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Osprey Daylite Wheeled Duffel 40 Review

From airports to the outdoors, you'll have the freedom to roll, carry, or backpack your stuff to wherever, making the journey as much fun as the destination
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Osprey Daylite Wheeled Duffel 40 Review
Credit: Jason Wanlass
Price:  $200 List
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Manufacturer:   Osprey
By Jason Wanlass ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 15, 2023
85
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#3 of 13
  • Capacity - 35% 9.3
  • Ease of Transport - 25% 8.0
  • Construction Quality - 20% 8.1
  • Design and Functionality - 20% 7.9

Our Verdict

Usable space and adaptability are key features that set the Osprey Daylite Wheeled Duffel 40 apart from its peers, making it the clear choice for adventure travelers. Simply put, it can carry more stuff than similar carry ons, and it quickly converts from roller luggage to a duffel bag to a backpack. The Daylite is lightweight but very durable, and it can swallow up everything from ski boots to climbing helmets and still have plenty of room for a few days worth of clothing. Its durable wheels allow it to adapt to a wide variety of terrain, including dirt roads and gravel. And when the adventure is over, the Daylite takes up very little closet space.
REASONS TO BUY
Converts to a backpack
Collapsible and easy to store
Great craftsmanship
Rugged
Lightweight
Large all-terrain wheels
REASONS TO AVOID
Stubborn zippers
Only two wheels
Slightly unstable when standing up
Trolley handle is somewhat thin and wobbly
Not completely water-resistant

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Bottom Line From hopping planes to hopping rocks, take your gear just about anywhere with this lightweight carry-on, backpack comboWith its thoughtful details, strong performance, and quality construction, this bag is a frequent traveler’s dreamAn affordable four-wheel roller with impressive storage space and numerous color optionsA host of useful features combined with a durable foundation and solid functionality make this reasonably priced softshell an easy choice to meet your carry-on needsA great bargain bag perfect for shorter jaunts and basic travel
Rating Categories Osprey Daylite Whee... Travelpro Platinum... Samsonite Omni PC H... SwissGear Sion Soft... Amazon Basics 20-In...
Capacity (35%)
9.3
7.6
8.4
7.2
6.0
Ease of Transport (25%)
8.0
9.5
5.9
6.3
6.0
Construction Quality (20%)
8.1
9.1
6.4
6.6
6.1
Design and Functionality (20%)
7.9
9.5
6.3
6.7
5.5
Specs Osprey Daylite Whee... Travelpro Platinum... Samsonite Omni PC H... SwissGear Sion Soft... Amazon Basics 20-In...
Weight (Measured) 4.6 lb 8.1 lb 6.8 lb 7.3 lb 6.6 lb
Exterior Dimensions 22.0" x 15.0" x 8.0" 23.5" x 14.3" x 9.0" 21.5" x 14.0" x 9.5" 23.0" x 14.1" x 10.0" 22.0" x 14.8" x 10.0"
Main Compartment Volume (Measured) 43.5 L 40 L 39 L 40.5 L 36 L
Exterior Material Recycled polyester Polycarbonate Polycarbonate Polyester Polycarbonate
Number of Wheels 2 4 4 4 4
Pull Handle Heights 1 (40.5") 5 (28", 36", 38", 40", 42.5") 5 (25", 30.5", 33", 36", 41.5") 3 (28", 34.5", 43") 2 (33", 41")
Opening Style Top lid Top lid Half shell Top lid Half shell
Locking System Zipper loop Zipper loop Combination/TSA lock Zipper loop None
Number of Exterior Pockets 2 3 None 2 None

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Osprey Daylite Wheeled Duffel 40 is our favorite pint-sized gear-hauler for several reasons, but our favorite features are its generous storage compartment and its ability to transform into a backpack or duffel with ease.

Performance Comparison


osprey daylite wheeled duffel 40 - heading for the hills. the daylite is a perfect blend of luggage and...
Heading for the hills. The Daylite is a perfect blend of luggage and backpack. This gear hauler gives you lots of options, the most important of which is freedom of movement.
Credit: Jason Wanlass


Capacity


In terms of its overall capacity, the Daylite is the ultimate twofer (two for one) or BOGO (buy one get one). It's not only the lightest bag on our list but also offers the most space for your stuff. Topping the scales at just 4.6 pounds, the Daylite also boasts our lineup's largest interior volume at 43.5 liters.


So why are the Daylite's weight and volume important? The answer is directly related to airline weight restrictions. Most U.S. domestic flights don't enforce a carry on weight limit; however, some U.S. airlines do, and that average limit is about 35 pounds.


Weight limits for international flights vary greatly, with the average being about 20 pounds (some can be as low as 15 pounds). Taking these restrictions into consideration, the Daylite's weight and volume suddenly make complete sense: the Daylite offers more room for your stuff but also offers you a greater weight differential than heavier bags.


In short, you can carry larger, heavier things. This is a real plus when you need to pack bulky, heavier gear like rope, laptops, camera gear, or boots.

Testing the capacity of our Daylite. We packed it a dozen times with a variety of payloads and always had room left over for clothes and boots.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

Ease of Transport


Keeping with our twofer analogy, the Daylite has the grit of an off-road vehicle but the sleekness of a race car, making it one of our favorite go-anywhere bags. At first glance, we immediately noticed its large, premium wheels. Each 2.5-inch wheel rides on its own separate axle and boasts a thick rubber riding surface with a rugged, all-terrain tread. We pulled our Daylite over pavement, dirt, gravel, and grass without any serious impediments. And when terrain became too aggressive, we loved the fact that we could simply convert our Daylite into a backpack… talk about versatility.


