How to Find the Best Rolling Duffel Bags (Both Small and Large Models)

The duffel bag is undoubtedly one of the most versatile pieces of luggage that you can own. It makes traveling by vehicle an absolute breeze and is perfect for all types of adventures. This is why the rolling duffel bag is just the thing you need if you are headed out on vacation, particularly by plane.

Of course, when deciding on a rolling duffel bag, there are a few more things to take into consideration such as weight and support system. In this article, we take the opportunity to discuss this and more. If you want a rolling duffel bag to be your next piece of luggage, these are the guidelines that you will need to follow.

Your Guidelines to Choosing the Ideal Rolling Duffel Bag for You

For the longest time, people relied on traditional duffel bags, even when they were traveling by plane. The rolling duffel bag, though, opens up a whole new world of opportunities for you, which makes it even easier for you to get from point A to point B. If you are interested in finding out all that you can about this type of duffel bag, here is what you need to know:

The Advantages of Travel Duffel Bags

So, why would you choose a wheeled duffel bag over other luggage options available to you? You may be surprised to learn that there are actually a lot of advantages associated with this type of bag. For instance, they tend to be a lot lighter than suitcases and other pieces of luggage. This is quite handy considering that airlines are beginning to charge more and more for checked luggage.

The other benefit of this type of bag is that it is quite durable despite its low weight. This makes it the ideal accompaniment for more adventurous trips where you might need to drag the bag through rough terrain. What really makes this type of bag such a great choice though is just how easy it is to wheel around. You will have no problem transporting it across large stretches as you will have to make very little effort on your part.

Determining the Right Sized Duffel Bag for You

When referring to a travel duffel bag, you have to take the dimensions as well as the capacity into consideration. This is especially important if you are traveling by plane and have to adhere to certain size and weight requirements.


Now, when trying to figure out what dimensions are a good option for you, the first thing you will need to know is if you want your bag to be carry-on luggage or checked luggage. If you want a bag to go as checked luggage, there aren’t too many size restrictions. As long as you avoid extra-large duffel bags, you will not have to pay any fees associated with oversized luggage.

On the other hand, if you want to take your rolling duffel bag, you need to pay attention to the dimensions. Usually, it is a good idea to avoid a duffel that is longer than twenty-two inches. You should also check that the handles and wheels don’t add too much height to the bag either. You will also need to check that the width isn’t too long either – typically no more than ten inches. The final measurement to consult is the height of the bag which should be less than fifteen inches when it is fully packed.


The next thing that you will need to think about is just how much you are able to fit into your rolling duffel bag. Of course, for this, you will need to know how long your trip is and what you want to take. In this case, the travel duffel bags can be categorized into small, medium, large, and extra-large bags.

  • Small (40 – 45 liters): These duffel bags are a good choice for an overnight or weekend trip and can fit in several items of clothing and perhaps even shoes and a camera.
  • Medium (50 – 85 liters): While these bags do look compact, you should be able to pack for several days at a time and be able to take clothes, shoes, and a few other accessories with you.
  • Large (90 – 120 liters): These bags should be able to contain all of the clothes and accessories that you will need for a week, perhaps even longer.
  • Extra-large (130+ liters): These bags are an excellent option for people who want to take as much as they possibly can. Of course, you still need to keep an eye out for the weight restrictions placed by airlines.

Size vs. Weight

The good thing about most rolling duffel bags is that they are relatively light. At the same time, the bigger the piece of luggage that you choose, the heavier that it will be. The reason that the weight of the bag should be taken into consideration is because of the weight restrictions that are placed on carry-on and checked luggage. The heavier that the bag is, by itself, the less that you can pack into it. So, it is important to find a balance between the two.

Understanding the Materials Used in Rolling Duffel Bags

Rolling duffel bags can be made from all types of materials although they are more commonly made of nylon and polyester, at the moment. However, manufacturers are always coming with new blends so that the bags end up lighter but also tougher. Since you are most likely to come across the two materials mentioned, though, let’s focus on those.

