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.
Table of Contents
- 1 What is the Best Carry On Rolling Duffel Bag for Women?
- 2 Top Picks for Best Rolling Carry On Duffel Bag
- 3 Which is Better: A Rolling Duffel or a Rolling Suitcase?
- 4 Best Carry On Duffel Bag with Wheels
- 4.1 Osprey Rolling Transporter 40 Duffel Bag
- 4.2 Eagle Creek Gear Warrior 22 Inch Carry-On Luggage
- 4.3 The North Face Rolling Thunder – 22″
- 4.4 eBags Mother Lode 21 Inches Carry-On Rolling Duffel
- 4.5 Fila 22″ Lightweight Carry On Rolling Duffel Bag
- 4.6 World Traveler Designer Print Collection Rolling Wheeled Duffle Bag 21-inch
- 5 Best Lightweight Rolling Duffel Carry-on
- 6 Best Wheeled Duffel Bag with Backpack Straps
- 7 FAQs
Top Picks for Best Rolling Carry On Duffel Bag
Osprey Ozone Wheeled Carry-on 42L
Eagle Creek Gear Warrior 22 Inch Carry-On Luggage
Fila Lightweight Carry On Rolling Duffel Bag
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.
Best Carry On Duffel Bag with Wheels
Osprey Rolling Transporter 40 Duffel Bag
The Osprey Rolling Transporter 40 Duffel Bag is a true duffel bag but with wheels and a telescopic handle. Keeping this in mind, don’t expect lots of pockets but do expect it to withstand rough treatment and inclement weather.
You get 40L of space at 6 lbs with dimensions of 21.7″ x 14.2″ x 9.1″.
Like the Ozone model below, this bag also has a high chassis with large rolling wheels so that you can wheel it over rough terrain easily. Maneuverability with the telescopic handle is good and you have two side haul handles, and a top and bottom haul handle on the two sides so that you can lift the bag with two hands if it’s heavy. A fifth grab handle right next to the extending handle is good for a quick grab and go. You also have 6 more lash points to secure the duffel to a roof rack. There’s even a tuckaway tow strap if you want to attach a smaller bag to the front of this bag.
The main compartment’s dual zippers can be locked together with a TSA-approved lock and they’re protected by double rain flaps so that no water gets into the abrasion and water-resistant bag in a storm. There are compression straps on each end to stabilize the load and keep the bag compact.
The main compartment opens via a large side open panel for easy packing. Inside this compartment is one large mesh pocket that helps organize stuff. The load is secured by two internal compression straps. There is a large external pocket at the top end that is useful for storing smaller items.
- Several attachment points to carry additional gear.
- Simple packing design.
- Durable materials.
- Lots of handles for easy transport.
- Not much in-built organization.
- Placement of the telescopic handle is not ideal.
Eagle Creek Gear Warrior 22 Inch Carry-On Luggage
This Eagle Creek Gear 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 Gear Warrior collection made our list for best two-wheeled softside luggage too.
This bag measures 22″ x 14″ x 9″ and weighs 5 lbs 3 oz. The depth of the main compartment can be expanded by another 1.25″, taking the capacity from 39 liters to 42 liters. It’s perfect as a lightweight carry on that is easy to lift and stow in the overhead bin on a plane. However, if you’re traveling internationally you’ll need the Gear Warrior International Carry On Wheeled duffel that measures 13.75 x 21.75 x 7.75 inches and weighs 4 lbs 12 oz. It can be expanded to 13.75 x 21.75 x 9.25 in.
This wheeled duffel bag is made of 100% recycled PET ripstop with water repellent coating and a laminated, light exoskeleton for enhanced durability around the high-wear areas. 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 to a central locking point and feature reflective pulls. The front lid is u-shaped and opens downwards to reveal a spacious interior compartment. There’s a top front pocket over this compartment with a padded tablet sleeve and a 3-1-1 toiletries pocket. This pocket gives you easy access to your travel essentials.
- Light, easy to roll on cobblestone streets and haul upstairs or into an overhead bin.
- The interior and exterior compression straps help keep the bag compact.
- Very durable.
- 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.
The North Face Rolling Thunder – 22″
The North Face Rolling Thunder – 22″ is another true duffel bag that has wheels and a telescopic handle. Its design is simple but it is rugged with super tough material and bumpers on wear points for abrasion resistance.
Its molded polycarbonate back panel and bottom frame are rigid, so maneuverability is excellent. This is aided by inline wheels that provide great traction on any terrain and a telescopic handle that has side-release buttons instead of the standard top release so as to avoid accidentally unlocking the handle from its extended position. The wheels are self-cleaning via the wheel wells. There are simple but strong haul handles on each side as well as on the top and bottom.
