Osprey makes three convertible carry-on-sized rolling backpacks: the Osprey Meridian 60L, Osprey Ozone Convertible 50L, and the Osprey Sojourn 45L. This article offers a side-by-side comparison of the three.
We’ve reviewed the Osprey Meridian 60L here and it’s currently our favorite rolling backpack carry-on. And since we encourage folks to travel light and flexible, it’s also our overall favorite travel piece, period.
But yes, we get it, you might have different needs, and prefer something like the more backpacker-focused Sojourn 45L, which is more comfortable to carry on your back for long stretches over uneven terrain.
Note that the lightest of the group, the Osprey Ozone Convertible 50L, is discontinued but still sometimes available (especially used) at the links we provide in the table below.
All three bags in this article are carry-ons; we also compare the larger, full-sized versions of these three bags separately (and give our overall opinion on the best large rolling backpack). But we wrote those articles for the plodding losers who can’t manage to travel light.
We hope that pros like you, the dear readers of the present piece, can take on the world with just a carry-on, and we think that these three Osprey convertibles are the very best. But since Osprey’s own marketing explanations of their packs are scattered, vague, and terse, we’re hereby providing a full, side-by-side explanation of the options in order to help you best choose. Enjoy!
- Quick Comparison Table: Osprey Meridian, Ozone, and Sojourn Carry-Ons
- Why We (and Others) Mostly Love the Three Osprey Convertible Backpack Carry-Ons
- Best for Travel Pros: Osprey Meridian 60L/22″
- Best for Light, Efficient Travel: Osprey Ozone Convertible 22″/50L
- Best for Backpacker-Style Travel — but with Cheat-Wheels: The Osprey Sojourn 45L/22″
- Similar Osprey Carry-On Pieces to Consider
- Osprey Meridian, Ozone, and Sojourn Specs Side-by-Side
- Roundup: Which Osprey Convertible Carry-On Is Best for You? And what are the best prices?
Osprey Ozone Convertible 22″/50L Wheeled Luggage, Hoodoo Red
- Side-by-side: The Osprey Ozone Convertible 22″/50L vs. the Eagle Creek Expanse Convertible International Carry-On
- Further Considerations on Osprey’s and Eagle Creek’s Rolling/Backpack Carry-Ons
- Demonstration Videos of the Eagle Creek Expanse Convertible International and Osprey Ozone Convertible 22″/50L
- Wrap-Up: Which Convertible Backpack Is Better for You: Osprey’s or Eagle Creek’s?
Update history of this article
Originally published April 18, 2017. Updated on July 17, 2018. Updated on May 29, 2019 concerning the Ozone Convertible’s unavailability.
Quick Comparison Table: Osprey Meridian, Ozone, and Sojourn Carry-Ons
Osprey Meridian 60L/22″
• Sober, professional style: More muted color options, sleeker, more “pro” look
• Light: 8.37 lbs/ 3.80 kg; designed more for durability than to absolutely minimize weight
• Highroad Chassis: large wheels and good clearance for bumpy roads
• Good comfort as backpack: The shoulder harness can be quickly snapped on; no hip belt
• Feature-rich: Exterior water-bottle pockets, accessory pockets, zippered top pocket, laptop sleeve, compression straps, etc.
Meridian 60/22 $349.95
Osprey Ozone Convertible 50L/22″ (Discontinued; sometimes available used)
• Youthful, techy style: Sporty/tech flair, though black option looks quite a bit like Meridian
• Lighter: 6.3 lbs/2.86 kg
• Highroad Chassis: large wheels and good clearance for bumpy roads
• Great comfort as backpack: Shoulder and hip straps quickly slide out
• Feature-rich: Exterior water-bottle pockets, daypack, accessory pockets, zippered top pocket, laptop sleeve, compression straps, etc.
Also check this Ebay search for used listings
Osprey Sojourn 45L/22″
• Backpacker style: These bags give an appearance of being ready for rough road use and adventures into the great outdoors.
• Lighter: 8 lbs./3.62 kg
• Highroad Chassis: large wheels and good clearance for bumpy roads
• Best comfort as backpack: Ventilated, detachable back panel with hip and shoulder straps
• Backpacker-oriented features: Excellent detachable ventilated suspension, zippered top pocket “straightjacket” compression straps, and external daisy chains for attaching additional gear
• No daypack included, but you can attach an Osprey Daylite Daypack
Why We (and Others) Mostly Love the Three Osprey Convertible Backpack Carry-Ons
On taking into account the test reports from American and various European consumer organizations, the experiences of travel bloggers, and our 20+ years of combined road experience, we’re pretty happy recommending Osprey as one of the top pack designers and for a few other things (like toiletry bags).
