for the durability of its wheels and handle.

There are similar problems that would steer us away from buying the Samsonite Tectonic 21″ Wheeled Backpack.

A School Option: The High Sierra Ultimate Access 2.0 Carry-on Wheeled Backpack

The High Sierra Ultimate Access 2.0 Carry-On is really more meant for carrying heavy textbooks than for intense travel; if you’re considering this also check our recommendations for kids’ rolling backpacks, which are better for rolling small loads on a daily basis.

For this High Sierra bag, reviewers on Amazon and other shopping sites were generally satisfied, but there were occasional complaints about the quality of the zippers and straps. But reviewers have complained about the durability and comfort of other High Sierra luggage pieces.

There is a mesh side pocket as well as a laptop sleeve, although some have complained that the lack of padding may put a laptop at risk.

As with our main pick, the backpack straps can be hidden behind a zippered panel when not in use. There isn’t a hip belt or sternum strap, nor is there padding on the back, so this bag will be less comfortable if you have to pop it on your back for a significant amount of time — but if you’re limiting your travels to developed city spaces you’ll mainly just use the wheels anyway.

The wheels are of a less sturdy construction but set into the bag in such a way that they will likely not pop off under duress. The clearance is lower, so you may have more problem on bumpy roads.

This piece measures 9 x 22 x 13.5 inches and weighs 6.9 lbs (3.13 kg). It replaces the High Sierra Overpass, which is no longer available.

From REI: REI Stratocruiser Wheeled Backpack 22″

At last check this piece was no longer available at REI (though you can check via this link). It had come in at a similar pricing to our main pick and was generally wellliked by bloggers and customers for its durability, although they did complain about a few of its design features. The Stratocruiser’s daypack clipped easily onto the back of the main bag (instead of the front as with the Osprey Ozone above), which meant a thief could easily make off with it without you noticing. For balance, it is preferable to be able to clip the daypack onto the front.

Others have reported zipper problems and the main bag oddly lacks a hip belt, although that could be OK if you’re not going to use it as a backpack too often.

REI often offers its own store-brand versions of luggage and packs, but hasn’t come back with a newer answer to the rolling backpack for the moment.

Indestructible, Hard, but Less Comfortable and Over-Sized: The Thule Crossover 38-Liter Rolling Carry-On

The Thule Crossover 38-Liter Rolling Carry-On is likely the most indestructible piece we’ve considered here. Water-resistant fabrics are stretched over a durable frame and hard back panel; the piece’s various reviewers (some of whom have used it for years) say that it holds up to anything.

But they also all cite different problems with the design. They fault a lack of padding for the laptop pocket and a hard-plastic sunglasses pocket that takes up too much interior space. At 23.2 x 15.4 x 9.1 inches, it’s also just a bit too tall for some airline carry-on requirements.

Our chief complaint is the lack of an integrated zip-on daypack; there’s a strap to attach a smaller bag but it’s likely to bounce around and get in the way when you’re rolling the piece as there is no way to firmly secure it.

Also, while the straps pull out on the front (softer) part of the bag there’s no sternum strap or hip strap, nor is there back-contoured padding as with the Osprey options. The straps are OK to use for a moment but would not be comfortable for a longer jaunt about town. We think that for the price, most people will be happier with our main pick.

All that said, the reviewers as well as customers at Amazon are generally happy with this piece. It holds up great over time (and has a lifetime warranty — Thule even reimburses for the shipping back to them) and the wheels are durably housed. There is a separator for dirty and clean clothes. While not the lightest piece on this page, it weighs in at 7.7 pounds. Most people quite like the distinctive design, and we’d agree that it’s a classy-looking piece.

You can check prices for the Thule Crossover 38-Liter Rolling Carry-On at Amazon and eBags.com.

Cabin Max Lyon Flight Approved Bag Wheeled Carry-on Luggage-Backpack

We don’t recommend this bag as customers have reported too many quality issues with the wheels, zippers, and even the fabric.

The Cabin Max marketing text mainly emphasizes as a bag that is “guaranteed” to fit carry-on requirements, which is all a bit silly.

Jansport Driver 8 Core Series Wheeled Backpack

These bags are quite a bit smaller than carry-on size at 19 x 13 x 8 inches, and more intended for those lugging books to and from the library. We think they’re great, but see our recommendations for rolling laptop bags and kids’ rolling bags for more.

