Value for Money *****
Sometimes I just want a little bit of adventure to take with me everyday. Now I’m not one for walking down the main street of Keswick or Chamonix in full climbing mode – although I have seen that in Cham and I daresay we’ll get a comment from some-one who’s seen it in Keswick or Fort William!
But there are a myriad of small ways that I can remind myself why I work and retain that sense of climbing perspective. One way is to add climbing brands to my everyday living and that’s a great way to keep the adventure dream alive and kicking. You can do this by dressing in the casual clothing range of your favourite brand, wearing watches and of course catching up on your favourite gear review site on your tablet device while commuting.
My job often involves wearing a business suit, I can be teaching one day; delivering staff training another and travelling to conferences and meetings on others so I was happy to accept a review of a bag that would help me with my everyday business activities and remind me of the dreams I’m saving for.
Osprey are a Californian specialist pack maker, their focus is 100% on packs. This means that they can concentrate on being the best. I own and use a Talon 33 for my everyday hiking, I’ve had it years and it’s brilliant. Can they bring the same comfort and build quality to their Courier products?
The Flap Jack is the male specific version of the courier. It comes in 4 colours and has been updated for 2012. The women’s version is called the Flap Jill and comes with additional styling, female colours and a Mini version.
The bag arrived in black and came with a selection of web straps to customize the bag. I chose the green ones to go with the overall colour scheme. The black looked more like deep charcoal grey than true black and I quite liked that. It had a slightly tapered style and the buckles were well positioned which made opening and closing the bag was easy. It looked a little more styled than a dedicated messenger bag.
When closed the bag had plenty of reflective hints and a tab to put a rear light for those who commute by bike. It had a large Velcro patch which made closing it simple and the Osprey decal was also reflective. This meant there was plenty of reflective area for those dark winter nights and I was easy to spot in car headlights.
There was a large zipped storage pack on the front which I was reluctant to use. Especially on train/tube commutes as I felt it wasn’t secure. I would have rather have had the storage on the back of the bag so that valuable could be kept out of sight of pickpockets. There was also a handy side pocket for keeping food, hats, gloves and even a small umbrella/ lightweight shell.
The build quality was excellent and the all important CGR stitch count high. The attention to detail was very good with bar tacking on all flash points – including the interior connections to the shoulder strap. I couldn’t access the carry handle so can’t verify any bar tacking there but the interior carry handle was bar tacked. The interior piping was also well stitched. So the bag had a high quality and robust feel to it. The body material was 900D so again the bag had a solid, robust feel to it.
The shoulder strap was 50mm high strength webbing and was adjustable with a branded, injection moulded lever lock. I found the lock protruded a little and got caught on occasion which became annoying. This seemed to happen particularly when I was rushing about in busy train stations – Sod’s Law in full play. The shoulder strap had a branded, ergonomically shaped pad; this was very comfortable on both the left and right shoulder. Grip was provided with an Osprey rubber/silicon decal. I thought this looked very flimsy and wouldn’t last long but it has lasted quite a while now even though I suspect that if I was using the bag for a bike commute it wouldn’t last much longer. There was also a waist strap for bike commuting, it was easily removed.
There was plenty of interior storage space. It had a lovely green colour and six compartments to store a variety of stuff inside. On training events I could easily store my laptop, cables, notes and a whole plethora of bits and bobs I need to present and pitch. On general work days I could easily fit my tablet computer, lunch, cables and brolly and even some basic bouldering kit if I was popping into the climbing wall.
The front pocket held a key fob, my ID tags and other smaller items. The medium pocket held a vast array of pens, board markers, cameras and other larger items. There was a dedicated MP3 player pocket that easily held my Ipod Classic. The main compartment was big enough for files, folders and larger documents. There was a padded compartment that was useful for my tablet device and the rear laptop compartment fitted up to a 17” laptop (although it was a little tight). There was also a meshed pocket. I used it for easy location of my glasses and business cards.
You could grab the bag via its padded main handle or it had a small 10mm webbed handle for carrying whilst open.
I have quickly grown to really enjoy this bag and it goes everywhere with me. Considering how much you can pay for an Alpine pack which you only use a handful of times a year. The cost per use of this £50 pack is amazing value as I use it every day.
Stockists – Nationwide
The only issue I have at the moment is that my wife covets it and wants to swap it with the larger courier pack that she uses! I really can’t find many faults with this and can see me using it for many years to come.
Have you used the Osprey Flapjack ? Just leave a comment below and we’ll reply.
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