Reviews of bags for your weekday commute and for your weekend adventures


First Look: Osprey Radial 26L ($170)

The NEW Osprey Radial 26L

In 2014, I reviewed one of my favorite packs - the Osprey Radial 26 (reviewed here).  It was my pack of choice and I used it as my daily bag for months.

I loved this pack.  It continues to be THE most comfortable crossover pack I have used to date with excellent organization and pocket design.  It also has an uncanny ability to make the load feel light due to its internal wire frame.  Furthermore, my back never got sweaty because of the brilliant trampoline suspension system.

But, after a long honeymoon period, the pack started to reveal its two significant flaws:

1.  It does not stand upright - making it a pain to load and extract stuff, and
2.  The grab handle was in a place that made it difficult to hang this pack on a wall hook.

These might not seem like "major" issues until you consider that when you get to your destination, you often take off your pack.  In the case of the 2014 Radial, once you took it off your back and put it down it would flop onto its face.  If you then tried to hang it on a wall hook, it had to be a large hook (a door knob is not long enough) or the pack would push itself off the wall and plummet to the floor.  Filling or accessing your stuff was more challenging than necessary because of these two issues. I was sad about this because the Radial was otherwise an A+ pack.  Eventually, I gave up on the Radial as my primary pack (I did keep using it for mountain biking).

Last month I was trolling for packs, came across the new Radial and discovered that Osprey had addressed both flaws with the current iteration!!!  They designed in what they call a "kick stand" (it sounds worse than it is) and they shifted the grab handle so that it is now flush with the back of the pack. Though I asked them to send me a demo pack, I could not stand the wait, so I went ahead and bought one.

I am working on the video review, but in the meantime, here are the images of this pack:


Video Review: Mountain Hardwear Frequent Flyer 30L ($120)

I stumbled across this pack while trolling for packs the other day.  Seems like a good mix of features in a clean crossover look.

It reminds me a lot in terms of organization, design, and build quality of the Patagonia Refugio 28L - that is both good and bad...

Here is the video review of this pack:

Video Review: Ortlieb Packman Pro 2 26L ($150)

This is not a pack that I would typically review as it lacks most of the features I need or want.  However, on the rare occasion when I need to go out in the rain or on the water with my gear, this waterproof (not just water resistant) pack might fit the bill.  You can fill this up and toss it in the river and your stuff will stay dry!

Video review:

Click on the images below to enlarge:


Video Review: Aer Flight Pack 23.6L ($150)

This is one of the highest if not THE highest quality bag I have reviewed since I started this blog.  Check out the video below for the tour and my thoughts of this crossover daypack.

Click on the images below to enlarge: