For climbing trips and general travel, I'd needed a big duffel bag for some time. For years I've relied upon large hiking packs, which are terrible for the 'throw it in' approach to packing and can be a pain when it comes to strange shaped items – tripods in my case. At a spacious 130 litres this pack from Osprey has solved many of my packing issues – particularly those instances when I am taking a lot of climbing or photography equipment (that's most of the time).
Weight, fabric and durability
The outer fabric is a tough laminated nylon, a full 800 denier of chunky durability, and in the time that I've been using the bag, there is no sign of wear and tear. It's made to be bomb proof and whilst the material is thick, it is still relatively light - the bag is only 1.84kg all-in, which seems more than fair for something of this size and robustness. The fabric is waterproof and while this isn't essential for a pack like this (I'm not likely to be carrying it far in the rain), it is an added bonus. I've been testing this bag for around six months and taken it on several trips and flights in that time, and it shows no sign of wear and tear.
The zips and buckles are all heavy-duty plastic and are totally bomb proof. I was sceptical at first, as I always am with plastic features, but the buckles and clips are made from really thick plastic and don't look susceptible to breaking easily.
Back system and carrying comfort
The pack features rucksack straps which have a chest strap attached, both of which are greatly needed on a large duffel bag, where you are routinely carrying upwards of 20kg. One negative is the absence of a waist belt. As stated previously, these large duffel bags have enough room for a lot of luggage and carrying a huge amount of weight is normal. It would be useful to have the option of getting that weight onto your hips to reduce the strain on the back and shoulders on long walks betwen flights.
I have it on good authority that the duffel is less comfortable for women, particularly around the chest area, and unfortunately the adjustment system is quite limited here. My partner found that she needed the sternum strap to be a lot higher and this wasn't an option on the Transporter 130. Furthermore, wearing the pack with the strernum strap tends to cause the user to hunch forwards, particularly if carrying a heavy load. Personally, I found the pack to be comfortable, although I do have a longer frame than most.
The bag has the option of stowing the rucksack straps and carrying it using the side handles. I didn't end up using these too often, as I felt the size of the duffel made it awkward to carry without it on my back. This isn't necessarily a negative point, as the bag is more useful to me carrying big loads and I'll always tend to carry these on my back. Being able to stow the shoulder harness is clearly an advantage for airport baggage handlers of course.
Capacity, pockets and features
As the name suggests, the Transporter 130 is a massive 130 litres, and I can't imagine wanting (or being able) to carry more. To state the obvious, this is large enough to fit a full rack, rope, shoes, clothes and almost anything else you would need on a climbing trip. I've actually gone over-weight on flights, as there is so much tempting space to pack extra. A large U-shaped opening (as opposed to a single zip entry) makes packing extremely easy, along with having quick access to your belongings.
In the main compartment there is a secondary detachable 'container', for lack of a better word. I've found this handy for keeping certain things separate from other items of luggage. For instance, keeping toiletries, or liquid chalk somewhere they are not likely to explode onto the rest of your luggage. There are also mesh pockets on either side of the bag, just giving you extra storage and organising options.
The Transporter 130 is built to last. Its durable fabric makes it the ideal companion on flights when it's being chucked on and off planes, trains and automobiles. This is a simple, clean and functional design, which is definitely a positive with this kind of bag, where overdesigning would be a mistake. The £150 price tag seems fair considering I plan on having it for upwards of ten years, and bearing in mind that some other brands seem to charge more for less capacity. It is now my go-to bag for taking on trips, particularly when packing a lot.
Transporters are tough, high-quality duffels designed to withstand the rigours of adventure. Representing the pinnacle of performance in expedition-style duffel bags, Transporter features premium, highly durable materials, a water-resistant design and an extremely comfortable carrying system.
Transporter 130 is the perfect companion on your big-scale adventures. Easily big enough for a huge amount of technical equipment, the Transporter 130 will quickly become a firm favourite for packing up your expedition gear into and heading out on a long-term adventure.
- Main Fabric: 800D Nylon+ 0.2mm TPU
- Weight: 1.84kg
- Capacity: 130 litres
- 4 grab handles
- Backpack harness carry straps
- Backpack harness stows in lid pocket
- Dual end pockets
- Durable and highly water resistant fabric
- External end pocket
- ID Card holder
- Internal mesh pockets
- Internal mesh side pocket
- Lockable zippers
- Sternum strap with emergency whistle
For more information see the Osprey website
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