Text: Julie Schwietert Collazo
Since receiving a complimentary set of Osprey bags about a year and a half ago (a perk of being an Osprey Adventure Envoy), Francisco and I have become Osprey loyalists. All of our Osprey bags—- from the Flap Jack and Flap Jill daypacks to the larger backpacks and the Transporter travel duffle—- are incredibly resilient pieces of luggage. We’ve put them through some serious paces this year as they’ve rolled around luggage carousels in Cuba, Mexico, Belize, Spain, Catalonia, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and various US airports. They’ve been overstuffed, spilled on, thrown about by baggage handlers, and dragged through train and bus stations. The Flap Jack and Flap Jill packs, our day-to-day Osprey bags, have been washed and dried in commercial laundromats at least a dozen times. All of them still look brand new.
In addition to their proven durability (and the as-yet unnecessary to test “All Mighty Guarantee”), one of the main reasons I love the Osprey bags is that they were made by a design team that seems to be peeking directly into my brain (either that or wiretapping our apartment and listening to my long and frequent complaints about other bags). Regardless of the model, the bags always have just the right number of compartments in logical places. Handles are comfortable, zippers and straps are resilient, and there’s always, always just a bit more space to squeeze in the last thing I can’t leave out.
Given my enthusiasm for the quality and consistency of Osprey’s products, I fully expected to love the new Osprey Shuttle, a wheeled bag, without reservations. But after testing it for the past two months, I’ve decided that the Shuttle, while perfectly fine in a number of ways, doesn’t fully deliver because Osprey has set its bar so high.
There’s a lot to like about the Shuttle. Its wheels, for one thing, which are doing wonders for my stressed back. The fact that it’s small enough to be considered a carry-on by most airlines, which allows me to speed through Immigration and Customs. And it seems just as durable as Osprey’s other bags.
In the design department, though, this bag falls short. Zippers seem strong but perhaps too much so; they’re tough to pull. The top compartment of the bag is tough to close properly, even if the main compartment of the Shuttle isn’t full. The interior lacks the kind of intuitive, read-my-mind design I appreciate about the other Osprey bags we own; I keep thinking there’s more room inside than there actually is. The straps that can be pulled across the body of the bag drag on the floor if they’re not snapped shut; though the straps are a feature I typically like on the other Osprey bags, they seem superfluous here. Finally, the Shuttle’s curves make it difficult to rest any other bags on top. This feature isn’t necessary, of course, but it’d be nice for those moments when I just don’t want to haul my backpack or camera bag any longer.
Osprey is generally an underpromise, overdeliver kind of company, and its consistent quality product has set a standard against which I measure other brands. But I use those same standards to measure Osprey’s new products, too. This one falls short, but the Shuttle is still a better bag than many of its competitors’ products in the same size and style category. If you’re looking for a carry-on size wheeled bag, the Osprey Shuttle is a better than average choice. Just don’t use it to judge their other products.
| BAG DETAILS |
Model: Osprey Shuttle 22”/40 Liter
Dimensions: 23.5 x 15 x 11 in; 60 x 38 x 28 cm
Colors: Juniper and Charcoal
Available through: Osprey’s website. Should you choose to buy it through Amazon, I’ll make a small affiliate commission.