The Osprey Meridian 60 vs. Ozone Convertible 50 vs. Sojourn 45: A Careful Comparison of the Carry-On Wheeled Backpacks


The Osprey Convertible 50L/22in as modeled on the smoking-hot backside of the writer of this article. The daypack is separated from the main piece.

We use and love Osprey packs, and the Osprey Ozone Convertible 50L/22in is in fact our most-recommended rolling carry-on backpack.

But if you’re searching for a durable wheeled/backpack combo that you won’t have to check on a flight, Osprey also offers two others: the Meridian 60L/22in and the Sojourn 45L/22in.

Note that these are carry-ons; we also compare the larger, full-sized versions of these three bags separately (and give our overall opinion on the best large rolling backpack). But we wrote those articles for the plodding losers who don’t manage to travel light.

Pros like you, dear readers of the present piece, can take on the world with just a carry-on, and we think the three Osprey convertibles are the very best. And since Osprey’s own marketing explanations of their packs are scatteredvague, and terse, so we’re hereby providing a full, side-by-side explanation of the options in order to help you best choose. Enjoy!

Update history of this article

Originally published April 18, 2017. Updated on July 17, 2018. 

Quick Comparison Table: Osprey Meridian, Ozone, and Sojourn Carry-Ons

Osprey Meridian 60L/22″

• Sober, professional style: More muted color options, sleeker, more “pro” look

Light: 8.37 lbs/ 3.80 kg; designed more for durability than to absolutely minimize weight

• Highroad Chassis: large wheels and good clearance for bumpy roads

• Good comfort as backpack: The shoulder harness can be quickly snapped on; no hip belt

• Feature-rich: Exterior water-bottle pockets, accessory pockets, zippered top pocket, laptop sleeve, compression straps, etc.

Meridian 60/22 from $215.00

Osprey Ozone Convertible 50L/22″

• Youthful, techy style: Sporty/tech flair, though black option looks quite a bit like Meridian

Lighter: 6.3 lbs/2.86 kg

• Highroad Chassis: large wheels and good clearance for bumpy roads

• Great comfort as backpack: Shoulder and hip straps quickly slide out

Feature-rich: Exterior water-bottle pockets, daypack, accessory pockets, zippered top pocket, laptop sleeve, compression straps, etc.

Osprey Sojourn 45L/22″

• Backpacker style: These bags give an appearance of being ready for rough road use and adventures into the great outdoors.

• Lighter: 6.3 lbs./2.86 kg

• Highroad Chassis: large wheels and good clearance for bumpy roads

• Best comfort as backpack: Ventilated, detachable back panel with hip and shoulder straps

• Backpacker-oriented features: Excellent detachable ventilated suspension, zippered top pocket “straightjacket” compression straps, and external daisy chains for attaching additional gear

• No daypack included, but you can attach an Osprey Daylite Daypack

Sojourn 45/22 $299.95

Why We (and Others) Mostly Love the Three Osprey Convertible Backpack Carry-Ons

On taking into account the test reports from American and various European consumer organizations, the experiences of travel bloggers, and our 20+ years of combined road experience, we’re pretty happy recommending Osprey as one of the top pack designers and for a few other things (like toiletry bags).

These Osprey Meridian, Ozone, and Sojourn carry-on bags share quite a number of common features. They are all well-regarded by critics, known for durability, and relatively light. Since these bags share so many design elements, they don’t look all that different from each other; the style differences are minor.

Osprey rolling packs are lightweight and feature-rich pieces for long-term travellers
Osprey is mainly known for high quality comfortable backpacker bags that carefully distribute their weight and can be worn for long periods, so it makes sense that these convertible bags would be much more than just square, unpadded wheeled luggage with straps tacked on as an afterthought. They are, rather, truly convertible pieces of luggage that work great whether rolling through a city or hiking to a hidden beach hideout. Osprey pieces are a delight to wear, carry, or roll.

They are also not as cheap as some of their competitors. If you only travel very occasionally and for short periods, you don’t need to go with Osprey and might consider our cheaper wheeled backpack suggestion. There are also a few Ozone models listed at the end of this article that are a bit cheaper, but that are simple carry-ons and do not convert to backpacks.

