OPINION: Why not get around campus with a rolling backpack?

If students took the load off their books and put them on wheels, their backs would thank them. (Flickr/Martin Lewiston/CC-BY-SA 2.0)

If students took the load off their books and put them on wheels, their backs would thank them. (Flickr/Martin Lewiston/CC-BY-SA 2.0)

Roller backpacks are normally associated with elementary school but are college students missing out on dorky convenience?

Students who carry around many books could give their back a break by unfolding a collapsible handle and rolling around campus like at the airport.

There are many benefits to using a roller backpack on campus. Considering how large Saddleback College  is, having the luxury of rolling around books instead of carrying them provides more comfort.

Because this type of wheeled carrying case normally allows users to transport more weight, they also tend to be larger than their shoulder-strap counterparts. Airports are one of the most common places where you can find rolling-type luggage used for their convenience.

Some roller backpacks even have shoulder straps attached, in case they ever need to be carried traditionally.

On the other hand, roller backpacks are not as versatile as their counterparts, backpacks with shoulder straps. In a large crowd these backpacks can get kicked and run over people’s feet.

It could be a nuisance to drag around a large bag that can cause clutter around areas with narrow walkways. Unlike airports Saddleback does not have any escalators so getting around may require using handicap ramps and elevators possibly lengthening the time it takes to get from class to class.

Because roller backpacks are so close to the ground they can also get dirty especially if they are lighter in color or white.

When users want to carry their roller backpack up stairs shoulder straps can help make the climb easier, but because roller backpacks are designed to be rolled they almost always have a stiff metal frame inside used to house the collapsible handle. Making it very uncomfortable for whoever is wearing it.

Another overlooked issue facing roller backpacks is the possibility of a wheel falling off. If a bearing gets striped from overuse or a wheel breaks off from going down some stairs, the student might have to carry their bag for the rest of the way. A blog from The Savvy Backpacker which reviews roller suitcases writes that “ Once a wheel breaks you might as well get a new suitcase.” 

Roller backpacks can provide students with lots of carry on space,  but because they role and cannot easily maneuver stairs, they can also hinder anyone who wants to get to class as fast as possible.                   

Photo credit: Martin Lewiston, Flickr. Used with a CC-BY-SA 2.0.