When I first received the Osprey Contrail 22″ carry-on, I thought it looked too small to accommodate all my usual clothing and gear. But its sleek design actually leaves more room inside than I expected. The spacious main compartment comes with a FlightLocker clothing organizer, which I found worked best for traveling with a few of shirts and pants. I removed it for more storage on longer trips. A zippered compartment on the back of the bag is perfect for shoes or other bulky items. Because of the curved base, and larger-than-normal wheels, the backside of the bag never dragged on the ground. This design also made the Contrail very stable and the wheels easily rolled over anything I encountered while shuffling through airports…
The new Radial backpacks from Osprey are designed to compliment the bike commuter, but the Radial packs have versatility that extends beyond cycling. I’ve had the Radial 34 ($160-170) for several months now, and I keep on finding new occasions to use it.
Living in the Pacific NW, whenever I come across a new “technical” pack I generally first consider whether or not it is “waterproof”. It turns out that nominal waterproof-ness isn’t the end-all-be-all for bags. Sure, my faithful Reload messenger pack has a waterproof liner, but a commuter bag like the Radial can keep sufficiently dry with just a lightweight rain cover. A commuter generally isn’t repeatedly reaching into the bag like a messenger would, so he doesn’t need waterproof and ease of access both at the same time. Those heavy-duty liners in messenger bags really add weight, while the Radial 34’s rain cover is a negligible mass…
We’ve been testing the Osprey Aether 60 for the last few months. At first glance you can see that the Aether 60 was designed to handle a lot of adventure. Although the Aether 60 isn’t heavy (4.75 lbs), the add-ons don’t make it a pack for weight weenies either. That said, not everyone is or wants to be a toothbrush cutting ultra-light backpacker. For those that like some comforts, but don’t want to overdo it, this may be the pack for you.
This is one of the most versatile packs I’ve ever used. My favorite features are the side compression straps that go through the large size pockets. This allows you to cinch down the pack or cinch down the pack and whatever is in the side pocket. We usually use the side pockets for water bottles, the tall pocket won’t let even a full nalgene fall out. The pockets and compression straps would also be very useful for snow pickets, flags, tent poles and air mattresses. The side and front compression straps can also be configured for carrying skis or snowboards. We haven’t had a chance to put this to the test yet, but the design looks like a good secure system.
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The right amount of space, plenty of pockets and easy access to water makes the female-only Mira Series pack ideal—not just for hikers, but for any outdoor adventurer in your life. The Mira style is very small, however, and not suited for a long trip with a lot of equipment. For a backpacking pack that can fit a sleeping bag, clothing and more, go with the Viva Series, which is much larger but has the same features as the Mira.
The new Ozone Convertible (also available in a 28″ model) features an integrated zip-off daypack as well as an optional zip-stow, removable shoulder harness and hipbelt. Weighing just over 6 pounds (for the Ozone Convertible 22”), this daypack/roller duo is an ideal solution for ultra-light travelers.
Features include: a clever internal layout with zippered sidewall pockets, a large j-zip opening, a mesh front flap pocket and main compartment compression straps. Plus a built-in, torso-adjustable suspension system provides for a backpack carrying option with straps and a belt that can be easily stowed for rolling and check-in.
Osprey Packs have been a staple for backpackers since long before the idea for Vagabondish.com was even a twinkle in my eye. And with good reason – their entire line offers rock solid build construction, smart pocket placement, and clever forward-thinking design.
Which is how the company’s latest Portal Series came to be – it’s designed for everyday use by active travelers and commuters.