Before we set off for our open-ended trip, we realized we needed new backpacks – something durable, sturdy and compact that can resist years of wear and tear and fit our whole lives in them. While we have a whole range of gear back at home suitable for different types of trip and activity, we needed one that’s versatile and can withstand rough conditions. This time round, we opted for Osprey’s range of backpacks – we’d heard numerous long-term travelers rave about them so it’s about time we put them to the test. We’re now one month into our trip, and we already have plenty to say about our backpacks – let’s see how these backpacks weigh in on our travel scales.
Osprey Waypoint 65 -Women’s: Nellie’s Review
The Osprey Waypoint travel backpack almost carries like a backcountry backpack, with excellent features to make it comfortable to carry even when packed to the brim. Its ErgoPull hipbelt keeps the load comfortably on my hips so even when I’ve got my daypack attached. With a tough frame that keeps the backpack together, this backpack also functions like a suitcase and can be opened completely with just one zip, making it easy to pack and unpack on a daily basis. I chose this particular backpack mainly for the easy access, sturdy frame as well as its light weight (weighs 2.5kg when empty – a reason why I didn’t pick the wheeled convertible pack).
Features I love:
The one-zipper opening : Unlike the standard backcountry backpack, the Waypoint can be accessed completely with just one zipper, just like a suitcase. I used to hate digging up stuff from the bottom of my backpack just because it can only be accessed from a toploader. This feature makes packing a breeze. Apart from that, the front panel flap features mesh pockets that helps me organize my gear.
The daypack: I love how my daypack fits all my electronics – from laptop to charger, iPhone, underwater camera, notebook and magazines. Thanks to that, I’m able to carry everything within the entire backpack with the daypack attached – no excess baggage in hand. The daypack has a small capacity of 15L though and it’s almost at a bursting point when I fit in my 13.3″ laptop – so if you’ve got a bigger laptop, you definitely won’t be able to fit it in.
Back suspension: The Waypoint features an alloy frame and torso adjustable harness exactly like a well-designed backcountry backpack. I’m really impressed by how comfortable the backpack feels even when loaded to the maximum capacity. On previous long-term trips, I wouldn’t be able to sustain the weight for long but this time, I have no problems carrying the pack around town. I also love how the straps can be kept within a zipped-up flap so I can carry the bag just using its handle like a duffel bag.
Features I don’t like so much:
Since the daypack already accounts for 15L of the total capacity, the main compartment of the backpack only has storage space for 50L. I knew about this beforehand but decided against the larger Waypoint 85 as that would be too big for me to carry around. I also find that there’s a lack of compartments on the exterior of the backpack as it’s more convenient to tuck flipflops or sunscreen into external pockets. Instead I have to detach my daypack to unzip the main compartment in order to stuff an item in at the last minute.
Conclusion: This is definitely an extremely comfortable backpack to be traveling around the world with and I’d highly recommend it to anyone who’s planning to travel long term.
Osprey Meridian 28″/75L: Alberto’s Review
This wheeled convertible pack truly reinvents backpacking, with its ability to transform from a fully-equipped backpack to a wheeled trolley. The Osprey Meridian features a large panel zip, a daypack, retractable ergonomic handle and polyurethane wheels with sealed bearings. The main pack volume is 55L while the daypack has a capacity of 20L. I chose this bag because I like both the convenience of a trolley and the versatility of a backpack and the Meridian combines the best of both worlds.
Features I love:
The daypack: I find the daypack to be perfect for storage of all my electronics and important documents so I can carry them with me on the plane, bus, etc. It features a laptop compartment and several pockets. Right now it’s holding my laptop, mouse, ipad, external hard drive, a myriad of chargers and adapters and even a light jacket with room to spare. I also love the little emergency whistle on the chest strap that I don’t think I will ever have to use but I enjoy annoying people with. The only thing that could be improved is that the daypack access: it’s a little troublesome to attach and detach it from the main bag, especially if both are filled up, so I normally just carry them separately unless I need to put the whole thing on my back.
The external toiletries pocket: This thing is amazing, it’s so simple yet so convenient. When we stay in a place for just one night, I don’t even need to open the main bag at all, just take my toiletries out of it and my pyjamas from the backpack compartment – which is also extremely convenient if you, like me, don’t use the backpack straps often.
The wheels: Almost every wheeled travel bag I owned has ended up losing the wheels. While I can’t say that this will not be the case after just one month, I can see that the construction seem really sturdy and they show no wear at all although I have been fairly rough with them so far. Apart from the well construction of the wheels, the weight distribution seems to be very well balanced too, making pulling the bag around on rough terrain a breeze.
Features I don’t like so much:
The main compartment is a bit smaller than I expected, but this is actually a good thing since I tend to overpack, and its size makes it almost impossible to exceed the 20kg limit that airlines usually give. Also, when the day bag is attached and loaded, it’s weight can make the bag fall from the standing position rather easily, but this doesn’t bother me that much since I usually carry the day bag separately.
Conclusion: This is, hands down, the best travel bag I’ve ever owned, and with the Osprey’s lifetime warranty, it may just be the last one I’ll have to use.
Disclaimer: Our backpacks were kindly provided by Osprey but all opinions expressed above are our own.