We travel. A lot. I’ve used everything from grocery bags to expedition packs for baggage, but over the last few years I’ve come to appreciate “real” luggage. The kind that’s versatile, provides easy access once you’re at a hotel or friend’s guest room, and is durable enough for airline abuse. Until recently, the missing ingredient in my luggage system was a good carryon. I’d been using a basic computer backpack, but it wasn’t a roll-around and during long layovers I’d get sick of the thing hanging on my back for hours on end like a torture device. Time to upgrade.
The Osprey Meridan 22 inch Carryon is sized so unless overstuffed it’ll be legal with nearly any carryon size regulation. While it’s a hefty 9 lbs., you get an amazing amount of features for the weight (and could probably reduce mass by about a pound by removing partitions or features you never use). Construction quality is of course Osprey, so it’s over the top beautiful. From the padded buckle protectors to the molded composite chassis, this unit screams so much quality I’m even wondering if it could be a target for thieves (especially if they know the MSRP is around $300)? Just joking, after my Meridian endures a few trips I’m sure it’ll be sufficiently camouflaged (I mean, abused).
With more than 10 individual compartments, you might need Einsteinian brain capabilities to keep track of your junkshow — but you won’t lack for organization. Starting at the top outside, you’ve got a quick access slot and a small pocket with a luggage strap for piggy backing on your larger roll-around. Inside the detachable computer type backpack you’ve got a padded ‘puter compartment, pen and card slots, and a zippered pouch for a power supply or such. Inside the main compartment: zippered mesh pouch on one side, zippered solid fabric pouch on the other, and interior compression straps you can cinch down on the puffy you keep in reserve for winter landings in Fairbanks. Heck, the Meridian even has a tiny pouch on the back with an ID holder that pops out while attached by an elastic strap. If you lost your luggage, I doubt the airline employee could ever find this (or take the time to do so), but it’s a nice touch anyway.
I like the full shoulder/waist harness that converts Meridian into a backpack. Dragging wheeled luggage over rough ground can be a joke, being able to shoulder it is the ticket. And these are not just a measly attempt at a harness. It’s full-on comfy, with chest strap, padded waist belt, everything.
Yeah, I think I’ve got a roll-around carryon I can live with for a while.
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.