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Osprey Transporter Review

A high-quality duffel with a comfortable and thoughtfully designed backpack harness that is easy to carry even when heavily weighted
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Osprey Transporter Review
Credit: Hale Milano
Price:  $200 List
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Manufacturer:   Osprey
By Nick Bruckbauer and Hale Milano  ⋅  Nov 24, 2023
83
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#2 of 15
  • Storage and Ease of Packing - 30% 8.0
  • Ease of Transport - 30% 9.0
  • Protection - 15% 8.8
  • Construction Quality - 15% 7.5
  • Weight-to-Volume Ratio - 10% 7.4

Our Verdict

The Osprey Transporter carries on your back better than all other models we've reviewed and has the most comfortable carrying system among the best duffel bags. The contoured shoulder straps are well-padded and are supplemented with an adjustable sternum strap. The entire backpack harness stows away in a zippered compartment for low-profile transport through the airport baggage handling process. Travelers looking for the ultimate in carrying comfort should check out this durable, versatile convertible duffel.
REASONS TO BUY
Top-notch backpack carry system
Excellent weather-resistance
Internal compression straps
REASONS TO AVOID
No traditional carry handles
Less than ideal organization pockets
Expensive
Editor's Note: This review was updated on November 24, 2023, to reflect the most recent available version of the Transporter. On this newest model, there are no longer load lifter straps on the backpack harness.

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Bottom Line A top performer with unmatched carrying comfort, great protection from the elements, and nice storage featuresPacked full of adventure-ready features, this versatile bag is ready to tackle your next adventure, whether it's across town or across the worldThis excellent duffel offers great features regardless of which size model you prefer and is budget friendlyRemains one of our favorite all-around models with its simple and rugged designThis budget-conscious bag still provides great organization features ideal for day trips
Rating Categories Osprey Transporter Patagonia Black Hol... Gregory Alpaca The North Face Base... HYC00 Travel
Storage and Ease of Packing (30%)
8.0
8.6
8.5
7.0
6.5
Ease of Transport (30%)
9.0
8.5
8.2
7.2
5.5
Protection (15%)
8.8
8.5
8.3
9.2
4.5
Construction Quality (15%)
7.5
9.2
9.1
9.8
6.0
Weight-to-Volume Ratio (10%)
7.4
6.1
4.0
6.6
4.5
Specs Osprey Transporter Patagonia Black Hol... Gregory Alpaca The North Face Base... HYC00 Travel
Sizes Available 40, 65, 95, 120 L 40, 55, 70, 100 L 40, 60, 80, 100, 120 L 31, 50, 71, 95, 132, 150 L
(XS-XXL)
30 L
Material (Main Body) 900D polyester (recycled) with PFC-free DWR and TPU coating 900D polyester ripstop (100% postconsumer recycled) with TPU-film laminate 900D polyester ripstop (40% recycled) with TPU weather-resistant coating 1000D polyester with phthalate-free PVC coating (body), additional layer of 840D recycled ballistics nylon with a non-PFC DWR finish (bottom) Nylon
Number of Pockets (Excludes Main Compartment) 3 3 3 2 4
Backpack Straps Yes Yes Yes Yes No
D or I-Shaped Opening D D D D I
Laundry Compartment No No Yes (partial) No No
Measured Weight 3.3 lb (95L model) 2.6 lb (55L model) 2.7 lb (40L model) 4.1 lb (95 L model) 1.9 lb (30L model)
Calculated Weight-to-Volume Ratio 0.56 oz/L 0.76 oz/L 1.08 oz/L 0.69 oz/L 1.01 oz/L
Size Tested 95L 100L and 55L 90L and 40L 95L 30L

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Osprey Transporter duffel bag uses the company's well-respected backpack technology to create a comfortable and high-quality piece of luggage. The carrying comfort of the stowable backpack harness is unmatched, and an additional four oversized and well-padded grab handles provide alternative carrying options. While the 900-denier recycled polyester material is slightly less robust than other high-end contenders, it is coated with a waterproof laminate on both sides for dependable weather protection. A strong overall performer, the Transporter is ideal for those who will need to carry their duffel on foot for extended periods of time.

