Jono takes the Osprey Transporter 25L Roll Top pack for a spin. From the beach to the bike path, he wanted to see if the backpack could keep up, and whether it could look stylin’ at the same time.
The backpack wizards at Osprey have recently released their Transporter Pack range, designed specifically to suit the needs of the modern city-dweller for the everyday commute. Having never owned a bag specifically designed for the daily grind, I was keen to see how the roll top pack held up the daily bike commute. So after a month with the Transporter on my back, here are my thoughts.
At First Glance
With the exterior of the pack constructed with Nylon TPU coated fabrics, the pack is rugged and water-resistant ensuring the contents of your bag are protected rain, hail or shine. The roll top design also provides the ability to either expand or condense the size of your bag giving you extra functionality that a zip bag doesn’t have. Having never used a roll top pack before, I was a little worried that the aluminium buckle securing the main compartment of the bag would be difficult to use or flimsy, but so far I’ve had no issues with it and have actually enjoyed using it.
Tipping the scales at just over 900 grams, this bag is light. The Transporter Packs are also available in three colours and silhouette choices, so you’ll be able to find something that suits your flavour on the streets. However, one thing I noticed was that unless the pack was completely full, ruffles and folds throughout the middle of the bag did actually affect the silhouette of the bag, making it look a little less pleasing to the eye. #firstworldproblems
Comfort & Carry
Having both a sternum strap and a hip belt means you’re able to securely attach the transporter onto you like a turtle does his/her shell. It’s great that the hip belt is detachable as I find it unnecessary for most day to day tasks.
Comfort is key and a major consideration for me when purchasing anything, even packs. The AirScape mesh-covered foam back panel, moulds nicely with the curvature of my posterior thorax and the ridges along the panel add to the back feel, providing light shiatsu when in use. No complaints here. I also haven’t had any issues with the breathability of the back panel – it seems to breathe well even when I work up a sweat on the ride to or from work.
Organisation & Pockets
I’m just a simple man with a desire for practical pockets and sleeves that provide the capability to carry everything a commuting city-dweller needs, and the Transporter Pack provides just that. Sitting just under the hood is a padded laptop sleeve capable of fitting my 15” MacBook Pro, followed by a tablet sleeve which doubles as a perfect spot for documents. Further, there are a few smaller internal organisation compartments which can house any number of daily essentials.
The two external pockets sitting on the wings of the bag are perfect for the commuters. As I ride to work every day, my bike lock or water bottle sits on one side while my phone or wallet sits on the other. This saves the hassle of having to open up the main compartment to get to these items – a major plus. The blinker light attachment on the back of the bag is a really nice touch for riders and skaters navigating the concrete jungle on their way to their next adventure, or trip to the fridge.
Usability & Durability
As an avid outdoorsman, undoubtedly at some point this pack will double as a day pack. On my most recent trip to Western Australia, I put that to the test and the Transporter got a whirl on my ride around Rottnest Island. Again the design of the back panel proved its worth by keeping my traditionally sweaty AF back relatively dry and served well as a day pack. I was also surprised that the Transporter was able to house all my tech and photography equipment on the plane –it was the perfect size for carry on.
So far I’ve had a few very minor nicks on the exterior of the pack but the tough material is holding up well. I’ll check back after a year of commuting and let you know how it held up!
Jono was given the Osprey Transporter 25L Roll Top pack for the review and was allowed to keep it afterwards. He was allowed to say whatever the heck he wanted about it in this review.