Dear backpack makers of the world . . .


What’s wrong with you people? More to the point, what the hell is wrong with the consumers? I assume you are just responding to what people are buying, but for fuck’s sake!

Who wants wheels on a fucking backpack? Never once in my life have I looked at my backpack and thought, “You know what this needs? Wheels! That’s what it needs.”

That’s because backpacks are carried on the back. Unless you suffer form some unfortunate anatomical distortions, this means that your backpack is generally nowhere near the ground, hence rendering the addition of wheels, which are usually used on the ground somewhat silly, wouldn’t you say?

What I find even more perplexing is the idea of actually using the wheels, that is, dragging your backpack through the dust and dirt, and depending on weather conditions, mud, puddles, slush, and god knows what, then picking up the dirty, awful, backpack up and putting it on.

I’d think once you’d taken to using the wheels, you wouldn’t want to use the backpack on your back–and, while we’re on the topic, why the hell are you wheeling it around, anyway? If your backpack is so freaking heavy that you can’t hoist it up and wear it properly, what the hell are you putting in there? And if your backpack is that damn heavy that you can’t put it on your back, why the hell do you need a backpack in the first place?

And, you know, really, I wouldn’t give a flying god damn about other people’s luggage choices, honestly, but I can’t find a single decently-constructed backpack without fucking wheels on it! I don’t want a fucking Hello Kitty backpack or some other cheap piece of crap. It took me two hours and something like five stores to find a marginally grown-up looking backpack, with seams that won’t rip out in a week, with zippers that weren’t already fucked up right there on the rack, with a padded laptop compartment, and without any fucking wheels!

I want to wear my backpack on my back, not drag it along behind me, and I don’t want extra weight from wheels, but most of all, I don’t want to look like a fucking dork with fucking wheels on my fucking backpack. I cannot possibly be the only person who feels this way (though I may be the only person who feels strongly enough about it to start a Pit Thread.) So what the hell is the deal? Make some reasonable fucking backpacks!

I have two friends who have to use the backpscks with wheels on them. One because she only weighs 80 pounds (she’s not anorexic or anything, she’s just a tiny girl). The other because she has an extra set of ribs where her collarbone is located, so if she puts any weight on her shoulders they could slip and cut off her circulation. We found this out the hard way. So in reply to your thread, there is somewhat of a purpose for these.

I can’t say I’ve ever seen a backpack with wheels, and I go to school on a campus with 17,000 undergraduate students. I will say that the concept does seem odd, except perhaps in the medical cases mentioned above.

Also, how did you have that much trouble finding a backpack? When I finally invested in a new one last semester, there were probably 8,000 choices every place I looked. (Found a nice one with air-cushion straps that was cheap, and I love it!)

Anyway, I give the rant a 7.9 for technical, and an 8.7 for artistic (damn the Russian judge is being harsh tonight!)

Yeah, but I think what the OP is getting at here is – if you want to pull something around rather than carry it on your back – why in the hell have a backpack in the first place?

They do make those cute little suitcases with wheels and handles. I actually like those, but I agree with the OP. Wheels on a backpack seem pretty stupid.

There are several uses for backpacks. And one of them is schlepping stuff through airports. Heavy stuff. And if you’re standing in line for a while, it’s nice to be able just to wheel that stuff behind you. So it’s not that stupid an idea. And a recent visit to REI pretty much reassured me that there are many, many backpacks available without wheels, if that fashion accessory doesn’t do it for you.

So if you want a good backpack, try REI, Eastern Mountain Sports,  Campmor, or even L.L Bean.   All of which have web outlets.

Whenever I travel, I always get a special joy out of watching people taking little tiny steps as they try to pull their suitcases and backpacks around on stiff, unmenuverable, pathetic little wheels as I zip right on around them with my backpack strapped firmly to my back.

Well, I wouldn’t mind being able to give my back a break once in a while and pull my bag on wheels. If you only pulled it indoors, you’d be much less likely to get it all dirty. Then, outdoors and places where it is too crowded for that, you would use it as a backpack. I like choices like that.

In fact, though I am no longer in school, I do carry a backpack, one designed to carry a baby. One of my favourite features of this pack is that it has a kickstand so you can set it down with baby inside. This is great on long walks when my back needs a break.

Still, if I didn’t want a certain feature on a backpack, it would be incredibly aggravating if ALL bags came with it. Especially a unique feature like that. But backpack makers seem to do things like that. I remember one year when virtually ALL backpacks for sale in my area were made of that clear plastic because that’s what the local high schools wanted. Sucked when our school suddenly changed its mind on the issue.

Why’d you have so much trouble finding a backpack? Where were you shopping? As Finagle said, any outdoor store should have a great selection.