You get 40L of space at 7 lbs 5.5 ozs with dimensions of 14″ X 22″ X 8.5″.
The main compartment opens via a dual zippered side opening lid and the inside of the lid has a large zippered mesh pocket. The front exterior of the bag sports two zippered pockets for easy access. There is a pair of daisy chains running on the sides to provide several lash points for extra gear and for securing the duffle to a roof rack.
- External attachment points for additional gear.
- Simple design for packing lots of things.
- Super durable construction for adventure travel.
- Excellent maneuverability.
- A bit on the heavy side.
- Minimal features.
eBags Mother Lode 21 Inches Carry-On Rolling Duffel
If you want a wheeled duffel that packs like a softside suitcase then choose the eBags Mother Lode 21 Inches Carry-On Rolling Duffel. This is the new version of the old TLS Mother Lode Mini. This expandable duffel bag with wheels gives you two ways to access its front compartment – either by the front loading u-shaped zippered panel, or from the inner zippered mesh divider that separates it from the drop bottom compartment. The former method allows you to access some of the contents while it’s standing upright while the latter is best for when you’re ready to unpack everything at the hotel.
The Mother Lode Carry On weighs 8.7 lbs and measures 21.5″ × 15″ × 9″. It’s not the lightest of bags but it will fit in most overhead bins. For even more versatility, the bottom compartment can be expanded by 1.5″ by just pulling on the expansion zipper. With a rigid molded back you get supreme durability but with all the organization advantages of a softside duffel.
The telescopic handle extends and locks into 3 positions so that anyone of any height will find it comfortable to wheel it about on its two roller wheels. A bottom stand in front helps keep the bag upright when stationary and it doubles as a haul handle. There is also a top and side haul handle to allow you to carry it by hand when necessary.
A pair of compression straps in the front compartment keep the bag compact and prevent its contents from spilling out if you open it when the bag is upright. The inside of the lid features a zippered mesh pocket. The main bottom compartment is best utilized with packing cubes. The mesh divider that separates the two compartments is actually a zippered compartment on its own.
There are two exterior pockets. One is built into the front panel with a straight vertical zipper and is good for storing your travel documents. The other is right on top of the bag and is good for items that you want easy access to, like your glasses or earphones or even your 3-1-1 toiletry bag.
- Very versatile bag for packing options.
- Very roomy.
- Stands upright without support.
- A bit heavy for a duffel bag carry on.
Fila 22″ Lightweight Carry On Rolling Duffel Bag
This sporty looking polyester Fila 22″ Lightweight Carry On Rolling Duffel Bag is available in quite a few color combinations to suit most travelers. It measures 22″ x 16″ x 12″ and weighs 4.7 lbs. The thing that stands out most about this bag is the fact that is has 4 different external pockets, which is very rare on proper 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 has bungee compression cords that can double as attachment points for a jacket, while the two sides of the bag feature two single zippered pockets each that are all quite large. However, they should not be opened when the bag is in the upright position or the contents will fall out.
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 duffel doesn’t get dirty when lying on its back, there are two parallel runners. There are also two feet are placed at the opposite end of the wheels to allow it to stand upright on its end.
- Very lightweight yet durable.
- Holds a lot in the main compartment but also has plenty of pockets outside.
- Easy to fit in overhead bins.
- All exterior pocket zippers open from bottom to top when the bag is upright so the contents will spill out.
- The wheelbase is a bit narrow, which makes turning a little difficult.
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 over 15 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 that’s detachable, giving you three ways to carry this duffle bag. Like the Kathy Van Zeeland duffel, its form is like a traditional duffel bag and is hard to keep it standing upright unless it’s leaning against something. It does have two feet on the bottom end near the wheels and there are 4 feet on the back of the bag to protect it from getting dirty when set down.
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 and has interior pockets for organization.
The dimensions are 21 x 11 x 12 and it weighs 4.8 lbs.
- Stylish and high quality construction.
- Extremely lightweight.
- Good value for money.
- May not be allowed as cabin luggage on international flights.
- Can’t really stand it upright if not packed properly.
Best Lightweight Rolling Duffel Carry-on
Osprey Ozone Wheeled Carry-on 42L
We pick the Osprey Ozone 21.5 Wheeled Carry-on 42L as the most versatile rolling duffle bag carry on as well as one of the lightest. It has a good balance of regular carry on bag features and ability to handle off-road terrain, so whether you’re going on safari or navigating through cobblestreets in Europe, this is the one for you.
