My Favorite Travel Gear Brands: Osprey Packs

Osprey ozone suitcase review

If I remember right, I got my first Osprey backpack in the mid-’00s, when I took off on my first trip to South America. I used it for many more trips when I was on the move as a solo traveler. It’s still going strong. 

A couple years later I got my first Osprey suitcase and traveled with it to several continents, around Mexico, and on U.S. trips when I could check a bag. It’s still going strong. 

Rugged and Reliable Osprey Luggage

Over the years I’ve added a daypack and a shoulder bag from this company and continued to use the oldest products regularly. All are protected by Osprey’s famous All Mighty Guarantee which says if one of their products doesn’t hold up or something breaks, they’ll fix or replace it—“Any reason. Any product. Any era.”

If you compare that policy to the guarantee with lots of fine print you’ll find from the likes of Tumi, Samsonite, or TravelPro, it’s a huge step up. (And if you look for the guarantee on a cheap suitcase from T.J. Maxx or Walmart, you’re probably lucky to get a promise that the bag will last 90 days.)

In my experience, these backpacks and suitcases show all the signs that separate a piece-of-junk luggage from the quality pieces that could serve you well for decades. They’ve got the kind of wheels you see on in-line skates, not cheap and flimsy ones that will fall apart on you or fail to move well over uneven surfaces. The heavy-duty zippers have pull tabs and metal loops where you can insert a lock to keep your belongings safe.

The backpack straps are padded where they need to be and the materials are upgraded rip-stop nylon that’s usually water-resistant. They’ve got multiple padded carrying handles, compression straps, and well-made retractable rolling suitcase handles meant to go in and out hundreds of times without breaking. They’re comfortable and easy when conditions are easy, but won’t crap out on you when you’re on an overland adventure trip way off the grid. 

Osprey Ozone 26-inch Rolling Suitcase

In what feels like a real rarity these days, I actually traveled internationally last week. I flew back from the USA to my home in Mexico on Delta (which went much better than flying on American during a pandemic.) Since we always come back with more belongings than we went with, I checked a bag—free with my Delta Amex card.

This time it was a new bag: the Osprey Ozone 26-inch, 75-liter suitcase with two wheels in the “Buoyant Blue” color. See my video rundown of it here:

It weighs a shade more than five pounds, making it the lightest wheeled check-in suitcase I’ve ever owned. That’s thanks to a lightweight aluminum frame, a single handle in the middle, and rugged but lightweight materials. Just because it’s light doesn’t mean they skimped on things: the metal zippers have pull tabs and holes for locking them closed. The two wheels on the bottom are the Rollerblade kind I mentioned earlier. It got a bit dirty on the way, but the water-resistant material easily wiped clean. 

Osprey Packs Ozone 26-in rolling suitcase that holds 75 liters, guaranteed for life. This Ozone suitcase has a lot of nice features and not extra ones that just get in the way. The single handle is more expensive to manufacture, but makes it easier for packing since there aren’t two bars going through the bottom of the suitcase. There’s a nice sealed-off pocket in the top where you can put something that needs to stay separate from the rest, like toiletries or a dirty pair of flip-flops. A large flat pocket on the back is great for magazines, papers, or flat-folded clothing. There’s a hidden loop you can pull out for attaching another bag when rolling through the airport and there are two separated mesh pockets on the inside for socks and underwear. As with most Osprey luggage, you’ve got an array of compression flaps and straps to keep everything tight and secured. 

I stuffed in close to 40 pounds of items for the trip back, including a whole silverware set and a bottle of booze. No mishaps on the way despite three planes and four airports’ worth of luggage handler action and carousels. 

The Osprey Ozone rolling suitcase lists for $250 and there’s a carry-on version for $20 less. It comes in blue or black. See more details and buy direct from Osprey at the official website or combine it with other gear orders at REI

What Else You Can Get From Osprey

The company is still known as Osprey Packs because they started out making backpacks that were better than anyone else was making. They’re still probably the brand you’ll see the most if you go backpacking around the world, though in some spots they get edged out by Kathmandu (from Australia) and Deuter (from Germany). I’ve seen Osprey backpacks on travelers from every corner of the planet I’ve visited. 

Osprey packs on backpackers

True to their roots, they also make a wide range of serious backcountry hiking backpacks, as well as ones specifically crafted for mountain bikers, bike commuters, and urban laptop toters. If you’re a parent looking for a child carrier backpack, they’ve got you covered there too.  

They make a wide range of luggage now though: 2-wheel and 4-wheel suitcases, carry-on bags, duffel bags, and gear haulers. If you want to upgrade to a suitcase you won’t have to replace in a year or two, go browse around. 

Osprey suitcase at the airport

You can pick up some nice travel and adventure accessories while you’re there too, like packing cubes, dry sacks, stuff sacks, gadget organizers, and a bike tool roll. 

I don’t do an entry in this “My Favorite Travel Gear” series very often. When I do highlight a brand here, it’s one I’ve used extensively, that stands behind its products, and has stood the test of time. Osprey meets all those criteria and then some. Highly recommended. 

5 Comments

  1. RachelinOz 07/29/2020
    • Tim Leffel 07/29/2020
      • RachelinOz 07/29/2020
  2. Trip 07/30/2020
  3. Jerry 08/26/2020

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