These Osprey Meridian, Ozone, and Sojourn carry-on bags share quite a number of common features. They are all well-regarded by critics, known for durability, and relatively light. Since these bags share so many design elements, they don’t look all that different from each other; the style differences are minor.
Osprey rolling packs are lightweight and feature-rich pieces for long-term travellersOsprey is mainly known for high quality comfortable backpacker bags that carefully distribute their weight and can be worn for long periods, so it makes sense that these convertible bags would be much more than just square, unpadded wheeled luggage with straps tacked on as an afterthought. They are, rather, truly convertible pieces of luggage that work great whether rolling through a city or hiking to a hidden beach hideout. Osprey pieces are a delight to wear, carry, or roll.
They are also not as cheap as some of their competitors. If you only travel very occasionally and for short periods, you don’t need to go with Osprey and might consider our cheaper wheeled backpack suggestion. There are also a few Ozone models listed at the end of this article that are a bit cheaper, but that are simple carry-ons and do not convert to backpacks.
Here we’re focused only on pieces that are small enough to work as carry-ons. As experienced travel snobs we’re entirely convinced that it’s best to hit the road with a single carry-on, and nothing else, whether you’re heading out for days, weeks, or months.
Osprey has a reputation with backpackers for following through on its lifetime guaranteeAnother important note for any of the bags discussed here: Osprey has a proven track record of backing up its All Mighty Guarantee (“any reason, any product, any era”). If something goes wrong they repair the piece for free, and if they can’t do that, they replace it. If this befalls you, contact their closest international customer service center for details.
Best for Travel Pros: Osprey Meridian 60L/22″
$349.95 Check on Amazon Osprey Meridian 60L/22″ is a sleek, fully featured wheeled carry-on that you can also pop on your back for short periods if needed. It is more for city travelers who are only going to occasionally use the detachable backpack straps for stairs, a rough bit of terrain, or quick bike ride. There is no hip belt, so this is not a wise choice for day-long treks in the woods.
This piece has very similar features to the Osprey Ozone Convertible 22″/50L. Both have attachable daybags with laptop sleeves and lots of other thoughtful little details that a serious traveler appreciates: accessory pockets, compression straps, a top quick-access pocket, and water-bottle pockets.
The Meridian is just a bit bulkier and heavier than the Ozone, and slightly more subdued and serious-looking. The Meridian also holds just a bit more, but this means that on some airlines you need to be careful not to overstuff it — particularly the attached daybag — so as not to run afoul of over-vigilant airline employees checking carry-on sizes. See here for more on what fits in the Osprey Meridian daypack.
Best for Light, Efficient Travel: Osprey Ozone Convertible 22″/50L
The Osprey Ozone Convertible 22″/50L is unfortunately now discontinued but sometimes available used (and a used Osprey piece is rarely a bad deal since they hold up so well). Be careful when looking to distinguish this convertible 50 from the other Osprey Ozone pieces, which are rolling luggage only and do not have backpack straps.
The Ozone Convertible 50L quite closely resembles its Meridian counterpoint; it’s main advantage is that it’s just a bit lighter and not quite as bulky, so you’re less likely to overstuff it and run into problems using it as a carry-on. It is also, unfortunately, a bit more likely to tip over when the daypack is attached and full of heavy stuff.
The Ozone Convertible 22″/50L can also look a bit sportier in its red version and “techy” with all its zippers and straps. Unlike the Sojourn, it has a dedicated laptop sleeve.
This piece is quite comfortable to wear on your back when needed for long stretches (in fact, I put the emptied bag on my back while writing this article at a standing desk to check something, and after twenty minutes realized that I had forgotten to take it off.) Like the Sojourn and unlike the Meridian, it has a hip belt, making it suitable for longer treks over bumpy roads. And, as with the other models here, it rolls well — the high chassis wheels are solidly built into the unit and give enough clearance to get you over rough terrain.