If your main goal is to have a travel duffel bag that is as light as possible, then polyester will be a good choice for you and, in fact, is what many of the cheaper rolling duffel bags are made from. While you may have to forego a little bit of durability, this is not always the case. In fact, some wheeled duffel bags are made from rip-stop polyester that makes it a lot more abrasion resistant.

Nylon isn’t used as often but is relatively traditional with more expensive duffel bags. The main advantage here is the durability although these bags can be a little heavier too. If you want to ensure that your bag is as durable as possible, you should invest in rip-stop nylon options.


Not all rolling duffel bags require weatherproofing. If you are on the kind of vacation that means that a covered roof is only moments away, you will not have to shell out for this kind of luxury. However, if you are planning on heading out into more remote areas where you are sure to encounter a few showers, then it is a good idea to look into this feature. Since most materials aren’t waterproof by themselves, you should consider those with a waterproof coating that will repel water. Of course, you will also need to check that the zippers will not let water in as well.

Wheels and Stability

As you can imagine, one of the most important aspects of a rolling duffel bag is its wheels. So, before you make your decision regarding a particular bag, it will definitely pay off for you to take a quick peek at them. Really, there are only two main requirements that you should look for.

You should stay away from duffel bags with small wheels and should focus on models with larger wheels instead. Large wheels are less likely to get caught in small cracks or breaks in the ground and will be easier for you to maneuver. The other thing to look at is the durability of the wheels – you will need to ensure that they are made from a strong, durable plastic and that they will not crack easily. This is particularly important if the duffel bag is quite large and if you will be packing it with a lot of items.


With rolling duffel bags, the most popular way to keep them is standing upright. Due to this, stability can be an important feature to look for in a travel duffel bag. If you want to ensure that your duffel bag will stand on its own and will not tip over, then you should look for two plastic pieces parallel to the wheels of the bag. These act as a support system for your duffel bag and holds it upright.

Is the Bag Easy to Pack?

There is little use in having a travel duffel bag that is not easy to pack. So, what constitutes a bag that is “pack-able”? The opening of the bag certainly plays a role – the larger that it is, the easier it is to store your items neatly.

Another helpful feature though is compartments and pockets. There are a few advantages to this. Internal pockets help to separate your items from one another which makes them easier to find later on. These also come in handy if there are certain items that you would rather not mix (dirty shoes and clothing, for instance). External pockets are quite useful on carry-on bags since they keep important items on hand at all times.

If you want to pack a lot of items, then having a rolling duffel bag that has an expandable main compartment can work in your favor. At the same time, compression straps are a good feature to keep an eye out for as well. These straps keep all of the items in place while also ensuring that the bag can be flattened enough to fit into various spaces. This feature can also prevent your luggage from being labeled as excess baggage too.

The Handles

When talking about rolling duffel bags, there are actually several handles that you could be referring to. The most notable one, of course, is the handle that is on top of the case that can be lengthened or retracted depending on how you are handling the bags. With this one, you should check the durability of it to ensure that it can withstand a little bit of rough handling, particularly with larger and heavier duffel bags.

The other handles to think about are the ones on either side of the duffel bag. You use these to pick the bags up and carry them horizontally, parallel to the ground. Look for sturdy designs that are either wide or padded so that they are more comfortable to hold.

Some rolling duffel bags come with shoulder straps that allow you to hoist the bag on your back with a diagonal strap across your back. These can work well for lighter and smaller bags so that they can be carried across uneven terrain.

These are the things that you will need to pay attention to when considering rolling duffel bags. After going through each step, you will find it easier to get the bag that you need.

