The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

Osprey Transporter 130 Review

Carries on your back better than any other duffel we’ve assessed and is a top contender.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Price:  $180 List | $107.99 at Amazon
Pros:  Excellent shoulder straps, thick waterproof coating
Cons:  Relatively thin fabric, extra unnecessary features
Manufacturer:   Osprey
By Jediah Porter ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Oct 21, 2019
  • Share this article:
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
75
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#3 of 12
  • Ease of Transport - 22% 7
  • Ease of Packing - 22% 8
  • Durability - 22% 8
  • Weight - 24% 7
  • Weather Resistance - 10% 8

Our Verdict

Osprey is highly regarded for their backpacks. It follows that their duffels would be excellent backpacks. The Transporter carries on your back better than the other bags we've reviewed; the shoulder straps are padded, contoured, and supplemented with a sternum strap and "load lifters." The bag stays a reasonable weight thanks to the use of relatively thin main fabric. You trade durability for carrying comfort. If you know you need a high-quality backpack carrying comfort, you might justify the lower durability of the Osprey Transporter.


Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award Top Pick Award  
Price $107.99 at Amazon$163.85 at Amazon
Compare at 2 sellers
$148.95 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$399.99 at Amazon
Compare at 2 sellers
$115.95 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
Overall Score Sort Icon
100
0
75
100
0
78
100
0
76
100
0
75
100
0
73
Star Rating
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Pros Excellent shoulder straps, thick waterproof coatingRugged, stiff and wide opening, variety of carry optionsEasy to pack, comfortable shoulder straps, excellent pockets, super durableDurable, waterproof, comfortable backpack strapsHighly weather resistant, easy to pack, comfortable shoulder straps
Cons Relatively thin fabric, extra unnecessary featuresOnly one smaller pocket, heavyNot super light, fabric is a little stiffExpensive, narrow main opening, only two organizational pocketsExternally accessed pocket is on the smaller side, shoulder straps take a little more work to remove
Bottom Line Carries on your back better than any other duffel we’ve assessed and is a top contender.The best darn duffel bag for all kinds of adventuresome travel.While it faces stiffer competition than it used to, it remains the duffel that all others are compared against.A burly, waterproof sack that comes in a few sizes, all with nice backpack straps; it has a narrow niche, but is the only product we’ve found that checks the boxes it checks.From its streamline design to its top notch weather resistance and multitude of lashing options, this is a solid duffel.
Rating Categories Osprey Transporter 130 Sea to Summit 90L The North Face Base Camp YETI Panga 100L Gregory Alpaca
Ease Of Transport (22%)
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
7
Ease Of Packing (22%)
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
5
10
0
9
Durability (22%)
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
10
10
0
8
Weight (24%)
10
0
7
10
0
5
10
0
5
10
0
6
10
0
6
Weather Resistance (10%)
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
10
10
0
6
Specs Osprey Transporter... Sea to Summit 90L The North Face... YETI Panga 100L Gregory Alpaca
Weight (Pounds) 3.44 pounds 4.30 pounds (90 liter model) 4.20 pounds (95 liter model) 5.83 pounds (100 liter model) 3.72 pounds
Volume Size Options (Liters) 40, 65, 95, 130 Liters 45, 65, 90, 130 Liters 33, 50, 69, 95, 150 Liters 50, 75, 100 Liters 30, 45, 60, 90, 120 Liters
D or I opening D D D I D
Back Pack Straps Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
# of pockets (excludes main compartment) 3 1 3 2 2
Info window Yes Yes Yes ID tag Yes
Material 840D Nylon TPU Double Coated Tarpaulin Laminate 1000D nylon 1000D phthalate-free TPE laminate body with additonal 840-denier Jr. ballistics nylon on the bottom Laminate, high-density nylon, EVA 900D TPU diamond rip-stop material with additional layer of 630D nylon on the bottom

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Osprey Transporter duffel uses this pack company's pack technology and attributes to create a good piece of luggage. The overall design is a little more complicated than it needs to be. Much of the weight of the Osprey Transporter comes from features you won't often use. We don't mind the weight, but wish that it meant more durability and would be fine if the carry system, for instance, were more straightforward and less "engineered." Similarly, the Transporter keeps your stuff dry but does so with less confidence than the bags made of vinyl type materials.

Performance Comparison


On our overall scoring matrix, the Osprey Transporter doesn't turn any heads. It is simply not durable nor weather-protective enough to enter the top ranks. It carries better on your back than almost any other, but this comes at the cost of the other metrics.

If loaded heavily  the Osprey moves around easily with four grab loops. For longer distances  the shoulder straps are preferred.
If loaded heavily, the Osprey moves around easily with four grab loops. For longer distances, the shoulder straps are preferred.

