Travel big, like an Osprey Shuttle

The alarm was set to 3 am. The flight was scheduled at 6 am.

I was all set and packed to go for the next climbing trip. I spent the days before packing, excited about flying off to a winter destination with sun, sea, cliffs, tapas.

4 long weeks!

There were big plans, and with each activity I planned to carry out, the checklist grew bigger and bigger: Swim a few laps each day, climb, boulder, hike, New Year Eves party, Christmas celebrations, day out in the town, beaching, spend more time on photography, godchild is coming to see her godma. Hmmmm…

I had a problem. I can’t just throw them all in the car and drive off. Flying on budget Airlines makes packing a challenge. Everything has to fit in one luggage that does not exceed 20 kg! Unless you want to pay extra. We have all heard about it before:

T R A V E L     L I G H T!

It also meant compromising, and depriving yourself on stuff you don’t want to miss. (Like the teddy) I looked again at all my stuff that I had to bring along:

Swim goggles, hiking poles, heavy trekking shoes, crampons, climbing equipment (rope, quickdraws, climbing shoes, chalkbag, security device, clip stick), headlamps, warm winter garments for a summit hike, my DsLR, Laptop, Phone, cables, wire, batteries, big Backpack, small Backpack, climbing shoes, sneakers, flip-flops, christmas presents, teddy… OMG, this is so crazy.

Can’t i just pack in 2 t-shirts and go on holiday?

No darling, it’s not a holiday. You’ve booked an all-inclusive active vacation on an island that has 3 temperature zones and your godchild will love getting presents from you. The airline is going to rub their hands together in joy to extra charge you with luggage expenses. Aaaaaarghhhhhhh!

Road trips are a paradise for people like me. So simple. Throw all in the car, and go!

Travel big

The Osprey Shuttle 130 came fluttering into next to the post box a few weeks before our departure. Osprey’s biggest travel fleet stood before the door.  (Thank you Osprey!) I was instantly shocked how huge it was. 130 litres was hopefully going to solve my problems of getting the bulk in, and to separate the dirty from the clean.  The first thing I did was to weigh the luggage, hoping I did not make a wrong decision. 4.1 kg meant that I had only 16 kg of allowance to take along. I immediately loved the idea that there were 4 grab handles to carry the luggage. The HighRoad™ chassis looked durable. There were belts for compression inside and outside and plenty of compartments everywhere. Nothing like getting organized in a jiff, and making sure nothing spills out even if the zipper should get damaged one day.

I threw everything in.

Instead of putting my dirty clothing at the bottom compartment (which is divided from the main compartment), I stuffed all my gear in there. The 70m rope and rope bag used most of the space but left enough for me to stuff in other soiled equipments like shoes, jackets, etc. The main compartment took up mainly my clean clothing, the electronic equipments /gadgets were stuffed in between for some protection against brutal handling at the airport. And the quickdraws too. The foam side walls made the bag stay in shape.

I loved the multiple mesh pockets in the bag. Even if you can’t think of a reason for using them in the beginning, you will later find that they come in handy when you don’t want small objects to fly over the place. An external zippable compartment enables you to quickly access to liquids and accessories without opening the whole bag. It’s also great for keeping a pair of flip-flops in there.

The back of the bag comes with another external pocket which you can use to keep magazines, newspapers or paper you need along the way. A built-in retractable ID card makes sure that your bag can be identified as yours, without giving everyone a free glance to your personal address.

So I did manage to get all my things in, there was nothing that did not come along. It was time to get to the airport. The first hurdle was to get the luggage now down the stairs and into the car.


We had a luggage limit of 20 kg per Person, and I was trying to avoid having any excess. So, I had to outsource the 18 quickdraws to the luggage from hubby, so that his 12 kg would be filled up with the remaining 4.5 kg. That said, we both had exactly 2 pieces of luggage.  The 4 external grab handles came into great use, when we carried the Shuttle together down the stairs (it was much better to do this than hurt your back) The rest of the way, the polyurethane wheels rolled off any humps and bumps there were on the pavement and made it a whizz to get around, without having to search for a trolley at the airport. I could snap my jacket between the belts while on transfer, when it gets too hot or too cold. Standing up next to the Shuttle, it was almost as tall as me (well, it felt that way) Yet it was easy to move around at ease. I found it a little difficult to get the Ergo Grip handle out from its place. It didn’t come out as smooth as the Sojourn model I was also using. The YKK zippers made it a dream to open and close the bag, gently or in a frenzy.

Arriving at the destination, it was easy to leave all contents in it without having to pack it all out. Eventually, the mesh pockets became a great spot to find tiny objects you don’t want flying around. Dirty laundry were sorted out in the other lower compartment. By the end of our vacation, I threw everything in without having to squeeze and compromise. Throw in, belt it up, zip, lock and go.


The Osprey Shuttle makes a sturdy impression.  It has a ” unique injection moulded HighRoad™ chassis, consisting of an ABS polymer for durability and using polyurethane wheels that eat tarmac for breakfast.”  I didn’t see the wheels actually eating tarmac, but rolling it on the road was smooth as it absorbed all the hard bumps off the road. If you have bulky gears you need to take along with you, yet keep everything in one single luggage, the Shuttle is a good choice. If you can limit your clothing and cosmetics to 5 kg together, it would be easy to keep rope and quickdraws in one luggage if you’re limited with just 20 kg/pP.  Otherwise, it would be wiser to outsource or buy extra luggage fees from the airlines.

I like how versatile the luggage is. I can compromise it small if I have less gear, or make full use of it with bulky ones.  It’s a little tricky if you’re bringing on plenty of electronic gadgets, but with good planing and distribution (e.g. Handluggage allowance) , there’s always a way to spread out to your 20 kg limit. If you are looking for a luggage which you can use as a back pack on rough terrains, you might be interested in the Sojourn model with 80 litres instead.

The Osprey Shuttle costs List price 250 € for 130 litres. It’s smaller brother comes in 100 litres. Available in many online shops and directly at the Osprey Webshop.

[Disclosure: I have received product samples for my time and efforts in reviewing this product and creating this article, thanks to Osprey. All thoughts and opinions are my own. ]

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