In this world of gear specificity (this jacket is made for short women of Eastern Europe descent who trail run in moderate temps with four-knot winds and the threat of a light rain, primarily in deciduous forests), it’s refreshing to find a pack that performs in pretty much every condition we explored. Though the Osprey Escapist is billed as a bike-specific pack (for day rides and as a stash pack for hut-to-hut pedaling), we took this hauler hiking and zip-lining in Puerto Rico’s rain forests; daily bike commuting in the nation’s capital; mountain biking in Bend, OR; and rambling through La Paz, Mexico, and it never failed us. Much of its success comes from its lightweight construction. A the front panel makes it easy to stash a lot—lunch, layers, camera, and lenses—in the expansive main compartment. In front of this cavernous section, you find another, narrower section with three three mesh pockets help organize small items, like bike tools, sunglasses and headlamp. A sizable one-zipper top pouch keeps other items (cell phones, notebooks, sun block) within easy reach. The back sheet employs Osprey’s Airscape ventilation system—but in hot, humid conditions, you’re still gonna get a sweaty back. Thankfully, mesh shoulder and waist straps add a cooling measure of breathability. There are bike-specific features (reflective detailing, a clip for a light, and a great helmet attachment), but don’t pigeon-hole this day pack; 1,220 cubic inches of storage and other features like the attached rain fly stashed the base and an external hydration pocket keep the Escapist firmly rooted in a variety of travel and outdoor activities. The only potential Achilles’ heel: the zippers on the second panel occasionally snagged in the pack’s fabric when the pack was lightly loaded.
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