Ease of Transport


In "backpack mode," the Osprey Transporter is more comfortable and sophisticated than any other option in our list. As long as you put soft and smooth stuff at the top of the bag (directly under the main compartment lid), the contoured shoulder straps with load lifters and a sternum strap replicate the shoulder harness of Osprey's highly regarded larger backpacking packs. Whether this sophisticated carry arrangement is necessary will be up to you. If you carry your luggage for miles with the shoulder straps, it very well might be worth the compromises. Be advised, though, that without a stiffened back panel and a waist belt, a fully loaded Osprey Transporter will not carry anything like a proper backpacking pack.

The sophisticated shoulder harness of the Osprey includes these "load lifters". To be honest  we really didn't notice any advantage to these particular straps. The chest strap  though  is very welcome.
The sophisticated shoulder harness of the Osprey includes these "load lifters". To be honest, we really didn't notice any advantage to these particular straps. The chest strap, though, is very welcome.

The much simpler shoulder strap arrangement of The North Face Basecamp is nearly as comfortable as those on the Osprey. Similarly, the Patagonia Black Hole shoulder strap arrangement is as comfortable as most will need. Even the Top Pick Yeti Panga has pretty good shoulder straps. None of these are as contoured or supported as the shoulder straps on the Osprey, but you don't need fancy shoulder straps on a duffel.

There are precious few duffels that have shoulder straps with sternum straps. For extended carry  this makes a significant difference and sets the Transporter apart.
There are precious few duffels that have shoulder straps with sternum straps. For extended carry, this makes a significant difference and sets the Transporter apart.

Ease of Packing


The main u-shaped zipper of the Osprey Transporter opens very wide. This is good. The soft 840D fabric of the main structure of the Osprey is pretty shapeless until you get the bag mostly loaded.

Stiffer duffel materials like those on the Best Buy Marmot Long Hauler or Gregory Alpaca maintain some shape while you drop stuff in. The structured and wheeled luggage like The North Face Rolling Thunder is even easier to load. Any bag with a straight-shot zipper, like the Top Pick REI Roadtripper is more annoying to load and unload than the Osprey.

The main compartment of the Osprey Transporter opens very wide.
The main compartment of the Osprey Transporter opens very wide.

Durability


840 Denier nylon, as used on the Osprey Transporter, is relatively stout for a backpack but is among the lighter textiles used in all-around duffels and luggage. Vinyl type material, as employed in the Patagonia Black Hole Wheeled, will last much better than the nylon of the Transporter. Even stouter is the thicker material of The North Face Basecamp. The Basecamp has double layers on the bottom for dragging and abuse. The Osprey main fabric won't hold up like these others. Osprey buckles and zippers are all stout and ready for extended use.

Weight


3.44 pounds for a giant duffel is pretty good. When packing close to airline baggage allowances, you don't want a huge portion of your weight to be in the bag that holds the good stuff. This weight point is right in the mix with other close competitors. The difference with the Osprey is that the weight comes from carryable features like the sophisticated shoulder straps. This carry-ability is at the expense of durability. Other bags of similar weight have simpler carry but greater durability.

Early morning airport drop-offs with the Osprey Transporter and Gregory Alpaca loaded up for action.
Early morning airport drop-offs with the Osprey Transporter and Gregory Alpaca loaded up for action.

Weather Resistance


The coated nylon of the Transporter, held together with sealed seams, will keep out all kinds of weather. The main zipper is vulnerable but will stand up to splashes and brief rain. The coating on the main fabrics of the Transporter is more robust than most, but not nearly as stout as that on The North Face Basecamp. Both the Transporter and the Top Pick REI Roadtripper are made of coated nylon. However, the Transporter has better-sealed seams, and the coating is superior.

The bottom fabric of the Osprey Transporter has its waterproof coating on the inside. In this case  you can see the darkened  saturated portions of external fabric. This occurred after just a few minutes sitting on wet pavement. Any abrasion to the internal coating will let this water through to your belongings.
The bottom fabric of the Osprey Transporter has its waterproof coating on the inside. In this case, you can see the darkened, saturated portions of external fabric. This occurred after just a few minutes sitting on wet pavement. Any abrasion to the internal coating will let this water through to your belongings.

Value


Osprey's construction, reputation, and warranty service do not come cheap. The Transporter is costly, and you get what you pay for. The catch, in this case, is that what you pay for is shoulder strap comfort and support that you might not need at all.

On a rare western Wyoming public transit ski adventure  our lead tester Jediah Porter found the Transporter's backpack straps to be handy for carrying about 60 pounds of kit to the bus station.
On a rare western Wyoming public transit ski adventure, our lead tester Jediah Porter found the Transporter's backpack straps to be handy for carrying about 60 pounds of kit to the bus station.

Conclusion


The Osprey Transporter transports your stuff on your back better than any other duffel in our review. If that matters to you, you will likely justify the trade-offs that come with it.


Jediah Porter