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Road Tests

Road Tests :: Osprey Flap Jack | Part 1

by , June 14, 2010

We’re starting a new type of post, that we hope you like more than donuts. It’s imaginatively called ‘Road Tests’, where we’ll be putting various carry goods through their paces.

We’ll try and post our initial impressions, then later follow up with a more thorough review, and then later still give you a follow up with how it has worn in. So this is an initial review of the Osprey Flap Jack pack. If there’s aspects you are curious about, chime in and we’ll cover them in the follow up post…

Most of my bag collection consists of messenger bags. I have always loved how varied their designs are (colors, straps, materials), and I felt wearing one promoted a casual, laid back and relaxed vibe. However, despite their name, they are uncomfortable while cycling or on walks of any significant distance.

While I have some backpacks, they are all designed specifically for hiking, cycling, or photography equipment. On a regular browse of Osprey’s site, a new line recently caught my eye. The Flap Jack’s feature set seems to have been designed exactly for my needs. It’s an active day pack with some great attention to detail. I picked up the backpack version (there’s also a courier option as well) in the black colorway and it has been my daily bag for the last three weeks.

So far, my initial impressions have been great. Having the weight distributed across your shoulders and back creates a balanced load which just makes things feel lighter. The chest strap is adjustable and works great to stabilize the pack on rides and there’s even a hip belt to really lock things down when you are riding.

One thing I hated about cycling with a messenger bag was the limited points of contact (really just one shoulder plus your lower back), making things really side heavy and providing for a (sometimes) nerve-wracking and unsteady ride. It’s not all daisies though; I have some gripes about the strap management and the usefulness of the internal draw closure.

Next week I am leaving for Montreal for 10 days so we’ll see how it fares through airport security, in the overhead bin, stowed under seats, and on my back as I walk around exploring the city. When I return, I will give a full review of this bad boy. In the meantime, how do you guys feel about backpacks versus messenger bags? Have any of you made the switch?

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  • David

    I’m curious to hear your experience with this bag. I’ve been thinking about getting one myself, but I have my reservations.

  • Rob

    I want to know what the issues with the strap management system were? why did you mention it, but not talk about it? I am thinking of getting one for the winter season when i go cycling.. my summer bag is a camelbak, but during the winter here in Texas, where its cold only about 2 months (sometimes) out of the year i wanted something a little bigger to throw my jacket in if i get to hot riding. this pack seems like a great choice.. im curious to hear more about it from you. please post about it when you return! 🙂

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