Best for Backpacker-Style Travel — but with Cheat-Wheels: The Osprey Sojourn 45L/22″
The Osprey Sojourn 45L/22″ is rather unique in that it combines the features of a top-notch backpackers’ pack with the great high-clearance wheels of the Ozone and Meridian lines — and it does all this in a carry-on.
That means maybe a bit of backpacker feature overkill for a small wheeled carry-on, but for those who need it mainly as a small, ultra-sturdy and comfortable backpack, it is certainly ideal. The back-panel suspension system is ventilated to keep you dry and everything about it is adjustable so that you can properly distribute your load. There are hip and sternum straps, and the whole suspension system is removable, for when you want to go with just wheels.
Just a bit of warning from the well-traveled: We think people tend to overestimate how much they’ll use backpack straps and underestimate how much they’ll love wheels. It’s lovely to pull a piece rather than have that parasitic hump stuck to your back.
But for those who most often find themselves far from smooth pavement — and would also like wheels for when they’re in more civilized territories — the Osprey Sojourn 45L/22″ is going to feel great.
The Sojourn lacks a laptop sleeve, so it’s not ideal for those who carry laptops or tablets, unless you also purchase an attachable daypack such as the Osprey Daylite, which is designed to hook onto the Sojourn. See here for more on separate Osprey daypack options.
Similar Osprey Carry-On Pieces to Consider
There are a few other Ozone carry-ons to consider. These are marketed without the term “convertible”; they do not convert into backpacks. They are simply lightweight but durable carry-ons.
Osprey Ozone 46L/22in Much like the Ozone Convertible 22in discussed above, but without the daypack nor backpack straps $227.70 Check on AmazonOsprey Ozone 36L/18in A slightly smaller version, also without the daypack nor backpack strapsOsprey Ozone Adult Daypack A daypack that is designed to attach onto either of the two Ozone pieces above
Note that on some airlines, for example many budget airlines in Europe, you cannot carry a personal item like a daypack in addition to your carry-on; you will thus be forced to check one of the two.
It is for this reason, plus the simplicity of being able to fully zip everything together into a single pack, that we recommend the Osprey Meridian and Osprey Ozone Convertible carry-ons instead of buying separate pieces. But if those things aren’t an issue for you, and you never need backpack straps, these options immediately above are excellent.
Osprey Meridian, Ozone, and Sojourn Specs Side-by-Side
|Carry-On||Dimensions (in.)||Weight (lbs.)||Daypack||Hipbelt||Laptop Sleeve||US Pricing|
|Osprey Meridian 22″/60L||22 x 14 x 9||8.4||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Osprey Ozone Convertible 22″/50L||9 x 22 x 14||6.9||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Osprey Sojourn 22″/45L||22 x 14 x 9||8||No||Yes||No|
|Osprey Ozone 22″/46L||9 x 14 x 22||4.4||No||No||No||Osprey Ozone 22″/46 L Wheeled Luggage, Black $227.70|
|Osprey Ozone 18″/36L||9 x 14 x 19||4||No||No||No|
Roundup: Which Osprey Convertible Carry-On Is Best for You? And what are the best prices?
We have fancy software that updates the prices listed here daily, but nevertheless click through to Amazon to check the prices on various colors as they can vary enormously; these listed prices can thus be misleading if you’re flexible on color choice.
Osprey Meridian 60L/22in For the city traveller who carries a laptop and doesn’t use backpack straps too often $349.95 Check on Amazon Ozone Convertible 50/22 Discontinued and difficult to find; light and adaptable for all sorts of travel including with a laptop and on any terrain Osprey Sojourn 45L/22in For those who are mainly on rougher terrain or just prefer carrying things mainly on their backs; no laptop sleeve and daypack not included
Osprey Ozone Convertible 22″/50L Wheeled Luggage, Hoodoo Red
Osprey’s Ozone Convertible 50L/22″ is a travelling chameleon. First, it’s a piece of wheeled luggage perfectly sized to meet the airline’s maximum carry-on size specifications. But it has a hidden backpack suspension system so you can carry on when the pavement ends. When you reach base camp, you can zip off the Ozone Convertible’s detachable daypack and keep on exploring. At the base of the pack, Osprey’s HighRoad LT Chassis combines a durable ABS plastic back platp on exploring. At the base of the pack, Osprey’s HighRoad LT Chassis combines a durable ABS plastic back plate with a lightweight aluminum frame to ride on large, sealed bearing wheels for easy rolling even on bumpy cobblestones. Internal and external compression straps add extra stability. Open the panel zipper to access the spacious main compartment where a series of carefully designed inner storage pockets line the periphery. Exterior features include a top zippered pocket for quick access to your water bottle and other small items. There’s a large front zippered panel pocket and a back pocket with a drain port for damp storage. Low profile carry handles on top and side provide purchase when you have to hoist the bag up into the back of the chicken bus in Guatemala. An internal ID card holder helps reunite you with you gear should it go astray while making a tight connection. The detachable Ozone Convertible Daypack’s main compartment has storage for a laptop, tablet and extra clothes or food. There’s a front panel pocket and also a zippered pocket for securing small items. The scratch-free exterior slash pocket protects your sunglasses or electronics. Wide U-shaped access to the main packing area.… read more
We’ve been reviewing rolling travel backpacks for years, and so we were jazzed about the release of the Eagle Creek Expanse Convertible International Carry-On, and about comparing it to our favorite similar offering from Osprey, the Ozone Convertible 22″/50L.
