0 x item(s)

  • Header Facebook logo
  • Header Twitter logo

Need Help? Email, Chat or Call!

Choose a category...

Wheeled vs. Backpack

About the author


Paul Goodyer

Nomad founder and CEO

Paul set off at just 17 on his first independent trip across Europe and into Northern Africa. He was away for ten months encountering some of the first overland companies and experiencing life with indigenous tribes. This and subsequent extensive journeys, revealed the pitfalls of being inadequately equipped and the misery of ill health whilst travelling. Nomad began on a market stall in Reading and has now grown to 10 stores all across the UK and the largest range of specialist travel equipment online.

Nomad Travel Health Services

Nomad Travel Clinics

Need help? Please book an appointment or call
0134 155 5061

Using the Nomad clinic services gives you a one-to-one experience with a qualified, highly trained, travel health nurse.

The consultation includes:

  • A detailed medical history
  • Risk assessment based on style and length of your trip
  • Advice on preventative measures you can take

Your pharmacy based travel clinic is all very well but for specialist advice at the same or lower cost come to Nomad. This is strongly advised if you are on a more adventurous or complex itinerary, or have special medical needs. Nomad Travel Clinics are specialists in:

  • Last minute travel
  • Complex itineraries
  • Travel health and existing medical conditions
  • Open 6 days per week

allowing 6-8 weeks for your vaccination programme, you have time to fit in full courses of vaccines where required which provides you with the best possible protection against certain vaccine preventable diseases. If you don’t have time to complete courses before you go, you risk travelling with little or even no protection against sometimes high risk diseases.

Nomad Pharmacy

Nomad Travel Pharmacy has a wide range of Pharmacy items for all your outdoor and travel needs. Browse the Nomad Pharmacy here...




Chicken or Egg? City or United? Wheels or Backpack? All eternal questions that require wheely careful consideration (see what we did there), but for now let's just deal with the travel question.

There are so many backpacks out there that can help you lug around your belongings, that the number of options can be quite daunting. When most people think of a backpack, they tend to think of one that straps over your shoulder, with one way of being carried. Sometimes, people can find that these types of bags can hurt their back if not fitted correctly or they simply don't store enough of whatever they are carrying. What to do?

Travel luggage evolution has seen some creative ideas that you may have never thought of. We now have travel backpacks with expandable capacity, detachable daybags, wheels and multiple carrying options. It seems quite silly now that it took so long for someone to put wheels on luggage! Like, d'uh! Now travellers have many options, from backpacks and toploader rucksacks with only shoulder straps to wheeled backpacks, there are so many bags out there with really versatile features that it can be overwhelming trying to choose the perfect travel bag.

With a little help from the Nomad experts, however, it's not hard to find the one you're looking for, and if you're tossing up between a wheeled backpack and a traditional backpack the guide below should help you make an informed decision.

Considerations when choosing:

Destination: City travel or off the beaten track?
Environment: Lots of stairs and no elevators? Smooth footpaths? Dirt roads?
Transportation: Are you going through train stations, buses or airports?
Weight: Are you carrying a heavy load? And is that over a long distance?
Need: Is there really a need to wheel at all?

Wheeled Backpack


Versatility; since you have both carrying and wheeling options
You can carry more weight when wheeling the bag
Less back/hip pressure
Security; when wheeled you can see it at all times
Wheels will almost always come in handy, whether its in the airport or on your travels

Extra weight; the wheel system and handle adds some
Comfort; some models have a rigid handle pole down your back
Maybe difficult to wheel along if you're taller than average
Wheels are not suitable for rougher terrain
Rudimentary backsystems mean you are unable to adjust heights
Hard to wheel up and down stairs
One hand is always occupied with the handle
Higher price tags for wheeled backpacks

Non- Wheeled Backpack


Lighter weight with a back system only, no wheels and grab handles and all that stuff
Less "boxy" in shape and design
Get up and down stairs with ease
Backsystems are more advanced; more comfortable and height adjustable.
Both hands free at all times
No wheels tend to be cheaper models
Great for places where the streets are less likely to be paved
Versatility when using a convertible backpack. It's one of those that can be carried as a suitcase, a shoulder bag or has hidden backstraps.
Better backsystems will mean you won't really notice the weight as it should sit on your hips.

No Versatility; carry on your back only.
Heavy weights are harder to carry with no wheeled option
Bumping people in crowded situations like public transport, busy markets etc.
Harder to put on and take off on the move
Security; it's hard to see your pack when it's behind you

So there are plenty of advantages to wheeled bags, and they keep getting better with less weight, more rugged wheels and high performance features. Just make sure you look at all the alternatives before you buy one. Look for one that fits your needs and try on as many as possible to see what fits you best and feels most comfortable.