There’s a classic gear problem for the adventurous traveler: You’re an active type who relishes the opportunity to hike, trail run, scramble, mountain bike and generally play hard on your upcoming trip. But, you’ve also got camera equipment, your iPad/iPhone, a neck pillow, a giant bag of peanut M&M’s, 2 guidebooks, along with other associated schwag needed for the long plane flight to get to your destination.
And, you need to lug a bigger load of gear like hiking boots, a sleeping bag or a climbing helmet, maybe some trekking poles, and enough clothes for and gear for 10 days of exploring, not forgetting to bring a few things to look a bit more urbane in the evening.
Finally, you’re sensitive to airline baggage fees, and you’re not willing to trade functionality and ruggedness for having a sporty carry-on.
Solution #1: The Osprey Shuttle Wheeled Duffel, 32″
Checked it in at the airport, and roll it smoothly off the baggage conveyer belt when you arrive. Unless you’re packing barbells, the Shuttle Wheeled Duffel, weighing in at less than 9 lbs, will maximize your usable space while keeping you safely below the 50 lb. threshold for extra baggage fees. (If you buy one of the monster-sized rolling duffel made by several companies, prepare to spend $50+ every time you check in to a flight, since you’ll almost always be over the weight limit. And their size virtually guarantees that you won’t get the wink-and-forget-about-it treatment from a friendly check in agent.)
From there, the bag is a great size to navigate narrow streets on rugged wheels, without the backbreaking strain of a traditional duffel. With Osprey’s traditional “burrito” design, the bag cinches down to remove unnecessary bulk, and doesn’t have all kinds of extraneous straps and loops that typically snag on conveyer belts, bus roof racks, and narrow aisles. The tough cordura padded exterior prevents cuts and scrapes from doing any meaningful damage and provides protection for everything packed inside. A zippered side pocket along with internal pockets and dividers ensure you won’t spend 15 minutes digging for that headlamp stuck in between your socks, and the over-sized wheels mean you won’t get knocked sideways by the cobblestones of Quito or the muddy streets of Sayulita.
Solution #2: The Osprey Stratos 24 Pack
The perfect pack for bringing on the plane and stuffing overhead, but even more importantly, ready for serious multi-sport use in the great outdoors when you arrive at your destination.
In transit, the pack will fit your laptop or tablet, and enough stuff to keep everything small and important within arm’s reach. Forget about bringing a shoulder bag or other urban hipster sack — it won’t cut mustard in the back-country, and you’ll be cursing the lack of dual shoulder straps on long layovers, security lines, or terminal walks. Plus, since it’s compatible with your hydration bladder, you can sip your favorite beverage in-flight or in-transit without relying on airplane water or overpriced Evian. The top pocket offers easy access to boarding passes, passports, or Snickers bars.
Just as importantly, the pack really shines where it’s meant to – outside. Osprey’s DNA is based on designing highly functional backpacks where they actually think about the little things we’ve all thought about on the trail, like “why can’t I stash some little things that I use a lot—digital camera, lip balm, sunblock, hat, gloves—in a way that doesn’t require me to take off the pack?” A mesh back panel prevents sweaty back syndrome, an integrated rain cover fits like a glove for inclement weather, hip belt pockets make gear accessible, and technical features like an ice axe loop and an intelligent suspension ensure that the Stratos will be with you every step of the way on your active vacation.
Of course, Osprey isn’t the only company making day packs and rolling duffels, and other good options exist on the market. One thing’s for sure however: these two essential pieces of gear can take you from Tahiti to Timbuktu, without compromising your travel or adventure experiences.
Article by Josh Steinitz, originally written for NileGuide