What is the Best Carry On Rolling Duffel Bag for Women?
If you’re going on vacation and need to pack lots of things in your carry on bag, consider looking for the best rolling duffel carry on luggage for your needs. These bags can hold quite a large amount of items because they’re soft sided and fuss-free in design. If the bag gets a bit heavy to carry by the double handles, it can be rolled along just like an upright.
Rolling duffel bags for travel still have to fit within the maximum allowable dimensions for a carry on. The standard acceptable limits for most domestic flights are 22” by 14” by 9” but they may vary a little depending on the airline.
Make sure you don’t overstuff the duffel if you don’t want to gate check it, as the design naturally allows you to pack just a little bit extra. If you want to be on the safe side, get a duffel bag that is slightly smaller than the maximum allowed size or get a duffel without wheels.
Many of today’s rolling duffel designs come with some handy new features, like backpack straps if you want to carry the bag on your back, or they are expandable or consist of two compartments just like many upright suitcases. Some bags are shaped like a bowling bag, which looks more stylish than the traditional cylindrical duffel shape.
Our picks for the best rolling duffel carry on luggage range from those priced below $50 to above $100, with many of them costing around $100. If you don’t plan to use your duffel more than a few times a year, then one of the quality budget carry on rolling duffel bags for women will be good enough.
Which is Better: A Rolling Duffel or a Rolling Suitcase?
Duffels and suitcases each have their own fans but sometimes the lines blur when the a product has a bit of both in its features. That’s the case with a rolling duffel bag. While a regular duffel bag that you can only carry on your shoulder or in your hand is very different from a suitcase on wheels (there’s no earthly reason to travel with a suitcase that has no wheels), what about if two wheels are added to the duffel? Would that make a difference to what you choose? Let’s take a look at various luggage features and help you make the right choice for your travels.
Transport: This depends on how you travel or the type of destination. If you’re traveling for business or mid to high leisure travel to cities, there’s a clear winner – a suitcase. You’re going to be transporting your luggage mostly over airport, office and hotel floors and up escalators and elevators where 4 wheels can spin smoothly. You may be walking quite a bit in airports so 4 wheels are easier on the arm than 2 wheels, which duffel bags are limited to. If you’re going to be dragging your suitcase over city streets for a casual vacation or packing casual clothes along with work wear and not going straight to the boardroom, then either type of luggage is fine but 2-wheeled is preferred over 4-wheeled for any cobblestones or uneven pavements.
You also don’t want to be seen traveling with a duffel style wheeled bag if you’re going on a luxury vacation or a business trip. Looks do matter and even an inexpensive suitcase in a nice color, or glossy shine or even a print trumps the most expensive wheeled duffel. A safari or adventure travel type of trip on the other hand screams for a duffel because there will be times when you can’t wheel anything over the terrain. A duffel bag is much easier and often lighter to carry by hand or over the shoulder.
Security: Duffel bags don’t come with in-built locks and many don’t even have zipper heads that are lockable with your own luggage locks. Lockable suitcases are the norm – either by built-in combination or key locks or by lockable zipper heads for luggage padlocks. A suitcase with latch locks rather than zippers is an even better choice.
It is also harder to break open a hard shell suitcase or a tough nylon soft shell one than it is to rip through a duffel bag. However, we have one duffel bag on this list that is much more secure than others, and that’s the Pacsafe Toursafe AT21.
Packing: If you need to pack several bulky items, like sports gear, a duffel is better for space utilization. It is much easier to pack clothes, a laptop and small accessories in a suitcase, especially if you want minimum wrinkling. The straight edges and flat surfaces help you utilize the interior space well for that. If you have to travel with a suit or formal dress then you may want to go one step further and pick a carry on garment bag that’s designed to keep your formals wrinkle-free.
A softsided suitcase often has an expandable section so that you can bring home a few extra souvenirs if you want, but you are restricted with a hardsided one. A duffel bag often has room for more things as long as you don’t mind squeezing things in. The less structured shell allows you to squeeze it into an overhead bin or under a seat even if you have overpacked.
Organizational features are very much an individual thing depending on the design of the bag, but there are more suitcase designs that include extra compartments and pockets on the interior than rolling duffle bags.
If you’re staying in a tiny hotel room or dorm, a duffel is much easier to pack and unpack because of the last of a proper luggage rack or enough floor space.
Durability: A suitcase shell is more likely to withstand wear and tear over time, especially a polycarbonate or ballistic nylon suitcase. it’s also better at withstanding heavy impact and protecting any less durable items inside. However, the parts most likely to give way are the handles and wheels, especially if you drag your case over rough terrain a lot.
