Osprey Sojourn 80L Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Durable and rugged wheels, backpack carry option, great organization, water resistant
Cons: Tippy when not packed correctly, backpack straps are narrow
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Osprey Sojurn 80L is a roller suitcase that converts into a backpack. It excels when it comes to ease of transport but is a little lacking in regards to overall storage capacity.
The Osprey Sojourn is built using an aluminum tube frame, surrounded by a seemingly durable face fabric. When wheeling it around fully loaded, it feels stable and sturdy for a soft-sided backpack. This suitcase stood out as one of the most water-resistant, featuring a heavy abrasion-resistant nylon exterior that wraps around the entire backpack. The front panel that zips up is a little thinner, with the materials still offering decent rigidity all around.
We know that this bag can stand up to a beating because… we tested it! The result? It's rugged and quite durable. We're impressed.
The wheels on the Sojourn are pretty bomber. They are oversized and large while the handle is stable and comfortable to use. There are no online reports (that we found) of either of these components failing, and we didn't observe any issues through our travels either. The backpack harness system is also amazingly constructed and hasn't failed us yet. Overall, we are confident in the reliability of this pack and its ability to get you from point A to point B and everywhere in between.
The zippers are also big and burly. They tend, however, to catch quite a bit when going around corners, requiring two hands to zip them up and down. This issue is increased by a protective fabric flap, though this feature helps make the Sojourn one of the most water-resistant we tested.
Due to the fantastic compression system integrated into this bag's design, water was unable to penetrate the main compartment throughout most of our testing. The top pocket collected water, but the interior was hardly soaked. In general, we'd trust this pack if you accidentally got stuck in a rainstorm. But, if you want to ensure your stuff doesn't get wet, be sure to carry an extra rain cover just in case.
Storage & Organization
We wanted to love the organization and storage of this bag, but it falls a little short. Constructed like a regular backpack, it's harder to pack items away easily — especially if they are bulky. This is largely due to the large compression straps that get in the way while packing and the fact that the space inside the bag just isn't that voluminous. The Sojourn is fine for a weekend mission or a backpacking trip to Europe, but it's not our first choice for gear-laden adventures — despite its 80L of advertised volume.
When planning a climbing trip, we initially reached for this suitcase, hoping it'd be the perfect companion. As soon as we put a rope inside, however, most of the space was gone, and there's no real organizational space to separate gear from clothing. Instead, we chose a different suitcase with a square shape and more open volume in order to pack efficiently and effectively.
We do appreciate the storage features of this suitcase, though. Engineered like a backpack, you can access all your items while the case is standing straight up — a huge advantage when you're on the go and need something from the interior. There is also one exterior pocket on the top that's nylon-lined and large enough to fit a pair of shoes. The only downside of this pocket is that it cuts into the volume of the actual bag itself. So when it's filled, the space inside is limited. When it's not filled, it easily collapses out of the way.
Another great external feature of the Sojourn is the huge compression straps that hug the entire bag. If you decide to empty the pack while on the go (for some reason), you can compress the whole thing down using this unique system. The interior side of the front flap is outfitted with two mesh compartments to help organize toiletries and other delicates and there's another pocket on the side as well. We like these areas for smaller items, but they aren't big enough for clothing. The rest of the bag is open space with two compression straps set horizontally to keep everything in place.
On the back side of the Sojourn is the backpack system. Nothing can be stored here when it's not in use, which is part of the trade-off to such a versatile movement system. Overall, we appreciate the storage and organizational features of this bag; it's best for those traveling without hoards of bulky gear or for those who don't care if clothing and hard gear intermingle.
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.
When in roller mode, the oversized wheels offer a pretty smooth ride on hard surfaces and move their way easily over obstacles such as rocks and stones. Unlike many other suitcases that are built with a straight and low-hanging chassis, the high chassis of the Sojourn provides just enough extra room to navigate burlier terrain like cobbles and dirt roads with ease. When going up and down stairs repeatedly — something that's always cumbersome for rolling suitcases — we loved being able to convert to backpack mode.
We did observe some issues when this bag is fully loaded from top to bottom. If there are heavy items in the top pocket that aren't balanced by the load below, the Sojourn will topple over if you try to walk away from it. We even had it flip upsidedown once when taking it off a high curb. As a result, you need to be aware of weight distribution when packing.
Moving this case around is also pretty easy. There are nicely padded handles on the top, bottom, and one side. If you need to lift it into a vehicle, you'll have no trouble. We only wish there was also a handle on the front for even easier navigation.
Now, let's talk about the genius backpack system! To start, it took us a few minutes to figure out where the hip belt was, which buckles went where, and how to make the backpack system comfortable for full-weight carry. Even though the straps are a little thinner, the entire system has built-in suspension to keep weight distributed nicely on your hips. However, some larger reviewers complained that the hip belt wasn't long enough and the straps cut into the shoulders.
Overall, most of our reviewers feel that the backpack system on the Sojourn is comfortable enough for an all-day carry of about 50 pounds. The result? A well-deserved Top Pick Award. If you know you'll be traveling in areas that aren't suited to a roller suitcase, but you like the wheels for flat surfaces and travel in the airports, this is by far the easiest and best choice.
This bag weighs in at 8.5 pounds. That's reasonably light for a roller-bag, but not for a backpack. While you can pack more than 40lbs of gear before hitting the maximum weight for most airlines, you probably don't want to carry that on your back for too long. Good thing you also have wheels.
For a hybrid suitcase that can either be a backpack or roller suitcase, the style isn't so bad. It's certainly not a fashion-forward piece and focuses largely on function. As a roller suitcase, it doesn't look like anything out of the ordinary — perhaps just a little techy and informal. However, putting it on your back might have you catching a few interesting looks. If you're not too concerned about style though, this multi-use bag might be a great fit.
This bag is expensive, but it's a worthy investment for those who need a piece of luggage that can be either carried or rolled. It's unique, and there are no other products out there that do as good a job in this arena. However, for a standard checked suitcase, it won't serve you well with its limited storage and specialized features. The value is there if you are psyched on the functionality, otherwise you might want to go with a more traditional piece of luggage.
The Osprey Sojourn 80L certainly has its place with the frequent road-tripper or the avid backpacker traveling the city. If, during your travels, you find yourself wishing you had a backpack instead of your roller-luggage or vice versa, this is ikely the bag 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. Still, we find it the best for varied terrain, hence our Top Pick for Cross-Country Travel designation.
— Amber King