You might think backpack-only travel is just for hostel-hoppers and long-distance hikers, but depending on your trip, a backpack can actually be more convenient than a rolling suitcase. Rolling luggage is useful at the airport, but if you’re planning on visiting multiple cities and relying on train and bus transfers, luggage you can wear will make getting around much easier.
On my recent trip to France and Spain, I took the Osprey Ozone Duplex 60 backpack as my only luggage for 14 days abroad. I flew a budget airline and paid an extra $55 on top of my base fare to bring one carry-on with me. Unbeknownst to the budget airline, the backpack I was carrying was actually two backpacks in one. The Ozone Duplex is designed in two parts—a day bag for your laptop and other essentials, and a cargo bag for clothes and non-immediate items. They can be carried separately or secured together with the buckle system. Even when stuffed to the brim and in one piece, I had no trouble fitting this backpack in the overhead compartment.
What I like most about the Ozone Duplex’s design is that the day bag has easy-access pockets on the back-facing side, which gave me more confidence that important items like my passport and laptop were well protected from pickpocketers and unexpected bumps. The cargo bag, when filled with clothes, provided a good cushion for my more fragile gear, which I kept packed in the day bag.
With the help of packing cubes and the built-in compression straps, I was able to pack much more than I originally thought, which left me with plenty of room to bring home souvenirs or justify buying new clothes. Once I was settled into my accommodation, I kept the bags separate, so it was easy to keep track of what was in my clothing bag and what was in my gear bag. I also appreciated the large mesh pocket in the cargo bag that I could use for dirty laundry. Another bonus of the Ozone Duplex’s split-functioning is that if your bag gets too heavy, you can remove the cargo bag and use the attachable duffel strap to carry it on your shoulder.
Wearing this backpack around felt very comfortable, but note that it has a lot of straps, so if you don’t have everything buckled in correctly, the weight distribution can be off-kilter. Unfortunately, there are not a lot of pockets to tuck the straps and buckles away when you’re not using them.
Price and where to buy it: $220 on Amazon.com.
How the Osprey Duplex Rates:
- Usefulness: 10/10. With main pockets that are easy to access, hidden pockets for valuables, two water bottle pockets, and a padded laptop sleeve, this backpack is extremely useful for keeping organized on a busy trip. Plus, the fact that it can split into two separate backpacks might come in handy more than you anticipate.
- Value: 8/10. For a carry-on bag that will last you our whole trip and many more, the price is pretty good. You’ll get your miles out of this bag, whether you just bring along the day bag or use the cargo bag as well for your travels.
- Portability: 7/10. It’s a decent size backpack, but the hip strap and weight-distribution system help make it feel lighter. I also appreciate the many handles to grip it and the extra strap to transform it into a duffel bag. However, I wish there was more of a system in place for tucking the straps away for those moments you need to put the bag down.
- Cool Factor: 9/10. I got a lot of compliments on this bag as I was traveling, and I liked that the blue color is easy to spot but not obnoxiously bright. Its smart design also gives it extra points in the cool category.
Final Verdict: The Osprey Ozone Duplex 60 is a great backpack for a long trip with a lot of transfers. With its smart two-bag design and cleverly placed pockets, I stayed organized and felt ready for just about any packing situation that might come up.
More from SmarterTravel:
- 7 Modern Travel Backpacks That Will Update the Way You Travel
- How to Pack a Backpack: 5 Essential Tips
- Can You Find These 10 Carry-on Mistakes?
Jamie Ditaranto a is writer and photographer always looking for her next adventure. Follow her on Instagram @jamieditaranto.
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