When you have to transport your luggage over cobblestones, cracked pavements, carpet or gravel, four wheeled luggage isn’t the best choice. Those are best left for mainly traversing airports and hotel lobbies. With the best two wheeled luggage you don’t have to worry about walking and dragging it all right behind you. It will go where you go and you don’t have to pause to get the bag unstuck. If it’s a carry on, a 2 wheeled one will give you more packing space than a spinner for the same height. The wheels won’t break off either even if they do shred a bit and get worn out over time. While you won’t find two wheeled options in hard shell luggage, there are plenty of options in softsided luggage.
Keep in mind that most of the best roll aboard luggage is not very professional-looking these days because manufacturers assume buyers only use them for adventure travel and not for business travel. However, we have combed through several collections to find both kinds of 2 wheel luggage so you can find a good piece or set for any type of trip. Also remember that two-wheeled bags work like skates – you can only roll your luggage forward or backward and cannot spin it 360 degrees. If you want to know what are our picks for the best hardside 4-wheeled luggage are, click here.
If you’re not convinced, we’ve also reviewed some of the best lightweight softside spinners available and will soon do the best softside spinners overall.
Travelpro Tpro Bold 2.0 Expandable Rollaboard
Made of polyester that’s been coated with a water repellent, the Travelpro Tpro Bold 2.0 Expandable Rollaboards are among the best adventure travel picks from the brand that patented the word “rollaboard”. While the brand also makes some of the best soft shell luggage, this collection stands out among the 2-wheeled options. There are 3 pieces to choose from – a 22″ carry on, a 25″ and a 28″. The two larger pieces feature tapered expansion of up to 2 inches each for additional packing capacity if needed. The tapering ensures that the bags don’t get top heavy and topple over when left standing upright.
The carry on comes with a vertical zipped pocket at the back for last minute things like keys, cables, etc. Below this are a pair of skid guards for protection when you drag the bag over a curb. These guards are much longer on the two bigger bags, as the pocket is not present on those. The length is useful because they’re prone to getting scraped when hauling out of a car boot or off a luggage conveyor belt. Three carry handles at key points help you haul the bags when you need to. The telescopic handle extends and locks into two different heights so that people of all heights find it comfortable to roll behind them. The ball bearing inline skate wheels are protected in sturdy crash guard housings.
These bags are well designed for organization and are lined with yellow polyester to help you see more easily inside. The front features two deep u-shaped zippered compartments. On the carry on, the narrow one is good for a rolled up newspaper or two, while the larger one behind that is big enough for a tablet. The bags open up book-style, with the inside of the lid fully utilized by two zippered compartments – one clear plastic for toiletries or wet clothes and one mesh for accessories. The other side is very roomy with one zippered mesh pocket along one long side and two restraining straps. Once you zip up the bags, you can secure them with two exterior cinching buckles that help to keep an overstuffed bag compact and reduce the strain on the zips.
The only negative here is that the sides are not structured so if you don’t fill the checked in bags full, they collapse a bit. Otherwise, customers love how roomy and light they are and how easily they handle cobblestone streets.
Timbuk2 Co-Pilot Luggage Roller
While Timbuk2 is best known for its messenger bags, the Timbuk2 Co-Pilot Roller bags are very well thought out as well. They will work for leisure as well as business travel. Where these bags stand out is amazing flexibility you get for packing and accessing your belongings at any time. There are 3 sizes to choose from, two of which are carry on sized. The smaller carry on is 20 inches in height and is perfect for international flights and small regional jet travel. The larger carry on is 22 inches in height and will be allowed on board on most domestic airline flights. The check in sized bag is 28 inches in height.
Firstly, the dual pole telescopic handle is housed on the outside of the bag within slight recessed channels. It extends and locks into place at two convenient heights. The skateboard wheels are nice and hardly and smooth rolling. If these get damaged or worn out, they’re easy to remove and send for replacements instead of sending the whole bag. There are grab handles on every single side of each bag. That means 4 in all for super easy lifting and hauling into an overhead bin or off a luggage carousel. The bags are constructed of nylon and reinforced with tarpaulin.
For packing your things, there are quite a few clever design elements here. There is a top zipped compartment near the handle that’s expandable and good for toiletries or anything that you would want to access easily from an overhead bin on planes or trains without getting the bag out. The front of the bags feature a padded zipped compartment that’s large enough for a small laptop. Underneath that is a u-shaped zipped opening into the main compartment. This design allows you to access stuff from inside without you having to open the bag up fully in the middle of the airport or plane. When you have to pack and unpack, the bags open clam-style via sturdy zippers. Each side of the compartment is separated from the other by zipped mesh divider panels. One of them also features two zipped pockets for small accessories or underwear and socks. The panels are unzipped to reveal two roomy spaces for your clothes.
Note that these bags are not expandable so if you pack the top half of the main compartment really full, you’ll have less space on the bottom half. Remember that the clam shell design makes opening these bags in small hotel rooms a challenge. There have been a few complaints in the past about the telescopic handle assembly being poor quality but that seems to have been addressed recently. The zippers are not the best quality so try not to overstuff the compartments.
