Why We Are Travelling The World With an Osprey Carry On

Why are we travelling the world with only an Osprey Carry On?

We have been on the road since 2013.  We have packed too much, carried too much, and paid many $$$ sending ‘stuff home’.  Enough is enough.  We were fed up with lugging heavy bags into taxis, buses, boats, ferries and the worse tuk-tuks.  But we had to go through the pain!

Our lifestyle is now minimalistic so our travel style should represent the same. We have said goodbye to heavy suitcases and now have a lighter load to carry which makes it so easy to traverse from airports to train stations to bus stations and many other forms of transport along the way.  We learned the hard way though! Carry on luggage is the way for us to travel now.

(Editor update 2019)

Since 2016 our Osprey carry on luggage and day packs have travelled the world with us and they are all still going strong.

We highly recommend them for their toughness and durability. They have been thrown around by baggage handlers, stuffed into buses, thrown into ferries and are living to tell the tale.


Let’s regress and lead you through the pain that we went through to get to the stage of ‘carry-ons’.

2013 – Our First Adventure

Since 2013 we have travelled the world with too much luggage. Do you know that feeling? How many times have you packed clothes or even shoes that you didn’t even wear?

That year, we travelled around the world for 12 months to South America, Europe and Asia with a 100-litre luggage trolley bag, purchased lots of things, and had to send 3 boxes of clothes back to Sydney. $$$$.

Can you imagine travelling with this type of luggage for a whole year, jumping on and off buses, trains, tuk tuks etc?

We should have read these books first. In our previous holidays, we were used to packing for two weeks including our boy’s clothes, books and games.  Now it was just the two of us.

We had some trekking gear in one of those boxes as we had just completed Machu Picchu and we wouldn’t need them on the next part of the journey, but we still had too much ‘stuff’.

We knew we had too much when we arrived on our very first day at our very first hostel in Santiago Chile, Ventana Sur,  and could not get the bags up the stairs to our room, and that was only the first day, we had 364 days more of travelling and lifting. What had we done? It was all those ‘just in case’ clothes and items. Guess what, most of those ‘just in case’ clothes and items could have been purchased, if needed, along the way.

Ventana Sur was a great place to stay and a great first introduction to our travels throughout South America

Why we are travelling the world with an Osprey Carry On

We travelled on USD60 per day

On the road again – check in at Qantas in 2015



2015 Our Second Adventure

In 2015, we thought we were so clever downsizing and travelling with a 65-litre luggage trolley bag, spending only 9 months on the road and only in Central America.

To be honest, the 65-litre luggage did not really look much different from the 100 litre.  What do you think?

Although we had fewer problems travelling around with a smaller bag each we still had too much ‘stuff’. One of our trolley bags was damaged on the first flight from Sydney to Los Angeles and on the return from Panama to Los Angeles via Dallas the TSA lock was cut. We thought that TSA locks had a master key so that it could be opened for inspection, not to be cut off!

June 2016 Our Next Adventure

For our next adventure in June 2016, we set ourselves a challenge; a carry-on bag each and one small backpack for our indefinite travel journey around Europe, South America, Barbados, India and Asia for 18 months. It does help in our packing when we are ‘following the sun’ and ‘not doing cold’. We researched and researched and reached out to other travel bloggers on their experiences with carry-on luggage, what brands they would recommend and how they handled the rules and regulations on toiletries.

So then we thought we would put together a carry on pros and con list (see below) and the pros outweighed the cons! Our next step was to put together a packing list (also see below) and this would help us to determine what size carry on we should consider. Many travellers we spoke to gave us a great tip, check the airlines that you are travelling with and then purchase a carry-on that suited that airline’s recommended maximum size. We do note that many budget airlines have stricter regulations such as size, weight and quantity. Our choice of carry-on is based on our past international airline usage.


  • No baggage fees
  • No bag drop when checking in
  • No waiting time at the luggage carousel
  • No concerns about damaged or lost luggage
  • Savings on cab fares, we can either walk or take a bus
  • A lot safer as any potential thief can see we only have a small amount
  • No more damaged TSA locks



  • Longer security checks
  • Size limits on toiletries
  • No scissors
  • Different carriers with different carry-on size restrictions

Packing List:

Osprey Luggage

Jane’s Clothes:

  • 2 black leggings,  2 trekking trousers, 1 pair board shorts

  • 2 travel scarves, 1 Turkish Towel, 1 sarong

  • 1 heavy jacket, 1 light jacket, 1 rain poncho, 1 rain jacket

  • 3 pairs socks, 4 sets underwear, 1 nightie, 2 pairs swimmers
  • 6 t-shirts, 3 dresses, 3 long sleeve tops
  • 1 pair Merrell trekking shoes, 1 pair ballet flats 2 pairs Havianas

Toiletries inside Osprey carry on


Jane’s Toiletries:

Osprey carry on toiletries

  • Facial wipes, eye makeup remover pads, coconut oil, 60ml body lotion

  • Deodorant,  shampoo bars, conditioner bars,

  • Nail polish, emery board, nail polish remover pads,

  • BB Cream – moisturiser, foundation, SPF15, sunscreen

  • Eyeshadow, blusher, eyeliner pencil, mascara

  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, razor, lipstick

Duncan's Osprey carry on packing

Duncan’s Clothes:

  • 5 x Underwear, 6 pairs socks
  • 4 x t-shirts, 1 jumper, 2 scarves, 2 long sleeve light Merino jumpers

  • 1 pair board shorts, 2 trekking trousers, 2 jeans, 2 trekking shorts

  • 1 rain jacket, 1 rain poncho, 1 light wind jacket

  • 1 baseball cap, Panama Hat
  • 1 Turkish Towel, microfibre towel

  • 1 pair thongs, 1 pair casual shoes, 1 pair Merrell walking shoes

Duncan’s Toiletries:

  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, razors, first aid kit

Between us in our Day Packs:

  • Business Cards
  • 1 x Electrical Power Board, Travel Adaptor, Panasonic Lumix Camera, Apple Macbook Pro and a Macbook Air

  • Ipad, Iphone, Samsung Phone, Notebooks

Our criteria for choosing our carry on luggage:


  • Material that was durable for the amount of travelling we were doing
  • Functionality – storage options
  • Size
  • Good reviews
  • Luggage that could stand up on its own
  • Strong wheels
  • Light weight frame
  • Total weight no more than 2kg

2016 Our Third Adventure

The winner was – Osprey Bags!

