I’ve been to dozens of trade shows in the last few years, and my days of wearing a backpack which fills up with heavy paperwork along with my laptop and iPad are long gone. I swapped carrying for wheeling a couple of years ago and although I absolutely hate other people who drag around wheelie bags, I have to admit that they’re the way forward. So, a couple of weeks ago I swapped my trusty REI wheeled carry-on bag for a new Osprey Ozone 36-litre wheeled carry-on and have been dragging it around pretty much every day since.
The Ozone weighs in at a featherweight 1.8kg, which sounds quite a lot until you pick it up and realise that it’s significantly lighter than other carry-on wheeled bags. You’d be forgiven for thinking that the lack of mass would equate to structural problems but the Ozone 36 has been rock solid even when filled to bursting. Thanks to its aluminium frame and a hard-moulded plastic base which Osprey call the High Road LT.
The wheels on the Ozone are large and spin easily on sealed bearings and the bag slides along the floor with ease. Its wide stance means that it’s very stable over bumps and a test over a gravelled car park and grassy field confirm that it is a very easy bag to pull along.
The Ozone 36 is comprised of a single large compartment with two webbing retaining straps which keep a laptop from falling out when it’s open. Each side of the main compartment is a zippered mesh pocket which I’ve used for chargers and travel plugs and business cards. I have a 15″ widescreen laptop and it fits, in a neoprene sleeve, snugly in the bag.
The front flap of the Ozone comprises a large internal mesh pocket for magazines or paperwork perhaps, and externally a couple of tall zippered pockets where I stashed my travel documents. There are a couple of compression straps which attach to the front flap and help keep things snug for when you’re stashing in an overhead locker. I found these a little annoying when I was using the bag around tradeshows because they restrict access to the pockets. I left them undone to aid my regular access, but I don’t see this as a problem for most people.
The Ozone has a pair of padded webbing handles on its top and side to help you heft it in to a locker, and the aluminium and plastic extending handle is very sturdy and strong enough to pick up a fully loaded bag by.
There’s a small pocket on the top of the bag which is ideal for that little clear bag of toiletries you need to find when going through airport security. And to finish it off, another flat pocket for magazines or an iPad in the rear of the bag.
Quality and material wise, the Ozone is excellent. Osprey make damn good bags and there doesn’t seem to have been a compromise on this weight-saving tote. The finish of my test bag, which I’m told is one of the first off the production line, is perfect.
I have to get really picky in order to find any fault, but perhaps there might be room for a small material change in the plastic feet which the bag sits upright on. I’ve noticed that after a couple of weeks’ use they are starting to wear and I’d guess that they’d be the first thing to give after long term use.