Osprey is world renowned for it's backpacks but it also produces a great line of travel luggage including the Meridian 75 on test. The Meridian comes with a detachable backpack, a retractable handle and a multitude of organisation options.
The wheels that the Meridian roll along on are quite meaty and have a bit of a tread pattern to them, this helps on rough ground including light snow, but if you've ever been caught trying to drag your suitcase along ice and deep snow, then you'll be glad of the shoulder straps stowed in the back of the suitcase.
The rear compartment is accessed by zip and reveals the shoulder straps which attach with buckles to hidden clips along the bottom and top inner of the compartment, the bottom buckles only slot in one way, ensuring that the shoulder straps don't get twisted. Carrying the pack is surprisingly comfortable thanks to decent padding, but the length of the suitcase means the wheels can sometimes rub on the tops of the hips - not a problem for carrying short distances, which is what you're realistically going to use the shoulder straps for.
If you can't see a use for the shoulder straps at all then you can completely unclip them and leave them at home to gain valuable extra space in the rear compartment.
Around the front of the suitcase the backpack detaches from partially hidden buckles, this maintains the clean lines of the Meridian. The buckles that hold the pack on clip into each other after removal, making everything nice and neat again.
The pack has more features than we would have expected. Inside you'll find a padded laptop sleeve complete with buckle closure and a separate zipped tablet sleeve. Outside the pack there's a non-scratch sunglasses/goggles pocket. Around the back you'll find Osprey's Airspeed mesh backpanel as well as a sternum strap with whistle at the front. This pack is clearly intended to be used, and not just as carry on luggage. It's perfect for low intensity day trips and cruising the pistes just bear in mind that without a hip belt the pack will eventually start to move around.
On the suitcase itself there's a large U-shaped two way zipped opening into the main compartment, you can open this right up which gives you great access to the gear and luggage inside. There are four further compartments along the inside sides and under the clamshell opening. Three of these are mesh so we use them to separate out dirty clothes and shoes. There's a further large compartment accessed from outside the suitcase, this is an ideal place to store your washbag, it's also compatible with the Osprey Wash Bag Cassette.
The external sides of the Meridian are reinforced and are reasonably sturdy, although not a hard case it's robust enough to protect the gear inside.
The carry handles on the top and side have chunky cushioning for comfortable lifting of heavy loads and the telescopic pull along handle is also very comfortable to use.
The wheels roll along the airport concourse quite nicely indeed and the bag feels like it can take a knock or two from over zealous baggage handlers.
All this greatness comes at a cost, £270 to be exact but the Meridian 75 is the sort of suitcase that will safely carry our gear for many miles and smiles to come......and then get passed on to our children/grandchildren years down the line so the cost is well justified in our eyes.