The following Osprey Meridian 60L backpack review was submitted by Megan Hogarth.
Hi, I’m Megan, a journalist and blogger based in Tasmania, Australia. I spent three years living and travelling in Europe and North America and bought my Osprey Meridian when I wanted to downsize my luggage for a five-month backpacking trip. It’s now my go-to bag for weekend getaways, work trips and longer backpacking adventures.
What’s your backpack brand and model? How much does this backpack typically cost?
I have the Osprey Meridian 22 inch / 60L. It retails for between $300 and $350, but there are quite a few online specials. I couldn’t find it in-store near where I was living at the time, so I ordered it through an Osprey stockist in the UK.
>> Check for prices of the Osprey Meridian 22/60L on Amazon.
How long have you had your backpack and where have you traveled with it?
I bought my backpack in 2013 and took it on a five-month backpacking trip in Eastern and Western Europe. I wheeled it most of the time, but in some places I came across rough roads – cobblestones, gravel, mud etc – and in those situations I whipped out the straps and carried it instead.
Since returning to Australia I’ve taken it on a two-week trip to Thailand and Singapore, a five-week trip in the UK and lots of shorter trips around Australia and close to home. Most recently I used it for a business trip to Melbourne, and I love that the bag doesn’t make me look too out of place in a luxury hotel.
When travelling the day pack that comes on the front was really handy. I could carry it separately if I had stuff to put in it, or attached it to the front if I didn’t. I use the day pack at home a lot when I go hiking too.
The backpack has got a big workout in the last three years – it’s come on nearly every trip I’ve taken. But it’s holding up really well. There’s a few marks as you’d expect but it’s in really great condition considering what I’ve put it through.
What factors were most important to you in choosing a backpack?
I was set on buying a convertible backpack. I needed sturdy wheels, as I planned to wheel it most of the time to reduce pressure on my back, but I wanted supportive straps so I could wear it when the terrain was rough or I had lots of stairs to navigate. A lot of convertible backpacks don’t offer both – either the straps are great, but the wheels are flimsy, or it’s the other way around.
Having a hip-belt was also a must given how heavy a 60L back can get, but that’s also tricky to find on a lot of smaller backpacks. Most have a chest strap, but I wanted the hip-belt to take the weight off my shoulders.
>>See our tips for how to avoid injuries from heavy luggage.
What do you like most about your backpack? Any down sides?
I love the versatility of the Meridian. It’s suitable for all the different trips I take. It was big enough for everything I needed on my five-month trip, where I carried a sleeping bag and clothes for several seasons, but it’s also small enough to be used on shorter trips, like a weekend getaway with my partner. Being able to use it as a backpack and have such supportive straps has also been really helpful. It converts so easily that I could pull out the straps really quickly whenever I had to climb lots of stairs (hello Paris subway) or had a muddy track to walk to my Couchsurfing host’s place in Albania.
Sometimes I wish it expanded, even just a little bit. My partner’s backpack (an Eagle Creek backpack) has the ability to expand, which is usually handy towards the end of a trip. But I don’t have the flexibility with the Meridian. That’s not so bad though – it keeps me from buying things on a whim.
Tell us about the fit and comfort level of your backpack.
As I’ve found with any convertible backpack, they are never as comfortable as a normal backpack. But in saying that, the Meridian comes pretty close. The hip belt and shoulder straps are thick and cushioned, and the adjustable suspension system at the back is very supportive. It’s the best set-up I’ve seen on a convertible backpack and I did a lot of research before choosing the Meridian.
I’m 5’8’’ and the backpack sits wheel on my back, resting on the top of my hips. Sometimes I think 60L is a lot, but even when I get carried away with my packing, it rarely weighs more than 10kg.
If you want to take your backpack as carry-on luggage, can you?
I took it as carry-on luggage in Europe and North America, as the bag itself meets carry-on dimensions for most airlines. But it’s too big to carry on with the airline I fly most frequently in Australia, although they have luggage included in the ticket price so it’s not much of an issue.
The frame is a bit bulky at the bottom, so this adds a bit of weight and can make it tricky to meet carry-on weight restrictions. The bag itself weighs 8LB (3.5kg) so there’s not a lot of wiggle room if the carry-on weight limit is low. The upside of the frame is that the bag is very sturdy and the larger wheels handle really well.
>>Read more about how much your flight really costs.
Have you found the size to be too small, just right, or too large?
The size of the bag is perfect for me. I have to pack smartly on longer trips, but I’ve never felt the need for anything bigger. On a recent trip to the UK I even packed my hiking boots, along with everything else I needed (and a few things I didn’t) for a 5-week road trip. I’m not one of those people who wears all their heavy items on the plane. I want to be able to fit everything in my backpack when I’m dressed normally.
It’s also a good size for shorter trips. Often my partner and I will only use the Meridian for the both of us, but even if it’s just me travelling for a couple of nights, I don’t feel like I’m lugging around a huge bag for no reason.
The backpack has four pockets inside and a couple of pockets you can access on the outside, so I’m able to keep things like dirty clothes separated from the rest of my luggage, and also put things like phone chargers and hand sanitizer in places I can get to easily.
Overall, would you recommend your backpack?
Absolutely. It’s a great backpack for so many travel styles. I wouldn’t take it hiking, but other than that I can’t think of a trip it wouldn’t be suitable for. And if 60L seems a bit small and you’re not fussed about taking it as carry-on, there is a 75L version.
>>Check out more female travel backpack reviews.
About the author: I’m a Tasmanian-born journalist with an insatiable curiosity. After living and travelling overseas for three years, I’m now balancing full-time work with my love of travel and exploring. My blog, Pegs On the Line, is a collection of travel stories about places, people and experiences around the world. Say G’day on Twitter or follow my adventures on Instagram.