Gear Review: 3-in-1 Backpackable Suitcase by Osprey Ozone Convertible Series
We've all seen those people struggling through the airport, you know, the ones with huge, heavy packs along with another backpack or carry-on that keeps falling off their shoulder—nobody wants to be “that guy.” Instead, check out Osprey’s stripped down Ozone Series that offers up a lightweight and durable convertible suitcase. The new line of luggage has you covered for everything from typical travel to multi-day backpack trips and sightseeing in the city. The Ozone Convertible Series is a wheeled suitcase, a backpack, and a daypack all in one.
The series comes in carry-on size 50L, or 70L for larger adventures, but both weigh less than seven pounds. The daypack is 15L, which is plenty of space for a decent hike. The pack also has all of the components to help you travel more simply. There is a large padded laptop pocket, as well as another pocket for a tablet, and a clip for your keys in the smaller, outer pocket. Although there isn't a specific compartment for a bladder, you can easily stick your bladder into the laptop pocket or use the two side bottle pockets instead. The daypack has all of the necessities that a regular, everyday daypack has too, such as a chest strap with a whistle, and padded, vented shoulder straps. Luckily, attaching and detaching the daypack is as easy as two toggles, color-coded clips, and swiping a zipper. I was even able to detach the daypack right before putting the rest of the suitcase in overhead storage, without holding up the line or creating cranky passengers.
The rest of the Ozone system is sleek and lightweight, even when stuffed full of gear. Both the inside and the outside of the suitcase have two compression straps, so you can pack it full of stuff without worrying if the lockable zippers will pop or your load will shift. Padded handles on all sides make it easy to grab and lift into an overhead bin or onto a security belt, and the frame and high-traction wheels are very sturdy, so the pack won't tip over easily. Inside are three zip pockets, and on the outside you'll find a small top pocket that makes grabbing liquids easy when trudging through security. There is also a pocket on the back of the suitcase that is perfect for magazines or other quick-grab items.
In this back pocket, you'll also find the torso adjustable harness and padded mesh back panel. The system quite easily pulls out to use, or can be removed completely when your trip won’t involve any backpacking. A word of advice: before ripping out the removable harness system for when you don't need it, take a look at how it is all hooked in. Osprey does a great job with color-coded clips and instructions, but knowing how it’s packed in will make it easier to get back in.
The harness, straps, and hipbelt all connect in one piece, with the strap's main hub Velcro-ing into the pack compartment—you can adjust this part by following the arrows and moving the hub up or down on the Velcro. The shoulder straps have load-lifter clips that click in on top of the suitcase. The lower-back padding and the hip belt clip in with color-coded clips to the back of the pack, as well as to the bottom of the suitcase (the clips at the bottom are a bit tricky, but eventually they do click). As confusing as this sounds, the system really is easy to use, easy to remove, and easy to pack back in. Similar to the daypack, the suspension system is padded and vented, and adjusts just like any other backpack. Other than the wheels and the handle, you'd never know any other difference.
It's a daypack-roller duo or a backpack-able wheeled suitcase with a detachable daypack; whatever you call it, it's pretty handy when it comes to traveling. Are you going to forgo your regular pack and use this on a 10-day backpacking trip? Probably not. But when a big trip is coming up, and you want to score some sweet hikes or a few days of backpacking in the country's wilderness along with sightseeing, this is the suitcase (or should we say pack?) for you.
Hits: Makes a travel-plus-backpack vacation much easier; lightweight and durable; easy to convert from suitcase to backpack or detach the daypack
Misses: Takes a few times to get the suspension system quickly and easily setup; no bladder compartment in daypack
Price: $299 for 50L; $329 for 70L