Top 10 Best Rolling Duffel Bags

1 – Thule Subterra 75

Thule Subterra Luggage 70cm/28"
  • Bag design absorbs the impact of travel due to the durable exoskeleton and molded polycarbonate back panel
  • Smooth and easy transport with tough, oversized wheels and V-Tubing telescoping handles
  • Effortless travel thanks to the piggyback strap attachment loop that allows an additional bag to be hooked on
  • Protects contents from the elements with durable, water-resistant materials
  • Quick access to keys, wallet and smaller items with zippered pocket

Here’s what the reviewers think about the Thule Subterra 75:

Reviewers like these things about the Thule Subterra 75

  • Many testers have said that it is a good quality backpack for daily commuting and hiking.
  • Numerous testers also said that the pack is sleek and is lightweight for day long travelling.
  • A few travellers said that the pack sits well on the back with good support for carrying it long hours.
  • Some reviewers said that laptop and glasses protection for the pack is great with extra padding.
  • Some travellers said that the vertical front zipper of the bag is quiet useful for carrying emergency stuff for easy access.
  • Many travellers have also said that with the adjustable straps the pack is much comfortable to carry for day long travel.
  • Some of the buyers have also mentioned that the pack has good packing capacity for long vacations also.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • A few buyers have complained about the expensive pricing for the pack in contrast to the quality.
  • Some reviewers also complained that the shoulder straps are not very adjustable to suit their needs.
  • A few travellers also complained that the chest straps cannot be removed or tucked away when not in use.

2 – Pacsafe Toursafe AT21

Pacsafe Luggage Toursafe At21, Black
  • High-security, soft-sided, durable carry-on luggage with anti-theft features; ideal for any travel scenario
  • Lightweight, hidden eXomesh Slashguard stainless steel wire mesh embedded into fabric helps protect against slash-and-run theft and Puncture-resistant ToughZip helps prevent against forced entry from a sharp object
  • Dimensions: (H x W x D): 21.5 x 14 x 9.1 in / 54.5 x 35.5 x 23 cm, Weight: 7.28 lbs / 3.3 kg
  • High performance wheels and protective kick plate; durable on rough terrain
  • 42-liter volume; strong aluminum mono tube handle; kissable zippers slide together for easy locking

Here’s what the reviewers think about the Pacsafe Toursafe AT21:

Reviewers like these things about the Pacsafe Toursafe AT21

  • Users said that it has good build quality, rolls well, feels sturdy, and plenty of space inside.
  • Most of them said that they liked the inner pouch that cinches down on all the contents.
  • They also said that they liked that the wheels have an outer wheel extra support.
  • Reviewers said that this bag is well made with sturdy high use points.
  • Travelers said that this is the perfect size bag for them. Limited in size, but holds plenty for a trip abroad.
  • They said that it is easy to handle and rolls well over uneven surfaces.
  • Most reviewers said that it has lots of travel protection, sleek, attractive, takes a beating and still looks great.
  • They mentioned that it appears to be small but fits so much.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • One user complained that he was a little disappointed with the internal capacity of the bag, especially considering the weight.
  • Another user complained that the ag is too Tall, It doesn’t fit straight into the overhead compartment on the side aisles of a plane.

3 – Ricardo Beverly Hills Malibu Bay 20

Ricardo Beverly Hills Malibu Bay 20-inch Rolling City Duffel Bag Carry-On Luggage, Orange
  • ULTRA-LIGHTWEIGHT-Dreamfel is 30% lighter than polyester and 20% lighter than nylon. Combined with a lightweight frame and large packing capacity, you can pack more without feeling weighed down. Built to LAST-The overall fabrication and construction of this collection is extremely durable, resisting abrasion and tearing, while also protecting your belongings from the stresses of travel. Overweight INDICATOR-Our innovative top handle weight indicator lets you know when you've exceeded 50 pounds.
  • REDUCED carbon FOOTPRINT-Approved by the FDA and oeko-tex standards, very little waste material is created during production, saving water and Energy by solution dyeing the fabric pre-weaving. Expandable packing volume-the case expands with the pull of a zipper for added packing capacity. Effortless mobility-custom 360 degree double wheel system smoothly glides in any direction, enhancing stability and minimizing effort.
  • Comfortable HANDLING-Padded side and top carry grips promote easy lifting and optimal handling. Easy access to travel ESSENTIALS-Multiple exterior zippered pockets make personal items and documents handy.
  • Flexible security-adjustable tie-down panels keep personal belongings in place. Simple SEPARATION-Separate small belongings from other packed items with a removable pouch.
  • 10.5x19.5x12

