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Osprey Sojourn 80L Review

A rolling suitcase that can be transformed into a backpack when the terrain gets tricky
Osprey Sojourn 80L
Photo: Osprey
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $340 List
Pros:  Durable and rugged wheels, backpack carry option, great organization, water resistant
Cons:  Tippy when not packed correctly, backpack straps are narrow
Manufacturer:   Osprey
By Clark Tate and Amber King  ⋅  Aug 27, 2021
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67
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#6 of 11
  • Storage & Organization - 25% 5
  • Ease of Transport - 25% 8
  • Reliability - 25% 7
  • Weight - 15% 7
  • Style - 10% 6

Our Verdict

The Osprey Sojourn is a unique hybrid that takes the versatility of a backpack and the convenience of a roller bag and smashes the two together. The result? A roller suitcase with an integrated suspension system that transforms into a backpack whenever the trail ahead gets rough. The lightweight design and comfortable, adjustable suspension make carrying this bag easier than you'd think. If you're somebody who often finds themselves with a heavy load, lamenting over whether to take a backpack or roller bag, then this fairly-priced cyborg may be just what you've been searching for.

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Osprey Sojourn 80L
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Osprey Sojourn 80L
Awards Top Pick Award Best Buy Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award 
Price $340 ListCheck Price at REI
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$379 ListCheck Price at REI
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$85 List
$85.00 at Amazon
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Pros Durable and rugged wheels, backpack carry option, great organization, water resistantSmooth ride, sensible features, excellent organization, great styleAmple storage, water-resistant, durable, heavily featuredLarge wheels roll well, stable, convenient external organizationInexpensive, smooth travel, great storage
Cons Tippy when not packed correctly, backpack straps are narrowZippers could be smootherMany features that aren't that useful, bulky designNot much in the way of interior organizationTips over, lacks durable materials
Bottom Line A rolling suitcase that can be transformed into a backpack when the terrain gets trickyA durable, stylish, and high-value suitcase suited for all types of travelA tactical and durable adventure suitcase that excels at packing bulky gearA rough and tumble option that could work for anything from gear hauls to business tripsA very low priced suitcase with great storage capacity but a propensity to be tippy
Rating Categories Osprey Sojourn 80L Timbuk2 Copilot Eagle Creek ORV Tru... The North Face Roll... AmazonBasics Expand...
Storage & Organization (25%)
5.0
9.0
8.0
6.0
6.0
Ease Of Transport (25%)
8.0
7.0
7.0
7.0
6.0
Reliability (25%)
7.0
8.0
9.0
9.0
4.0
Weight (15%)
7.0
6.0
8.0
5.0
7.0
Style (10%)
6.0
7.0
3.0
7.0
4.0
Specs Osprey Sojourn 80L Timbuk2 Copilot Eagle Creek ORV Tru... The North Face Roll... AmazonBasics Expand...
Measured Weight 8.5 lbs 9.4 lbs 9.1 lbs 10.2 lbs 9.9 lbs
Volume 80L 80L 98L 80L 105L
Liters per pound 9.4 8.5 10.8 7.8 10.6
Construction Zip open, softshell Clamshell & peek-a-boo access, softshell Zip open, softshell Roller-duffel Clamshell, softshell
Measured Packed Dimensions 30" x 16" x 14" 25" x 14" x 10" 30" x 17" x 15" 28.5" x 15" x 16" 20" x 11" x 29"
Expansion Zippers? No No No No Yes
Number of Wheels 2 2 2 2 4
Number of Large Interior Compartments 1 2 1 1 1
Interior Storage Features 4 organizational pockets inside 2 Mesh dividers with organizational pockets. Three smaller organizational pockets 1 mesh organizational pockets on lid of duffel Smaller organizational compartment with mesh organizer
Number of Exterior Pockets 2 large pockets 1 pocket on top, 1 large sleeve 2 large pockets, top and bottom. Several gear loops on the exterior. 3 pockets, top and middle. Several gear loops on the exterior. 1 large pocket
Compression System Internal and exterior compression straps Internal compression straps Removable gear holder keeps items in place, but not compression. Compression buckles on the outside. Expandable boot pocket on the interior of the backpack. Internal and exterior compression straps Internal compression straps
Handle Height from Ground 40" 40.75" 42" 42.5" Low: 38"
High: 42"
Built-In Lock None None None No Yes
Main Exterior Material Main: 420D Nylon Shadow Box
Accent: 1680D Ballistic Nylon
Bottom: 1680D Ballistic Nylon
Nylon and polyester Bi-Tech Heather, 1000D Helix Polyester Twill 1,000-denier polyester with TPE laminate/1,680-denier nylon 150D-polyester
Unique Features Backpacking carry option Peek-a-boo front pocket, padded front pocket for a 13" laptop. Gear specific storage Duffel on wheels None