Eagle Creek is a trusted and reliable manufacturer of quality gear, and is known for its great guarantee. We found the Eagle Creek Expanse Convertible International Carry-On to be another solid piece from them.
But we’ve hardly made it a secret that we think that the best rolling carry-on backpack is the Osprey Ozone Convertible 22in/50L Wheeled Luggage, and, after performing this comparison, our viewpoint hasn’t changed.
Eagle Creek’s wheeled backpack does have some points in its favor, however — especially price. For some, it may be just fine or even better.
We’ll start with an quick side-by-side look at these two bags and then discuss our thoughts a bit more fully below.
Update History of This Article
This article was originally published on Tuesday, July 3, 2018.
Side-by-side: The Osprey Ozone Convertible 22″/50L vs. the Eagle Creek Expanse Convertible International Carry-On
|Eagle Creek Expanse Convertible International Carry-On||Osprey Ozone Convertible 22in/50L Wheeled Luggage|
|Our take in a nutshell|| PROS:
• Good features and quality in a small package
• Lacks a detachable daypack, which we find essential, but it can be coupled with other bags (see below)
• Often tips when another bag is stacked on its pull handle
• Offers more features, a great build quality, and more space
• More organizational pockets, including smart easy-access top pockets and side drink pockets
• Included detachable daypack is incredibly convenient
• Tendency to tip at rest when the daypack is too full and is zipped to main bag
|Detachable daypack||No, but there are external lash points to attach additional gear (for example the Eagle Creek Converge Backpack has a slot on its back panel that can fit over the pull handle)||Comfortable-to-carry daypack detaches via zipper from the main pack. Plenty of organizational pockets, side water bottle pockets, and a nice loop so that it slides quickly over the telescoping handle of the main bag.|
|Reflective accents for visability||Yes, and they’re cute, not blaring||No|
|Built-in safety whistle||No||Yes, on daypack sternum strap|
|Discrete ID pocket||Yes||Yes|
|Lockable zippers||Yes; main compartment and front pocket can be locked together in single system||Yes; main compartments of main bag and daypack can be locked separately|
|Compression straps||Dual interior and dual exterior compression straps||Dual interior and dual exterior compression straps|
|Dirty laundry||Goes in mesh divider pocket on flap||Goes in mesh divider pocket on flap of main bag|
|Telescoping handle||Sturdy dual-bar telescoping handle; provides balance if another Eagle Creek daybag with slit is placed over it||Sturdy T-shaped telescoping handle|
|Wheels||Smooth rolling, sturdy housing; less clearance from ground so not as well suited for rougher roads||Excellently built into sturdy housing, smooth rolling; designed for great clearance from ground so suitable for rough roads|
|For tech gear||Padded laptop sleeve for up to a 13″ laptop, but it’s on the exterior flap of the bag so quite not as well-protected||Padded laptop sleeve on interior side of inside of the daypack (which zips to combine onto the back of the main bag), padded tablet pocket|
|Backpack straps||Comfortable for lighter loads over shorter to medium distances with basic padded, ventilated shoulder straps, sternum strap||More comfortable to carry larger loads for longer distances; has wide, well-padded, ventilated shoulder straps, sternum strap, and hip strap|
|Carry handles||On top and on both sides, stick out a bit||On top and side, designed to be “low profile” and not catch on passing objects when not needed|
|Materials||420D two-tone poly, 300D diamond ripstop poly, 500D Oxford poly||210D nylon shadow box on main bag, 420HD nylon packcloth on bottom|
|Carry-on sized||Yes; this is well within all major national and international airlines’ size requirements.||Yes; while you should always check the requirements of particular airlines, and it can be close to some limits, we’ve never had any issues with this piece on national or international flights. If it’s truly overstuffed and borderline, you could detach the daypack and use it as your “personal item”.|
|Dimensions (in.)||21.25 high by 13.75 wide by 8 deep||22 high by 12 wide by 9 deep|
|Dimensions (cm.)||54 high by 35 wide by 20 deep||56 high by 30 wide by 23 deep|
|Warranty||Excellent lifetime warranty with good history of follow-through||Excellent lifetime warranty with good history of follow-through|
|Available at|| Amazon
|Amazon Pricing (updated daily)||$179.00||Price not available|
Further Considerations on Osprey’s and Eagle Creek’s Rolling/Backpack Carry-Ons
Some love the combo of rolling bags/backpacks, some don’t. Our take: they’re by far the best way to travel, and they’re almost always what we use ourselves.
