Packing for a trip overseas is always a bit of a struggle for me. I have a small collection of suitcases, all good, but none are very easy to understand. Yes, the idea is to cram everything in, but how to do that so it makes sense, and more importantly, so the clothes stay wrinkle free is the trick. On my recent trip to Frankfurt, I was able to test the Osprey Contrail 28″ suitcase. It is a large wheeled bag with a very clean and simple exterior design. The handle is solid, the wheels stable, and the access to the interior spaces is great. But it’s what’s on the inside that has me loving this bag. Osprey includes the Flightlocker organizer, a system to keep your clothes and accessories contained in a removable pack. At first glance, I was thinking I wouldn’t really be able to figure out what goes where, but on further inspection, I discovered that each compartment is labeled with simple diagrams. One for shirts, one for shoes, one for socks, and so on. I followed the plan, and before I knew it, I had a fully self contained package with all my clothes, including two pairs of shoes, that is easily placed in the suitcase. It was a revelation that packing could be so simple. Upon arriving in Frankfurt, I took the Flightlocker out of the bag, and hung it in the closet using the built in hanging system. This is an exceptional system for packing and organizing a bag. On the back side of the bag, there is another insert that houses your dirty laundry, and keeps it separate from the clean clothes in the main compartment. There is also room for magazines and incidentals on the back. On the sides are pockets deep enough to accommodate a variety of large items. It seems the storage in this bag is endless. The Osprey Contrail 28″ proved its worth on this trip, and will most certainly be with me on my future travels. It is a well designed bag that can easily tackle any adventure that may come your way.
The Ozone 22″ is one of four bags in the new Ozone line released by Osprey. The line is based on an ultralight travel system, and the 22″ is the maximum legal carry-on size. This is the bag I’ve been using, and light it is. It weighs in at 4 lbs 7 oz which makes for a very light bag. Despite its weight, the bag has incredibly solid construction. It has a strong aluminum frame, a retractable handle, and large polyurethane wheels with sealed bearings. Loading the bag is quite easy due to the large main compartment opening. There are additional pockets as well, my favorite being the one on the back designed to accommodate magazines bought at the airport. It’s a really useful and well thought out design feature. The exterior compression straps allow smaller loads to be cinched up keeping the shape of the bag intact. Osprey makes solid bags, and the Ozone is no exception. This is a great travel bag, and it’s light weight should help avoid check in for carry-ons over a certain weight.
The Osprey Metron has now been in use for about a month on my daily commutes. The bag has held up really well under the stresses of a full load. The load includes a MacBook Pro 15″, a camera, a notebook, bike tools and tubes, an extra pair of shoes, a jacket, and a host of other things. It regularly carries between 20 and 30 pounds, and does so effortlessly. My back is none the wiser about how much I have in the bag. It is super comfortable and incredibly well designed. The compartments make sense and are easy to learn. The computer is completely cushioned, and the helmet strap is brilliant. The attachment point for the blinky light is also well thought out; when riding, it is perfectly visible to the vehicles and other cyclists behind you. The bag market is quite competitive, but I think Osprey is well in the lead with the Metron.
I’ve been commuting with the Osprey Metron 35 for about a week now, so I thought I would pass along initial impressions. The first thing my wife said was that it looked a bit like a technical backpack. This may be true when compared to the offerings of Chrome or Mission Workshop, but I find it to be subtle and streamlined looking for a pack with extreme functionality. This is where the backpack excels. I carry quite a bit to work on a daily basis. First and foremost is a 15″ MacBook Pro . The computer alone weighs 5.6 lbs., and in the Osprey, it rides in a padded sleeve that keeps it firmly in the middle of the backpack. The sleeve does not allow the computer to drop down to the bottom of the bag, which in turn avoids damage to the computer when you put the backpack down. I really like this setup and feel confident the MacBook will survive commuting. The other highlights of the backpack are its incredible amount of storage, very comfortable back padding, great straps with built in cell phone and key holders, plenty of individual pockets for maximum organization, and a very slick helmet attachment. It is a rubber buckle on an elastic strap that when threaded through the helmet, cinches it up to the backpack. No more floppy helmet hitting every door frame as you are trying to get in and out of your workspace or home. It seems like a small thing, but it really makes a difference. The other feature I really like is the attachment points for commuter lights. There are two of them, and they are ideally placed, one low for when you are in the drops, and one a bit higher for a more relaxed position. Osprey has produced a well thought out bag, and I will write more once it’s been broken in.