Reviewers agree the L.L.Bean Original Rolling Book Pack is easy to roll along and resists abuse for years. However, most say it's too small to fit an elementary school student's belongings, and the handle is too short sometimes for kids as young as 6.
A little too big, a little too small. Reviewers say the L.L.Bean Rolling Original bag fits an elementary-schooler's body size, but, at 1,625 cubic inches, it doesn't always fit the child's school supplies. One mother writes, "This backpack is probably the right size when considering the physical size of my 9-year-old, but fourth graders at her school are required to have a 2-inch, 3-ring binder. The binder will barely fit in the pack and if so nothing else will." Another parent says the pack is too big to fit in her third-grade daughter's locker. Some reviewers say that their child's school supplies do fit, but it can be tight.
The Rolling Original has one main compartment and one smaller compartment, with a front stash pocket for storing small items. A few reviewers say they wish it had a water bottle pocket on the outside.
In one series of expert tests, kid testers found the Rolling Original's zippers "a little bit difficult" to manipulate. Several LLBean.com reviewers say the zipper regularly gets caught in the fabric flap that's designed to cover it. "This morning it took 2 adults to pull the fabric out of the zipper," says one.
Too-short handles. A few LLBean.com users say the L.L.Bean Rolling Original Book Pack is heavy, but others point out that at less than 5 pounds, it's actually a little on the light side for a wheeled briefcase or pack.
The biggest concern we found from reviewers is that the handle is too short; they say their kids' feet clip the pack when they pull it along. In some cases, the kids in question are as young as 6, although we also found several comments from parents of 10-year-olds saying the same thing. One 5-foot-3-inch adult bought the pack for herself and says the handle is "quite short, but manageable."
Like many rolling backpacks, the LLBean.com has tuck-away shoulder straps, but some parents (and kids) are frustrated that you can't roll the backpack without stowing the straps. They say the straps dangle and get in the way. This makes switching back and forth from backpack to wheeled modes a hassle, although reviewers are happy as long as they don't need to make the switch quickly. On the plus side, reviewers like the reflective detailing on the front of the pack and the straps.
Built to last. "This backpack is built tough," say the editors of Good Housekeeping, who give the L.L.Bean Original Rolling Book Pack perfect scores in a series of durability tests that included abrasion, drops, yanking on the handle and soaking the pack with water. The editors at Cozi.com polled their Facebook fan base of more than 66,000 about the best packs; the fans pick L.L.Bean as one of four brands, saying that the packs "last forever."
User reviewers on LLBean.com agree. One mother who bought the Rolling Original for her daughter says: "This is sturdy, strong, holds up to her wear and tear of lugging all her school work back and forth." Reviewers agree, with some saying the pack lasted for years with no noticeable wear and tear.
Reviewers say the L.L.Bean Rolling Original Book Pack is extremely durable and handles well, but they also agree that the handle is too short for kids in the upper portion of its advertised 7- to 12-year-old age range. In some cases the handle was even too short for 6-year-olds. This is a good pack for little kids, bigger kids, maybe not so much.
1. Good Housekeeping
Very good The editors of Good Housekeeping subject wheeled backpacks to rigorous tests of durability and ease of use, and they also recruit kid testers to evaluate the packs. The L.L.Bean Rolling Original Book Pack is one of five models selected as the best.
Review: Kid-Friendly Backpacks with Wheels, Editors of Good Housekeeping, Not dated
Very good More than 100 reviewers give the Original Rolling Book Pack an average score of 4.1 stars, and 81 percent of them say they'd recommend this product. Most of the complaints seem to center around size; the pack is either too small for what a student has to pack or too big to fit into a school locker.
Review: Rolling Original Book Pack, Print, Contributors to LLBean.com, As of Sept. 2012
Fair The editors of Cozi.com polled their Facebook fan base of more than 66,000 about which packs were the best; L.L.Bean was one of four brands singled out. Reviewers say that packs from this brand last "forever."
Review: The 4 Best Kids' Backpacks for School, Contributors to Cozi.com, Not dated