- Buyer's Guide
Drive By :: Osprey Spin 32
A feature-rich backpack with an original closure mechanism, aimed at the urban cyclist. That would be our one-sentence description of the Osprey Spin 32. Osprey sent us one for review and we’ve spent a good few months using it in multiple circumstances: walks, bicycle rides, out on the town. And, we believe, dear audience, Osprey as a brand might not need an extra introduction.
Who It Suits
Although it’s aimed at cyclists, the Osprey Spin 32 is an all-rounder backpack with a lot of features and good weather protection. Should 32 liters be too much for your needs, there’s a 22-liter version as well.
Who It Doesn’t
The heritage fan.
Being feature-rich, an all-rounder and weatherproof, the Osprey Spin has a lot of good stuff going for it. So where to begin?
Let’s start with space. The Spin 32 has a main compartment that can be enlarged through two zippers on the side, which makes it more versatile (it might have been called the Spin 28 – 32). The extra space really makes a difference when you need to stuff in a jacket or some groceries. In the main compartment there’s a laptop sleeve (up to 15″ MacBook) which is well padded, a zippered sleeve and…yet another sleeve. The interior is light grey, which makes it easier to see things inside. There are several extra pockets in the pack, but we’ll get to them later.
“The Spin 32 has a main compartment that can be enlarged through two zippers on the side, which makes it more versatile (it might have been called the Spin 28 – 32).”
The flap cover makes for some weatherproofness to begin with, but the bag comes with a rain cover, should you be so unlucky as to wind up in a torrential downpour. The rain cover fits neatly and, for better or worse, has a bright yellow color.
Now the flap itself, that’s something different. It’s…huge! Instead of the “normal” outdoor backpack, which has a buckle somewhere on top to fasten the flap, the Osprey has a series of thick straps at the bottom of the pack. The flap goes all the way over the bag and a buckle slides under one of the straps, depending on how much is in the bag. There are some downsides to this, which we’ll get to later, but let’s start positive: the flap can close easily with one hand, it’s adaptable to how much is in the bag, it offers weather protection and it protects the front pocket of the backpack.
So there’s a front pocket? Yes! There’s a front pocket with some pockets in it. And there are two side pockets. And there’s a top pocket. With another pocket in it! We started out this review by saying “feature-rich”. In terms of pockets, there are lots of features. Which we like. For instance, any bottles you might bring don’t stick out of the bag. It takes an extra movement to access a bottle, but the movement is easy enough and the side pockets can hold rather big bottles. What’s cool about all the pockets is they don’t take away space from the main compartment. You can stuff all the pockets with necessities and still have enough room to fill the main compartment.
The shoulder straps are comfortable. There’s a sternum strap that can be adjusted in height and width. As sternum straps go, that’s a good thing because, depending on your height, they might actually choke you! And then there’s a hip strap, but hey, we’re not in the “not so good” area yet.
“…the flap can close easily with one hand, it’s adaptable to how much is in the bag, it offers weather protection and it protects the front pocket of the backpack.”
The back is padded and has ventilation, which we like.
Osprey uses some details which we like as well: the zipper pulls, a tiny pattern in part of the outside shell, the “bubbled” material on the inside. In general, the bag feels well made and clearly a lot of time has been spent in thinking through how the owner is going to use it. Another example: the bag has a sturdy handle on the flap. If you open the flap however, that handle isn’t of much use. So: there’s another handle on the inside.
Finally: the bag is made for cyclists. Although you can use it for a variety of carry, there are some features designed for cycling: the front pocket can hold a lock, a light can be attached to the flap, and of course there’s the rain cover. The ventilation helps for longer rides, and the sternum and hip straps make for greater stability while cycling.
“What’s cool about all the pockets is they don’t take away space from the main compartment.”
The Not So Good
First: never, ever, ever leave the top pocket open. If you do, and you bend over, Stuff Will Fall Out and it’ll get ugly.
As for the flap, although we like the concept, it does have two downsides. First of all, it’s rather prominent. It’s like, anything you want to do with the bag, there’s the flap that you need to handle first (especially when there’s stuff inside the top pocket). If you don’t close the flap neatly, it will go all wild and destroy anything in the neighborhood. Having said that, if you do close it, it’s as sweet as a sleeping baby.
There’s a hip strap but it’s aimed at cyclists. It will not move weight onto your hips. What it will do however is add some stability and keep the pack from swinging if you’re pedaling up a hill. The good thing is if it’s not of any use, you can remove it.
“…anything you want to do with the bag, there’s the flap that you need to handle first (especially when there’s stuff inside the top pocket).”
Access to the main compartment is a bit limited. It’s not something that bothered us every time we used the bag, but sometimes you have to stuff something inside the bag: the room inside the bag is bigger than the entrance and there’s no elasticity there, so it might take some pushin’ and shovin’.
Finally: we tested the 32-liter version and when there’s not much inside it, the bag will become a bit amorphous. This is not specific for the Spin 32 but for every larger and lightweight bag that’s near empty.
“…sometimes you have to stuff something inside the bag: the room inside the bag is bigger than the entrance and there’s no elasticity there, so it might take some pushin’ and shovin’.”
Others to Consider
There are many outdoor packs from all the outdoor brands, from REI to the North Face. Not many of them are designed for cyclists though.
The Osprey Spin is a versatile, feature-rich, weatherproof backpack. Other people think so as well.
[Editor’s Note: The bag utilized for this review was supplied by Osprey]