Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Review- Osprey Elroy pack

What is the perfect travel bag?  This question has driven me to spend a small fortune in an endless progression of packs.  I have come to view my pack menagerie as a team, rather than succession of tools.  Recently, I sought a bag that was more urban (less technical), and yet capacious enough to handle what normally goes into a daypack, to carry for brief periods.

My most recent analysis revealed that my Maxpedition Sitka is a bit too small, too technical looking for business, and too hard to put on/take off over a dressy coat.  That ruled out upsizing to the Maxpedition Kodiak, at least for this use.

The features of the Sitka I wanted included compartmentalization, and the ability to sling my pack from back to front for access on the go.  The feature which I wanted to depart from Maxpedition was appearance.  I was going to spend a lot of time in Paris and NYC with this bag.  So I ruled out backpacks, and focused on messenger bags, which are innocuous looking, easy to shoulder on either side, voluminous, and durable.

Search started with the standard, Timbuktu.  It is heavy!  But bulletproof, weather resistant, and has a feature that became a requirement- a quick cam adjusting strap.  But it was also just a big bag,  no organizing ethic, no computer section.  The other messenger bags were too small, too poorly constructed, too expensive, and too poorly designed.  Till I got to the Osprey line.  Messenger bags? You bet!

Osprey Elroy in Action
I have a bias toward Osprey packs, some of which are still sewn in Dolores CO.  Alas, not the messenger bags.  They are smart, have great features, have never failed me, and are light.  There are two bags, twins, one small, one large.  I went for the large size, the Elroy.

Padded computer sleeve, check- no need to add a case to the mix
Organizer pockets, check- not too many
Size, check- it is as big as the biggest when expanded
Strap cam, check
Strap pad that stays put when slinging it around, check
Durable, check
Lightweight, check
Post consumer recycled materials, check.
Smart zipper to access things without flopping up the flap, check

I am using it, and realized that I have not had a briefcase I didn't shoulder since the old Samsonite hard sides.  Why did it take so long to go messenger?  I guess because it took Osprey this long to make one.  It holds my needs, has room for extra clothes, protects my computer, is comfortable, and reasonably priced.  A winner that is ExecHobo recommended.

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