If you’re concerned about your belongings getting wet, a suitcase is better, especially a hardsided suitcase with latches because water won’t get through the opening.
High Sierra AT7 Wheeled Duffel with Backpack Straps
This duffel style High Sierra AT7 Rolling Duffel with Backpack Straps is one of the best designed and well made rolling duffels currently available. If you’re looking for the best bang for buck, you can’t go wrong with this one.
It is a versatile style of carry on, as you can carry it in one of three ways – by its double handles, by rolling it with the extending handle, or by carrying it on your back via the added back straps. Therefore, this is a great option if you’d like to use it for all kinds of trips.
This bag measures 22″ x 14″ x 9″ with a capacity of 50L, and can expand to 2” in depth if needed. It is made of strong nylon Duraweave. The lightweight high density foam structure gives the bag more shape compared to most other duffels and reflective piping all around makes it more visible even in complete darkness.
While most duffels give you one big inner compartment to pack everything, this High Sierra AT7 22 inch gives you the option of using two compartments that are created by a zippered dividing panel. The top compartment opens like a backback via a U-shaped zipper for top loading but with the front flap being able to fold down for easy packing. The lower drop bottom compartment opens book-style and comes with hold down straps to keep things like shoes or toiletry bags in place. The divider panel can be rolled up and secured if you just want one big main compartment. The inside of the top lid has a zippered mesh pocket for added storage.
A front panel zippered pocket is perfect for storing last minute things or stuff you need to put away at security screenings. The outside of the bottom panel has a zippered compartment where the padded back straps are stored when not in use. The telescopic aluminium handle is recessed and extends via a locking system. A comfortable grip top handle lies flat when not in use. The bag rolls smoothly over uni-body inline skate wheels even if the bag is fully packed and heavy. It does not tip over when standing upright.
Pros: Has organizational capabilities of an upright suitcase.
Can be carried easily in several ways for different terrains.
Stylish and sporty look.
Gives you bang for your buck.
Cons: Does not have a side handle to make it easier to hoist into an overhead bin.
Olympia Luggage 22″ 8 Pocket Rolling Duffel Bag
This sporty looking polyester Olympia Luggage 22″ 8 Pocket Rolling Duffel Bag is available in lots of color combinations to suit most travelers. It measures 22″ x 12″ x 12″ and weighs 5.1 lbs. The thing that stands out most about this bag is the fact that is has 8 different pockets, which is very rare on duffel bags!
The bag opens via a vertical U-shaped double zippered flap lid starting from one end and extending all the way to the bottom end. This allows for large and long items to be packed easily. The outside of this lid features two external u-shaped double zippered pockets, while the two sides of the bag feature two single zippered pockets each. The last external pocket is at the top end of the duffel. There’s one internal pocket too – on the inside of the lid.
Two inline skate wheels are set in metal ball bearings and the telescopic handle retracts into its own zippered space. In addition to the normal dual duffel handles there is a top grab handle.
To ensure that the bottom of this bag doesn’t get dirty, two round feet are placed at the opposite end of the wheels. To allow it to stand upright on its end, there’s a small stand grip that doubles as a haul handle. The bag must be packed with heavier and larger things at this end in order for it to stand on its own and without something to lean on.
All of the zippers are self repairing.
Pros: If you don’t overpack, this bag can be squished down to fit in all overhead bins as carry on.
Very lightweight yet durable.
Holds a lot in the main compartment but also has plenty of pockets outside.
Easy to pull.
Cons: Won’t stand up straight in most cases.
Eagle Creek Load Warrior 22 Inch Carry-On Luggage
This Eagle Creek Load Warrior 22 Inch Carry-On Luggage is really versatile for any type of leisure travel but even more so for adventure travel. Its durable construction is enhanced by components made for rough handling and inclement weather and not only can you pack things inside it but you can also strap outdoor gear to the exterior of the bag. The entire Load Warrior collection made our list for best two-wheeled softside luggage too.
This bag measures 22″ x 14″ x 9″ and weighs 4 lbs 13 oz. The depth can be expanded by another 2″. It’s perfect as a lightweight carry on that is easy to lift and stow in any overhead bin on a plane.
This wheeled duffel bag is made of water repellent and ripstop ballistic nylon with reinforced points and bumper protection. The two oversized wheels with deep treads are housed in protective wheel casings and set on either side of a protective kick plate. The monopole telescopic handle keeps the bag pretty stable on just about all types of terrain. There are multiple reinforced haul handles on the top, side and front of the duffel.
