The obsessive organizers at Osprey have, in the newly redesigned Momentum commuter series, a pack that lets you put everything—every single thing—in its right place. Of course, there’s a dedicated, padded pocket for your laptop, which will accommodate a computer of nearly any size, but that’s just the beginning. Inside the main compartment, there’s a second sleeve sized for an iPad or magazines, and four mesh organizing pockets for your work or workout essentials. A smaller front pocket contains still more organizing pouches for smaller items. A stretchy front panel will hold an extra pair of shoes, or spare jacket in case the weather turns. What’s that? You want more pockets? Well, don’t worry: There are two zippered pouches on the bottom, ideal for small items that you want accessible. There’s even a small zippered pocket on the right shoulder strap. If it rains, deploy the integrated, hi-vis rain fly from one final pocket on the bottom, and you’ll ensure that all of your carefully organized gear gets home dry. External compression straps control your load—especially helpful if your bag isn’t completely full. Of course, there’s also a loop for a blinky light.
The Pixel Port is where technology meets the outdoors. This 14 Liter bag fits the new 9.7 inch iPad 5 into its fully touch responsive Port window so you can play Angry Birds on the trail without even taking your tablet out. The Slash Pocket is plenty spacious to store a Note 3 and other tech goodies. Flip the cover and on the inside, you can slide in a 13” laptop, Kindle, and enough pens to last you a semester. It’s perfect for school, short day trips, and showing off some urban/outdoor flair.
According to the National Retail Federation’s 2013 Back-to-College survey, total spending for the back-to-college market is expected to reach $45.8 billion this year. For outdoor brands and retailers, the back-to-school market is too big to ignore.
“Back-to-school is huge for us. We consider it to be one of our anchor seasons, like Memorial Day, Labor Day and Christmas,” says Mike Massey of Massey’s Professional Outfitters in New Orleans, La. “We buy products and create merchandise programs to take advantage of the back-to-school business.”
A college student’s back-to-school shopping list includes lifestyle apparel, footwear and accessories like water bottles. Backpacks and messenger bags represent one of the biggest opportunities for outdoor brands.
Research conducted by The National Association of College Stores found that backpacks are college students’ preferred mode of carrying books and supplies. Among the various styles, 70.9 percent prefer a backpack to carry to class, 10.4 percent chose a tote and 8.5 percent prefer the messenger style bag.
Outdoor brands well known for technical backpacks are pursuing the back-to-school market with products tailored to this audience. Laptop sleeves, multiple pockets for electronics and organization are key features for college students.
“Osprey is actively pursuing the back-to-campus market with a pretty broad range of products. We’ve been building packs that have been popular on campus for a very long time. Students clearly appreciate the quality materials and construction, as well as the comfortable carry,” said Erik Hamerschlag, product line manager at Osprey Packs, Inc. (…)
“We are primarily focused on our retail channels and getting them the programs and products that will help drive back-to-school business. That typically means having the product available to ship early and partnering with retailers in their own marketing efforts,” said Hamerschlag.
Desert Gear: Osprey Xenith 88
Everything you need to plan the perfect Grand Canyon summer escape
Carrying four nights’ food and lodging for myself and others means an inevitably heavy pack. The Gear of the Year–winning Xenith was spacious enough (5,400 cu. in.) and—most important—perfectly fitting, with heat-moldable hipbelts and easy on-the-fly load adjustment. Especially handy in the thirsty heat was the externally accessed hydration sleeve, for quick refills. $349.