The 8 Best Wheeled Duffels

Updated November 28, 2017 by Daniel Imperiale

8 Best Wheeled Duffels
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 42 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top selections for this wiki. Before they went and slapped wheels on all our luggage, we had to carry our stuff around like so many bell hops. Whether you spell it duffel or duffle (both are correct), few bags back then made for better combinations of portability and spaciousness than these. With a set of rolling wheels added, they remain some of the most useful bags on the market. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best wheeled duffel on Amazon.

8. California Pak Cargo

The California Pak Cargo has a cavernous interior that easily accommodates large items, but it could use some smaller pockets for better organization. It's a great choice for sports equipment like basketballs, pads, and other gear.
  • good value for the money
  • easy to move even when fully packed
  • handle could be longer
Brand CalPak
Weight 6.4 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

7. Olympia Luggage 22"

The Olympia Luggage 22" is made from "Protecflon," which sounds poisonous, but is actually a supremely strong form of polyester. Its self-repairing zippers ensure a long life spent freely opening and closing your bag without snags or tears.
  • hideaway pull handle
  • spacious for its size
  • balances poorly upright
Brand Olympia
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

6. World Traveler 21"

The World Traveler 21" comes in patterns ranging from zigzags and leopard spots to something called multiple owl, all of which are destined to make an impression. It has a chic designer shape and a wide U-shaped opening that provides easy access.
  • 2 full-length exterior pockets
  • silver pewter buckles and zippers
  • shoulder strap isn't very strong
Brand World Traveler
Model 8112022-165LT/W
Weight 4.3 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

5. Athalon 534

The Athalon 534 certainly won't get lost in the pack of blah luggage on the carousel with its vibrant color and unique shape. This large option has no fewer than fifteen pockets, and is a fine choice for frequent intrepid travelers.
  • nearly impossible to tear the fabric
  • ball bearing style in-line wheels
  • easy to exceed airline weight limits
Brand Athalon
Model 534
Weight 10.1 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

4. High Sierra AT7

The High Sierra AT7 has reflective piping for added safety, and it is very easy to handle despite its bulk. That's because it can be carried by a handle, pulled along on its wheels, or slung over the back with its backpack straps.
  • zipper divider panel
  • comes in 3 color options
  • no expansion closure
Brand High Sierra
Model 57019-1041
Weight 9.1 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

3. Samsonite Ripcord

The Samsonite Ripcord has several zippered exterior pockets, so you can add last-minute items with ease or plan for easy-access to luggage you may need on the go. It has crisscross interior straps to hold sundries in place.
  • id nametag sewn into the bag
  • multiple carrying handles
  • holds more than 50 lbs of gear
Brand Samsonite
Model 47317
Weight 12.2 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

2. eBags TLS Mother Lode Mini

A compact option for shorter trips, the eBags TLS Mother Lode Mini has an expansion zipper than adds 22.3% more packing space, so you can feel free to stock up on souvenirs without worrying about everything fitting for your journey home.
  • reflective cords
  • lockable d-rings
  • telescoping handle with 3 heights
Brand eBags
Model 125538
Weight 10.3 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

1. Victorinox Werks Traveler 5.0

The Victorinox Werks Traveler 5.0 boasts an exceptionally sturdy construction, making it great for rough travel and likely to last a lifetime. Plus, on a practical note, it has lots of space for your things, yet it weighs just nine pounds.
  • stands out on the carousel
  • comes with a lifetime warranty
  • straps make for easy lifting
Brand Victorinox
Model 313036
Weight 13 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

It's More Than A Suitcase

Duffel bags, sometimes referred to as holdalls, are most commonly used by athletes and people who travel frequently. They are issued in the military and are sometimes referred to as seabags when used by sailors or marines. Duffel bags are generally made of a thick cloth or other strong fabric. The original and military issued duffel bags close at the top with a drawstring.

The duffel bag gets its name from the town Duffel in Belgium. This is where the original cloth used to make these bags was produced. Duffel bags are a popular choice among frequent travelers and are even sometimes personalized and given as gifts on special occasions.

