I hate rolling luggage. I understand that millions of people swear by it. I get that some people don't want to lift and carry heavy bags when traveling. But I've also waited impatiently as people with no spacial relations attempt to shove their over-sized wheelie bags into cramped overhead compartments. I've also had my ankles clipped by people toting their bags behind them as they race through airports. Ultimately, I've always preferred to throw a bag over my shoulder, thus avoiding becoming a human tractor-trailer. However, I was willing to keep an open mind and see if I could be convinced that maybe not all rolling luggage is cumbersome, clumsy, and contradictory to the way that I prefer to travel (while obviously maintaining my prejudices).
The Osprey Ozone might just be the piece of luggage that sways me. I tried out the 22" model (small enough to carry on) and was pretty astounded by one thing immediately. It's light. Four pounds and seven ounces light. Rolling behind me, it was barely noticeable even when packed full with a weekend's worth of clothing and electronics. If you're one of those people who struggles to lift her luggage off the ground let alone to the height of the overhead compartment, you'll appreciate just how light this bag is.
However, I still felt a bit of shame rolling my bag around. That's why I appreciated the handles on the Ozone's sides. I could retract the main handle, pick up the bag like a duffel, and toss it into the trunk of the car or place it on the couch to unpack. Additionally, other duffel-life qualities such as compression straps for minimizing the bag's size and a soft nylon exterior make this feel less like a piece of traditional luggage and more like a modern wheelie/weekender hybrid.
Of course, those soft sides did give me cause for concern. I'd be wary about packing anything too fragile – be it a laptop or a souvenir bottle of wine – in the Ozone. That said, short of buying an expensive hard-sided suitcase, virtually any rolling luggage comes with the same caveats. Besides, that's what computer bags and wine sleeves are for.
Lastly, there's the matter of the price. At $229, it's certainly on the high end of soft-sided rolling luggage at this size. However, Osprey's "Almighty Guarantee" means that it might just be the last piece of luggage that you ever buy. The lifetime guarantee protects you against any rip, tear, crack, or lost wheel that you might experience. They'll fix it for free. Forever.
Is the Osprey Ozone a fine piece of rolling luggage? Absolutely. Is it different than most of the bags that you see getting shoved into overhead compartments? Certainly. Has it completely convinced me to switch over to wheelie bags? No. But it's the first bag to give me pause when considering the question.
The Osprey Ozone 22" is available on Amazon for $229.