For families who travel, the Osprey Rolling Transporter 120 is a great bit of luggage. Tougher, lighter and more spacious than most suitcases, we use it for camping trips and overseas travel.
Travelling with kids means carrying lots of stuff. Packing your suitcase, duffel or travel bag is a lot harder than it used to be when you travelled as a couple or by yourself. We have an energetic toddler who needs a lot of entertainment; so as well as clothes, nappies, books and all the other essentials, we tend to pack footballs, toy cars, buckets, spades, water guns, iPads… You name it, we’ve got it.
Struggling through airport terminals with three big cases between two adults and a toddler is a massive hassle, so I wanted one big bag that could handle all of my gear and all of our two-and-a-half-year-old son’s. Leaving his mum free to fill her 20kg case with whatever it is she always fills it with.
And that’s where the Osprey Rolling Transporter 120 came in…
The first thing you notice when you look at the Osprey Rolling Transporter 120 is that it’s massive. I wasn’t totally sure what a 120-litre duffel bag looked like until this was delivered to our house, and I was very impressed. My son is just short of one metre tall and the first thing he did was jump inside and zip himself in. You get a huge main chamber that’s big enough to pack holiday gear for two people for a couple of weeks, with zipped mesh pockets to help you organise your luggage. You also get a big zipped external top pocket to stash things like cash, passports, travel documents and (if you’re like us) miniature Lightning McQueen cars.
The USP of this bag is how robust and indestructible it seems. Osprey claim it’s ‘AdventureProof’, thanks to its construction from ABS polymer materials. The main body of the Osprey Transporter is made of TPU laminated nylon with extra-large polyurethane wheels. That means it can handle all the bumps and bashes you’d expect from airport carousels and aeroplane travel in general, while also protecting everything you’ve crammed inside.
Despite being extremely robust and packed with features, the Osprey Rolling Transporter 120 is pretty lightweight compared to bulky suitcases of a similar size. At just 3.85kg you can stuff it full of clothes and gear and still be fairly confident you won’t bust your baggage allowance. As well as family holidays and weekends away, I also do a few overseas mountaineering trips and it’s the perfect bit of luggage for transporting kit like helmets, ice axes, crampons and even ski gear.
I’d never really thought much about water-resistant luggage before, but it’s a massive bonus on camping trips and if you’re heading abroad in winter where you’re likely to be dragging it through snowy or icy streets. The Transporter 120 wouldn’t handle a full-on dunking, but then you wouldn’t expect it to.
The barrel-shaped design makes it flexible and easy to load; and you get multiple grab handles so you can carry, drag and roll it any way you want. There’s also an ID card slot on the top so you can easily identify your Osprey Rolling Transporter 120 on the baggage carousel. There are three tensioning straps inside to stop your luggage sliding and rolling around as you travel, and the ErgoGrip handle and big sturdy wheels let you roll it easily through airports, streets and hotel corridors.
The beauty of a duffel over a suitcase is its flexibility and the fact you can use it on so many different types of adventure. Sonny and I do a lot of stuff together – and hopefully that’s only going to increase as he gets older – so it’s great to have a bag that can handle everything from flying and train journeys to camping trips and weekends away in the car. The first time we used the Osprey Rolling Transporter 120 was on a camping trip last summer, and it was ideal for transporting all of our bedding. I managed to cram two double duvets and four pillows inside to keep them dry as we put the tent up and down. It also doubled up as a good trailer to drag Sonny around the campsite!
Outdoor Dad verdict: Osprey Rolling Transporter 120
One of those bits of kit that once you’ve got it you can’t understand how you ever travelled with it. The drawback is the price, which at £240 is very expensive for luggage, but if you have the budget it’s definitely worth it. If you don’t need quite such a big duffel bag, Osprey also do 40 and 90 litre versions of the Rolling Transporter.