Heading abroad with lots of heavy luggage requires any help one can get. My trip was via cities, trains, airports and streets so wheels were what I needed. I was lugging my allotted weight 23kg in Ospreys’ new transporter series. I opted for the 120litre variant. Ospreys largest offering. I wanted something strong, spacious weather proof and hassle free. £240 is the RRP for the bag, and so for this price I wanted something pretty fantastic.
Inside the bag there are 3 compression straps across the width, so you are able to secure loads within the bag. On the lid there is a large split netted pocket/organiser. It’s great, simple, well thought out. There is a hidden pocket I discovered on the very top when you are dragging the bag. A zipped compartment-ideal for travel documents, books, laptops etc. The material is different to what The North Face, and Mountain Equipment use on their duffel bags. It kind of feels more technically advanced, similar but with more viscosity. I went for the blue, and it does stand out on the baggage reclaim-not spectacularly, but it does. I swear by Ospreys’ backpacks so I want to like this bag, I want it to be good. Better, I want it to be fantastic, I expect it to be nothing more than perfect.
I loaded up the bag and although spacious, I was using compression bags which, if anything, take up more space-don’t ask me how its an oxymoron, but never the less I loaded it up. I put my details in the little Perspex window (similar to what they have on The North Face duffel bags) and so far its still on the bag-its doing better than the North Face who’s window lasted one flight.
The bag thus far has excelled. It doesn’t have a shoulder strap, I put one on in case I needed to carry it-as yet I haven’t used it. The bag has good grab handles on all sides which is very useful. Its wheels are big and worked well on a gravel and potholed street I used to drag it to the station. The wheel housing is all heavy duty plastic, but after a day of use it is showing signs of travel. Grazing to various underparts, I will watch this and see how this area wears over the trip.
I have tested its integrity and inner strength quite dramatically. Tired and exhausted I dragged it from a train to the platform-a good 30 cm without mercy its wheels slammed onto concrete. I didn’t feel guilty and hoped it would be ok, and indeed it seems great. I went to baggage at the airport for leg one of three to Longyearbyen. Via Oslo, Tromso and the destination. It appeared on the belt in Oslo and I dragged it through snow and ice to my hotel (via another train I hasten to add). Up early and back to the airport, off the bags went. I now should see them at my final destination. Landed at Tromso for refuelling. The weather was atrocious and we were told no bags would be on the flight. Landed eventually at Longyearbyen and as they said, there were no bags. They were back in Oslo. I was gobsmacked, and cold. Very cold.
3 days later the bags arrived, and all the stuff in my ski bag was damp. I think the bags had been left on a runway somewhere in snow/rain. I opened my Osprey and it was all dry. Impressed isn’t the word. I was happy. (I also had my clothes so warmth awaited me.
Repacking the bag is always a challenge, and somehow I ended up with more gear that I started with. I managed to split the gear with my ski bag, and zipped the transporter. Used the internal compression straps and particularly like the external clips. I hid the zips under these to keep them safe. Dragged the bag onto the street and waited for the bus. Another airport, another conveyer belt. I was told my bags wouldn’t stop with me in Oslo, but would meet me in the UK. I assumed they would be ok, after all airports deal with millions of bags. As it turns out they did turn up safely and apparently in one piece. Impressive considering the length of the Transporter is the fact it came out with all the ‘normal’ luggage. I now had to drag it through Heathrow, in and out of lifts towards the Heathrow express. The bag, when dragging it behind you is reassuringly rigid and its big wheels glided easily and very smoothly. The train arrived and it was busy. I managed to drag it and my ski bag onto the express and wended my way towards Paddington railway station. As I traveled I noticed my contact cards glistening through the little PVC window and it struck me how well made this bag is. Osprey appear to of taken their time on this. The handles on the top and both sides are tough, and there are even nylon straps on the sides for lashing purposes.
Fair to say that I like the bag. A lot. It is durable, weather proof, and built for abuse. It is big, but I did manage to get it on a train baggage rack (above your head). I’m glad I wasn’t sitting under it, but it sat there for several hundred miles without shifting.
The bag is good. Tough and durable, easy to pack and has a great chassis and wheels. It’s been great on a complicated trip. It can go in baggage racks and does offer some protection from the weather.
Only downside is storage-its big and doesn’t fit neatly anywhere, it doesn’t have a shoulder strap (although not really a problem. A different bag than a straight forward duffel bag. If you’re able to drag it, then this wins hands down!!