Although you can’t really use the monopole handle to hang other bags off of, there is an Equipment Keeper bungee strap that you extend out from inside and over a rolled up jacket or helmet and secure by the bottle opener hook attachment to the fabric loop on the front of the bag or just use it like an Add-a-bag strap to piggyback another bag in front of this bag.
No matter how much you pack in it, there are external compression straps to keep the bag compact and help with load stabilization. A pair of interior compression straps are also present to keep your belongings in place.
The bag opens by double zippers that are lockable and feature reflective pulls. The front lid is u-shaped and opens downwards to reveal a spacious interior compartment with a zippered mesh pocket on the inside of the lid. There’s a top pocket on the outside of the lid and a key fob inside that. This pocket gives you easy access to your travel essentials.
Pros: Light, easy to roll on cobblestone streets and haul up stairs or into an overhead bin.
Cons: The zippers of the main compartment don’t unzip all the way down to the bottom of the bag. They stop about 6 inches short, making packing a little less convenient.
Pacsafe Toursafe AT21 Anti-Theft Wheeled Carry-On
If you want to have the most secure luggage because you’re going to be visiting a place that’s known for pickpockets and bag snatchers, then choose the Pacsafe Toursafe AT21 Anti-Theft Wheeled Carry-On, as it’s the best rolling duffel bag for international travel. It’s only available in basic black, but it more than makes up for the color by being feature rich.
The Toursafe AT21 weighs 7.28 lbs and measures 21.5 x 14 x 9.1 inches. It’s not the lightest of bags but it will fit in most overhead bins. The hidden eXomesh Slashguard stainless steel wire mesh that’s embedded into fabric is what adds to the weight. No one will be able to slash through the fabric to steal anything. The zipper is also theft-proof and cannot be punctured by a pen or any sharp object. Both front and main compartment zippers have lockable zipper heads.
The wheels have good treads for rolling the bag over cobblestones and a kickplate is positioned in between them for bumper protection. A bottom stand in front helps keep the bag upright when stationary. The monopole telescopic handle is made of strong aluminum and there is a padded top and side haul handle to allow you to carry it by hand when necessary. A pair of compression straps keep the load stabilized.
There is a double zippered u-shaped front pocket that can hold a tablet or small laptop. The main compartment opens sideways via a large double zippered door, the inside of which has a large zippered mesh pocket. There’s a broad flap running all the way around the edges of the opening with a drawstring through it. After you finish packing this compartment and adjusting the compression straps inside, you pull the drawstring tight to keep your belongings away from the zipper.
Pros: Very durable and sturdy bag for wheeling anywhere.
Cons: Telescopic handle doesn’t allow you to piggyback another bag over it and it interferes a little bit with the packing space inside.
Heavy for a duffel bag carry on.
Kathy Van Zeeland Women’s 22 Inch Rolling Carry-On
If you want a chic print bag for less then this is it! This 22” Kathy Van Zeeland Women’s 22″ Printed Rolling Carry-On is available in a variety of prints with faux glossy black snake accents. It is a great bag for travel to work conventions or vacations.
It features a polyester body and double carry handles. The interior of this rolling duffel bag carry on is large and roomy. A telescopic trolley handle retracts into a zippered compartment via a push button locking mechanism and the rubber inline skate wheels provide easy rolling. A pair of knobbed feet are set on the opposite end of the wheels so that the bottom doesn’t get dirty.
This carry on duffel bag has a top zip closure and there is one external zippered pocket on the front. The interior is lined in a bright pink.
At 22″ L x 10″ W x 14″ D, this bag fits easily in most overhead compartments.
Pros: One of the most affordable duffle bags for women.
Very lightweight but durable.
Holds a lot.
Fits into most overhead bins.
Cons: Hard to stand it upright because of its shape.
No pockets inside.
World Traveler Designer Print Collection Rolling Wheeled Duffle Bag 21-inch
Stylish in looks but strong in material and construction, this print collection of duffle bags from World Travelers is also available in 22 prints.
It is made of 100% polyester, and along with the dual carry handles and retractable handle there is also an ergonomic adjustable shoulder strap, giving you three ways to carry this duffle bag.
The U top opening is zippered and along the full length of the bag, while there’s a large zippered pocket on the front and a smaller one on the back. It works well as an overnight bag too.
The dimensions are 21.0×11.0x10 and it weighs 4.25 lbs.
The messenger bag measures 7.5″(L) x 9″(H) x 1″(W) and has a top zippered opening and two front zippered pockets.
Pros: Stylish and high quality construction.
Great as a gift.
Good value for money.
Special mention: For a chic option that’s one of the lightest but with smaller capacity, consider the Osprey Ozone.