I am eternally searching for the perfect pack. My latest find is the Osprey Escapist 30 Day Pack. This model is styled for cyclists, but I saw enough potential in the design of this that it looked like it would make a really good hiking day pack.  Mostly, it does! Here are the specifics:

First let it be said that I have never heard a complaint about an Osprey pack. Generally they make a quality product, and since packs is basically all they do, I’d expect that they have honed their art. Their materials, zippers and components are all solid and clever. I always appreciate cleverness in design. Extra effort in making the zipper pulls hide under protective covers was not lost on me.

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Photo courtesy of Osprey

They have done a great job with placement of compartments. I have always been annoyed with the “key and wallet” compartments (they call it a “slash pocket”) on most packs. They are usually on the top, outside of my day packs. When the main compartment is stuffed, and I go to get something out of the small pocket, valuables spill out on to the trail easily. The Osprey Escapist pack solves this by tucking the slash pocket behind the main compartment. It sits against the back of the pack when it’s full or hangs into the main compartment. Very smart. Since this pack is designed for bikers, there is a water reservoir pouch which rests right on the back. Since I am not a reservoir person, this pocket serves little purpose for me, but a savvy packer could take a small laptop, tablet or couple of books if they were creative.  The bottom compartment zips all the way open into the main one above it, making one main compartment dividable (just like overnight packs). I found the bottom compartment perfect for my traction foot gear. It even fits crampons (carefully), leaving the larger compartment free for everything else – lunch, jacket, gloves, etc.

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Photo by Erika Klimecky

The straps are comfortable and easy to adjust and there is ample back padding. I did notice that when the pack isn’t full, the back padding tends to bunch and rest in the lower back, instead of staying rigid. Again, this is something a hiker would notice that a biker wouldn’t, since in biking position, the pack rests differently.  Osprey added a rain fly that somehow magically takes up no room, tucking nicely under the pack. When I used it I was pleased that it covered everything except my ice axe.

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Photo courtesy of Osprey

There is a handy quick clip for helmets which is awesome if you climb or need a helmet for other uses. But I used it as the top clip for an ice axe. I did need to fashion my own bottom loop for the axe, since there is not one on the pack. It would be an easy addition for Osprey to add to the next iteration of this pack.

Issues:

I found the fit of the pack great, but sizing the waist was not intuitive.

Being a water bottle person (rather than reservoir) I used the mesh side pockets to carry water. A 1-liter bottle fits nicely, but the pockets are not quite deep enough to keep a standard bottle from falling out, unless clipped in. There are clips just above the pockets, and I used this method, though the one time I forgot to clip, I ended up chasing a bottle down a hillside.

Final thoughts: As daypacks go, this one is creative and stylish. If you are a dayhiker and biker, I can see this pack working for both. The overall size was perfect for my day-sized excursions, and it was easy to find everything due to the layout of the pockets. A solid pack that has become my go-to day pack!

Technical Info

Weight: 2.2 lbs

Size: 30 liters, also available in 27L size

Dimensions: 55x25x28 cm. (21 5/8×9 13/16×11 in.)

Materials: All nylon fabrics

Colors: Grit (black) and Fjord (blue)

Price- $130.00

Website: Osprey Escapist

Photo by Chris Klimecky
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