Earlier this year, during our somewhat epic Iron Horse ride in the summer heat, I was impressed with Camelbak’s NV suspension system. I carried a full bladder, Canon 1DX II, 50 prime lens, snacks, and was never uncomfortable or sweated out. The shoulder straps dug into my chest a bit, after a few hours on the bike, but I just moved them around, and it was ok.
Along with most bike-related gear and kit (quick releases excluded), products are so good now, compared to where they started. I remember when a Camelbak was a plastic bag inside a neoprene sock with surgical tubing to suck on. Now, they make a comfortable hydration system that’s suspended off your back with enough storage to camp for the weekend.
Osprey Radial 34 takes the suspended-pack design one step further, with a suspension system and internal bracing. This feature steadies the pack on your back for the heavier loads, like when you’re riding to work with the laptop instead of the tablet. As Osprey describes it
Bike friendly features like a dedicated U-Lock pocket, LidLock™ helmet carry, an integrated kickstand, an incredibly ventilated backpanel, a dynamic suspension system that moves with the rider and extra room for gear and heavy loads make this the ultimate technical commuting pack.
And, they’re not over marketing the pack too much. Osprey missed a couple features to qualify as the ultimate, and the reviewers on their site noticed the same. Missing are zippered pockets on the waist and/or shoulder straps and reinforced material at the bottom of the metal frame to prevent wear through.
Those seem minor, but from a company with so many SKUs and employees that cycle, it’s surprising. They didn’t forget about a blinky loop, but no pockets on the straps. I’d still qualify it as a premium commuting pack. And, one that you can stuff with your work clothes, computer, and stop to pick up dinner on the way home.
Just add a couple pouches to the straps for your phone and keys.