The next question was should it be a travel backpack?

Our Osprey luggage

The decision was made to opt for the Osprey 46 Litre carry on, the wheeled luggage ticked all the boxes for us. We approached Osprey and they kindly offered to sponsor our luggage for this adventure in return for our honest opinion on how their bags could stand up to long-term continuous travel.

Now, what about a carry on day pack for our technology?  We looked at both the Osprey Travel Backpack and the Osprey Day Pack. The Osprey Day Pack was suitable for carrying our electronic equipment. It was sturdy, practical with also pockets for a drink bottle and umbrella.

Our lives for the next couple of years are in these two bags. Could you travel the world long-term with only a carry-on and a daypack? Is there anything that you would not leave home without?

Update 2017 on Osprey Bags

We are now coming to the end of 2017 and we have been travelling with Osprey Bags for over 15 months. The bags have been thrown around trains, buses, tuk-tuks, planes (on budget carriers where the weight limit was lower than what our bags weighed), taxis, roads and cobblestoned streets.  They have lasted and are still lasting.

If you are backpacking Europe or Asia and needed a backpack we would recommend that you check out Osprey Backpacks.  They are sturdy and we have had great reports from others who have used the Osprey backpacks.

Now we also use Pro Packing cubes to keep our clothes packed securely and easy to get to.



2019 Update – Osprey Carry Ons are now in 42L or 45L



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  • Nicole GRAY says:

    Hi guys have been reading a bit of your blog and just read this one about travelling with your Osprey carry on. My hubby and I are setting off indefinitely next March to travel Asia and I was looking at the exact same option as you the Osprey 46 and backpacks but have read some not so good comments on the handle and materials not lasting the distance and not being strong enough. Any thoughts as yet as we are going to purchase our luggage soon to try out on a few smaller trips. I will most likely go with this option or the Osprey Meridian but not carry on size.

    • Hi Nicole
      Thanks for reaching out re the Osprey. We chatted with alot of travel bloggers and Osprey was the favourite. We have been on the road now for a month and have had no problems at all, better than our previous brand Denali we used (failed first flight). We will be on the road for about 18 months so it was important for us to have something that will last. We will keep updating our readers on how the bags are handling continous travel. Hope this helps! Travelling with this size has definitely made it easier for us to get around.
      regards Jane and Duncan

  • Sharon Dowling says:

    Hi Jane and Duncan
    I was wondering how you get around the 7kg carry on limit that some airlines adhere to. I know your Osprey bag would be within the dimensional limits but I am sure I could not pack within the weight.

    • Hi Sharon
      Thanks for your comments. Qantas did not worry about the weight of the carry-on, but Swiss Air did so we had to check it in there. We are travelling with between 9 and 10 kg, we could actually wear a bit more clothes when flying to reduce the weight. Our flight to Stockholm, we checked the bags in as we had purchased Vodka to drink whilst in Stockholm, it is so expensive over there to have a drink. What was interesting was that we flew Vueling from Barcelona to Stockholm and we were not allowed to put our day packs above our seats – apparently Vueling’s rules states that the overhead lockers are for only carry-on luggage and our day packs had to be under the seat in front of us. Guess we will just go with the flow with all the carriers we are using as we travel around, checking all the time and wearing more than what we need to! Cheers

  • Simon Lock says:

    Hi Jane and Duncan:

    Really enjoyed spending time with you at TBEX Stockholm.

    Great article – Penny and I have a lot to learn from you guys in terms of packing – starting with light weight bags certainly help – our current suitcases empty weigh in at just over 7lbs (3.2kg).

    I do have some questions about definitions – of course you are using Aussie terminology that needs translating for the US market:

    What are swimmers?
    Turkish Towel – is this just a regular towel (if so, what size) or is there some significance to the “turkish”
    Havianas ??!!

    Define “jumper” and “thongs” – in the US the latter are in the singular and refer to VERY skimpy underwear (hence the term “don’t get your thong in a wad”) – is that what this is or something else?

    What do you mean by an electrical power board – is that a voltage converter or something else?

    Do you each carry laptop chargers, iPad chargers etc or do you share any chargers you carry? No mention of a charger for your camera or extra batteries – oversight or …..? What about a flashlight?

    Curious why you need 4 iPhones plus an Android phone since I thought you told us you only use phones on WiFi. When we are in a single country for several weeks we use a SIM for that specific country and both have voice and data so that if we are apart we can communicate with each other as well as locals that we meet.

    When we are touring we have found that having a data plan on one phone (Penny) and a voice and data plan on the other phone allows to have easy local communication plus mapping capabilities while out and about. Our most recent foray into Europe we had a UK phone number but with a special access code (bridge) so that we could make inexpensive calls to anywhere in Europe plus the USA. Cost for the voice SIM was about US$60 per month including unlimited data and the data plan alone was 3gig valid for up to 3 months for US$40.

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