Here’s what the reviewers think about the Ricardo Beverly Hills Malibu Bay 20:

Reviewers like these things about the Ricardo Beverly Hills Malibu Bay 20

  • Most Users said that the pack is lightweight and has tons of space.
  • Many other users said that it is a nice suitcase, holds up well to travel.
  • They said that the wheels work great.
  • Some other users said that there are ample pockets inside that are easy to access.
  • They also said that it has the option to unzip the front and pull up to make more space.
  • Travelers said that it rolls on four wheels so you can just roll it flat and it stays with you.
  • Some other travelers said that they were able to pack their scuba gear and clothes for a week’s scuba trip in it and have space left over.
  • Most reviewers said that it is lightweight and also helps with luggage weight restrictions imposed by the airlines.
  • Most buyers said that the spinner wheels make moving the suitcase very easy.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • Some users complained that the zipper to access the main compartment is a little stiff.
  • One user complained that the main zipper gets hung in the corners.

4 – Eagle Creek Load Warrior 22

Eagle Creek Load Warrior 22 Inch Carry-On Luggage, Black
  • DURABILITY. Built with a seamless Exo-Skeleton that strategically strengthens wear points for maximum abrasion resistance. The corners are reinforced with hypalon material to prevent fraying and protect against drops, while ripstop and ballistic fabrics with bartak add reinforcement and create a water repellent exterior. This bag is built to help you tackle any adventure so you can enjoy without worrying about your luggage.
  • INTERIOR. Compartment on top of bag is great for quick grab items, plus large pocket can act as a laundry shoot or be used to separate gear from clothes. Whether your travels take you internationally or domestically, compression straps inside secure contents and keep clothing wrinkle free.
  • ALL CONDITIONS. The oversized treaded wheels are in a protective wheel housing for smooth mobility to easily maneuver over unpaved, muddy, or bumpy surfaces. The exterior lockable zippers have finger-friendly pulls so you can grab them even with gloves on. Reflective accents ensure you stay safe and visible in the dark, no matter where you are.
  • ULTIMATE GEAR BAG. Unique Equipment Keeper can be used to strap gear to the top of the bag and also doubles as a bottle opener. Multiple haul handles and exterior compression straps keep your gear secure and makes it easy to just grab your bag and go.
  • NO MATTER WHAT WARRANTY. This carry on bag is covered by Eagle Creek's industry leading No Matter What Warranty, which includes the Lifetime Warranty guarantee and repair or replacement due to product failure during product lifetime, regardless of the cause.

Here’s what the reviewers think about the Eagle Creek Load Warrior 22:

Reviewers like these things about the Eagle Creek Load Warrior 22

  • According to users, the Eagle Creek Load Warrior luggage is comfortable to use.
  • Reviewers noted that the pack is versatile.
  • Other reviewers noted that its Hypalon material protects and blocks the bag from bumpers.
  • They also mentioned that the trodden wheels of the bag have protective wheel housing and a durable kick plate.
  • Users noted its geo ripstop and ballistic fabrics are water-repellent.
  • Reviewers pointed out that it could be converted into a duffel bag, luggage, and a backpack.
  • Testers said that it has ample pockets for storage and organization.
  • Users pointed out that the bag has lockable zippers with reflective pulls.
  • Reviewers mentioned that its equipment keeps gears on top of the bag.
  • Others noted that the bag has several haul handles making it easy to grab the bag on the go.
  • Reviewers recommend the bag for travel and outdoor adventures.
  • They also noted that they could also store a lot of stuff in its main compartment.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • A reviewer thought that its fabric tends to rip.
  • A tester said that the main compartment of the bag does not fully open.

