I’ve been commuting by bike for about 7 years now. During that time, I’ve used a multitude of different bags to carry my gear to and from work. In the past I had more messenger-style packs, both the single-strap and bookbag style. Though they worked well, stood up to the elements and had an aesthetic I liked, that style of bag wasn’t always practical or completely waterproof. I decided to try a more technical pack for reasons of comfort and functionality. The Osprey line of commuter bags fit the bill.
Traditionally thought of as a hiking pack company, Osprey produces a full line of bags specifically designed for bike commuters. I tested the Spin 32. I was tentative at first, because although their backpacks look good on the trail, I wasn’t sure as how the style would carry over to the street.
I was impressed.
The bag doesn’t look like a typical bike messenger bag. The styling is somewhat aggressive and the reflective strips make it look pretty cool in the dark (not to mention the extra visibility). And whereas some messenger bags tend to have only one large pocket, the Osprey Spin has many pockets that are fully functional for carrying varying loads: a standard padded laptop sleeve, a main compartment and a smaller front compartment for odds and ends like pens and small notebooks. A few side pockets were a perfect fit for my water bottle or coffee mug.
Other features that set this bag apart and makes it convenient for commuting:
- A U-lock holster under the main flap
- A top stash pocket for easy access to keys and cell phone
- Sternum and hip straps (similar to backpacking bags)
- A small zippered pocket that holds a hi-visibility rain cover. I’ve been caught in downpours and could definitely have used this in the past.
The Spin also has side compression straps and expansion zippers—like the expanding area on a suitcase—that give you a little more space when you need it. Other, smaller (but welcome) features include a helmet clip, so you don’t have to hold your helmet or strap it awkwardly to your bag; a strap to attach a rear light when it’s dark out; and a padded, mesh back. If you have more than a five-minute commute, you might be a bit sweaty by the time you reach your destination. The mesh allows for breathability and additional air flow. More air flow equals less sweat equals more comfort.
Overall, the Osprey Spin 32 is a solid bag that has made my daily commute more enjoyable. It has enough space for everything I need for work and a change of clothes for the gym. It comes in two sizes—32 and 22 liters.
Osprey also offers other commuter bags that might be more your style. Check them out here.