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Sojourn is a roller suitcase that converts into a backpack. You can carry it over rough terrain and roll it over smooth surfaces, but it's not the best at either, and its unconventional design cuts into its carry capacity. Still, we like this bag a lot for certain types of travel.

Performance Comparison


The only hybrid roller suitcase with an integrated backpack.
The only hybrid roller suitcase with an integrated backpack.
Photo: Amber King

Storage & Organization


Backpacks are built to balance loads on your body. Roller bags are built to easily shuttle items from one vehicle to the next. This bag successfully does both but is forced to make some compromises along the way. It sacrifices storage space to tuck away backpack straps, rounds the top of the bag like a backpack, and hides its entrance behind durable nylon compression wings. The result is a little less storage space and ease of packing than we prefer.


There are two mesh compartments on the inside of the bag's main entrance flap and integrated pockets along both sides of the bag. These help organize toiletries and delicates, but they aren't big enough for all of your clothing. They are also mostly mesh and don't separate clean clothes from dirty gear. The rest of the bag is an open space with two compression straps set horizontally to keep everything in place.

The top pocket can either hold what you need to get quickly or a...
The top pocket can either hold what you need to get quickly or a pair of running shoes. It's large and offers a water-resistant lining.
Photo: Amber King

We reached for the Sojourn when planning a climbing trip, thinking it would be perfect for hauling heavy gear through the airport and on the trail. Unfortunately, a single climbing rope filled most of the storage space, and there is no easy way to separate gear from clothing, aside from using stuff sacks like we would in any other backpack. So we pulled out a suitcase with a square shape and more usable volume to pack everything we needed.

While we like this bag in theory, in practice the usable space isn't...
While we like this bag in theory, in practice the usable space isn't the most versatile.
Photo: Amber King

Still, we appreciate many of the features of the Sojourn. Like a backpack, you can access all your items while the case is standing up — a huge advantage when you're on the go. There's also a nylon-lined exterior pocket at the top that's large enough to fit a pair of shoes and a smaller one that's perfect for your wallet, passport, or tickets. Of course, these pockets do cut into the volume of the main compartment when you fill them. When they're empty, both simply collapse out of the way.

This suitcase also comes in a 45-liter capacity if you don't need as much space.

You'll also notice that the Sojourn has two huge compression wings that hug the length of the bag. They help you cut down on the bulk of the pack, and if you decide to empty the pack while on the go, you can compress the whole thing. This also keeps your bag sleek and streamlined for packing your rig or checking your bag.

To keep the bag compact, you can cinch down the two large...
To keep the bag compact, you can cinch down the two large compression wings.
Photo: Clark Tate

Unfortunately, these wings get in the way when you're trying to pack. Between them and the tapered and rounded shape, we had a hard time fitting in everything we need for any type of adventure travel. The backpack construction makes it harder to pack items away — especially if they are bulky. 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 80 liters of advertised volume.

Ease of Transport


This bag's stout retractable handle and oversized wheels are helpful when you've got a lot of smooth ground to cover. The pack is narrow, though, and more prone to tipping over as you round a corner or maneuver through an airport. However, when the terrain is rough or the crowds are cloying, the ability to convert this roller-bag into a backpack is a stroke of genius. In instances where you just can't roll your bag, the Sojourn saves the day with its full-suspension airflow-friendly backpack conversion.


When in roller mode, the oversized wheels offer a fairly smooth ride on hardtop and move their way easily over obstacles such as rocks and stones. Unlike most rolling suitcases that are built with a straight and low-hanging chassis, the chassis on the Sojourn curves in an arch from one wheel to the other, offering unprecedented clearance. And, when going up and down stairs — which is always cumbersome for rolling suitcases — we loved being able to convert to backpack mode.

