Osprey Sojourn Porter 30L travel backpack | Tested and reviewed

Travel backpacks should be able to be carried comfortably for long periods of time, but also fare well when thrown about buses, taxis, trains and planes. How does Osprey's Sojourn series stand up to this challenge?

Fliss Freeborn wears the Osprey Sojourn Porter 30L overlooking a park

by Fliss Freeborn |
Updated on

The Osprey Sojourn 30L is a cleverly designed and well-thought through backpack, which seeks to solve a lot of potential problems for the hardened weekend traveller. Designed for anything between two to four days away, or as an auxiliary carry-on bag, it offers a great way to cart around a surprising amount of stuff - and it feels nearly as comfortable as a hiking backpack when in use.

The Sojourn’s real talent, however, is the fact it can expand into something which feels much larger than a 30L pack, but can cinch down to fit into the ‘free’ hand-luggage option on certain budget airlines, as well as tuck its own straps out of the way when it needs to.

And sure, there are a few small gripes and grumbles, but these are rare and tolerable - so let’s get into what makes the Osprey Sojourn such an ideal traveling companion.

the Osprey Sojourn Porter 30L enjoying some sunshine on a park benchLFTO


  • Very comfortable
  • Spacious
  • Easy to pack and unpack
  • Cinches down for smaller loads


  • Expensive
  • Slightly bulky

Features: straps, pockets, bells, whistles, and buttons

Osprey Sojourn Porter 30L doing some sightseeing next to a giant church

This is a highly featured rucksack, eons away from those minimalist roll-top tubes that don’t even have a separate pocket for your car keys. From pens to laptops, to keys to passports, there’s a specific place in the sojourn for every knick-knack and trinket. Plus, the Sojourn comes with TSID luggage registration, which means if it does get lost, you're far more likely to get it back.

Pockets and compartments

the main compartment of the Osprey Sojourn Porter 30L

The largest compartment has a clamshell opening and offers ample packing space for clothing. Inside there are straps to hold things in place, and two handy zipped pockets (one mesh, one lining material) for valuables to which you don’t need immediate access, such as Cadbury’s mini eggs and huge wads of cash.

dark and dingy inner pockets on the Osprey Sojourn Porter 30L

The secondary front pocket is A4 sized and has specific slots for notebooks, finger puppets and pens, plus whatever else you want to keep flat. In here you’ll also find a plastic key-carabiner to clip your car keys onto, which we found stops them being hidden by poltergeists. A smaller stretchy pocket, which encroaches into the main compartment is situated just in front of the laptop sleeve at the back and is a perfect place to store quick-access valuables like your phone, wallet, hamster, and passport. The zips on the laptop sleeve can be locked together for extra security, if you so desire.

the inside of the front pocket on the Osprey Sojourn Porter 30L

The mesh pocket on the outside is large enough for a Nalgene-sized water bottle, and the side opening means it’s unlikely to fall out if the bag is turned upside down or stored on its side in transit. Happily, the stretchy pocket for valuables is also cavernous enough to slot a Nalgene into for hand-luggage-sizer-purposes too.

top view of the many zips on the Osprey Sojourn Porter 30L

The downside to all this, especially when the bag is cinched in, is a) that it’s sometimes difficult to remember where your put things and b) access to each compartment can be a little unclear at times. When viewed from the top, there are four zips in total, and finding where each compartment unzips from can be a bit of a faff if you’re in a hurry. However, over time you do get used to it, and develop a system of what goes where.

Compression and strap storage

Fliss Freeborn wears the Osprey Sojourn Porter 30L overlooking a park

The Sojourn’s main party piece in terms of features is that it can be reduced in size when you’re not using all of its capacity. Two compression straps with padded sidewalls (Osprey un-ironically refers to this as StraightJacket technology) cinch in the pack as and when the time calls for it; namely when you’ve got to stuff it into one of those ludicrously tiny carry-on sizers for Easyjet and Ryanair. Happily, the system works very well, and we were, after removing a ski helmet, able to take the Sojourn on as free hand luggage for a recent ski trip.

Ben wears the bag at a train station

The compression straps also feature as extra storage for jackets or overcoats you’ve removed but don’t have room for: they hold bulky items in well, and we daresay they’d also be ideal for strapping in other things can’t fit inside the main compartment itself. Baguettes, perhaps, or bits of exhaust pipe.


