Out of all of the travel backpacks we tested, the Osprey Ozone Duplex 65 and Osprey Ozone Duplex 60 offered the best combination of durability, comfort, and intelligent design. The only significant differences between the two packs are their capacity—65 liter for men and 60 liters for women]—and the design of their shoulder straps (the straps on the Duplex 60 are curved to better accommodate the shape of a woman’s upper torso). Either size should fit around a week’s worth of garments, however, if you’re a minimalist packer like we are, you can pack enough clothing for a few days and have extra room to bring home a very respectable haul of souvenirs.
While the two Duplex packs are not the lightest packs we tested, at four pounds each, they won’t weigh you down, even once fully loaded. Thanks to well-padded hip belts, most of the heft of what you’re carrying is taken on by your hips. The load lifter straps, built into the Duplex’s ample shoulder straps help aid in cinching the pack closer to your back, keeping what you're carrying stable. During testing, we found that the Duplex did the best job of sparing our backs and shoulders from pain while walking long distances. The pack’s height and adjustable shoulder and sternum straps make it ideal for a wide variety of body types.
One of the things that make the Duplex such an amazing travel buddy is, as its name suggests, that it can be split into two: a 25 or 20-liter daypack and a 40-litre cargo bag. The day pack uses the Duplex’s excellent hip belt and shoulder straps, comes with two water bottle pockets, a hidden pocket for small valuables, and an ample main compartment with organizational aids for a laptop or a tablet. It also offers a smaller pocket for pens, smartphones and everything else in-between. It’s a lightweight companion that you’ll love tooting around town with, while leaving your cargo bag at your hotel or hostel. That said, it's a little larger than the backpack most folks use on their day-to-day commute. So, don't be surprised if you find it's not well suited to that purpose.
When detached from the day pack, the Duplex’s cargo bag is designed to meet maximum carry-on sizes for most major airlines. Unzip the cargo bag’s main compartment and you’ll find that it opens up like a suitcase. The main compartment is equipped with compression panels to keep your clothing or packing cubes cinched down and a large, zippered mesh pocket on the inside of the lid, for storing additional clothing or sundries.
The cargo bag’s secondary exterior pocket is well-sized for stashing a lightweight rain jacket or a rain cover for the pack. The cargo bag can also be carried using a detachable shoulder strap. Both the cargo bag and the daypack come with lockable zippers that work with most TSA-approved locks.
During our 18-day trek across Morocco, we subjected the Duplex 65 and Duplex 60 to hours of flight-time, overnight train rides, long bus excursions, daily urban hike, and a dusty, sand-filled adventure into the Sahara desert, we found the packs to be comfortable, no matter which configuration we carried them. Additionally, they proved both durable and easy to clean: a wipe with a damp cloth was enough to remove gritty desert dust as well as the wet grime from being set down for a moment on a dark side street in the Fes Medina.
As much as we appreciated the Ozone Duplex packs, we did find a few things that bothered us about them during the course of our trip.
While we were happy to find that the daypack’s water bottle pockets were able to hold our 40-ounce Hydro Flask water bottles, having the bottles in the pockets ate up the amount of available interior space of the pack. We were also disappointed that, once the cargo pack is filled to capacity, it can be very difficult to attach its bottom clips to the daypack. That said, ensuring that bulkier items are packed into the lid of the bag goes a long way towards sorting this issue out.
We would have liked it if the pack’s shoulder straps and hip belt could be stowed away when on an airplane to make for more space under our seats. But honestly, this is a minor issue, at best.
Finally, we found that the cargo bag’s detachable strap was pretty uncomfortable if used for more than a few minutes at a time. A bit of padding would be deeply appreciated. Despite these small shortcomings, the Osprey Ozone Duplex is an outstanding choice for anyone looking to travel off the beaten path.