I had the need to do some air travel on my last job. Whenever possible I kept my luggage to a minimum: one carry-on to stow in the overhead and a briefcase to jam under the seat in front of me. Inevitably my connecting flight was across the terminal from my arriving flight and more often than not the incoming flight was late so it was a mad dash to get to my connector before it left the gate. Without my faithful wheeled carry-on, or as the flight attendants called them 'roller', I would have been in a world of hurt trying to make that hectic, cross terminal dash.
But there were a number of folks that I noticed who used a backpack
as their carry-on bag. Convenient, because it left their hands free for other things. Of course the inevitable evolution has occurred and a hybrid of the 'roller' and the backpack was born: the wheeled backpack. Now you have the best of both worlds. Although it looks more like a roller with shoulder straps attached than a backpack with wheels attached, it offers great convenience.
Here Are The Basics
The High Sierra wheeled backpack is a prime example. In fact there are several models available from High Sierra. There are several common components of these wheeled backpacks:
- Corner mounted wheels- Telescoping handle- Padded shoulder straps- Grab handle
Beyond these basics there are changes to the configuration; function and of course color.
The basic wheeled backpack model for High Sierra is the Chaser.
- Approximately 2100 cu in.- Single-post style, telescoping handle- Large zippered main compartment- Zippered front compartment with organizer- Small, zippered quick access pocket on the front- 8 color selections
The wheels on the Chaser are in-line skate style and would not be considered truly 'corner mounted' because, although at the corners of the pack, they are enclosed and not exposed. This configuration takes up some storage space in the pack since the wheels are not completely on the outside corners but rather recessed in some. Twenty-one reviewers give it a 3 A� stars out of five with the biggest complaint being about the durability of the telescoping handle, while the most common praise was for the overall quality and usefulness. One business is using them to carry vital items out of the office in case of an emergency because they can be carried down a long flight of stairs like a backpack, then wheeled to an agreed upon location.
More and Better Options
Two other models round out the High Sierra wheeled backpack offering. The next step up from the Chaser is the Freewheel and the top model is the Powerglide. When I traveled I always took my laptop with me and sometimes two. One of the distinguishing characteristics of the Freewheel and Powerglide is that they are laptop backpacks. Both can hold, up to a 17' laptop. In the large storage compartment there is cushioned sleeve for the computer. In addition, they have in common:
- Zippered front compartment with organizer- Zippered easy access pocket with headphone port- Corner mounted wheels- Corner guard and rub rail for protection
These two models differ in three obvious ways:
Dimension - 20.5' X 13.5' X 8' 21' X 14' X 9'
Telescoping Handle - Single Post Double Post
Pockets - Open Side Pocket Zippered Side Pocket
School Use - Maybe / Maybe Not
All of that being said about the wheeled backpack being used for travel, the most common use has been for school, and particularly elementary aged children. Seems like a great idea to use the rollerpack instead of lugging around a heavy backpack on the back of a yet developing physical frame of a child. But a word of caution. Before you rush out and get one of these ingenious load bearers for your child, check with the school first. Backpacks with wheels may not be allowed at your child's school.
Many schools have banned the rollerpacks for these reasons:
1. They clog the hallways2. They don't fit into lockers3. Students trip over them and have accidents4. They are heavier than the typical backpack and when loaded cause greater stress
So check with your school to see if rollerpacks are allowed. Like most anything else, taught the proper way to use something can make a big difference.
Well, a backpack with wheels may be the solution you have been looking for, for school or travel. The High Sierra wheeled backpack offerings are worth looking into if you are in the market for one of these helpful carryalls.
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