Rolling Luggage or Travel Pack: Which Should You Take?

Rolling Luggage or Travel Pack: Which Should You Take?

Written by Caila Ball-Dionne on

Caila Ball-Dionne is a freelance writer and full-time travel enthusiast. You can find more of her writing at

Rolling Luggage or Travel Pack: Which Should You Take?

Rolling Luggage or Travel Pack: Which Should You Take?


You’ve final mastered the art of packing a carry on bag for every trip (go you!) but now it’s time to select which bag will join you on your next getaway. In one corner: the rolling carry-on bag. And in the other: The go-anywhere travel backpack.

Not sure which bag is making the cut for this trip? To help you decide, consider the contents, coordination, context, and course of your journey to pick the right one.

Organization is Paramount

Before choosing your bag, remember that organization is paramount. Neatly managing the contents of a travel backpack (or even a rolling duffle) is possible with the Pack-It System. If you are the type of traveler who prefers to organize your packing cubes, packing folders and packing sacs in right angles, a rollaboard with built-in sections, such as the Tarmac AWD 22, is your best bet. If you prefer a bag where versatility and organization is most important, a travel backpack is for you.

Do You Need to Look Professional?

All throughout college, your go-to backpack accompanied you back and forth between campus and home. When your college insignia is replaced by a business card, however, the bag that once toted dirty laundry can look woefully out of place. Opt for the professional aesthetic of a rollaboard, specifically a carry-on with a built in space for laptop storage like the EC Adventure Upright 22, on business trips. The only weight on your shoulders will be that looming presentation.

What Are You Doing at Your Destination?

Wrinkle-resistant clothing is a traveler’s dream, but depending on your vacation plans, wearing them isn’t always an option. If you’re required to don a bridesmaid dress or an interview suit at your destination, your safest bet is to stack wrinkle-free compression folders in a rollaboard bag, such as the Tarmac 22.

How Active is this Trip?

As convenient as the wheels of a rollaboard can be in an airport or on smooth city streets, if your final destination is actually several destinations, a lightweight duffle or travel backpack can make post-landing accommodation hopping much easier. The same goes for active travel: if your vacation plans of hiking, climbing, or camping.

Let’s Talk Terrain

Airport terminals and flat city sidewalks make rollaboard carry on the easy option to roll with minimal effort. If cobblestone streets, gravel paths or subway staircases are in your travel plans, however, those wheels won’t lighten the load. Instead, opt for a wheeled travel backpack, such as the Switchback 22, which will distribute the heavy load evenly on your back.

I Want the Best of Both Worlds!

Still torn between duffle and rollaboard? There is a pack that was practically invented just for you. A hybrid carry on, the Morphus 22 is a rollaboard when you want it, and a duffle when you need it. Added bonus, it turns into two separate bags. You can also opt for a rolling backpack, such as the Switchback 22, which has both straps and wheels that allow you to negotiate both uneven terrain and maneuver through busy city streets. If only all travel decisions could be so easy!

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