5 – Calpak Plato 21

CALPAK Plato Black 21-inch Carry-on Rolling Upright Duffel Bag
  • Retractable handle
  • U-shape top wide opening for easy packing
  • Detachable non-slip shoulder strap
  • Twin looped carry handles
  • Inline skate wheels

Here’s what the reviewers think about the Calpak Plato 21:

Reviewers like these things about the Calpak Plato 21

  • According to users, the Calpak Plato duffel bag is comfortable to use.
  • Other users pointed out that the pack is compact yet fully functional for travel and adventures.
  • Testers found out that its handle could be retracted when needed.
  • Other testers discovered that its U-shape top opening is wide enough for easy packing.
  • Reviewers noted that it is versatile and functional.
  • Other reviewers indicated that its non-slip shoulder strap could be detached when not needed.
  • Others also found that the pack includes two looped carrying handles for additional attachment points.
  • They noticed that its fabric material is durable.
  • Users discovered that the bag includes inline rolling wheels which provide effortless mobility.
  • They also noted that it comes in a variety of attractive colors and patterns.
  • Testers found that the pack contains many pockets for storage and organization.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • A reviewer thought that the pack becomes heavy when using the strap.
  • A tester said that it the bag does not stand on its own properly.

6 – High Sierra AT8 32

High Sierra AT8 Wheeled Duffel Upright
  • Multi compartment design
  • Duffel style large front compartment
  • 2" expansion gusset
  • Roll-up mesh divider panel between front compartment and drop-bottom compartment
  • Hidden padded backpack straps

Here’s what the reviewers think about the High Sierra AT8 32:

Reviewers like these things about the High Sierra AT8 32

  • Most users said that the pack is lightweight, lots of pocket for shoes, wet items, etc.
  • Users said that it zips up two separate areas for clothes but both are still accessible easily.
  • Many users said that it has plenty of handles to grab and it rolls smooth.
  • Many other users said that it’s stylish and easy to find in the airport baggage claim.
  • Users said that it is easy to organize things so you can find them later without unpacking the whole bag.
  • One feature loved by many users is that it opens ‘book style’.
  • a little hard to find in a wheeled backpack.
  • Reviewers agreed that it is not super heavy given all the features.
  • Users said that expansion gusset is a bonus and gives this bag serious capacity for its size.
  • Many users said that it has manageable rolling on cobblestones and when they are going crosswise on hills.
  • Most reviewers said that the handle design feels so much stronger/more stable.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • One users said that the fabric on the bottom has already started to rip away from the body.
  • Some users said that the buckle broken early, and the zipper on the top compartment also broken early.

7 – Thule Crossover 56

Thule Crossover 56-Litre Rolling Duffel Pack
  • Heat-molded, crush-proof SafeZoneTM compartment protects eyewear, portable electronics and other fragile gear (compartment locks and can be removed for extra cargo room)
  • Durable exoskeleton and a molded polypropylene back panel absorb the impact of rugged travel
  • Tough, oversized wheels and V-TubingTM telescoping handles guarantee a smooth, steady and straight pull for years
  • Aluminum hardware and water-resistant fabrics combine to create a lightweight, durable bag
  • Divided main compartment keeps clean-from-dirty, wet-from-dry, and work-from-play

Here’s what the reviewers think about the Thule Crossover 56:

Reviewers like these things about the Thule Crossover 56

  • Most of the testers said that is an awesome pack with smart design and perfect for daily commuting and hiking.
  • Some testers also mentioned that the pack is lightweight and well constructed.
  • More testers said that the pack is roomy and can pack up with more gears and clothes for travelling over the weekend.
  • Some of the reviewers have said that the pack has lots of pockets to keep things organized for daily travel.
  • Few of the reviewers also said that the shoulder straps are well padded to provide more comfort for long carry.
  • A few travellers have also complimented the sturdy zippers of the pack.
  • Some travellers also mentioned that the cross strap in the front are quiet adjustable for provide extra comfort while travelling.
  • Most of the reviewers have said that it is the best functional and stylish pack they have used.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • Many reviewers have complained that the pack is not water resistant and all their stuffs got soaked in light rain.
  • A few of the buyers said that the pack is a little expensive compared to other in the same range.