The curved design between the two wheels really helps with clearance...
The curved design between the two wheels really helps with clearance on trickier terrain.
Photo: Amber King

When this bag is fully loaded, it does have some balance issues. If there are heavy items in the top pocket with lighter items below, the Sojourn won't stand on its own, toppling over every time you walk away. It even flipped upside down once when coming off a high curb. If you're careful with weight distribution when you pack, this is less of an issue, but it's still more sensitive than most of the other suitcases in our review.

Put it into roller mode for all smooth surfaces that you encounter.
Put it into roller mode for all smooth surfaces that you encounter.
Photo: Amber King

Picking this case up to load it in your car or off a conveyor belt is more straightforward. There are nicely padded handles on the top 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 or the bottom for even easier navigation.

Transitions are easy from smooth concrete to cracked asphalt with...
Transitions are easy from smooth concrete to cracked asphalt with the large oversized wheels.
Photo: Amber King

Now, let's talk about the 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 than we'd like, the entire system keeps the weight distributed nicely on your hips. However, some larger reviewers complained that the hip belt wasn't long enough, and the straps cut into their shoulders.

When you don't wanna roll, hoist it up and turn it into a backpack.
When you don't wanna roll, hoist it up and turn it into a backpack.
Photo: Amber King

Overall, most of our reviewers feel that the backpack system on the Sojourn is comfortable enough for an extended carry of about 50 pounds. 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 best choice.

Here we access the backpack system that is stored internally in the...
Here we access the backpack system that is stored internally in the suitcase.
Photo: Amber King

Reliability


The Sojourn has an aluminum tube frame surrounded by a seemingly durable face fabric. When wheeling it around fully loaded, it feels reasonably stable and sturdy for a soft-sided backpack, though most that we tested are less tippy. This suitcase is also one of the most water-resistant in the test, featuring a heavy abrasion-resistant nylon exterior that wraps around the entire backpack.


The front panel is thinner than most of the bags we tested, though the materials still offer a fair amount of rigidity and seem durable. We know that this bag can stand up to a beating because we aren't very easy on our gear. Overall, we found that it's rugged and holds up to rough handling. We're impressed.

The wheels on the Sojourn seem bomber. They are oversized, large, and we didn't observe any issues with them or the retractable pull handle. The backpack harness system is also impressively 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 Z and every stop in between.

The plastic wheels showed wear and tear after three months of use...
The plastic wheels showed wear and tear after three months of use, but the high chassis allows it to move easily over bulkier barriers.
Photo: Amber King

The zippers are big and burly. They do tend to catch in the corners, requiring two hands to zip them up and down. The protective fabric flaps seem to exacerbate the issue, though this feature helps make the Sojourn one of the most water-resistant we tested.

A look at the burly and durable zippers with oversized pulls.
A look at the burly and durable zippers with oversized pulls.
Photo: Amber King

Due to the fantastic compression flaps, water could not penetrate the main compartment throughout most of our testing. The top pocket did collect water, though. While we'd trust this pack to keep most of your clothes dry if you accidentally got stuck in a rainstorm, we suggest carrying an extra rain cover for the top pocket, just in case.

A look at the water-resistant fabric of the Sojourn.
A look at the water-resistant fabric of the Sojourn.
Photo: Amber King

Weight


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 40 pounds 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.


Style


The style of the Sojourn isn't so bad for a hybrid suitcase that can either be a backpack or roller suitcase. Still, it's certainly not a fashion-forward piece and focuses largely on function.


As a roller suitcase, this bag looks a little techy and informal, and putting it on your back will 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.

An outdoorsy suitcase that looks more like a backpack.
An outdoorsy suitcase that looks more like a backpack.
Photo: Amber King

Value


This bag is pricey, but it's a worthy investment if you really need luggage that can either be carried or rolled. If you are mostly rolling on smooth ground, a standard checked suitcase with more storage capacity will probably serve you better. The value is only there if you are psyched on the unique skill set of this hybrid piece of luggage.

This bag is very versatile and great for travel that steps outside...
This bag is very versatile and great for travel that steps outside of the norm.
Photo: Clark Tate

Conclusion


The Osprey Sojourn certainly has its place with 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 likely the bag for you. Otherwise, stick to one or the other. The Sojourn is an impressive hybrid but is neither an exceptional roller-bag nor backpack. Still, we find it the best for varied terrain of the bags in our review.

This backpack-rolling hybrid is perfect for any travel adventure...
This backpack-rolling hybrid is perfect for any travel adventure that might take you where roller luggage normally can't go.
Photo: Amber King

Clark Tate and Amber King

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