Our top pick in this category for more than a year has been the Osprey Ozone Convertible 22in/50L Wheeled Luggage, and we think it still handily wins out in this comparison. Osprey’s bag is more fully-featured, durable and well-constructed.
The Osprey Ozone Convertible carries more stuff (50L if stuffed to the gills, compared to the Eagle Creek bag’s 30L). And Osprey’s combo carry-on features a detachable daypack, a feature that we think is indispensable for travel. The daypack can be reattached in a moment via zipper, which can save you on luggage fees for airlines that don’t allow a separate personal item along with your carry-on (often the case in Europe).
The one drawback we see with the Ozone Convertible 22″/50L is that if the daypack is overfull and zipped onto the main pack, the whole unit is prone to tipping. This can be avoided by looping the daypack over the pull handle and resting it on top, or by just carrying the daypack and rolling the main bag. Overall, this is a minor annoyance and doesn’t for a moment stop us from reaching for the Osprey Ozone when heading out on our world travels.
All that said, the Eagle Creek Expanse Convertible International Carry-On is also an excellently designed and lovely pick if you don’t need a daypack, or if you’re willing to buy one separately. Eagle Creek’s various daypacks generally come with a sleeve that allows them to slip over double pull handles while riding on top. There are also external lash points that you can use to hook on extra items via carabiners.
The Eagle Creek unit’s side and top straps do not feel as integrated into the body of the bag as Osprey’s; we don’t think they’ll break but they are more likely to stick out and snag on things. And the Eagle Creek bag shares Osprey’s tipping issue: slide a daypack over the pull handle and let go, and the unit may not stay upright.
The Eagle Creek Expanse Convertible International Carry-On is a bit small, even for the tastes of extremely light travellers like ourselves. Others who reviewed the Eagle Creek generally complain that it’s small size makes it only suitable for a several-days journey.
Both Osprey and Eagle Creek offer equally fantastic lifetime guarantees and have a relatively good track record with travellers for follow-through in that regard.
Demonstration Videos of the Eagle Creek Expanse Convertible International and Osprey Ozone Convertible 22″/50L
Here is each bag being opened up and turned about by salespeople, plus a look at their pockets and guts.
Wrap-Up: Which Convertible Backpack Is Better for You: Osprey’s or Eagle Creek’s?
Both are great choices. Prices vary widely over time on Osprey’s offering, but if you can afford it, it’s almost certainly the best choice. At the time of this writing, Osprey’s bag had come down quite a bit in price on Amazon; the most up-to-date daily pricing is shown in the boxes below. Also click over to Amazon to check the prices for different colors — sometimes prices vary enormously by color.
The Eagle Creek option remains a solid runner-up and a fine bag for most needs.
Osprey Ozone Convertible 22in/50L Wheeled Luggage An extremely well-built and more-fully featured backpack/roller carry-on and our overall favorite in the category; has a detachable daypack, side drink pockets, an easy-access top pocketEagle Creek Expanse Convertible International Carry-On A simple, well-made, convenient backpack/roller carry-on; lacks a daypack $179.00 Check on eBags Check on Amazon