Saturday, 11 October 2014

Osprey Everyday Use Packs

This is not something I am known for but the commuter/biking series from Osprey has been very useful to me over the last couple of years. I have had to do a bit of travelling in the UK and internationally for work. Living out of a bag and keeping things constantly packed, it's like camping, everything needs to have its place so you know where it is when you need it and you can make sure you haven't left anything behind.
For me Osprey are known for their functionality and these packs are no different. The Momentum has features to the extent of Alpine climbing packs! The Flapjack is simple and functional. That’s not a criticism, it's what makes it brilliant.

Osprey says this pack is "born to commute". I tend to agree. lt has 30 litres of volume, it feels like it swallows double that! It has enough space for a long weekend in Holland or filing cabinet for a travelling consultant. It comes under the biking series on Ospreys site, truth be known I've never had it on whilst cycling. However I have used it in several guises. It has never let we down.

I’m not going to list its features, it has already been listed here ..... It has enough nooks and cranny's to tuck away all sorts of bits and bobs.
The laptop sleeve has a top opening has a water resistant zip. I wouldn't necessarily trust it to keep persistent rain out but it’ll defend the enclosed tech well enough in the short term. When there is a laptop in the sleeve, the back panel is obviously very flat and rigid. The Airscape system is not very thick so the comfort factor drops. Accepting this the shoulder straps, sternum strap and the minimal waist belt, which is removable, allows the pack to sit comfortably whilst carried. In with the sleeve there is a secondary pouch that will hold a 10 inch tablet.
The main compartment is cavernous and neat at the same time. There is a document sleeve, individual netted pocket along with the main void. On the outside near the bottom there are two pockets for small items, they have net barriers to catch/hold the items in. The issue I have with these pockets is when the main compartment is jammed full (which has happened) these pockets become redundant as they are squeezed shut.
There is a small organiser pocket on the front which is good for storing keys and other handy bits. Just above the zip of the pocket is Ospreys Lidlock bike helmet attachment, as I said this hasn't been involved in any 2 wheeled activity but with its elastic pull cord I'm sure it works just fine.
Stitched to the front is an elastic stretch panel, it’s good for stuffing a jumper or lightweight jacket in when it’s not needed.
Last but not least there is a highly visible rain cover tucked in the bottom of the pack - glowing! 

Does yellow and orange not clash?

I have used this bag for nearly 2 years, it is with me every day with varying uses. Each time it's done what I have required of it. On a daily basis it carries useful stuff: chargers, note pad, tablet, water, a magazine, head torch, earphones.... The list could go on for the full blog. This should also give an indication of its carrying capabilities, Ospreys site doesn't give a volume but I'd estimate 18/20 litres with the usual Osprey doocots to keep everything separate but still together.

It could have many descriptors too: courier, messenger, laptop, go or man bag. Me, I just call it my bag. The colour of this pack is specced as black, well it’s not is it? Its graphite or grey. It was a bit of a sticking point when I was buying it but I'm not fussed now, well, I say that I would prefer it to be black!

Anyway, the shoulder strap has a padded slider on it which is obviously essential when the weight of the bag mounts up, the downside of it is there is a grippy rubber section that spells ‘Osprey’ on the underside. It's designed to help keep the slider in place whilst walking. It does this, what it also did was pull at the nylon shell of a down jacket completely ruining the shoulder. Fortunately now the rubber has pulled off with use, so no more destruction. My advice pick it off when you buy it.
The waist strap is useful for keeping the bag behind you. I've used it a couple of times when I've had to move hastily somewhere. Late for a train! It's removable but I've never felt the need as it doesn't cause any discomfort.
The flap has a little pocket which is useful for stashing small items quickly. The flap is mainly held down with the velcro panel and its strong! It hasn't failed to hold even at its heaviest when lifted by the carry handle. The clips, which are interchangeable with different colours provided, I only use when I've stuffed so much in that it's the only way to keep the lid down.
Once the lid is open the first thing that stands out is the green interior. At first it seems a bit garish, eventually it dies down, probably due to dirt but alongside this the light colour becomes a benefit. The depths of the bag don't seem so dark and it makes stuff easier to find. I don't think the underside of the flap needs to be green but it’s nothing major.

The main compartment is split into three. The rear slot will take a smaller lap top, mine has a travel wallet and a notepad with Sidetrack magazine for inspiration. The centre divider is a padded pocket which is padded with a zip closure. My 7in tablet lives in here on its end with room to spare. It's designed for 10in versions. The front part is the largest portion and holds all the bigger items.
The larger zip pocket has individual slots. I use these for earphones, usb sticks, a torch and a multi tool. There is plenty of room at the bottom of the pocket for dropping other nick nacks in to.

The front pocket is quite thin so it’s quite limiting to what you can put in here. It has the key clip which I use regularly. The pocket is however useful.
On the side there is a dedicated water bottle pocket, it fits my Camelbak Eddy bottle perfectly. Another casualty of time has been the zip pull loop snapping, I've replaced it with a bit of string which gets me by.
So, a different element to my gear closet. Both very useful bags, as a duo and individually. The Flap Jack is a great carry-on luggage bag but it just works for me every day. The Momentum could do a day hike and be very comfortable, without a laptop being pressed up against your back. For a daily cycle commute, even with a laptop, it would carry everything you need comfortably with the usual robust quality of Osprey.
Unfortunately I don’t spend the majority of my time in the outdoors, so this kind of kit is something I use regularly. I will continue to use the Flap Jack daily and the Momentum will be in support of it when required. So let’s go to work…

The full range of all Osprey's packs can be found at There are a lot of new packs and updates to the existing range.