Hands-on Gear Review

Osprey Sojourn 28" Convertible Review

Osprey Sojourn 80L/28" Wheeled Convertible Backpack
Top Pick Award
Price:  $340 List | $340.00 at MooseJaw
Pros:  Super transportable, backpack straps
Cons:  Small storage capacity, complicated
Bottom line:  A backpack trying to be rolling luggage, perfect for travelers who can't make up their minds.
Editors' Rating:   
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Measured Weight:  8.8 lbs
Dimensions:  28 x 14 x 14 in
# of Wheels:  2
Manufacturer:   Osprey

Our Verdict

The Osprey Sojourn 80L/28" Wheeled Convertible Backpack really impressed us with its go-anywhere attitude. This bag had no equal when it came to transportability. It also performed with confidence in Durability, Features, and Weight. We commend Osprey for the attempt at creating a hybrid bag to provide a best-of-both-worlds experience to travel bags. But as hard as it tried, this bag simply didn't make the grade in the checked bag category. However, we recognized the particular need the Sojourn fills that makes the it shine as a road-tripper's or international backpacker's bag — the infernal debate of whether to take a roller-bag or backpack.



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Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Dave Eyvazzadeh

Last Updated:
Friday
February 23, 2018

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The Osprey Sojourn 80L/28" Wheeled Convertible Backpack wowed us in some performance testing categories and let us down in others. Posting a perfect score for ease of transport, we found no other bags matching the Sojourn's wheeled-luggage-turned-backpack hybrid nature. Overall, the Sojourn landed right in the middle of our pack. But don't count it out just yet. If your preferred travel style is backpacking, but your back needs a rest from time to time, check it out. The Sojourn may prove itself a worthy world traveler.

Sleek  snazzy  and made for globetrotters.
Sleek, snazzy, and made for globetrotters.

Performance Comparison


The Sojourn really left its mark, particularly in the transportability arena with no contemporaries. This over-the-top transportable bag is a great option for road-trippers and folks that are on the go once they get to their destination.

Durability


The Osprey Sojourn, built on an aluminum tube frame and injection base mold, provides a sturdy feel and rigidity to an otherwise soft-sided bag. Abrasion-resistant nylon wraps the side panels with an interior stiffener and padding layer for extra durability, and the thin backpack-reminiscent front panel zips into place in between.


Overall, we believe the Sojourn can stand up to some beatings, but the soft-sided nature makes us worry about how the internal payload would fare. Another point of concern surrounds the aluminum frame. Although stiff and lightweight, the aluminum tube-frame gives us pause, questioning the abuse it can withstand without damage. More than one online reviewer confirmed our concerns. For a super durable bag within a reasonable price range, check out the Burton Wheelie and the Timbuk2 CoPilot.

Abrasion-resistant nylon panels wrap the lightweight main enclosure.
Abrasion-resistant nylon panels wrap the lightweight main enclosure.

Storage


This bag let us down when it came to packing away our large packing list. In comparison to other checked luggage in our fleet, the Sojourn had the third smallest storage capacity. Although we fit everything, we couldn't quite get the zippers closed.


For handling an international backpacker's packing list — which should be substantially smaller than ours — we imagine the Sojourn to have more than enough space.


With a convenient externally accessible top pocket, two side pockets, and two front-panel pockets, the Sojourn really lends itself to the organized traveler. Be forewarned, placing large or rigid items in the side pockets can really limit your total packing space available. For a little more storage capacity, check out the Timbuk2 CoPilot and the Travelpro Platinum Magna 2.

Proper cinch straps plus side- and front-panel pockets.
Proper cinch straps plus side- and front-panel pockets.

Ease of Transport


This bag already started ahead of the curve with a stout retractable handle and oversized wheels. But when the terrain becomes unforgiving, converting this roller-bag into a backpack is a stroke of genius. The most transportable bag of our review, the Sojourn crowned itself king the moment the full-suspension airflow friendly backpack conversion came out of hiding.


It admittedly took us a couple minutes to figure out the backpack system. We recommend familiarizing yourself with the backpack conversion before you need it. We struggled with it when arriving at a camp area at 10pm. But once we figured it out, it surprised us with the level of comfort it afforded. When properly deployed, the suspension backpack system is remarkably comfortable.

A surprisingly comfortably fitting lower-back suspension.
A surprisingly comfortably fitting lower-back suspension.

We can see why the Sojourn gained favor with many an international traveler. If a converting backpack isn't your style, perhaps the highly transportable roller bag of the Timbuk2 CoPilot or the Eagle Creek Tarmac is.

High-road chassis and monstrous wheels take you anywhere.
High-road chassis and monstrous wheels take you anywhere.

Features


The same features that earned the Sojourn rights to the throne of transportability helped it earn high marks in features. Touting some of largest wheels of all the bags we tested and boasting the only convertible backpack feature of the review certainly impressed us. But apart from that, it had just about exactly what you'd expect from the love-child of a backpack and a roller-bag.


The straight-jacket style exterior cinch straps and molle webbing are useful on the go, but not practical when checking bags. Examples of a feature-rich bag we would throw under a plane would be led by the Briggs and Riley Baseline and the TravelPro Platinum Magna 2


Weight


Middle of the pack in weight, the Sojourn weighed in at a fairly light 8.8 pounds. That's reasonably light for a roller-bag, but not for a backpack. Comparably sized backpacks weigh in a full 3 pounds lighter, but don't come with an optional roller-bag built in. For more weight budget to spend on your clothes — and less on your bag — the TravelPro Maxlite 4 would be our recommendation.


Style


We found the overall look of the Sojourn slightly odd. Is it a roller-bag with backpack straps. Or a backpack with wheels. We can't decide. This bag is function first, fashion second. Albeit comfortable, the Sojourn as a backpack may catch some interesting looks.

It doesn't earn the highest points for style but it sure is easy to travel with!
It doesn't earn the highest points for style but it sure is easy to travel with!


Best Applications


This bag is great for the world traveler or road tripper that enjoys traveling with a backpack for versatility but would enjoy giving their back a break from time to time. There is no other bag that we reviewed that is able to blend both worlds. If you're a suitcase only or backpack only kind of person — you may be better off sticking to your preference. But if you find yourself on trips wishing you had one or the other on different occasions, embrace your non-committal traveling style. The Sojourn certainly will.

Value


As a standard piece of checked luggage, this bag would not serve you well with limited storage and exterior features that would be rendered useless. But if you fancy yourself a road-tripper or backpack laden traveler, the value is there.


Conclusion


The Sojourn certainly has its place with the avid backpacker or the frequent road-tripper. If during your travels, you find yourself wishing you had packed a backpack instead of your roller-luggage or vice versa — we believe this bag is for you. Otherwise, stick to one or the other. The Sojourn makes a great hybrid between the two, but will never be an exceptional roller-bag nor an exceptional backpack.

Dave Eyvazzadeh

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Most recent review: February 23, 2018
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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 (3.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
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Rating Distribution
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5 star: 0%  (0)
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3 star: 100%  (1)
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