Best Rolling Duffel Bag for International Travel

best-rolling-duffel-bag-for-international travel

Why is it that so many world travelers are choosing the rolling duffel bag over other types of luggage?

“Rolling” refers to a bag with two wheels which allow the bag to be pulled along at an angle.  “Duffel” refers to a soft (yet rugged) outer shell which can adapt to the shape, and volume of the contents.

They have been designed with outdoor enthusiasts and adventure travelers in mind but can be used by anyone looking for a convenient and flexible luggage solution. They can fold down really small when empty, yet hold a surprising amount when packed. They outer shell is tough as nails and can withstand the rigors of overseas travel. And the Wheels! These newer models slide across airport floors and cobblestone streets with amazing ease.

In the list below, we’ve carefully chosen 5 of the best rolling duffel bags for international travel.

Top Rated Duffel Bags with Wheels for Traveling Overseas

Thule Crossover

Our overall winner is the Thule Crossover, a 87 liter solution (56 and 38 liter models are also available) that will make your next destination trip a pleasure to pack for.

Thule has a built a whole business around transport and packaging of mainly outdoor and adventure sport goods. Their ergonomically designed travel solutions are simple and efficient.

Specs & Features:

  • Available in 87 , 56 and 38 liter capacity
  • Weight of 9.4 pounds
  • Dimensions are 31.1 X 17.3 X 16.5 inches
  • Aluminium hardware and extendable handle.
  • Water resistant fabrics

The Thule Crossover is very simple in design and features a removable internal, mesh divider.

It also features an internal crush proof compartment that is perfect to store fragile equipment like goggles or sports electronics that you can’t afford to have crushed or abused.

The Thule is really an impressive, ergonomic, sleek design with no nonsense gimmicks, just plain good old functionality in a water resistant package. May seem pricey but the quality and function is worth every penny.

Big Samsonite Wheeled Duffel

The Samsonite is a nice sporty option perfect for lightweight travel for athletes and sportsmen. The shell is constructed from tough ripstop material which is reinforced at regular intervals to prevent the material from tearing. This fabric holds its shape well and this makes it very stable and solid.

Specs & Features:

  • 95 litre capacity
  • Dimensions are 35 X 16 X 16 inches
  • Weight of 11.5 pounds
  • An extendable handle
  • Lockable zips on the main compartment

The Samsonite is really big and spacious and its main compartment opens up like a clam shell with two separate sections. The 95 liter capacity is big enough to carry sports clothing and apparel on one side and casual wear on the other side. It also features 4 outside compartments.

It might be a bit big for some travelers, but the very handy compression straps make it possible to compress the sack if it is not filled to capacity.

Small High Sierra AT7 Wheeled Duffel Bag with Backpack Straps

The High Sierra AT7 is an awesome medium sized travel duffel. What makes the High Sierra very cool are the backpack straps, turning it into an instant backpack.

Because of its smaller size, the High Sierra is great for backpackers or for young explorers who are visiting friends for a shorter period of time.

Specs & Features:

  • 22 X 14 X 9 inches
  • Weight of 7 pounds
  • Aluminium extendable handle
  • Back pack straps as well as hand carriage straps

The zippered divider between the two main compartments can be rolled up to create one large compartment. The bag also has a large external compartment on the front and a smaller zippered sheath for small items or documents.

The AT7 is not suitable for long journeys where one needs carrying capacity; it’s much better suited to shorter trips.

Mid-Sized Ecko Unltd Steam Rolling Duffel

The Ecko Steam is a trendy adventure solution that will carry all your stuff for an adventure trip.

The ecko stands out because of its light weight, making it possible to fit more luggage in without going over airport weight regulations.

Specs & Features:

  • 32 X 18 X 16.3 inches
  • Weight of 6.5 pounds
  • Extendable aluminium handle
  • A anti scrape guard  on the bottom roller edge
  • One large main compartment
  • 4 external compartments for smaller items
  • Hard back and bottom

The Ecko is definitely built to be rugged and tough, with its hard bottom and back panel. The tough external material is tightly woven and firm and get most certainly bear the brunt of adventure travel and wear.

This duffel just has a very surf and skate feel to it and is the ideal kit for young guys or girls that want a functional but cool looking duffel.

Giant ICE USA Cargo

The ICE USA Cargo is really a giant amongst the dwarves. This larger than life bag is huge and has a massive carrying capacity of around 140 liters.

There are advantages to having a duffel this size, but there happen to be a lot of disadvantages as well. One main problem is that it is oversized for some airlines, meaning that you will pay an extra levy to board this bag. However if you have large sports equipment, for example hockey pads and that sort of thing, then the ICE USA comes in very handy.

Specs & Features:

  • 42 X 18 x 18 inches
  • 140 litre carrying capacity
  • Light weight of 8.5 pounds
  • Extendable aluminium handle
  • 3 in line wheels
  • Tough 1200 denier polyester

This model is really well made, but its large size will not appeal to many travelers, unless of course they need the length and extra space for certain items.

Buying a “Wheelie” Duffel Bag

Among other benefits, the softer shell is cheaper to produce than some hardshell models. If you’re really looking for a firmer (and more secure) solution, check out our Best Zipperless Hard Shell Luggage review as well.

The Winning Choice

The Thule Crossover is the most ergonomically designed bag here, being fully functional and well balanced in size and carrying capacity. This is followed closely by the Samsonite which is slightly larger but also very user friendly.

Here’s the Thule in 56 Liters

Medium Sized Travel

The High Sierra is a brilliant smaller sized duffel for shorter trips where you don’t need to carry a whole stack of luggage. What stands out with this design is the convenient backpacking strap system, turning a conventional model into an instant back pack.

The Ecko Steam is definitely an alternative sportsman’s choice, trendy and cool with features to satisfy the needs of younger travellers. It has a Medium volume suitable to fit all the skating shoes and even a skateboard will fit in here with ease.

The Mother Load

The ICE USA is massive and is not suitable for average travel needs, but is specifically aimed at sports people needing extra space for equipment and larger items.

(Always make sure you check the baggage restrictions of your particular airline before packing.)

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