Hynes Eagle 42L Rolling Backpack Review: Best Rolling Backpack under $100

Last Updated on June 1, 2024 by Christine Kaaloa

What my video review that I made for YouTube of the Hynes Eagle  42L


Embarking on new adventures in a foreign country, while filming moments for my YouTube channel has always been a thrilling pursuit. Yet, as a solo travel content creator, the struggle to balance my camera gear and personal belongings is real.

The search for a versatile, functional, durable and stylish carry-on rolling backpack led me to this Hynes Eagle 42L Rolling Backpack review. Is it the best rolling backpack under $100?

This post contains affiliate links that helps me maintain this site. I never leave home without travel insurance. =Here’s an trip insurance finder tool  to find insurance that matches your budget. I use World Nomads as it covers adventures. I get the plan that covers travel theft

best Rolling backpack carryon 0328

Growing older and Changing Travel Styles

With the passage of time and the physical challenges of growing 50 years wiser, I knew I needed to change my gear-laden sherpa-backpack-haulting ways. My lower back aches with spondylosis, my sightseeing is occasional sprinkled with bouts of plantar fasciitus and a switch flipped in my female solo mindset–  I no longer wanted to be a female solo travel vlogger vlogging on-the-cheap.

I deserve comfort, ease and convenience, like other travelers my age.. The solution lay in finding the perfect convertible rolling backpack.

I just bought it this year, but I’ve already traveled four destinations with it- Puerto Rico, Nepal, Pakistan and India. The destinations vetted the carryon for me!

Want solo travel without the stress? Check out GRRRLTRAVELER group trips!

 Watch my full Hynes Eagle rolling backpack video review where I take you inside my carryon

What my video review that I made for YouTube of the Hynes Eagle  42L


The Challenges of Finding a Convertible Rolling Backpack Carry-On

For over a decade, I’ve used the Eagle Creek Doubleback 22 convertible carry-on (It’s been discontinued. But they recently revived the Eagle Creek 22″ Gear Warrior for $300, which is a sister likeness.  I’d steal it before it goes out of stock! Not cheap but it depends on how rugged your travels are and how long you want it to last.

A good convertible rolling backpack can cost a pretty penny, ranging anywhere from $200-$500. Or you might luckily find a $25 one in a Bangkok street market, like I did in this post of why I broke up with my backpack.  While these convertible rolling backpacks are worth the expense, the challenge is that many convertible rolling backpacks are either sold out or discontinued. I don’t understand why.

Check out Guide to the Best Rolling Backpack Carry-Ons
backpack vs carry on luggage, carry on luggage tips, carry on luggage vs backpack, what backpack to choose for a rtw, what backpack to choose, how to choose a backpack
How to choose a backpack that’s right for you


When researching my article, 6 best convertible wheeled backpacks, I stumbled on the Hynes Eagle 42L Rolling Backpack, a game-changer with a price tag under $100.  I knew a good convertible backpack is worth it’s money in gold. But would it still be good if it were under $100?

Skepticism about an under $100 carryon prompted me to test it.

hynes eagle rolling backpack review
hynes eagle rolling backpack review

My Hynes Eagle 42L Rolling Backpack Review

The breakdown:

When I got my Hynes Eagle 42L Rolling backpack carryon in the mail, I was pleasantly surprised with the design and moderately so about the build.

  • The Hynes Eagle 42L convertible carryon has a sleek and stylish but simple black design.  It looks non-descript, which I like because it doesn’t look expensive. As a female solo traveler lugging expensive camera vlogging gear, I don’t like my luggage to stand out or appear luxurious or expensive.
  • Good Shape: The rolling backpack has a boxy build, which I prefer more than my old Eagle Creek rolling backpack which had a arched top. It’s a small design difference that makes for more efficient packing. The boxy build is more practical for storage, because everything can be packed in the cornered spaces evenly. A dome shape is harder to fit and I used to have to be creative as to what I fit on the top, knowing that there would be extra space at the tippy top.


