May 27

Review: The Osprey Transporter 120, The Family Size Wheeled Duffel Bag

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  • Review: The Osprey Transporter 120, The Family Size Wheeled Duffel Bag

The Osprey Transporter 120 promises to be the adventure-proof wheelie or best family size rolling  duffel bag.  Here, we put it to the test. Read on for the full Osprey Transporter review.

The Osprey Transporter 120 Review: The Best Rolling Duffel Bag for Families

Osprey Transporter 120 Review

Disclosure: if you buy through the links on this page, we may earn a small commission at no cost to you.

A Rolling Transporter

I’m going to be honest with you. My backpacking days are well and truly over. In fact, they have been for years.

Around a decade ago, I made the switch from trusty 65 litres on my back to who- cared- what-size on wheels.

While I was making this tough emotional transition (Who was I? What did this mean? What had I become?!) I dabbled with a hybrid.

Osprey Transporter 120 Review

This Osprey bag promised to cater to the best of both worlds. On wheels for the city, with a zip down harness so you could wear it as a backpack. And it was almost brilliant.

Except. After a while (three weeks on the road, in fact, zig zagging the former iron curtain for my Iron Route project from Istanbul to Berlin) I realised one simple fact.

I never unzipped it to use the harness.

Maybe once on a staircase in Budapest. But then the wheels dug in so that was that.

Backpacks Vs Wheelie Cases

No. I truly was now a wheelie girl and I should never darken my shoulders with a backpack again.

But you know what? Wheels aren’t perfect. Wheels don’t cover everything and I still haven’t given up my quest to find the perfect bag.

Wheels and hard cases often won’t fit in overhead lockers – and if you’re taking a tiny plane on safari, for example, they simply won’t be allowed on some planes. Everything needs to be, ahem, squashable.

Plus, a hard-shelled wheelie is OK until you have trouble trying to get into it. You need a wide open space (that’s preferably clean.) It’s so undignified to be scrabbling around on the airport floor dealing with a wheelie.

So, that’s where duffles work well.

Except, duffles are hard to carry.

Argh! It’s the conundrum that never ends! (Dear readers, I’m only joking. I have a perspective on what really matters in life and I understand that it isn’t this.)

Related: Gifts for Travellers Just Got Better. Here’s How.

 

Introducing The Osprey Transporter

So. Enter the Osprey Transporter system: the “Adventure Proof” duffel on wheels.

After applying myself to a strict suitcase diet for a number of years (as enforced by the management/husband) it was time to dabble again.

I’d moved house. Had a loft now.

Back into the game I went with the Osprey Transporter.

So, how did it go?

Pretty well!

Osprey Transporter 120 Review

 The Osprey Transporter Review

First of all, I like the massive size. There’s a range of options (40, 90 and 120 litres) but when travelling with family, especially when glamping, size is great. There’s extra bedding, slings, sheets, towels, nappies and all sorts that even the luxest glamping establishment doesn’t provide.

Second, it’s easy to get to your stuff. There’s a giant, zippable entrance point with no clamshell problems.

Osprey Transporter 120 Review

Inside, a series of clips help secure your belongings for you strange people who somehow don’t fill it already. On the outside, another couple of clips secure things further so it’s all pretty snug.

At one end, there’s another accessible compartment which is great for two things in particular:

  • Things you may need at the airport (like a swiss army knife to cut through the plastic protective tags when heading somewhere where theft is high risk)
  • Jumpers, suncream and the like for heading on a domestic trip

Osprey Transporter 120 Review

There’s also a clear area for a luggage label.

Inside, the part that folds out to let you in to the main compartment are two meshed, zippable compartments so you can stash quick access goods there too.

It’s worth noting that the extendable handle doesn’t go far: it doesn’t need to as the suitcase is so long already but if you’re used to stacking smaller luggage items on this then it’s something to pay attention to.

Related: 101 Stress Free Travel Tips

Adventure Proofing

Now, what about the adventure proofing?

The material is pretty hardcore (technically 840D Nylon TPU Double Coated if you’re wondering.)

Splashproof, nearly waterproof and tough to cut into unless someone really means it.

The wheels and high Osprey HighRoad™ chassis promise you can wheel across stones without damaging or soaking your kit. This works well on cobbles and uneven ground but does struggle a little when the going gets really uneven or muddy.

Still, it rolls far, far better than a usual wheelie suitcase, though, and everything, eventually, has limits.

I have it in the Kingfisher Blue shade. What can I say? I love blue and I love a bit of poetry in a name! It does show the dirt, though, which may or not bother you. It's also available in black or Ruffian Red if you go for the Rolling Transporter 40 size.

Osprey Transporter Review

Related: The Best Cabin Luggage For ALL Occasions (Seriously.)

Hefty Handles

One other thing. The handles for carrying (rather than wheeling) are just what you need. Sturdy, soft, strong. They could be the Andrex puppy advert of suitcase handles.

They’re also obvious so that people use them when offering to help instead of yanking your case by the wheelie handle (argh!) which tends to (eventually) break or damage it (for every bag I’ve ever known.)

There are four, so you can grab them every which way.

Weight

At 3.85 kg, this is certainly not an ultra light bag but if you want the wheels, that’s usually the price you have to pay.

Specification

Weight: 3.85 kg
Maximum Dimensions (cm): 97 (l) x 57 (w) x 38 (d)
Main Fabric: 840D Nylon TPU Double Coated

Where to Buy the Osprey 120 Transporter

You can read more about the Osprey Transporter Bags here and specifically the Osprey Transporter 120 here. The latter retails at £240 at the time of writing, although prices may change.

More Travel Gear Reviews and Packing Checklists

For a more lightweight wheeled duffel bag, check out the Osprey 65 review and the cabin sized Osprey 36 review.

For city breaks and around town, check out the Arcane Osprey Tote Bag review.

Find our other travel gear reviews and packing lists here. In particular, check out the ultimate travel packing checklist with printable.


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About the author

Abi King

Hi, I'm Abi, a doctor turned writer who's worked with Lonely Planet, the BBC, UNESCO and more. Find out more.

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