Kipling Alcatraz II Wheeled Backpack with Laptop Protection

The small, overpriced Kipling Alcatraz II Wheeled Backpack has a stuffed monkey hanging off its side. If this appeals to you, we would recommend that you buy one of the more useful and rugged options (reviewers complained about this piece’s durability after any serious use), and then buy a small stuffed monkey separately to affix to it.

Discontinued? Lowe Alpine AT Roll-On 40 (22″) Rolling Pack

Lowe Alpine was so well-known for comfortable and durable technical packs for backpackers, and used to have a combo wheeled/backpack Lowe Alpine AT Roll-On 40. Strangely, it wasn’t that comfortable to carry, but anyway it’s been discontinued.

ECBC Pegasus Convertible Laptop Bag

The expensive and gimmicky ECBC Pegasus got a lot of press when it came out by including a USB device-charging pocket, which seems convenient until you realize that you can buy great pocket USB batteries separately for under $10 (and we definitely recommend owning one of those). This bag’s other trick is that it can zip fully open exposing its laptop pocket in such a way that supposedly airport security won’t make you put your device in a separate bin — but personally we wouldn’t want to risk having a laptop on the top outer flap of a bag. Reviewers also complained that this compartment isn’t well padded and doesn’t hold the laptop firmly in place.

This piece has tons of pockets for gadgets and that leaves less space for clothing etc. The reviewers cited above weighed it at 9 lbs (not the advertised 7 lbs), making it much heavier than our recommended bags. They also felt that it was quite sturdy and would hold up to abuse. Amazon customers have generally been quite happy with their purchase. It does not seem that this company has been around for long and we have not been able to find any online reports of how well it follows through on its products’ lifetime warranty. It also does not have a detachable daypack. We think you’re much better off with the more feature-rich, lighter and more established main pick above.

Prices have now come down quite a bit from the $400 initial price, but we still wouldn’t buy this bag. There are two other versions out there that we also don’t particularly recommend: the ECBC Sparrow, which is even heavier and includes a garment component for suits but no backpack straps, and the ECBC Falcon, which is more of a wheeled duffle and also available in larger sizes.

Wrap-Up: The Best Rolling Backpack for Most Travellers

Osprey Ozone Convertible 22in/50L Wheeled Luggage
This Osprey combo backpack/rolling carry-on is our favorite wheeled carry-on backpack, and the only piece of luggage that we roll/carry ourselves. It’s light, durable, full-featured, and adapts to various styles of travel.
Osprey Packs Meridian 22 in/60L
If you don’t don’t need a hip strap and/or you want just a bit more capacity, opt instead for the Meridian model. It is also more likely to be available outside of the USA.

 

We love to hear about your experiences with these and other rolling carry-on backpacks in the comments.

12 Comments

  1. Mello
    September 5, 2017
    Reply

    I have been considering the Meridian for a few months now for an upcoming trip to Japan..but I can’t seem to find one to try on anywhere where I live (Ottawa, Canada). I am also a little confused…I see in some sites advertise the Meridian with a hip strap and in other sites it does not have one. I really want a hip strap…can anyone let me know for sure if the Meridian has a hip belt.

    • September 5, 2017
      Reply

      Hi Mello, the new version (as of 2016) of the Osprey Meridian 22 does not have a hip strap, and can be purchased here in Canada.
      It sounds like you want a hip strap so the Osprey Ozone 22 would be better for you; it is slightly lighter to carry on your back, has basically the same features as the Meridian, and has the hip strap. Here’s the link for the Ozone in Canada.
      Amazon.ca offers free shipping and has a good return policy so you can return it if you change your mind.

  2. Darin
    April 22, 2017
    Reply

    I’ve been searching for a wheeled convertible backpack with a detachable daypack for a while. I am glad to have found this article with reviews. Aside from the lack of a daypack and the weird placement of the backpack straps, the Eagle Creek Flip Switch Wheeled Backpack 22 mentioned here is no longer available on the manufacturers website. There are, however, two other bags offered by Eagle Creek that are much more comparable to Osprey’s Ozone 22″ Convertible:

    The Eagle Creek DoubleBack™ Carry-On: http://shop.eaglecreek.com/doubleback-carryon/d/1510C1522?CategoryId=115

    The Eagle Creek Switchback™ International Carry-On: http://shop.eaglecreek.com/switchback-international-carryon/d/1584C3555?CategoryId=115

    For me it is now a choice between the Osprey Ozone and the Eagle Creek Switchback.

