Osprey – Questa 27 Pack

The nice folks over at Osprey sent me a sample of their new female-specific commuter pack at the beginning of summer, which was rather handy timing given that the summer saw me toing and froing from the rolling ‘Shires to the Big Smoke using a variety of planes, trains and automobiles. Okay… no planes on this test, but I was left wishing for a helicopter whilst ‘parked’ on the M25!
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 So as I mentioned the Questa 27 is a female specific commuter pack, what does that mean though? Well the first and most visible feature is that the shoulder straps are close together, which for me made a huge difference – especially on the days I really loaded the pack. I have quite narrow shoulders and do find with regular day-to-day packs that the straps can tend to slip off without using the chest clip. This pack has those too (fully adjustable as you’d expect from Osprey) but I really didn’t feel like I had to use them most of the time.
If you like straps there is also a hip belt, and a whole shopping list of bells and whistles including…

Padded laptop sleeve
Front bungee compression system
Internal tablet sleeve
Sternum (aka chest) strap with emergency whistle
Zippered panel access
Zippered scratch-free sunglasses and electronics pocket
Reflective graphics
Front panel organiser pocket
Grab handles
Internal document sleeve
Internal key attachment clip
Internal organisation pocket
LED bike light attachment point
Side compression straps
Stretch mesh side pockets

…see – I told you it even had a whistle!

Despite that veritable shopping list of features, the first thing people tended to say as I appeared wearing mine, was “ooh, new bag, umm… it’s very blue.” The folk over at Osprey call it Sapphire blue, and apart from the de-rigeour black it is at the ‘safer’ end of the colour spectrum. You can also have Minty green, Pomegranate purple and a positively wow-wee Candy orange.

On using the pack, I found the back support and padding to be very comfortable, even when loaded down with a laptop, external hard drive, power cables and all sorts of assorted paperwork, magazines, emergency snacks, water bottle, make-up and so on. It didn’t get too sweaty – even when carried around the shops attempting to panic buy a frock for a wedding during one particularly hot day at the end of August.

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Now as per above, you can probably guess that I can carry around a serious amount of what my husband likes to call “crap”, but which I refer to as “Really Important Stuff” with me. But not even with that level of bulk I could not find a use for half of the pockets and pouches listed above, and when I did want to retrieve something I found I had to spend a fair bit of time unzipping, searching and so on to locate it. (always in the last pocket of course!)

The inbuilt padded laptop compartment is ample to take most standard sized computers and mine felt snug and well protected, the  little loop on the front of the pack for your bike light is a simple but well thought out extra, as is the internal key clip and the external bungees on the front are a nice idea for a coat or a fleece, but to be honest I had so much space left inside the pack I could just shove mine in there.

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All in all it’s a beautifully well-made pack, with the little design finesses that you would expect from a brand like Osprey, but this particular one just felt a bit overdone and fussy for me. Maybe they should have left out all the bells and stuck with just the whistle?

3-hammers Price: £55
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