Tested: Osprey Transporter

By Justin Walker 22 June 2016
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Justin Walker reviews the 130L duffel Osprey Transporter.

HOW TECHNICAL CAN the design brief for a duffel bag be? The answer is: not very. The only thing you need to worry about when looking to buy one of these ubiquitous load-luggers is that it will fit all your gear in, said gear stays protected, and it is as easy to carry as it is to stuff in the back of your vehicle (or on the back of a yak). Yep, it is simple, and that’s what makes duffel bags the primary choice for adventurous travellers: they are basic, robust and reliable.

Osprey’s Transporter (the 130L is tested here – weighing just 1.25kg unladen) sticks to the tried-and-true duffel formula, enhanced with Osprey’s expected high level of innovation, design and construction. A large main-zipped opening, tough base (900-denier material), and handy side-zipped compartments ensure there’s plenty of room and protection for your kit. Osprey also adds versatility with the straps being able to be repositioned to run through the duffel’s slider buckles, so you can carry it as a backpack. It sounds a bit complex but it’s dead easy to adjust and makes a huge difference if you’re walking between flights/transport.

The larger Transporters are great for multi-activity trips, allowing you to carry helmets, shoes, hiking boots, and whatever else you could need. (Image courtesy of Osprey)

As well as the main carry straps, there are two handles at either end, plus webbing attachment points so you can be sure the pack is secured when it needs to be during transportation. The lid even has a padded/zipped section for laptop/tablet storage – something very handy for in-vehicle packing, so you won’t stress out so much about your laptop sitting on top of the luggage inside the bag with the padding above it.

With 130 litres of storage capacity, the Transporter has been my recent go-to for long, multi-activity based trips, where I need to pack not only clothing but also equipment such as bike helmets and shoes, hiking boots, water bladders, etc. All this gear is bulky and soon reduces your luggage’s capacity to actually carry the clothes you need. With the 130L Transporter, this has never been an issue.

There are two features I am really impressed with on the Transporter. The first is the zipped lid that – unlike most other duffels – opens to one (short) side of the top, providing excellent access to the Transporter’s interior space for being able to see all the area you have at your disposal, and for easy packing. The second feature I love is the fact it can be stored inside itself; one of the side compartments actually doubles as the Transporter’s storage. You simply tuck it all in the zipped opening (similar to stuffing a sleeping bag, really), and then zip it all up. Nice!

The Transporter represents great value for money and for something so simple, it combines some nice welcome technical touches, such as the ability to carry it backpack-style, with a light overall weight and a robust design.