The Osprey Transporter 40L is a tough backpack come duffle bag that has a hideaway harness system and padded shoulder straps making it a comfortable prospect for packing in a day's worth of bike gear or traipsing the floors of airports. It's small enough to use as carry on airline luggage but the lack of hip strap makes it suitable for only short bike journeys.
Traditionally duffel bags were all about the shoulder strap or two grab handles, now many offer alternative methods of carrying, such as rucksack straps. Osprey is one of these, there are backpack straps that can be stowed away seamlessly inside the top flap. This means if the bag gets stuffed full or you need both hands free this duffle converts easily to a pack and when you'd rather it was a shoulder pack the backpack straps are tucked completely out of view and more importantly out of the way of the user. The extra straps does add a little weight though, 1.21kg is rather heavy for a bag of this type and size. There are also no carry handles as you might expect, you can use the shoulder straps as grab handles but they don't distribute the weight evenly. This is really a backpack shaped like a duffel or a shoulder bag.
This pack is 40L in volume (there are larger packs available) and it'll fit a days riding gear plus clean clothes in easily. The outer is tough, you can throw this pack down on any trail centre car park and be safe in the knowledge that you aren't going to damage it. The Osprey Transporter is made of 800D Nylon that’s been coated with TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) for additional weather resistance. It doesn't profess to be waterproof but it'll hold up well in a shower. The Transporter shakes off dirty kit with this wipe clean exterior and interior, although the slightly plastic top does get a bit sweaty against the back, something you might expect though from a duffle, a design not exactly optimised for rear airflow.
The large zip is rugged and quite happy to be tugged hard when closing a perhaps overfull pack, you can lock the main zip with a padlock too, for your travels. I did find the U-shaped opening does need to be held flat whilst closing to help the zip run smoothly though.
Also on the outside is an outside pocket on one end which is concealed by a flap making it rather hard to reach but does add weather protection. There are carry handles on all four sides, making this bag easy to grab from the car boot, airport conveyor belt or van etc.
Inside the pack are straps on the bottom to hold kit flat, I didn't use these much though, you are better off using individual dry packs or other means of compartmentalising your gear to keep it tidy. There is one inside mesh pocket which, given the propensity for kit to get messy inside a duffel bag, could do with being larger or duplicated down the sides or the other end of the bag.
Carrying the pack as a shoulder bag is best done when the pack is less full, it's preferable to use it as a backpack when it's full to the brim. The shoulder straps are well padded and help distribute the weight evenly. Given the nature of the cavernous interior and the fact there are no side straps to cinch in gear, most items do tend to fall to the bottom and rattle around with the bag slouching slightly if it's less than full when upright in backpack mode. The bag itself slightly crumples too so don't put anything freshly ironed in their either!
Riding with the pack is ok for short commutes or journeys but the lack of waist strap means that it's less stable than it otherwise might be. The weight will also solely be on the shoulders too, depending on how heavy the pack it, this might get rather tiring. There is however a sternum strap to stabilise the shoulder straps which is nice to see.
The last thing to note is the packability, this compresses down into a smallish rectangle with its own case for storage which is pretty handy when home or away. At £100, you do get a lot of features for your dollar but it's still pricey I think given the simple interior and lack of organisation pockets.
If you want a hand luggage sized duffel for carrying for quite some distances or whilst cycling, this duffle that converts to a backpack will be right up your street. If you'd rather a simple duffle holdall with grab handles for carrying you'd better look elsewhere as this one doesn't shine in this area.
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