The padding is a particularly nice feature of the sojourn - you get full peace of mind when you’re out and about that nothing will get too squished. It also gives good structure to the bag, which enables quick and easy loading and unloading. With the clamshell opening, you can easily see what you’ve packed without the sides of the bag folding in on themselves.

the Osprey Sojourn Porter 30L in use with hand

Another useful feature is that the waist straps and hip straps can be stored inside the back panel, turning the entire bag into a frightened tortoise for transit or storage. Three different handles allow the now-strapless rucksack to be carried like a hold-all (or a frightened tortoise), but the straps can be pulled out and reattached again with ease, at your leisure.

Back system: panel and harness

the back system of the Osprey Sojourn Porter 30L

Surprisingly for a travel pack, there is a mesh airflow zone on the Sojourn’s back panel, which makes for comfortable carrying over long periods of time. It's a godsend in hotter airport halls and queues, where other bags stick to your back in the heat.

Due to the aforementioned structured padding, your back is also protected from any inconsistencies in the way the bag’s contents are packed  - there’s no way any of your vertebrae are going to be poked by a water bottle or a maligned Tupperware here.

the harness system of the Osprey Sojourn Porter 30L

The harness system is similarly comfortable. It adjusts well, and we particularly like that there’s padding on the hip belt as well as the main straps. It also fits us well as a relatively small human being, which can’t be said for many other travel-packs which tend to come in just one size.

Volume, shape, and weight

Fliss Freeborn wears the Osprey Sojourn Porter 30L in a park

The Sojourn has a particularly chunky feel to it, which some may like (we find it reassuring) but others may not. It’s wide and boxy as opposed to tall and sleek but that does allow you to get an awful lot of stuff in there, and crucially, see what it is you’ve packed with a single swipe of a lockable zip.

The zip on the Osprey Sojourn Porter 30L

Because it’s not been designed with hiking in mind, Osprey haven't exactly made this series of packs featherlight. In fact, the Sojourn is rather portly, coming in at just over 1.3kg for the 30L - that’s the weight of around three small barn owls for context. However, you’re also getting many bells and whistles and all that excellent padding, all of which are constructed with Osprey’s excellent signature build quality. What it lacks in grace and agility, it makes up for in sturdiness - and actually the carry is so comfortable you don't particularly notice that the pack in itself is on the heavier end of things.

Price and other versions

The Osprey Sojourn Porter 30L on a park bench

There are other versions of the Sojourn available too. The 30L is great for use as a smaller carry-on bag, and will happily cover a long weekend away, but if you’re after something that is larger, the 46L will happily do a week if you’re savvy about packing.

The other thing to mention here is the cost. The Sojourn starts at £160 RRP (at the time of writing), which is expensive for a 30L backpack, but ultimately is in line with what Osprey charge for their products. For that price though, you do get quite a lot of bag packed into 30L, and because it's good quality it should last a very, very long time. With regular use - especially on budget airlines where you'd otherwise be paying for hand-luggage - it's a good investment for a piece of useful gear.


the grab-handle on the Osprey Sojourn Porter 30L

Osprey use Bluesign approved sustainable textiles in all of their bags, and their products last for years and years - making them naturally more sustainable than other packs. The Sojourn is also made from 100% recycled fabrics, and is free of PFCs/PFAS, which are chemicals that build up in waterways and pose damage to animal life. All in all, this bag gets a thumbs up for sustainability from us.


A great, sturdy bag for weekend travel which, due to the compression straps, fits into the free hand-luggage sizer on budget airlines. Drawbacks are that it’s expensive, and some will find it overly complicated, but overall it’s a solid choice for a smaller travel bag that’ll likely last for many years.

How we tested this backpack

Fliss Freeborn LFTO writer

Our tester for the Sojourn Porter 30L was Fliss Freeborn, a writer for LFTO. Fliss took the bag with her on a ski trip, giving it a thorough thrashing around airports, on buses, in taxis and also using it as the basic component of her floordrobe. She has also used it for a few UK city breaks and taken it for a nice espresso or two, as a treat for being such a good pack.

bag goes for a coffee

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