8 – CalPak Chalet 21

CALPAK Chalet Winter Green 21-inch Premium Rolling Duffel
  • Carry-On Friendly Size
  • Large Main Compartment
  • Self-Locking Retractable Handle System
  • Exterior Zip Pocket Offers Quick Access
  • Flat Bottom With Feet To Protect The Bag

Here’s what the reviewers think about the CalPak Chalet 21:

Reviewers like these things about the CalPak Chalet 21

  • The exterior zip pocket provided in the bag offers quick access as informed by the users.
  • Most of the users appreciated the look of the bag.
  • Many reviewers said that he bag is well constructed.
  • Some buyers said that the bag occupies less space yet is quite roomy.
  • Reviewers mentioned that the flat bottom of the bag comes with feet to protect the base of the bag.
  • Some reviewers said that the bag is quite classy.
  • Users said that the main compartment of the bag is quite big in size.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • Many users said that the bag tips over and does not stand up.
  • Some buyers said that the bag should have been bigger.
  • There are some complaints about fabric getting ripped after some time by few users.

9 – CalPak Hollywood 31

CalPak Hollywood 31-inch Rolling Upright Duffel Bag
  • Push-Button Self-Locking Heavy-Duty Handle
  • Front Accessory Pockets
  • Bottom Protection
  • U-Shaped Top Opening For Easy Access
  • Inline Skate Ball-Bearing Wheels

Here’s what the reviewers think about the CalPak Hollywood 31:

Reviewers like these things about the CalPak Hollywood 31

  • Many users thought it’s perfect for airline travel.
  • Others love how it fits in the overhead bin when filled to capacity, and collapse accordion style to fit under the seat when it’s not.
  • A lot of users thought it has well balanced main compartment and useful pockets.
  • Others find the zippers and cover material sturdy and the color combination pretty.
  • Many users like how the outer pockets make it easy for quick access to important items.
  • Others thought it also works great as an overnight bag as well as a carry on.
  • Great size, spacious storage, lots of pockets and attractive color are cited as the main reasons for purchasing this bag.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • Others said it holds a ton but doesn’t hold up well.
  • Some users sais it seems sturdy but not big enough.

10 – Eagle Creek No Matter What

Eagle Creek No Matter What Rolling Duffel-Large, Stone Grey
  • Extra durable and water-resistant bi-tech material
  • Convenient collapsible design for compressed storage in "stuff pouch"
  • Large oversized wheels for mobility over urban obstacles
  • #10 lockable, self-repairing zippers with storm flap
  • 14x30x15

Here’s what the reviewers think about the Eagle Creek No Matter What:

Reviewers like these things about the Eagle Creek No Matter What

  • Many reviewers commend the Eagle Creek No Matter What duffel bag for the optimal comfort it delivers.
  • Reviewers thought that the bag is durable.
  • Testers pointed out that the pack is resistant to water due to its B-Tech Material.
  • Some users thought that the collapsible design of the bag is convenient for compressed storage.
  • Reviewers noted that its large oversized wheels are convenient for mobility over urban places.
  • Other reviewers thought that its zippers are lockable with storm flap.
  • Testers pointed out that its external compression straps help stabilize the internal cargo.
  • Several of those who have tried the bag noted that its top external compression straps help secure and stabilize the load.
  • Users took notice of its webbing which helps reinforce the bag.
  • Other users recommend the bag for travel and outdoor adventure.
  • Testers pointed out that it could carry a lot of things.
  • They also mentioned that it is easy to pull around.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • A reviewer thought that it tends to tip over when the bag is full.
  • Another reviewer felt that the bag cannot stand up without support.

Selected reviews

Ismono reviewed the Thule Crossover 56–0G4wPymVw

Posted 5 May 2016 – Read full review

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Last update on 2018-11-09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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