best Rolling backpack carryon 6205


  • Fabric quality; It feels sturdy but the fabric doesn’t feel as durable as my last convertible did. Instead, his backpack has a thin inner lining helps to keep it water resistant. Overall, the fabric quality of the Hynes Eagle quality is okay. It just doesn’t feel AS durable as my older bag. Although keep in mind, the price point difference between the two. You sorta get what you pay for.
  • Zippers: The quality of zippers and closures are solid. I prefer these to my older bag, even though the older one had pull latches.  The zippers feel a larger and thick, so they are tuggable. I love that the zipper tracks are fatter and more roll ready.

Features You’ll Love about Hynes Eagle 42L Rolling Backpack

Lets dive into the features because I know you’ll love using them!

Compression straps

Hynes Eagle 42L Rolling Luggage Carryon has features you’d expect of expensive wheeled backpacks such as compression straps to keep your packed luggage on the slim side. What I love about the Hynes Eagle 42L compression straps is that I really feel like it cinches out the air pockets in the luggage better than my Eagle Creek one did. I’m always surprised that my luggage looks smaller and more manageable once I pull the compression straps.

Read my ultimate guide of packing tips

Hideaway backpack straps

There are hideaway backpack straps so you don’t have to navigate with your backpack straps flopping around (okay, sometimes they fall out and flop arround, but I tuck them back into their hideaway pocket in the lining of the luggage’s back.  I found I can still store extra contents in that hideaway pocket, such as flip flops.

Unfortunately, they don’t have a zip up hideaway compartment, which would’ve been nice for securing the straps (and any extra contents you want to store in that pocket).

Lightweight & maneuverable wheels

The wheels on the Hynes Eagle 42L rolling luggage carryon are lightweight and smooth.  I know more people think that a rolling backpack is heavier than a normal backpack but my NorthFace Terra 50 backpack felt heavier than this! That’s because backpackers backpacks are also carrying extra fabric from multiple compartments and the padded waist belt.

Furthermore, the wheels roll and maneuver with ease, they hug the ground with sturdiness and the wheels do not make you feel like you’re weighed down.

Occasionally they do tip sideways while i’m rolling it but it’s  usually because I like to do abrupt turnabouts and can drag my bags as I do them.

best Rolling backpack carryon 0330

Sternum and waist strap

One thing that convertible wheeled backpacks need more of is better ergonomics like a hip belt. Backpacker’s backpacks have them- like the NorthFace one I got for my India and Southeast Asia backpacking trip.

You’d think with the addition of wheels, convertible backpacks would create hip belts to distribute the weight evenly on the hips so not to strain the back. The Hynes Eagle 42L wheeled backpack has a waist strap- that is a simple strap- which is  not great ergonomics. There’s a sternum strap that helps distribute weight across the chest, but again, the strap is a thin strap. Again, it’s better than nothing. But I wish this is somewhere more rolling backpacks placed attention on.

In a way, these convertibles seem to say- if it’s too heavy where it’s going to create back or neck pain, then use the rolling feature. And that’s your ergonomic good habit for ya!

Read tips for in-flight essentials

Backpack Shoulder straps

Most backpack people never think they’ll use the wheeled option as much. And many find themselves converted to the wheels. The shoulder straps are minimally padded with re-invorced stitching.This makes the backpack lightweight but less cushioned compared to backpacker’s backpacks.

However, seeing as the wheels are convenient, I often end up using the wheels more than the backpack feature, relying on tote handles for rough terrains.

The straps adjust easily because you pull them out and clip attach them. Simple. It’s a little extra time to do but the strap bottoms secure with a hook snap that is easy and quick to attach. That’s a feature I love about it, even if I seldom use the straps.

Confession: Once you have a rolling carryon, you’ll want to use your backpack strappy features less.  I bought the convertible backpack thinking I’d use the backpack feature at least for navigating rocky terrain, or running for a train, etc…  The truth is, if the terrain gets rocky or muddy, you’ll end up using the tote handles to fly your back to safety, where you will continue to use the wheels.