    • April 30, 2017
      Reply

      Hi Darin, checking just now, the Flip Switch is available at Eagle Creek. Your suggestions about the Eagle Creek Switchback International and the DoubleBack are excellent, however, and we should have covered those earlier. We now have a full comparison of the two and we’ve also completely updated the Eagle Creek section of this page. Thanks for your careful comments and happy travels!

  3. Mitch
    March 26, 2017
    Reply

    Why not like the Eagle Creek Lync Series system? Their 20 inch is a true International carry on, unlike the flip switch or even the Ospey 22 inch you highlight.

    • March 28, 2017
      Reply

      We considered the Eagle Creek Lync 20 inch and 22-inch just a bit too weird—when is it really necessary to be able to remove your wheels? You’re going to want them at some point on any trip, so why take them off? And more importantly, they lack a daypack. Eagle Creek makes good backpacks and we think the Eagle Creek Flip Switch is a better option if you don’t need a daypack.
      We have not had any problems on international flights (including intra-Europe flights on budget airlines) with the Osprey and Eagle Creek carry-on options we highlight, nor have others reported problems.

      • Mark
        April 20, 2017
        Reply

        If you’re going somewhere where you won’t use the wheels such as on a day hike you’d remove the wheels (well if it wasn’t such a hassle to re-install, which is the real complaint with the Lync bags).
        However, if as I do you own a separate daypack just use it instead and leave the roller at the lodging. You mention you can buy the usb separate but neglect to mention you can buy a good daypack for $20 that while not in use can be stuffed into your main bag.

        • April 20, 2017
          Reply

          Personally, I wouldn’t want to take off the wheels and carry my entire bag with me on a day hike; that’s what daybags are for.
          Great point about buying daypacks separately (we discuss that further here). If you want to go that route, the Osprey Ozone 22″ plus the Osprey Ozone Adult Day Pack make a fine couple and are built to hook together. But note that it’s nice to be able to fully zip your packs together (especially when you have to fly on airlines that don’t allow a “personal item” in addition to your carry-on). Thus our recommendation at the top of this page.

  4. March 24, 2017
    Reply

    The confusion with the Granite Gear Cross Trek is that there are two models with the nearly the same name.

    One the doesn’t have a dayback, and weird front-backpack straps, seen here:
    http://www.ebags.com/product/granite-gear/cross-trek-22-wheeled-carry-on-duffel/283779?productid=10335540

    and another that does have a dayback, and normal back-backpack straps (identical to the Osprey Ozone convertible concept, but not quite as polished), seen here:
    http://www.ebags.com/product/granite-gear/cross-trek-wheeled-carry-on-with-removable-28l-pack/283781?productid=10335544

    Seems like even the sellers are confused, not just reviewers.

    Also, the article should really note that the latest version of the Osprey Meridian (the one currently being sold in shops) is significantly different than the one most of reviewers raved about.

    • March 28, 2017
      Reply

      We didn’t originally mention the duffel version of this bag since it lacks a daypack, which we find essential. But sure, why not, for completeness. We have now added the duffel to the text above.
      As for the Meridian, there was a — we’d call it minor — update in 2016 that improved ventilation of the daypack and streamlined the harness design. This is also now noted above. We don’t think this takes away from the design of the piece at all, if anything it’s now even more appealing.
      Thanks for your careful comments!

  5. TNM
    November 23, 2016
    Reply

    These are great overviews! Wish I had stumbled upon this page during my two days of researching wheeled carry-on backpacks. You mentioned that the main bag of the Granite Gear Cross Trek backpack cannot be worn on a backpack, but I noticed in the video here that you can – you just need to unzip the back:

    http://luggagebase.com/product/11907/Granite-Gear-Cross-Trek-22%22-Wheeled-Carry-On-Upright-with-Removable-28L-Pack.html

    • March 28, 2017
      Reply

      Yes, this was misstated in an earlier version of this article. This has now been clarified in the text above; thanks for your comment! The Granite Gear Cross Trek Wheeled-Carry-On is a decent bag at a great price, but with the daypack attached it is too big to be accepted as a carry-on — so not our top choice.

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