I actually do have a backpack with wheels. It’s an Eagle Creek conversion-type pack. Veddy nice. It’s basically a wheelie bag which has a full-suspension harness on it, hidden by a zipper panel. It also has a zip-off daypack. It’s designed for “backpacking through Europe” type travel, I guess. I find it very handy. I usually just use the wheelies, but if I have to negotiate a subway or carry it a long distance, I slap it on my back. I really love it. The wheelie assembly makes it heavier than a regular pack, but if I were backpacking for real, or in a situation where I wouldn’t have much use for the wheelies, I’d just use one of my regular packs (Lowe Sirocco or Dana Bomb). And of course I have a regular daypack. (A wonderful EMS one that they don’t make anymore.) I have a lot of luggage. :slight_smile:

We just got a Kelty Pinnacle. It is sooo plush and dee-luxe. Arthur just loves to ride in it. Kelty also makes one with wheels, so I guess it’s like a back-pack/stroller combo, but it seemed to be the worst of both worlds, unfortunately.

Not all women are as thick boned and powerfully built as you are Podkayne. Some need a little assistance. There are tons of good non-wheeled backpacks out there.

Check out for some good (non-wheeled) packs.

I weighed my backpack and armful of books (not everything would fit in the pack) when I was in the tenth grade. It weighed forty pounds. I wish I’d had the money for one of them wheeled things, if only for the walk to and from school (the high school itself was three stories, and while as a disabled student I had the key to the elevators, they were not terribly conveniently located).

I thougt this thread was about hiking backpacks, and it took me a few posts to realize that it was about students’ bookbags. You folks had me wondering what sort of hiking trails you follow. LOL.

In any event, non-wheeled bookbags can be found here:

Wheels let the ground take the weight rather than the body.

Why get a wheled backpack in the first place? If one needs a wheeled carrier, why not one of the smaller suitcase jobbies that are about 10x21? Not sure where the measure tape is so can’t measure mine.

Backpacks are for wearing on your back, not dragging around behind you.

I’ve seen these and think they are a waste of money. Besides, when you want to wear it as a proper backpack, the weight from the wheels is unbelievable.

Backpacks are great and wonderful things.

But when you are carrying one, if you don’t want to look like a dork, the wheels are the least of your problems.


Thanks for the suggestions, but I did finally find a fairly decent Eastpack. Not exactly what I wanted, but it’ll do. I really need to stop buying all of my luggage a few days before I leave on a trip. :slight_smile: In my experience, it’s always easy to find backpacks in, oh, say, August or September, but not so easy this time of year.

I was just continually frustrated because a nice backpack would catch my eye: good-sized, well-constructed, in conservative colors, lacking any cartoon characters or large logos attesting to its "XTREME"ness, with the bare minimum of extra straps, cords, latches, toggles, tie-downs, bungees, and whatnot, with a tag clearly advertising a laptop compartment–but then I would look closer and see that the goddman thing had wheels! I would estimate that the majority of the backpacks I saw has wheels. That just ain’t right!

For all you pro-wheels people, I’m pro-wheels, too, in most cases (Ha! Cases!)–all my suitcases are pull-behinds. I understand that some people don’t want to/aren’t able to carry heavy stuff. But if you don’t want to carry heavy stuff on your back, why do you want to get a backpack? Why not a briefcase with wheels? Those look kinda goofy, too, IMHO, but at least they won’t get the back of your pants all dirty if you decide to pick them up!

Abolish wheeled backpacks, I say! Make room for decent God-fearing unwheeled backpacks! Let those who desire wheels seek not a bag with straps to wear on the back, for this is an abomination in my sight!

It started when they stopped letting kids have lockers. A 50 pound child carrying 20 pounds worth of books on their back all day is not a good thing, hence the wheels.

two words.
Jansport and Eastpak.

now go and spread the words!

good quality backpacks each and every one.

i am a little girl, and i can even shorten the straps enough on my jansport to fit me, while me 6’4’’ friend has no problem with his.

nary a wheel in sight.

I have to agree wholeheartedly with Poddy on this one. If you want wheels, buy luggage. If you want portability, buy a backpack. But a backpack with wheels is just dumb.

It looks even stupider lugging a piece of luggage around a school than it does a wheeled backpack. I’ve seen people doing it. And packs are a whole lot easier to get into.

I LOVE my backpack with wheels. I have back problems and it saves me all sorts of pain.

I have a backpack with wheels. I am not very big and although I am accustomed to carrying 40 pounds of books and a laptop, I would have soon started to permanently walk leaning forward to manage the weight. I’m not about to walk to school with luggage. Its having the option to drag your bag when your tired or keep it on your back when it’s a reasonable weight. It is no different than seeing briefcases that lawyers carry with wheels or the laptop cases with wheels.

Invicta makes backpacks without wheels too, and they are constructed very well. Also Co-op Mountain Equipment.