We saw the new Osprey Zealot and Syncro cycling packs at Interbike, both of which have a few bike-friendly features and are worth checking out. The new Escapist joins the 2012 lineup as the all-day pack with massive volume.
It shares the helmet attachment and short/tall size options and gets internal organizer pockets for bike specific tools and a blinky attachment loop with reflective strips all around. Straps are a breathable stretch mesh with wrap around waist belt with side pockets on the larger Escapist 30 (above, left). The main compartment has a large opening for cramming things in and a small slash/stash pocket on the top. The reservoir, which features their solid frame around it to keep the shape and help support the pack, uses a separate top loading insert slot. Various adjustment and compression straps help keep everything where it should be, and a ventilated back panel should help keep you cool and dry. And an integrated rain cover helps keep the pack dry. Two sizes, a 20 and 30 are available, both in the gray and blue colors shown.
The Osprey Aether 85 is the largest of the Aether packs and is the big brother to Aether 60 (that we did a full hands on review of). The Aether 60 won our Best Buy award in the backpack category.
How is the Aether 85 different than the other Aether packs?
The Aether 85 is:
- 2 oz Heavier than the Aether 60L, and 1 oz Heavier than the 70L
- $70 more than the 60L, and $40 more than the 70L
- 25 Liters larger than the 60L, and 15 Liters larger than the 70L
To get a better sense of how the Aether 85 stacks up against the competition, we urge you to look at our hands-on review of it’s sibling pack the Osprey Aether 60 as well as our Backpacking Backpack Review.
The Osprey Shuttle Wheeled Duffel, 32
Checked it in at the airport, and roll it smoothly off the baggage conveyer belt when you arrive. Unless you’re packing barbells, the Shuttle Wheeled Duffel, weighing in at less than 9 lbs, will maximize your usable space while keeping you safely below the 50 lb. threshold for extra baggage fees. (If you buy one of the monster-sized rolling duffel made by several companies, prepare to spend $50+ every time you check in to a flight, since you’ll almost always be over the weight limit. And their size virtually guarantees that you won’t get the wink-and-forget-about-it treatment from a friendly check in agent.)
From there, the bag is a great size to navigate narrow streets on rugged wheels, without the backbreaking strain of a traditional duffel. With Osprey’s traditional “burrito” design, the bag cinches down to remove unnecessary bulk, and doesn’t have all kinds of extraneous straps and loops that typically snag on conveyer belts, bus roof racks, and narrow aisles. The tough cordura padded exterior prevents cuts and scrapes from doing any meaningful damage and provides protection for everything packed inside. A zippered side pocket along with internal pockets and dividers ensure you won’t spend 15 minutes digging for that headlamp stuck in between your socks, and the over-sized wheels mean you won’t get knocked sideways by the cobblestones of Quito or the muddy streets of Sayulita.
There’s a classic gear problem for the adventurous traveler: You’re an active type who relishes the opportunity to hike, trail run, scramble, mountain bike and generally play hard on your upcoming trip. But, you’ve also got camera equipment, your iPad/iPhone, a neck pillow, a giant bag of peanut M&M’s, 2 guidebooks, along with other associated schwag needed for the long plane flight to get to your destination.
And, you need to lug a bigger load of gear like hiking boots, a sleeping bag or a climbing helmet, maybe some trekking poles, and enough clothes for and gear for 10 days of exploring, not forgetting to bring a few things to look a bit more urbane in the evening.
Finally, you’re sensitive to airline baggage fees, and you’re not willing to trade functionality and ruggedness for having a sporty carry-on.