If you’re in the market for a versatile bag, you can’t find anything better than a rolling suitcase/backpack hybrid. Get the benefits of both straps and wheels!
Two of the best rolling suitcase options are the Deuter Helion 80 Pack and the Osprey Sojourn. Both serve the same purpose for travelers, but they have some significant differences. Want to know which is better? Read on!
|#1. Osprey Sojourn
Our Best Pick
|9 pounds||Harness, hip belt, back panel||Ripstop nylon||Top handle and wheel, daisychain|
|#2. Deuter Helion
|8.2 pounds||Shoulder straps and hip wings, compression straps||Denier with mesh pockets||Handles and replaceable wheels|
Deuter Helion 80 Pack Video Review
Osprey Sojourn Video Review
These bags are roughly the same size. Both the Helion and the Sojourn have a capacity of 80 liters. Although they can pack the same amount of stuff, they’re surprisingly not the same size.
The Helion is noticeably larger than the Sojourn. It has an extra seven inches in height and is slightly wider and longer. While this might be good for padding, it does use precious inches of your travel space.
If you are taking this as a carry-on for a flight, or if you’re cramming all your luggage into a sedan, this might be a concern.
However, this extra length and width is for a great reason. This bag has multiple handles, so you can grab it however you want. You’re not stuck with dragging it by its wheels.
The weight of these bags is pretty similar, but the Helion does weigh almost a pound less than the Sojourn. This is surprising, since the Sojourn is smaller in size.
This comes from a more solid build and heavier materials. The hard base of the Sojourn is much sturdier than the soft base of the Helion. This could be good or bad, depending on how you carry your bag.
If you’re going to put it on your back, the Sojourn’s durable base might not be as comfortable. However, if you prefer to drag it by the handle, this would actually be preferable.
In the long run, you probably won’t notice the weight difference. In either case, these are pretty heavy as far as backpacks go. The convenience of wheels comes at a weight cost. But it is worth it if you want the best of both worlds.
Both of these bags have an impressive 80 liters of carrying space.
However, the way the bags carry their content is different. The Helion has a large inner pocket, of course. You can access this from the front panel.
Tighten your pack with the four compression straps, and attach your keys to the key fob. The inside of the bag has a great design. There are compression straps in here as well as on the outside, so you’ll really be able to pack stuff in there.
The Sojourn’s contents are strapped solidly in as well, but the straps are different. You begin by unbuckling the compression straps on the front.
These open two panels like a book to reveal a daisychain where you can hook your gear. This is awesome for backpacking trips
Now that you’re through the first layer, you can actually open your bag. The zippered opening for this bag starts at the top of the bag and goes all deeply down the sides.
You can peel back the panel like a duffel bag as far as you need to in order to reach your stuff. The inside has a couple of mesh pockets and pressure straps.
Straps and Suspension System
This is where these bags gets really cool. If you’re a gear junkie, you better sit down, because this is going to be pretty exciting.
The Helion may look like a regular old rolling suitcase when it’s closed up, but it has an awesome secret. When you unzip the removable back panel, you’ll find inside a couple of sturdy straps, a lumbar pad, and hip belt. Is that awesome or what?
The Sojourn has a similar design. It also has a back panel that unzips and rolls up to reveal back straps! You do have a little more work to do, because you have to clip the straps to the top of the pack before you wear.
In addition to straps, you also have hip and sternum straps for extra durability. If the backpack straps annoy you when you’re not wearing the bag, you can take out the straps and stow them away for later.
Both bags have a variety of pockets. In the Helion, there’s a tiny pocket at the top of the panel for your passport and other documents. The outside also has mesh pockets for quickly stashing your stuff.
The Osprey’s pockets are a bit different. There’s a top outer pocket here for cosmetics and small items. This is a lot bigger than the Helion’s small outer pocket. It’s too much space for sticking your plane ticket and passport, but it’s great for keeping your sunscreen, toothbrush, and whatever hygiene items you like to travel with.
As I pointed out above, the Sojourn also has a couple of mesh pockets in the inside. You can use these to keep your smaller items organized.
If you’ve read this far, you’ve probably already decided that a rolling suitcase/backpack hybrid is for you. So let’s take a look at the unique features that come with this type of luggage!
First, both bags have multiple handles. They are made to be carried any way you like. The Sojourn has two handles: a top and a side handle. The top telescoping handle has a nice ergonomic grip. The Helion also has top and side handles but also has a front handle, as well.
Secondly, let’s consider the wheels. If you’re still stuck on which bag to get, this might be your deciding factor. The Sojourn has one-way wheels that are set sturdily into the durable base.
The Helion, on the other hand, has 360 wheels. These are replaceable. If you’ve ever used a rolling bag with 360 wheels, you know they are easier to drag but wear out a lot faster. So those replaceable wheels are a great feature.
While both of these bags are high-quality options, I would definitely go with the Sojourn. The larger cosmetic compartment and inner mesh pockets are ideal for organization, and I like how the bag zips all the way down the top so you can access things at the bottom.
I’m not a fan of the extra weight that the base adds, but the durability is better and the wheels are sturdier. In the end, the Sojourn is the winner!