Children now use small duffel bags for overnight stays with friends or for carrying all of their necessities for summer camp. Adults, especially people who are particularly physically active, love the versatility that a duffel bag provides and often use them for outdoor camping trips or weekend excursions.

The duffel bag was often used by military personnel in World War II. It wasn’t until after the war that it became popular among the civilian population as well. Surfers in California and Australia especially enjoyed the duffel bag in the 1940s and 1950s, and it began to be associated with that particular sub-culture.

In Australia, surfers didn’t bother with attaching a drawstring to the duffel bag. Instead, they simply added all of their necessary items, such as swim clothes and towels, to their canvas bag, and used their hands to hold the top shut while slinging it over their shoulder for easy carry.

Once others began to catch on to the convenience a duffel bag provides, they began to be mass produced and favored by athletes and frequent travelers.

Learning How To Choose The Right Wheeled Duffel

If you are a seasoned traveler and appreciate convenience and maximum storage space in your luggage, then a wheeled duffel bag might be just what you need. Because they are so often made from flexible, soft material, they are made to expand and fit a large number of items. They are much more than your average gym bags now.

They have more storage space than most traditional suitcases and other luggage, so they are great for campers or people who need to take a lot of things along when traveling. They are especially helpful for travelers who spend a lot of time outdoors and extended periods of time away from home.

Once you have decided that the load you need to carry is heavy enough to necessitate a wheeled duffel bag, there are a few things to consider when choosing one for your next trip. First of all, consider the type of fabric that the duffel is made from. Depending on how you plan to use it, the fabric may or may not hold up to certain traveling conditions.

If you plan to spend a lot of time outdoors, you might want to get something with a material that is strong and easy to clean. However, if you are a business traveler who appreciates a classy appearance with the convenience of a duffel bag, you might consider something made of suede or even leather with a unique design.

Second, check for storage space. While duffel bags don’t generally have the same number of storage pockets that a regular wheeled suitcase might have, many are still equipped with hidden compartments and side pockets for convenience and easy access. While every duffel bag has the large main storage compartment, you can find variety in the side pockets and sometimes the expandable netting. There might even be hidden organizer pockets inside the bag so you can stash important items and help you make maximum use of your space. Also, check for expansion zippers. These allow you to make the bag bigger or smaller depending on the amount of things you need to carry.

Third, check for durability. This can be assessed by looking at the bag's seams. Duffel bags do not have frames to support them like most traditional luggage, so all of their strength lies in the seams. The highest quality seams will be lock-stitched. Other high-quality seams are taped from the inside and are surrounded by piping that looks like plastic tubes. These tubes reinforce the strength of the bag and allow you to stuff it with even heavy items.

A Brief History of the Wheeled Duffel

Bernard Sadow was the first to apply for a patent for a wheeled suitcase. After a long string of rejections, Sadow eventually sold his idea to Macy’s, and the first wheeled suitcases hit the market in October of 1970.

There were a number of issues with these because they were average suitcases with wheels attached to a narrow bottom. If they were filled to capacity, they tended to be heavy and tip over making things horribly inconvenient for the hurried traveler.

In the late 1980s, Bob Plath invented the “Rollaboard” which is the basic wheeled suitcase so many travelers use today. Since its handle is retractable, and it rolls on two wheels, it is much easier to maneuver and can carries more weight than the original wheeled suitcases. Out of the invention of the Rollaboard came Travelpro, a popular luggage company.

Today, wheels are added to nearly any type of luggage imaginable, including large duffel bags. The duffel bags have long been a favorite of athletes and frequent travelers because they hold so much more than the average suitcase. Adding wheels to the bottom of the duffel bag just makes sense.

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Last updated on November 28, 2017 by Daniel Imperiale

Daniel is a writer, actor, and director living in Los Angeles, CA. He spent a large portion of his 20s roaming the country in search of new experiences, taking on odd jobs in the strangest places, studying at incredible schools, and making art with empathy and curiosity.

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