Eagle Creek DoubleBack vs. Switchback International Carry-Ons: Which Is Better?

There are newer versions of these bags available

We cover the three newer versions of rolling carry-on backpacks from Eagle Creek in our comparison review of the Caldera International, Gear Warrior, and Expanse International.

We’ve looked at every option out there for wheeled carry-on backpacks, and Eagle Creek pieces were close to the top, but not our top pick for most people. However, Eagle Creek has excellent, durable luggage and high brand satisfaction, and for some people, the Eagle Creek DoubleBack or the Eagle Creek Switchback International Carry-Ons could be just right.

We thus put together this side-by-side comparison of these two similar wheeled cabin bag pieces. Eagle Creek’s own explanations of the differences between its lines can be a bit too exuberant and general to be of substantive use, so we’d like to clear up who is best served by each piece.

Update history of this article

Originally published April 30, 2017

Quick Comparison: Eagle Creek DoubleBack vs. International Switchback Carry-Ons

Eagle Creek DoubleBack Carry-On

Slightly odd, utilitarian style: Looks like two bags strapped together

Light: 6.0 lbs (2.8 kg)

Daypack has a pouch for a hydration bladder with a slit for the tube

• Eagle Creek’s excellent No Matter What Warranty

Eagle Creek Switchback International Carry-On

Sleek-ish upmarket backpacker esthetic: Main bag and day bag zip together into one unit

Light: 6.5 lbs. (2.95 kg)

Daypack has laptop sleeve

Hip belt allows comfortable use as backpack over distances

Large, sturdily built wheels with good clearance for rough terrain

• Eagle Creek’s excellent No Matter What Warranty

Commonalities (Pluses and Minuses) of these Wheeled Carry-Ons

Eagle Creek is one of the top-rated luggage brands for customer satisfaction in a Consumer Reports survey, and these are both very solidly built pieces of luggage that tend to last and to get high marks from customers.

The major features are the same; they have both wheels for when you’re on paved surfaces and backpack straps for when you need to pop your luggage on your back for rough terrain, a bike ride, or a set of stairs.

Crucially, the daypack of both can be hooked on in front if you are wearing the main bag on your back. This is useful both for security (so you can keep an eye on your valuables in a crowded area) and to balance out your load.

Both are also thoughtfully designed for frequent travelers, with easy access accessory pockets, locking zippers, protected housing for the pull handles, and compression straps.

The main complaints from customers of both is that they are prone to tipping, especially with the daypacks attached.

Best for Day Hikers: Eagle Creek DoubleBack Carry-On

In terms of functionality, the biggest difference between these two bags is that the Eagle Creek DoubleBack‘s daypack does not have a laptop sleeve; instead, it has a pouch for a hydration. This makes the daypack suitable for bikers, athletes, and hikers who do not like to want to pause to open and drink from a water bottle. Note that it is dangerous both to under- and to over-hydrate — consider this when you decide whether you actually want to carry a pack with a hydration tube.

We find it odd that a daypack so clearly designed for the great outdoors has been coupled with a carry-on backpack that is not. The main pack does have comfortable backpack straps that slide out, but it lacks a hip belt, meaning that for most people the main bag would not be comfortable to carry for very long. We think the better small wheeled backpack choice for most people who spend lots of time out on rough terrain is the Osprey Sojourn 22″, which we discuss here.

The Eagle Creek DoubleBack’s daypack clips onto the back of the main bag instead of zipping on. This is fast and easy to do, but as a result the bags look less like a single unit than like amorous turtles.

The Eagle Creek DoubleBack is a great, durable bag from a reliable manufacturer with a history of backing up its warranty claims and satisfying its customers. We don’t think there are a lot of people who will be served well by this particular piece, but it would work for those who mainly roll their bags right up to their hotel, and from there take part in intensive athletics or hiking. It’s not for those who carry tablets or laptops, nor for those who want to roll over rough terrain, or carry the main bag on their bags for longer stretches — in all of these cases the Switchback International is better.

Best for Frequent Travelers, City Adventurers: The Eagle Creek Switchback International Carry-on

The Eagle Creek Switchback International has a number of features that make its design better for more people than the DoubleBack. The Switchback differentiates itself by having:

  • A laptop sleeve in the daypack
  • Better, high clearance wheels
  • Easy-to-clean, water repellent materials
  • A hip belt that makes it comfortable to carry as a backpack for long distances

This is an all-purpose bag that has pleased many travelers who take it as their sole piece of luggage.

The main complaints that reviewers cite is that this bag can be quite prone to tipping, especially with the daypack attached, and that the side handles of similar Eagle Creek tend to catch on airline seats when going down the aisle. For these reasons, we slightly prefer the Osprey Ozone Convertible 22″ or Meridian 22″, which have the same features. But it’s a close call; those pieces have some more limited complaints of tipping too.

Eagle Creek DoubleBack vs. Switchback International Carry-On Specs

Eagle Creek Covertible BagCapacity (cu in)Capacity (L)Dimensions (in.)Weight (lbs.)MaterialDaypackCapacity Daypack (cu in)Capacity Daypack (L)Dimensions Daypack (in.)Weight Daypack (lbs.)HipbeltLaptop SleeveWheels
18303014 x 21.5 x 86.5Bi-Tech™ Heather | 1000D Helix™ Poly TwillYesYesYesYes

14 x 22 x 9

450D Geo Ripstop | 210D Exo Skeleton | 450D Helix™ PolyYes1100181.25 x 18 x 7.751NoNoYes

Roundup: Which is best for you?

Both of these are excellent, versatile luggage pieces.

Eagle Creek DoubleBack Carry-On
Great choice if you want a daypack to use with a hydration bladder, and you don’t carry a laptop or a tablet.
Eagle Creek SwitchBack International Carry-On
It has more features, better wheels, and a hip belt.