Wheel it, shoulder it, sit on it, kick itOsprey's Meridian 22 adeptly adjusts to any adventure and absorbs every road-inflicted insult. It relieves you of attachment anxiety, since it's carry-on legit, but magically stows everything you need for an around-the-world journey. Can't resist picking up that wooden mask in Papua New Guinea? There's room for that, too.
Osprey Meridian 22 $279 www.ospreypacks.com
1. On a five-week trip in India, this 3,700-cubic-inch carry-on convertible was impervious to 3,000 hard-knock miles by plane, train, rickshaw, boat, and one cranky camel. Credit the bag's ballistic-grade nylon fabric, Hypalon-reinforced wear points, and ultradurable ABS plastic base.
2. It took just a nanosecond to morph the wheelie into a trim side hauler that looked classy enough for a five-star hotel and easily negotiated narrow train and plane aisles, where the Meridian's plush foam-cushioned handles (side and top) made overhead stowage a snap.
3. When the going got rough, the backpacker in me loved how the curved retractable handle is integrated into Osprey's High Road Chassis to work like a traditional frame stay. In backpack mode, it has the best adjustable suspension I've seen in convertible luggage.
4. The ultrasecure (four buckles and a zipper) detachable pack is a day tripper's dream, with dual water-bottle holders, front zipper pouch, and zip-away back panel that accesses a hydration sleeve. It's big enough to hold a day's worth of supplies, including Lonely Planet's fat India guide.
5. After souvenir hunting, I sinfully overstuffed the main compartment, but it never surrendered. Even after sitting on the thing and muscling the oversize zippersand actually breaking a sweat in the processI couldn't find one sign of seam stress or hardware malfunction.