Briggs & Riley Baseline Upright Luggage
Frustrated with the lack of business travel luggage on just two wheels instead of four? The Briggs & Riley Baseline collection has very good two wheeled pieces; in fact, 9 in all!. The carry on choices include a 22″ domestic carry on, a 22″ domestic carry on garment bag, a 21″ wide body carry on, a smaller carry on at 19″ and a rolling cabin bag that fits under most airplane seats. The rest of the 2-wheeled bags are all check in sized and include a medium 25″ upright suitcase, a large 28″ upright suitcase, a medium 27″ rolling upright duffel bag that made our list for best rolling drop bottom duffel, and a 21″ by 24″ garment bag that made our list for best rolling garment bags.
The special feature that this collection boasts is the patented CX compression technology on all the expandable upright bags, which is different from what other expandable luggage has. With other brands, the way they allow for expansion is to use the common zipper feature that gives you about an extra 2″ of packing space. The trouble with this design is that it can only be utilized if your airline allows for the extra depth. It also makes your suitcase extra bulky and therefore harder to manouever. With the B&R Baseline CX method, there are two expansion levers on the insides of the bags that you release to raise the overall height of the side walls of the suitcase. Then you pack your clothes till it’s full and maybe even overstuffed, and close the bag by zipping it up as you normally would. Now you see that your bag is pretty large. If it is a carry on size, it will no longer be allowed in as carry on luggage. But worry not! All you have to do is push down on both sides from the outside and the compression levers fold down inside to bring down the height of the suitcase walls back to its minimum size. This gives you up to 34% more packing space than in a similar sized bag of another brand but without adding to its original size.
The other features that make this possibly the best roller bag luggage are the exterior placement of the v-groove telescopic handle to allow for flat packing inside the suitcases, the security speed-thru pocket, the lightweight but very durable hybrid fiberglass frame, and the superior quality that backs up the brand’s well known lifetime warranty. Users may take a while to get used to the compression feature, but once you get a hang of it you’ll find it invaluable.
Travelers Choice Travel Select Amsterdam Rolling Upright
Need a 2 wheel suitcase but don’t have the big bucks to choose from the options above? Well, as long as you have reasonable expectations from a budget brand, you can’t go wrong with a Travelers Choice Travel Select Amsterdam Rolling Upright. You have three choices here – a 29″ rolling upright, a 25″ rolling upright and a two piece set consisting of a 22″ rolling carry on and a 15″ shoulder tote. All the upright bags feature zip-enabled expansion for extra packing space.
All the rolling pieces feature the same design. For transportation there are two skateboard wheels, a two stop telescopic handle, and grab handles on the top and side. The bottom stand doubles as another grab handle.
The exterior is constructed of two-toned polyester with PVC backing. The front of the bags feature two u-shaped zipped pockets placed one above the other. The bags open up book style with the inside completely lined in polyester. The inside of the lid features a large zipped mesh pocket and two elastic top polyester pockets on top of that. The main space features elastic restraining straps and an add-a-bag strap with buckle that you can choose to not use and keep tucked inside, or pull it out through a gap in the zippers to secure and hang another small carry on or the tote bag from this collection to these rolling bags to make transport easier.
Note that in order to use the add-a-bag strap, you can’t zip up your upright completely. However, the strap should only be used when you need it for piggybacking a tote or laptop bag. When you’re ready to separate the two, you should tuck in the strap and zip up the upright fully. The 15″ tote features two grab handles wrapped with a velcro grip and a removable and adjustable shoulder strap. The front of the bag features a single large zipped pocket, and the opening to the main compartment is via a u-shaped zipper opening on top.
The few complaints that most customers have with these pieces is that the grab handles are weak and that the shell rips easily. Therefore, you must be careful while handling them. Don’t pack the pieces so full that they become too heavy to lift without tearing off the grab handles. Also be careful while sliding the pieces off from an overhead bin, car boot or luggage carousel to avoid ripping the exterior fabric.
it Luggage World’s Lightest Los Angeles
Another budget option you should consider is is the Los Angeles line of rolling luggage from the brand that is known for making the world’s lightest luggage – IT. There is a 29″ and a 32″ suitcase for check in, and a 21.5″ carry on. All the bags are very easy to manouever because of their light weights so this is probably the best 2 wheeled luggage for petite women and anyone that doesn’t like to handle heavy luggage.
The design is simple. You have a fiberglass telescopic handle that’s very wide, as its dual poles pull out from the back corners of the frame of bag. This means that the handle doesn’t take up any packing space. The handle also doesn’t lock into place at any height. You have to pull it out to its farthest position, and you can only pull the bag behind you but cannot push it in front of you or change its rolling direction without the handle collapsing back into the bag. A simple neoprene grip wraps around the horizontal bar portion for relatively comfortable handling. There is a top and side fabric carry handle, also with neoprene grips.