Large wheels and aggressive off-road treads usually equate to more vibration — not an ideal characteristic if you're trying to compete with super smooth spinner wheels found on most carry ons. However, this is a small negative trade-off for an adventure bag. But if you care, we specifically noticed this vibration when rolling on smoother flooring found in airport terminals.

osprey daylite wheeled duffel 40 - headed for nowhere. we rolled all of our carry-ons along this dirt...
Headed for nowhere. We rolled all of our carry-ons along this dirt road to see how well they could handle rougher surfaces. The Daylite was one of our best performers. Its over-sized treaded wheels adapt to nearly any terrain.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

In addition to a rougher ride, we also held back on offering our highest marks for this metric due to a thinner, wobbly trolley handle, and a slight tendency to tip over when standing fully loaded. Lastly, we shaved a few more points off of its ease of transport score for being a two-wheeled roller bag. This type of luggage is simply not as maneuverable as its four-wheeled spinner counterparts. However, for the style of carry on it is, the Daylite is still very easy and enjoyable to transport.

Luggage. Duffel. Backpack. From airport to outdoors: it's just that simple and just that quick.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

Construction Quality


The manufacturer opted to construct the Daylite's exterior shell from 600-denier recycled polyester instead of nylon. We loved the recycled part, but we questioned why ballistic nylon (the standard fabric for many adventure bags and soft-sided carry ons) wasn't the fabric of choice. However, as we tested and used our Daylite, we began to appreciate its polyester construction. Polyester tends to have a finer thread, which results in strong, soft, less bulky fabrics. Polyester also repels water better than nylon, and it handles abrasions more gracefully. These characteristics come in handy if you're regularly hauling gear into the woods or climbing hand over foot up a rocky shelf.


Other construction features that caught our attention were high-end buckles and clips, a reinforced polyester kick plate, strong grab handles, and backside bumper rails. All of these factors propelled us into giving the Daylite an excellent score in this metric. Of particular note, we are impressed with the use of reverse coil zippers on the exterior of the bag. This type of zipper conceals the zipper teeth behind a cloth flap, making the zipper more water-resistant. One downside to this option is a slower, more stubborn zipper that requires a bit more effort to open and close.

Testing our Daylite's zipper function. Its more stubborn than other zippers we've tested, but the reverse coil design hides the teeth and protects the opening from dirt and moisture.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

All totaled, we found the Daylite to be a perfect blend of beauty and brawn. It glided (tumbled?) through all our stairwell tests with ease, its seams are double stitched, and its zippers — although harder to slide — are tough as nails. Our only true complaint was the Daylite wasn't quite as water-resistant as we hoped it would be. That's not to say it leaks like a sieve. However, after drenching it with hose water, we found its interior to be slightly damper than some of the other softshell cases it was competing against.

osprey daylite wheeled duffel 40 - we placed a blue paper towel inside of the daylite before spraying...
We placed a blue paper towel inside of the Daylite before spraying it down with hose water. Although it wasn't sopping wet, the interior was more damp than we expected it would be.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

Design and Functionality


It's perfectly at home in the overhead bin, and it rolls through airports like it owns the place. Even better, it seamlessly converts to a backpack and gladly hauls your gear into the great outdoors. We packed and unpacked our Daylite with countless combinations of clothing and gear and were pleased to find that it could handle a wide variety of payloads.


In addition to its main interior storage compartment, the Daylite offers three additional exterior pockets and one interior mesh pocket. Our favorite was the largest exterior side pocket, which runs the length of the bag, and is a perfect place to shove last-minute items or dirty clothes.

osprey daylite wheeled duffel 40 - we loved the daylite's long exterior side pocket. it was perfect for...
We loved the Daylite's long exterior side pocket. It was perfect for keeping dirty socks and clothing separate or for packing away the day's snacks.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

We loaded our Daylite with endless blends of ski boots, collapsed trekking poles, rope, climbing gear, bulky clothes, hiking boots, and even a wet suit, day pack, small backpacking tent, and a sleeping pad. It swallowed them all easily, and the rugged interior straps held everything in place well. Even better, its softshell style allows the bag to contort to oddly shaped items. When the trip is finished, the Daylite's duffel collapses into its bottom tray, making it very flat and easily stored just about anywhere. The Daylite's design and function are nearly perfect. However, we held back on giving it perfect scores in this metric because we took into consideration that its style and outdoor vibe target a more specific demographic.

osprey daylite wheeled duffel 40 - the weekend is over and it's time to pack up and head home.
The weekend is over and it's time to pack up and head home.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

Should You Buy the Osprey Daylite Wheeled Duffel 40?


Generally, the Osprey Daylite appeals to the outdoorsy, adventurous type, those looking to haul some gear for an out-of-state weekend. However, we feel a slight case can be made for the average traveler who simply wants the freedom of duffel-style packing and the option of wheeling, carrying, or backpacking their luggage through various airport mazes. So, if you relate to either of these types, the Daylite should be a serious consideration for your next trip.

Go where you want. Carry what you want. Do what you want. We love the functionality and versatility of the Daylite, and we feel it appeals to outdoor buffs or travelers who value the unique freedom it offers.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

What Other Carry On Luggage Should You Consider?


Another great gear-hauler carry on to consider is the The North Face Rolling Thunder 22". We loved this bag for its flashy style, weather-proof duffel, hardy wheels, and thick nylon bottom. If a traditional carry on suitcase is more your style, take a look at the SwissGear Sion Softside Expandable 21-Inch. If you'd prefer a more structured hardshell to keep gear safe in transit, we suggest the Samsonite Omni PC Hardside Expandable Spinner 20-Inch or the Amazon Basics 20-Inch Hardside Spinner.

osprey daylite wheeled duffel 40 - a rare glimpse of a wild osprey daylite in its natural environment.
A rare glimpse of a wild Osprey Daylite in its natural environment.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

Jason Wanlass