Storage Compartments

The 42L capacity has two organizational storage pockets:

Front Organizer Compartment: Ideal for quick access items like my first aid kit and vitamins, the front compartment’s secure mesh organizers prevent spills.

Main Compartment: The main compartment’s boxy shape maximizes space, easily accommodating packing cubes. Unfortuately, there are no pockets in this main compartment. That is what the front organizer suggests a substitute with!

hynes eagle Rolling backpack carryon review
hynes eagle best Rolling backpack carryon front loader compartment

Dimensions & Carryon Compliance

Standard carry-on compliance sizes are 22 x 14 x 9 (domestic & Air Asia if you want to compare it to a budget airlines ) with variance around 21.5 x 14 x 9 (international). With dimensions of 21.3 x 13.8 x 9.0 inches, sizes a little under the standard. The backpack carry on fits into overhead compartments and meets carry-on size requirements set by many airlines.

I’m always surprised with how well this downsizes and also expands!  Once I cinch it down with the compression straps, and tap the bottom of the bag (like you would a slushee cup to get the most into your cup– it’s rotund belly settles down and fits carry-on compliance!

Tip: Tapping the base of any bag after you’ve stuffed it helps things settle and fall into fitting the bag better.

hynes eagle airlines size compliance
hynes eagle airlines size compliance: this bag is laid flat on its back. The size for this airlines is rather big as I’m flying out of Puerto Rico, but it is a Delta Air flight.

Pull-out wheel cover

At the bottom of the carryon/backpack, there is a secret zipper pocket that conceals a pull-out wheel cover that you can use to wrap and protect your wheels from being toussled around and broken by airlines baggage loaders. The cover is very fitted and need take time fitting it on. The wheel cover is a great idea, but doesn’t feel as well executed as the cover can come off it you accidentally pull or rub it off. It’s a thin elastic band that secures it in place.  It doesn’t give me much peace of mind– so I bring gaffer tape with me and gaffer it on!

free travel mistakes checklist
Download solo travel survival tips to your inbox.

Laptop Sleeve

Dedicated laptop or tablet sleeves, which provides protection to your laptop. It comes with a detachable sleeve allows you to take it anywhere with you. It fits up to a 17 inch laptop and 10.5 inch tablet. I don’t need a laptop sleeve, but you business travelers may love this option. It sits in the front zippered pocket. I’m assuming this is for when you use the bag as carry-on luggage (and won’t be checking it in)!

How to carry the Hynes Eagle 42L rolling backpack

  • Use the backpack as a traditional backpackers backpack
  • Extend the handle to transform it into rolling luggage. The extendable handle is sturdy and easy to use.
  • It has a a top handle to carry it from the top (or vertically). It’s disappointing that there is no second grab handle on the side so you can carry it like a normal carryon or duffle bag.   It is also disappointing you cannot re-attach the backpack strap and use it like a shoulder strap.

hynes eagle backpack carryon review rolling backpack handle

Hynes Eagle review Conclusion

The Hynes Eagle 42L is a solid rolling backpack carryon which is an under $100 Swiss Army knife of bags.  While the fabric could be thicker – that’s my ownly real complaint – and the hip strap can be more supportive and evenly distribute the weight of your body, this carryon is amazing. The price tag makes it low risk to try out and the fact it is a Transformer bag offers strong value for a traveler who wants their cake and to eat it too. Hynes Eagle also has an upgraded 2-for-1 model with daypack and packing cubes!

Buy the Hynes Eagle Rolling Backpack and check out Hynes Eagle 2-in-1 carry-on set

Is the Hynes Eagle 42L Rolling Backpack the best rolling backpack under $100? I certainly think so!


   My Travel Survival Cheat Sheet


download checklist 25 travel tips for solo travelers

Download my 25 Solo Travel Mistakes to AVOID Checklist

And Get my Travel Survival Blog Updates

Related Posts

Travel Gear Reviews, Minimalist Packing Tips, Reviews