The exterior shell is made of two-toned polyester. The front exterior features two full width zipped pockets. The one below is deeper than the one above. The main compartment opens book style via zippers. It is fully lined and the inside of the lid features two rows of elastic top pockets for underwear and small accessories. The main compartment features two lengthwise restraining straps. This simple design allows for a lot of packing space but you may want to use packing cubes if you need more organization.
Eagle Creek Load Warrior
If your biggest concern is whether your luggage will withstand really rough terrain and abuse by baggage handlers, then consider the hardy and sporty Eagle Creek Load Warrior bags. You can choose from a 22″ carry on, a 20″ international carry on and a 26″ checked size rolling bag.
The common denominator with all these is the single pole telescopic handle that is housed in its own zippered pocket that opens at the back. While this style may not be ideal for suitcases, because the Load Warriors are shaped like large backpacks and are soft structured, the single pole works well. If you’re insistent on a dual pole handle, there is the similar-styled Gear Warrior line, but those pieces are not rated that highly by consumers, while the Load Warriors are.
Eagle Creek is known for its hardy adventure travel gear and this line is the same. The construction is impeccable, with reinforced hypalon material blocking of the rip resistance poly blend shell to prevent the bags from buckling under any strain, including over stuffing and heavy weight. The 2 wheels are large, well treaded and shielded in protective housings to handle any kind of terrain. There’s also bumper protection and kick plate, so you can drag the bags up stairs and curbs and scrape them against anything without worrying about major damage. Multiple grab handles on the top, side, bottom and front allow for easy hauling.
An Equipment Keeper located at the top is a strap and buckle facility for securing things like a helmet to the bag. There are also various lash points throughout the exterior of the bags to secure a raincoat or jacket, paracords, etc. All the bags are also expandable with just a pull of a zip. To keep them as compact as possible, two pairs of tightening straps cinch them up from the sides.
For packing, there is a deep front pocket that is accessed via a double zippered top opening. The main compartment opens via a vertical flap-style lid that you open by double zippers. These zippers don’t go all the way down, so it’s slightly inconvenient when packing and unpacking whether the bags are upright or lying on the ground. The inside features a pair of restraining straps and a zippered mesh pocket on the inside of the lid. This is again not convenient to use for packing because the lid cannot be fully opened and the zip runs the length of the lid instead of across. Apart from these minor annoyances, most customers love how durable and well suited to adventure travel these bags are.
eBags TLS Mother Lode Wheeled Duffel
The final choice is similar to the Eagle Creek bags above, but the eBags TLS Mother Lode Wheeled Duffels are a cross between upright suitcases and duffel bags. It’s the best soft luggage for those that like the structure of adventure travel bags but like to have more inbuilt organizational features for packing. There is a mini 21″ carry on, a junior checked size 25″, and a large checked size 29″. They are tough and feature durable polyester construction. The bottom and back of the bags are semi-solid, which is a good thing for checked luggage.
What is unique about these bags is that you have 2-in-1 packing spaces. The upper compartment of the bag opens like a duffel but the zippered lid opens downwards instead of sideways. There is a zipped mesh pocket on the inside of this lid and two restraining straps to keep your clothes in place. The bottom of this upper compartment is actually a strong zipped divider panel that keeps the lower compartment of the duffel separate. This panel hold two zipped mesh pockets. If you just want one big interior space without the separation, the panel easily rolls up to one side and can be secured by two small hooks present near the inside spine.
The lower compartment can be accessed like a clam-style suitcase, so the upper compartment is also accessible from here and through the divider. The lower part is further compartmentalized by removable and adjustable dividers that stick to the long side walls by velcro. You can pack anything in here and keep things tight and in place by adjusting the positions of the dividers or removing them completely, depending on what you’re packing. This compartment can also be expanded by about 1.5 inches if needed.
There’s an exterior pocket right on top of the bags, which is convenient for accessing anything you might need in the middle of a flight when the bag is in an overhead bin. It’s big enough for essential toiletries and you won’t need to remove the whole bag from the bin to access them. The front of the bag also features a large zippered pocket that’s big enough for a laptop even in the carry on. There’s a long zippered pocket along one side of the bag. This is good for storing gloves or a scarf that you can pull out easily. A pair of cinching straps on the sides are great for tightening the bags to keep them compact and prevent extra strain on the zippers even if you overpack. There’s an add-a-bag strap that you can use to hang another smaller bag in front of these TLS Mother Lode Wheeled Duffels.
The wheels are large and good for wheeling on rough terrain. The telescopic is sturdy and locks into place at 3 different heights. There is a grab handle on the front near the top, and the rigid stand at the bottom can be used as another handle. This stand ensures that the bags don’t tip over when standing upright. However, there is no side handle on any of the bags, which makes it difficult for short people to lift the carry on into an overhead bin and to lift the larger bags into and out of a car trunk or luggage carousel.
If you like this drop bottom design we have some more suggestions for good rolling drop bottom duffels.