Osprey Meridian Convertible Pack – WanderGear Wednesday
With most airlines now charging fees to check even one bag, savvy travelers are packing lighter and only taking a carry-on bag.
Personally? I can go 5 weeks with a 22″ carry-on. You, however, are likely traveling for a shorter period of time and need only to bring enough for a week max. You’ve got lots of choices these days and one you might consider is the Osprey Meridian Convertible Pack.
Convertible packs are those in which you can swap from roll-aboard to backpack relatively easily – usually by unzipping a pouch in the back, pulling out the arm and waist straps (also known as harness straps) and hoisting it onto your back – like a daybag. While these aren’t for everyone, they definitely have their time and place such as when traveling through a region with lots of stairs (think: Europe) or when you’re having to walk down dirt roads/paths (think: India). Places where you can’t simply pull your bag behind you.
Though this may sound odd, my favorite feature with the Osprey Convertible, are the interior zippered pockets. There is one mesh and one cloth pocket, both perfect for holding my protein bars, business cards and other items. The large mesh zippered pocket located in the underside of the “lid” is the best I’ve seen on any bag. It’s large enough to hold my magazines, papers and a book, yet it zip opens along the side (and NOT the top) meaning that everything doesn’t fall out if I have forgotten to zipper it and I open the bag up (um, not that I’ve ever done that!). These are little touches that go a long way for me!
There is also an interior pocket for your shoes that’s accessible from the outside of the bag. Personally, I have found these to be cumbersome and a poor use of space for the interior. I simply pack my one pair of shoes separately, each in their own plastic bag, taking care to stuff my underwear or other items IN the shoes. Keeping them separate allows me to then have some flexibility as to where I can store them within the bag.
The Meridian also comes with a daybag that, in theory, zippers on to the front of the bag. While the daybag is great (and it’s not a bad thing to have matching gear, right?), I have always found these to be cumbersome. It’s rarely a simple process to zip the daybag on or off of the main bag AND you’ll never get it in the overhead bin if your purpose is to use this as a carry-on.
Overall, the convenience that comes with a having convertible bag does have a downside.
The most notable one is the amount of space available in the bag itself. Both the protractible handle and the harness straps sit in what is the bottom of the bag that lies flat with most pieces of luggage. This causes a large protruding bump in the middle of the bag making it impossible to lay anything flat inside.
I pack my clothes in a compression sac which lies flat across the bottom of my bags. In the case of the Meridian, the compression sac won’t lie flat. I am, however, able to tuck other items along the sloping sides of the bottom including shoes (one shoe on each side).
You’ll also want to know that the Meridian weighs 8 pounds, 11 ounces. This is a bit more than other non-convertible bags. For some people every ounce counts so it’s just something to be aware of – especially since many airlines are weighing bags at the gate to make sure that even carry-on bags comply with weight restrictions.