This bag measures 21.7 X 14.2 X 9.1 inches, has a capacity of 42L, and weighs just 4.5 lbs, which is quite a bit lighter than the Osprey Transporter reviewed above. Women will find it easy to lift this bag into an overhead bin even if it is stuffed.
Its form is more like a backpack rather than a duffel but there are no backpack straps. Instead, you have a top and side haul handle, and the bottom stand doubles as a handle too. This is a monopole wheeled duffel bag, so you may find that it sometimes tips if you turn suddenly or go over a curb. However, the 14″ wide and high chassis makes it possible to wheel along on any surface without damaging the bottom of the duffel or the large inline sealed-bearing wheels that boast good treads.
The side-opening front panel to the main compartment can be secured by the dual lockable zippers. This compartment is easy to pack and the fabric wings of the compression straps inside keep clothes neat. You also have two zippered mesh pockets. The liquid pocket at the top of the pack’s exterior is large and easy to access and the front panel has an external zip pocket that can be used for magazines. Bonus space that can be used for dirty laundry is available in the rear panel pocket. It is possible to secure a jacket with the dual upper compression straps whose main purpose is to keep the pack’s contents from shifting. If all these options weren’t enough, you can also attach another bag with the included Tuckaway tow strap.
While this 21.5 inch tall bag is great for domestic travel, you may want to check out the slightly shorter Ozone Global Wheeled Carry-on with a slightly smaller capacity.
- One of the lightest possible wheeled duffel carry on bags.
- Very easy to lift into an overhead bin.
- Very durable even for rough use.
- A good number of organizational features.
- The monopole extension handle can make it hard to maneuver compared to regular telescopic handles.
- The main compartment zippers need two hands to zip up when closing.
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 and weighing 4 lbs, this bag fits easily in most overhead compartments and is really light.
- One of the most affordable duffle bags for women.
- Very lightweight but durable.
- Holds a lot.
- Fits into most overhead bins.
- Won’t stand upright because of its shape and lack of feet on the end.
- No pockets inside.
- No grab handles wrap to keep them together.
Best Wheeled Duffel Bag with Backpack Straps
High Sierra AT8 Carry On Wheeled Duffel with Backpack Straps
This duffel style High Sierra AT8 Wheeled Upright Bag 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 3 grab 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″ and weighs 8.5 lbs with a capacity of 45L, 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 AT8 22 inch gives you the option of using two compartments that are created by a zippered dividing panel. The top compartment opens like a duffel via a U-shaped zipper for side loading. 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.
Two side panel vertical zippered pockets are perfect for storing a water bottle or travel umbrella. The back of the bag has a U-shaped zippered compartment where the padded back straps are stored when not in use. If you have more gear that you can’t pack inside, there are a pair of daisy chain strips on the front exterior of the duffel for you to attach them to. The telescopic aluminum handle is recessed and extends via a locking system. A comfortable grip top and side handle lie flat when not in use but make it easy to haul into an overhead compartment or car boot. The bag rolls smoothly over uni-body inline skate wheels even if the bag is fully packed and heavy. There are two flaps that you can let fall over the wheels so that they don’t dirty your clothes or hurt you when you’re carrying the bag as a backpack. It does not tip over when standing upright.
Be aware that this bag will be more than 9″ thick if you pack the top duffel section full, which will be a problem when flying on flights.
- 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.
- May not be allowed as carry on on smaller planes.
- A little on the heavy side for a duffel.
Special mention: For a chic option that’s one of the lightest but with smaller capacity, consider the Osprey Ozone.
You can typically carry on a wheeled duffel bag, but it depends on the airline. Any piece of luggage that’s not small enough to be a personal item must fall within allowed carry on luggage dimensions and should fit into the plane’s overhead bin or it will be gate checked.
A wheeled duffle bag is a duffel with two wheels and an extension handle, allowing it to be moved around more easily. The wheels allow the bag to be pulled, rather than carried, which is a blessing if you have to transport it for more than a few steps. They are usually durable and made of quality materials and provide more room for packing than traditional suitcases.
Yes, a duffel bag does hold more than a suitcase, but each has its advantages. When choosing a rolling duffel carry-on for your next flight, it’s easy to be swayed by the roomy, easily accessible compartments that come standard. But what about the baggage allowance? It’s much easier to go over the maximum allowed carry on dimensions because of the unstructured nature of duffels. Similarly, if you’re checking a duffel bag, it’s easier to go over the weight limit with a large duffel. The more rigid frame of a suitcase makes it harder to overpack.