Osprey Transporter 90 Litre Wheeled Duffel Bag Review

10th Oct 2018

Osprey Europe Wheeled Transporter 90 Litre-2

I have been a big fan of the Osprey Transporter Duffel Bags since testing their super sized 120 version (review here) and using the 90 litre version on a very regular basis. Recently, they combined their extensive knowledge of wheeled luggage and their duffel expertise to  introduce a series of wheeled versions and they sent a 90 litre version for Peak Mountaineering review.......

Features

Like the standard Transporters, the rolling version is made from burly double coated 840D nylon TPU fabric.  The wheel section of the bag features their tried and tested High Road chassis with a retractable handle featuring Ergo Grip.  The bag opens via a burly 2 way lockable zipper that extends around 3 sides and unzips to allow very easy access to the contents.  Inside the lid are 2 zipped mesh pockets for storing smaller items and, if the bag isn’t fully loaded (or even if it is!), there are compression straps to clamp everything down tightly.  

On the outside there are four beefy grab handles and a zipped stash pocket plus an ID card holder.  The weatherproof flap that protects the zipper clips down with quick release buckles in the corners and Osprey have even added a ‘double up’ attachment strap that allows 2 duffles to be linked or, alternatively, it can be used to fasten another bag onto the outside.  Great attention to detail.

In Use

I haven’t used a wheeled duffel before and, before testing this one, I would probably have argued that they aren’t really necessary.  You can throw your standard duffle on an airport trolley or carry it with the shoulder straps (a feature on most standard bags) but, as soon as I had tried the Rolling Transporter on my recent Greece trip, I was hooked. You pull it out of your car at the airport parking, click up the handle and go. It is so easy to move around and, when you line up in the check in, it will stand next to you ready to wheel effortlessly along the line.  When your bag comes off the luggage carousel at your destination there is no need for a trolley and you can wheel it straight out of the terminal and to your awaiting transport.  It is absolutely great to have this facility.  

The Rolling Transporter features beefy all terrain wheels that have shrugged off the rough and tumble of air travel and coped easily with being yanked up pavement edges or crossing rough car parks.  The wheels attach onto Osprey’s High Road chassis which offers the rigid frame around which the bag is built.  Frames of this type inevitably add some weight and bulk to the bag but it still manages to be comparatively unobtrusive.  It also, crucially, is strong and solid enough to give you the confidence that the bag will perform superbly.   

The chassis also allows the bag to stand upright.  This has proved really useful when heading into airport or hotel lifts and also makes it simple when standing in check in or passport queues.  It may also be that you have a smaller hand luggage bag or briefcase and there is a nifty addition on the outside of the Transporter to help - Osprey have provided a little clip in loop that you can attach another bag to and it can then be wheeled along with the Transporter.  A very nifty but useful design feature. 

The final link in the chain of the wheel system is the retractable handle which clicks up out of the chassis to allow the bag to be pulled along smoothly. The handle also features Osprey’s Ergogrip which offers a very comfortable hold.  I have tried the handles on similar bags and they have felt quite flimsy but, true to Osprey’s typical build quality, once this clicks into place it feels sturdy and reliable.  Osprey have made the Wheeled facility of this bag to survive.

Duffels are universally popular because of their simplicity, and once you look beyond the wheel system, the Rolling Transporter is a standard Transporter at heart.  Not that this is a bad thing of course as the Transporter has been my duffel bag of choice ever since I first tried them.  

The double coated TPU fabric Osprey use seems to shrug off anything you can throw at it.  After many trips and lots of day to day use the original Transporter I tested still looks as good as new and, although I haven’t been using the wheeled version anywhere near as long, I see no reason it won’t be the same.  

It is also very weather resistant.  Duffels of this type (with large zip entries and no taped seams) can never be waterproof, but it coped brilliantly on one very wet day strapped to a mule in Morocco recently (this was the non wheeled version but the wheeled version should perform to a similar standard).

Duffels swallow gear (which is a strength) but this can make it hard to find things when you are living out of them.  The Rolling Transporter has zippered mesh pockets inside the lid and a really handy external stash pocket and this combination really helps to keep key items accessible.  Beyond that, I would always suggest using some organiser bags inside a duffle to help keep things organised.  I previously discussed this here and here. Osprey have also added internal compression straps inside the main compartment which help massively when the duffle isn’t quite fully loaded and items will shift around - although it also helps if the bag is jam packed and you want to gain some assistance in closing the zip.

When you are pulling the bag off the airport luggage carousel the 4 external grab handles make it quick and simple and they would also make good attachment points if it is being lashed to something like a vehicle roof rack.  With typical attention to detail, Osprey have also made these handles padded and shaped so it is comfy to carry the bag if the terrain doesn’t allow use of the wheels. 

What else?  Well the lid design is great.  The 2 way zip has grippy pull tabs and it is burly enough to give you confidence that it won’t fail.  It also allows a lock to be used.  I also really like that the lid is covered by a sturdy flap that can be clipped down in the corners - this helps protect the zip and also seals against wild weather.  It also looks very neat.  Finally, Osprey have added an ID card holder on the outside.

I find the 90 litre duffel size (80 x 44 x 35 cms) to be optimum for so many situations but if you need something smaller there is the 40 litre version and a monster 120 litre is available if you need to haul some serious kit around.

Summary

I am a true convert to the joys of wheeled luggage and I can’t imagine a better travel companion than the Osprey Rolling Transporter.  It is rugged enough for everything an active life can through at it while being refined enough for a few nights in a posh hotel.  There are times when a wheeled duffle isn’t the perfect choice (when a bag is going to be loaded onto a mule or carried by porters then the rigid structure makes it more difficult for them) but whenever I can it is wheeled all the way.  

Osprey have produced another great addition to their range and I expect this will be very popular as it ticks a lot of boxes for a lot of people.  At £220 it is a fairly weighty investment, but you are getting a lot for your money and it is covered by Osprey’s 'All Mighty' guarantee.  It should also, given the superb quality, give you many years of hassle free travel.  A big yes vote from me for the Osprey Rolling Transporter 90 Litre and you can find full details on the Osprey website here.

Posted by Paul