The Better Carry-On Bag
When it comes to judging luggage, New York Mets starting pitcher R.A. Dickey is a natural. The best knuckleballer in the game spends more than 115 days a year on the road, “living out of some kind of suitcase,” he says – dragging his bag from car to stadium to shuttle bus to plane. So he thinks about luggage. A lot. “I’ve become obsessed with gear that makes my life a little more organized,” says the pitcher. “It’s like an ongoing rebellion against the chaos that traveling creates.” We asked Dickey to test out a few carry-ons for us on the road. Click on the gallery below to see what he thought of each one.
Osprey Ozone 22
Osprey used lessons and materials from its hardcore backpacking line to create the lightest fully-featured carry-on on the market, at a scant four pounds. “I was skeptical, but the one-bar, one-handed design works,” says Dickey. “It’s more like a rolling duffel and could use more compartments. This one’s best for quick trips.”
I wanted to talk about how great this pack is. I used the Osprey Aura 65 on my thru-hike and it did amazing. There are a few things I look for in a good pack, and this one has them all.
Comfort. This is the number one thing I keep in mind when choosing a pack. If my pack is uncomfortable to wear, the shoulder straps rub me the wrong way, or the hip-belt doesn’t have good support; that pretty much means that I’m going to have an unpleasant hike.
This pack is so comfortable. The hip-belt is easy to tighten and it can be adjusted so the padded part is longer or shorter. The hip-belt offers lots of support, so the weight stays off my shoulders. There are several different places where the pack can be adjusted. Although the pack comes in several different sizes, the torso is still adjustable to allow a perfect fit.
Durability. If I’m going to be spending my money on a pack, it better last me a long time. I carried my Osprey pack from Georgia to Maine, and it still has plenty of life left in it.
I was NOT easy on this pack either. I tossed it on the ground pretty much every time I took it off. There were parts of the trail up North where I had to sit down and slide because it was so steep. When I did that, the bottom of the pack would drag against the rock. There were even times that I kicked it out of frustration. The fabric never ripped, snagged, or even appeared as if it was getting too worn.
Bottom line: this pack can take a beating.
This summer, Osprey introduced the Osprey Farpoint 40, an excellent small travel backpack. They were kind enough to send me one to try out and I wish we’d had this backpack on for the long-term travel we did around Argentina a few years ago. It’s comfortable, compact, attractive, and has lots of pockets. Plus, the Farpoint 40 is the ideal backpack for packing light. Here’s why I love it.
1. It’s Compact & Lightweight
The recommended load weight is 30-40 lbs and it measures 21 x 13 x 9″. Plus, it’s lightweight, weighing in at just 2 lb 14 oz. If you’re a regular reader of Go Green Travel Green, you know we’re all about packing light. It saves money (no checked baggage fees) and it’s better for the environment (lighter weight luggage means less it takes less fuel to carry it). The Osprey Farpoint 40 is the perfect small travel backpack for packing light. In fact, it would be great for packing for a round-the-world trip.
2. It Has Great Pockets
An essential quality of a good backpack is pockets, and lots of them. Staying organized is essential for stress-free travel, and having designated pockets for your gear makes it easy to be organized. The Osprey Farpoint 40 has eight strategically placed pockets (nine if you count the shoulder/hip strap storage pockets), including two external water bottle pockets. My favorite pocket is the padded laptop pocket, which will be very convenient on longer-term trips.
I hate rolling luggage. I understand that millions of people swear by it. I get that some people don’t want to lift and carry heavy bags when traveling. But I’ve also waited impatiently as people with no spacial relations attempt to shove their over-sized wheelie bags into cramped overhead compartments. I’ve also had my ankles clipped by people toting their bags behind them as they race through airports. Ultimately, I’ve always preferred to throw a bag over my shoulder, thus avoiding becoming a human tractor-trailer. However, I was willing to keep an open mind and see if I could be convinced that maybe not all rolling luggage is cumbersome, clumsy, and contradictory to the way that I prefer to travel (while obviously maintaining my prejudices).
The Osprey Ozone might just be the piece of luggage that sways me. I tried out the 22″ model (small enough to carry on) and was pretty astounded by one thing immediately. It’s light. Four pounds and seven ounces light. Rolling behind me, it was barely noticeable even when packed full with a weekend’s worth of clothing and electronics. If you’re one of those people who struggles to lift her luggage off the ground let alone to the height of the overhead compartment, you’ll appreciate just how light this bag is.
However, I still felt a bit of shame rolling my bag around. That’s why I appreciated the handles on the Ozone’s sides. I could retract the main handle, pick up the bag like a duffel, and toss it into the trunk of the car or place it on the couch to unpack. Additionally, other duffel-life qualities such as compression straps for minimizing the bag’s size and a soft nylon exterior make this feel less like a piece of traditional luggage and more like a modern wheelie/weekender hybrid.
Recently we spent some time at Interbike looking at various new hydration packs and the Raptor 10 from Osprey was one of those that caught our eye. (You can see that post here.) Now we have a pre-production Osprey Raptor 10 to tell you about. While some minor things may change from this to final production, we feel confident the main features will be representative of what you’ll find when these hit the shelves of your local bike shops early next year.
Osprey makes three models in the Raptor line up now including the smaller, less featured Raptor 6, the 10, as seen here, and the larger Raptor 14. MSRP on these is as follows- Raptor 6 – $109, Raptor 10 – $119,and the Raptor 14 – $129. There will be a few color choices, but we received the red one to review. The Raptor 10 is a 610 Cubic Inch/10 liter pack that weighs 1lb 6oz without the reservoir.
Background: As stated in the Interbike post, I have an earlier version of the Raptor 10 that I have been flogging for a few years. It is my “go-to” pack when I ride, because it is the right size, has good accessibility for tools, gear, and my camera, and holds plenty of fluids. There were some things I perceived as flaws in the earlier Raptor design, so I was keen on seeing the new Raptor 10 to find out how these things may have been addressed. Also, I wondered if the things I loved about my Raptor 10 were either improved upon, or still there with the newer version. So, let’s dig into this bright red pack and see what makes it tick….