Gear Review: Osprey Meridian Convertible Backpack
I’m a Virgo. I need to be organized and put together, or else I get an itchy feeling in my brain.
So imagine the dual pleasure and tension I feel whenever it’s time to pack for a trip. Do I bring my rolling suitcase that I have to struggle with up stairs and on busses? Or should I go with my backpack that doesn’t have room for my many pairs of shoes and pretty much screams ‘Backpacker’ when I’m trying to present myself as a professional?
Then there are the additional questions of carry-on luggage, briefcase for the laptop, and daypacks. It’s enough to make me wish I were born a more laid-back Libra.
That is, until Osprey sent me their Meridian bag – a wheeled convertible backpack.
Meridian bags come in three colors and retail at $329.
The Meridian is a hybrid of wheeled luggage and a backpack, easily pulled behind you by its retractable ergonomic handle. The bag has extra-large polyurethane wheels designed with a high clearance, so the wheels won’t annoyingly get stuck on curbs.
Once you’ve pulled the Meridian bag through an airport or hotel lobby and prefer to wear it on your back, it conveniently converts into the kind of backpack that Opsrey is famous for by simply unzipping the padded shoulder straps and hipbelt that are tucked away in the back of the pack.
A back panel and contoured lumbar pads provide enough support and distribution for a bag packed with a lot of weight.
On the front exterior of the Meridian is an ingenious removable daypack that zips directly to the bag. At 20 liters, the pack is small enough to use as a carry-on for the plane and still roomy enough to use as a daypack for the beach. The daypack has two zippered side pockets, a neoprene laptop sleeve, and an internal organizer panel.
Inside the bag, it keeps getting better. The Meridian isn’t like a roller suitcase, which is essentially a black hole where all of my clothing and gear are jostled around to become an unorganized mess. The 55 liter main compartment of the Meridian has straps to keep sweaters separate from sandals. There is a side fabric pocket which is a great place to stash toiletries. An external zip top pocket is a handy place to store a passport, tickets, or cash.
Additional features that make this bag ideal are a back-panel entry for easy addition and removal of items without having to open the whole bag, exposing your personal packed items. Padded top and side carry handles are so handy that even my dad noticed them the last time he took me to the airport. The bag itself is made to be durable, constructed out of ballistic nylon that is meant to be abrasion, moisture, and tear resistant.
One drawback of the Meridian is that at 30 x 16 x 12 inches (without the zipped-on, attached daypack) the bag will have to be checked on most airlines. The price is not cheap, but is more cost effective than buying one roller suitcase and one backpack.
Last week when I had to pack the Meridian for a trip to Berkeley, California, the Virgo in me was pleased to discover I could fit everything I needed for the trip (outside of my bike, of course) into my Meridian wheeled convertible backpack.
After arriving at SFO, I pulled out the handle and was able to maneuver the bag effortlessly onto the crowded BART train.
Once I arrived at my stop in Berkeley, I unzipped the straps and carried the pack on my back several blocks to the apartment where I’m staying. I didn’t even break a sweat.
Who needs to be born a Libra?