By Amos Kwon
on 3.1.12
Photo by Renae

Do any amount of traveling and see the poor luggage choices people make. Too big, too small, nondescript, completely impractical… they run the gamut. Preferring our travel light and agile, but prepared, this traveler prefers a bag provides key travel functions, flexibility and bombproof construction.We recently went in-depth with the excellent Osprey Meridian 22 ($300) convertible carryon luggage by running it through the wringer. It came out on the other side pretty much unscathed.

Read our full review and check out our images after the jump.

We took the Meridian west to California from the Windy City and ran it through less than savory cab rides, copious groping from TSA, high-speed runs through two airports and trips up and down the west coast with all kinds of clothing and gear.

The myriad carry options including retractable pull handle, comfy carry handles on the top and side, and fully padded backpack straps and corresponding hip belt make this a truly versatile piece of luggage, plus it truly looks like it can handle whatever comes at it. The beefy polyurethane wheels and the Osprey High Road Chassis with ample base clearance provided confidence while bouncing the Meridian off jagged escalator steps and even some fairly rocky paths. When we had to move fast, the backpack straps deployed quickly and had someone given true chase, we would’ve been ready.

The added zip-off daypack makes it extra convenient, allowing us to remove it for a day hike with a few key items. The Meridian is replete with a large main compartment with tie down straps, a padded laptop compartment, mesh organization pockets, courier strap, bottle pockets and a liquids pocket. Plus, it’s built to be both light and tough with the aluminum frame, composite base and a fiberglass matrix inlay. The main pack volume is a full 2500 cubic inches, while the daypack holds 1200 cubic inches. We were able to cram in three days of clothing, a pair of boots, toiletries, a watch case, a cigar case, two water bottles, an iPad 2 and a book. Not too shabby, eh?

Throughout our trip, we were impressed with the Meridian 22’s versatility. Not only did it travel well and store well, all the compartments proved easy to access and the action and durability of all the components were flawless (vital, as we’ve all had zippers come off mid-travel, with cursing following shortly thereafter). Furthermore, we loved the fact that it was not the ubiquitous rectangular pull jobber we see with every traveler. The modern but rugged looking design makes the Meridian 22 stand out. But it’s not just a looker, it performs with aplomb. You’d be doing yourself a service by acquiring one. Save your cursing for the mope in front of you at the security checkpoint when he forgets that he can’t bring his Super Big Gulp with him.

Buy Now: $300

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