Performance Comparison


osprey transporter - the transporter earns high scores in all our testing metrics and has...
The Transporter earns high scores in all our testing metrics and has some of the most comfortable and adjustable backpack straps of any duffel we've tested.
Credit: Hale Milano

Storage and Ease of Packing


The most recent version of the Transporter has several changes from prior models. The newest model removed several buckles that impeded access to the duffel. Although they might have helped the rain flap stay in place, we noticed no degradation in weather protection. We were also pleased to note that with the new design, you are able to open and access the main storage compartment even with the backpack straps deployed. These changes mitigated concerns from previous iterations of testing. We tested the 95-liter version, and the same model is also available in 40, 65, and 120-liter volumes.


The inside of the primary storage compartment features two buckled compression straps to keep your contents snuggly packed and includes a zippered mesh storage pocket on one end to keep smaller contents secure and organized. We really appreciate the compression straps on larger bags, and especially on the Transporter, to help keep our gear as organized as possible throughout travel. While we always appreciate extra storage pockets, the internal pocket's location on the end of the bag can be a little hard to access when the duffel is fully loaded. The bag's main access zipper doesn't fully extend to the end of the bag, meaning you potentially have to dig through some of your packed contents to access the pocket.

osprey transporter - dual internal compression straps help maximize the amount of gear...
Dual internal compression straps help maximize the amount of gear you can fit in the Transporter, and prevent it from shifting too much during travel.
Credit: Hale Milano

The other end of the bag has a convenient external storage pocket. An overlapping rain flap protects the zipper from the elements and also includes an ID window to stash a business card or your contact info.

osprey transporter - the end pocket on the transporter is protected from the elements...
The end pocket on the Transporter is protected from the elements, though a little challenging to access especially when the bag is full.
Credit: Hale Milano

Ease of Transport


The backpack-style carrying system of the Osprey Transporter is more comfortable than any other option in our lineup. The entire backpack harness mimics the design found on Osprey's highly-regarded backpacking packs. It includes contoured shoulder straps with comfortable mesh padding and an adjustable chest strap with an emergency whistle. One change from previous versions of the Transporter is that it no longer has the load lifter straps to help you optimize the pack's position on your body. While this feature goes above and beyond for most duffels, we appreciated it on the previous version and found the extra weight worth the benefits it provided.


In addition to the backpack harness, the Transporter includes four robust grab handles — one on each side of the bag — for traditional briefcase-style carrying or for lugging out of the trunk or off the baggage claim. While both of these carrying options are well-designed and quite effective, the Transporter leaves out traditional duffel carry handles and an over-the-shoulder messenger-style strap found on some other duffels.

osprey transporter - heavy-duty grab handles help lug the bag around when its not on your...
Heavy-duty grab handles help lug the bag around when its not on your back.
Credit: Hale Milano

If you regularly haul your high-capacity luggage on your back over longer distances and can live without the extra handles or straps, then the Transporter is one of the best options short of a dedicated backpack. If you don't need such a fancy backpack harness and you'd like the extra versatility of a few additional carrying methods, then another duffel may be a better option. Keep in mind that although it has a comfortable backpack harness, it still lacks a stiffened back panel and a supportive waist belt that makes proper backpacking backpacks more comfortable and efficient over longer distances.

osprey transporter - quick to stow and deploy, the transporters backpack harness system...
Quick to stow and deploy, the Transporters backpack harness system is one of the best.
Credit: Hale Milano

Protection


The Transporter is one of the top scorers in this performance metric thanks to its double-coated 900-denier recycled polyester that has a TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) coating and PVC-free DWR treatment on each side that does an excellent job of repelling water. In both of our water-resistance tests, water beaded and rolled right off the slick material.


While the seams are not fully sealed and the zippers are not fully waterproof, the Transporter still passed our high-pressure hose test with flying colors. There were only a few drops of water that breached the main compartment via the zipper. Even after sitting on wet ground for an hour, no water was able to seep through the bottom of the bag.

Water beaded and rolled right off the slick exterior fabric of the...
Water beaded and rolled right off the slick exterior fabric of the Osprey for the entire hour it sat outside in the rain.
Only a few drops of water were found inside the Transporter after...
Only a few drops of water were found inside the Transporter after our high-pressure hose test.
Water beaded off of the Transporter while sitting outside in a tropical storm, and the rain flap only allowed a few drops of water into the main compartment after drenching it with a high-pressure hose.

