Bikedan's Product Review: Osprey Flap Jack


Over the last six months or so I have been using Osprey’s Flapjack bag quite a bit and thought now would be a good time to write a review on the bag. Firstly, I would like point out that while Osprey has sponsored me with some of their gear, I don’t accept or do product reviews on product I don’t like and this is a genuine review.  The Flap Jack is a bag that has now become an essential part of my travelling arsenal and it has been an extremely versatile bag.

Osprey is a cool company that started back in 1974 with the owner/founder Mike Pfotenhauer the man behind every Osprey bag design and manufacturing process. There is an interesting read on Osprey’s history on their official website and to celebrate their 35th Anniversary in 2009, they launched their All-Mighty Guarantee which means that you can return your Osprey pack for any reason and it will get fixed or replaced! So, if you decide to purchase an Osprey Pack, you can feel confident that you are buying a very good product. Recently, Osprey has been launching their product line-up in China through Wild Rampage.  This brand introduction to China has really caught on as throngs of outdoor Chinese enthusiasts are buying Osprey for their hiking expeditions as well as biking trips. It is quickly becoming a popular brand among the discerning Chinese.

Given I travel a lot to compete in bike races as well as attending some events as a journalist (like the recent Tour de Ajerbaijan and the President’s Tour of Iran. You can view my photo galleries on Racing in Iran on  Velonews), I need a good sturdy backpack that will house my 13inch MacBook Pro and my Nikon D90 still leaving room to pack more things. It has become a trusty companion to my travels and it is also quite waterproof especially with the addition of the draw-string closure over the main compartment.  I have managed to cram a lot of items inside this bag as well as carry-on a regular roller bag without comment from the check-in counter. If you are wanting a more detailed review of the Osprey, The Mac Feed does a very good job. For women, Osprey has the Flap Jill which has become my wife’s favorite bag. She uses it for her everyday commute on the bike and it is the best bag she has ever owned.  The next trip my Flap Jack is going on is the Mongolia Bike Challenge!

Key Features of the Flap Jack

  • The roomy padded laptop sleeve that can fit up to 15 inch laptops
  • Drawcord top for weather protection
  • Reflective materials for safety
  • Headphone cord routers
  • Flap cover that allows you to extend your carrying capacity
  • Ribbed shoulder straps and back padding
  • For those that like to personalize, the bag comes with multiple strap colors for you to mix and match.
  • A spot to put your flashing rear light when you are out at night riding
  • Well thought out pack organization

Osprey designed the Flap Jack to be part commuter bag and part backpack while retaining their overall image of the outdoors style.  This is a medium sized pack that is perfect for your everyday commute or carry-on bag when flying.

What I liked about the Flap Jack

  • When fully loaded, it still felt comfortable to wear. The ribbed back panel made for a nice snug fit. It takes the weight off your shoulders.
  • The Flap-top panel added a lot to the bag’s versatility. I could have a full bag, but still fit in my helmet and close the flap over the top.
  • The smart streamlined look of the bag
  • The lap-top pouch – you don’t need to buy another one as this is nicely padded and has soft material. It is also designed in a way when you place the bag on the ground, the lap-top will not jolt with the hard surface.

What I did not like about the Flap Jack

  • The side pocket was too small and not too useful
  • The absence of a sleeve pocket above the Osprey logo on the Flap for storage of passport and flight information
  • Items hidden below the laptop sleeve base Main compartment sometimes

Suggestions for Improvement

  • Increase the capacity of the side pocket. As it is it barely fits one bottle inside.
  • Add a mesh pouch on the side – this would allow you to stash a water bottle for easy access,
  • Add a sleeve pocket on the Flap for storage of small items like keys, passport, flight information for quick access.
  • Add more Velcro for the middle compartment for ease of closure

Bottom Line

Its a bag that I would definitely recommend to anyone looking for a new bag, whether they are commuting or travelling on airlines. I like the fact that it is like a commuter bag but with backpack benefits. It is perfect for the road warrior with their laptops and this bag can handle a lot of punishment and still emerge looking like new.  I think you’ll like this cool backpack!

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