Here we’re focused only on pieces that are small enough to work as carry-ons. As experienced travel snobs we’re entirely convinced that it’s best to hit the road with a single carry-on, and nothing else, whether you’re heading out for days, weeks, or months.

Osprey has a reputation with backpackers for following through on its lifetime guarantee
Another important note for any of the bags discussed here: Osprey has a proven track record of backing up its All Mighty Guarantee (“any reason, any product, any era”). If something goes wrong they repair the piece for free, and if they can’t do that, they replace it. If this befalls you, contact their closest international customer service center for details.

Best for Travel Pros: Osprey Meridian 60L/22″

Osprey Meridian 60L/22″ is a sleek, fully featured wheeled carry-on that you can also pop on your back for short periods if needed. It is more for city travelers who are only going to occasionally use the detachable backpack straps for stairs, a rough bit of terrain, or quick bike ride. There is no hip belt, so this is not a wise choice for day-long treks in the woods.

This piece has very similar features to the Osprey Ozone Convertible 22″/50L. Both have attachable daybags with laptop sleeves and lots of other thoughtful little details that a serious traveler appreciates: accessory pockets, compression straps, a top quick-access pocket, and water-bottle pockets.

The Meridian is just a bit bulkier and heavier than the Ozone, and slightly more subdued and serious-looking. The Meridian also holds just a bit more, but this means that on some airlines you need to be careful not to overstuff it — particularly the attached daybag — so as not to run afoul of over-vigilant airline employees checking carry-on sizes.

Best for Light, Efficient Travel: Osprey Ozone Convertible 22″/50L

Osprey Ozone Convertible 22″/50L is the piece we most recommend and that we go on about at length in our wheeled carry-on meta-review. It is the single luggage piece that I, the digital nomad author of this article, currently live out of as I wander the world.

The Osprey Ozone Convertible 22″/50L quite closely resembles its Meridian counterpoint; it’s main advantage is that it’s just a bit lighter and not quite as bulky, so you’re less likely to overstuff it and run into problems using it as a carry-on.

The Ozone Convertible 22″/50L can also look a bit sportier in its red version and “techy” with all its zippers and straps. Unlike the Sojourn, it has a dedicated laptop sleeve.

This piece is quite comfortable to wear on your back when needed for long stretches (in fact, I put the emptied bag on my back while writing this article at a standing desk, and after twenty minutes realized that I had forgotten to take it off.) It has a hip belt, making it suitable for longer treks. And, as with the other models here, it rolls well — the high chassis wheels are solidly built into the unit and give enough clearance to get you over rough terrain.

Best for Backpacker-Style Travel — but with Cheat-Wheels: The Osprey Sojourn 45L/22″

Osprey Sojourn 45L/22″  is rather unique in that it combines the features of a top-notch backpackers’ pack with the great high-clearance wheels of the Ozone and Meridian lines — and it does all this in a carry-on.

That means maybe a bit of backpacker feature overkill for a small wheeled carry-on, but for those who need it mainly as a small, ultra-sturdy and comfortable backpack, it is certainly ideal. The back-panel suspension system is ventilated to keep you dry and everything about it is adjustable so that you can properly distribute your load. There are hip and sternum straps, and the whole suspension system is removable, for when you want to go with just wheels.

Just a bit of warning from the well-traveled: We think people tend to overestimate how much they’ll use backpack straps and underestimate how much they’ll love wheels. It’s lovely to pull a piece rather than have that parasitic hump stuck to your back.

But for those who most often find themselves far from smooth pavement — and would also like wheels for when they’re in more civilized territories — the Osprey Sojourn 45L/22″ is going to feel great.

The Sojourn lacks a laptop sleeve, so it’s not ideal for those who carry laptops or tablets, unless you also purchase an attachable daypack such as the Osprey Daylite, which is designed to hook onto the Sojourn.

Similar Osprey Carry-On Pieces to Consider

There are a few other Ozone carry-ons to consider. These are marketed without the term “convertible”; they do not convert into backpacks. They are simply lightweight but durable carry-ons.

Osprey Ozone 46L/22in
Much like the Ozone Convertible 22in discussed above, but without the daypack nor backpack straps
Osprey Ozone 36L/18in
A slightly smaller version, also without the daypack nor backpack straps
Osprey Ozone Adult Daypack
A daypack that is designed to attach onto either of the two Ozone pieces above

Note that on some airlines, for example many budget airlines in Europe, you cannot carry a personal item like a daypack in addition to your carry-on; you will thus be forced to check one of the two.

It is for this reason, plus the simplicity of being able to fully zip everything together into a single pack, that we recommend the Osprey Meridian and Osprey Ozone Convertible carry-ons instead of buying separate pieces. But if those things aren’t an issue for you, and you never need backpack straps, these options immediately above are excellent.

Osprey Meridian, Ozone, and Sojourn Specs Side-by-Side

Carry-OnDimensions (in.)Weight (lbs.)DaypackHipbeltLaptop SleeveUS Pricing
Osprey Meridian 22"/60L22 x 14 x 98.4YesYesYes
Osprey Ozone Convertible 22"/50L9 x 22 x 146.9YesYesYes
Osprey Sojourn 22"/45L22 x 14 x 97.9NoYesNo
Osprey Ozone 22"/46L9 x 14 x 224.4NoNoNo
Osprey Ozone 18"/36L9 x 14 x 194NoNoNo

Roundup: Which Osprey Convertible Carry-On Is Best for You? And what are the best prices?

We have fancy software that updates the prices listed here daily, but nevertheless click through to Amazon to check the prices on various colors as they can vary enormously; these listed prices can thus be misleading if you’re flexible on color choice.

Osprey Meridian 60L/22in
For the city traveller who carries a laptop and doesn't use backpack straps too often
Ozone Convertible 50/22
Light and adaptable for all sorts of travel including with a laptop and on any terrain
Osprey Sojourn 45L/22in
For those who are mainly on rougher terrain or just prefer carrying things mainly on their backs; no laptop sleeve and daypack not included

11 Comments

  1. Donat-Pierre Luigi
    August 17, 2018
    Reply

    Hi,

    Thank you for sharing the comparative review. I have a large 17″ laptop that I usually carry in a separate computer bag (personal bag) in addition to a carry on case with wheels and handle. Can these backpacks accommodate this laptop when I travel light (2-4days trip)?

  2. Jim B.
    August 1, 2018
    Reply

    Am travelling Air Canada. Really need good carry on. Air Canada can be really picky. Is Osprey Sjourn 45 problematic or not?

  3. Thomas
    July 2, 2018
    Reply

    Hey there! Thanks for the great article!
    I just wanted to ask whether there are new features in any or all of the 3 backpacks since the article was published. Has anything changed?

    Greetings from Greece! 🙂

    • July 18, 2018
      Reply

      Hi we’ve just completed a major update to this article with improved descriptions and info. The bags remain the same, but (Ozone especially) have seen big price drops in the past year. Happy travels!

  4. March 20, 2018
    Reply

    Thanks for this useful article !

    I’m looking for a versatile backpack with wheels, that doesn’t need any time to transform from one to another
    (more exactly a bag where I can use the wheels without having to pull out and on the straps every time).

    Do you know if one of these 3 bags can be used like this (using the wheels while straps are in backpack mode) ?

    • April 10, 2018
      Reply

      Hi Herve, any of these bags will work if you leave the shoulder straps out (but not the hip strap as this will catch on the ground). The Meridian would be the best choice for what you’re talking about as it has no hip strap and is meant to be mostly rolled but occasionally carried short distances.

  5. Ari
    September 24, 2017
    Reply

    Thanks for the information..
    It’s been a month that I’m thinking of which one could be the best for me!
    Now I’m ready to make me decision!

  6. June 28, 2017
    Reply

    Thanks for reading! Happy travels…

  7. Kirsi
    June 28, 2017
    Reply

    Thank you so much, I have been struggling to decide between these! Now I think I’m an Ozone 50L girl 😉

  8. Bronwyn
    June 2, 2017
    Reply

    Brilliant. Thanks so much for this. I’ve spent a week trying to decide which one. Was going to get the Sojourn but after reading this it make sense to go for one of the other two. Off to check them out in store tomorrow. Very helpful!

    • June 28, 2017
      Reply

      Always good to hear when folks find this useful!

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