Another change from previous versions of the Transporter is that the additional protective measures present on the zippers before — internal layers of extra material behind the zippers and a black weather strip outside the zipper — were removed from the newer model. All external zippers are still covered with a one-inch protective rain flap to help direct water away from the zippers.

osprey transporter - a one-inch rain flap protects the standard zipper on the...
A one-inch rain flap protects the standard zipper on the Transporter, and the double-coated TPU polyester protects interior contents from water from both above and below.
Credit: Hale Milano

Construction Quality


Constructed from 900-denier recycled polyester, the Osprey Transporter is relatively robust compared to the rest of our overall lineup but falls short of some of the top-ranked expedition duffels with their 1000-denier builds. A few other highly-ranked models also include a layer of padding or an extra reinforcement layer of bottom material to help resist abrasion, but the Transporter has only a single layer all around.


The Transporter's construction quality, fit, and finish are top-notch. The attention to detail is apparent with things like heavy-duty zippers and zipper pulls, thick, burly grab handles, and high-quality webbing material. The Transporter looks and feels like a high-end product. While other bags with reinforced bottom panels would likely hold up better to careless abuse, dragging, or rough handling, the 900-denier recycled polyester is plenty durable for regular use.

Osprey also stands behind their products with a robust All Mighty Guarantee. They state, “Osprey will repair any damage or defect for any reason free of charge — whether it was purchased in 1974 or yesterday. If we are unable to perform a functional repair on your pack, we will happily replace it.” Very impressive.

osprey transporter - the 900-denier body material is plenty durable for normal use and...
The 900-denier body material is plenty durable for normal use and rough handling but lacks an additional reinforced bottom layer found on other high-end models.
Credit: Nick Bruckbauer

Weight-to-Volume Ratio


We personally weighed the 95-liter Transporter at 3.8 pounds, which is pretty good for a high-quality giant duffel bag. It's one of the lightest full-size expedition-style duffels in our lineup.


When loading up and approaching the airline baggage allowances, you don't want a huge portion of the weight limit to be taken up by the luggage itself.


The Transporter weighs slightly less than its other closest competitors, and it achieves that weight without any significant sacrifices in quality or functionality. Its primary body material is slightly thinner than the most robust competitors, and it forgoes an additional bottom reinforcement layer, but it also includes the best backpack harness system that we tested.

osprey transporter - we liked the grab handles located on the top edge of the...
We liked the grab handles located on the top edge of the Transporter, making it easy to lift for its size.
Credit: Hale Milano

Should You Buy the Osprey Transporter?


The Osprey Transporter is a high-quality, weather-resistant duffel bag that is comfortable to carry, with its excellent backpack harness. It is best suited for those who need to prioritize portability and protection from the elements over other factors. If you plan on hauling your duffel bag yourself, we strongly recommend this model thanks to its well-padded shoulder straps, adjustable chest straps, and excellent weather protection.

osprey transporter - although its backpack harness helped the transporter stand out, its...
Although its backpack harness helped the Transporter stand out, its an all-around high-performing duffel.
Credit: Hale Milano

What Other Duffel Bag Should You Consider?


If more balanced features are what you're after, both the Patagonia Black Hole and the Gregory Alpaca offer style, design, and durability with excellent results. For a weekend bag on a budget, the HYC00 Travel provides plenty of storage and organization options and a fair bit of protection from the elements in a satchel-style duffel bag. If your adventures take you to the most extreme environments on earth, The North Face Base Camp is the most durable duffel we have tested for years on end, and the Yeti Panga Duffel 50 is completely waterproof. Lastly, if you'd like to wheel your duffel bag instead of carrying it, the Osprey Sojourn Shuttle 100L offers plenty of adventure-ready features — plus wheels — to help get you and your gear where you need to go.

osprey transporter - we liked duffel bags in the 90 to 100-liter volume range for air...
We liked duffel bags in the 90 to 100-liter volume range for air travel since they balanced storing enough gear while mostly staying under airline weight limits.
Credit: Hale Milano

Nick Bruckbauer and Hale Milano