The Osprey Escapist is a good multi-sport pack with a significant focus on bike use It's great for singletrack raids or commuting, and offers plenty of space for longer days too – though the build could be a little tougher in places.
The fabric – 210D nylon Mini Hex Diamond Ripstop – proved durable over the test period. It's plenty tough enough for scuffs and the usual wear from being put on the floor and sprayed with rear wheel grime, plus any clouts on trees or in crashes.
The 18-litre size is pretty spacious, and it’s divided into three pockets: one main compartment, a medium zipped one with meshed tool pockets and a key hook, and a third small pocket just right for sunglasses or snacks. It’s pretty easy to access everything even when the main compartment is stuffed.
The shoulder and waist straps are meshed, with a nice foam weight inside for the shoulder straps. It sits comfortably when loaded. The waist straps are just webbing and lack any padding so, on long, rough rides, can get a little uncomfortable. If the riding is more steady than gnarly they're okay.
All the plastic elements are well thought-out and placed, making it easy to tighten and loosen straps, and there's a helpful whistle on the sternum strap.
The back panels feature mesh-covered foam blocks on a stiff plastic insert, which gives a comfortable level of air flow to dry away sweat.
A small pocket on the left shoulder strap is good for GPS or similar, but won’t fit a phone – it’s not waterproof either, so be careful what you put in.
The Escapist has a good range of adjustment and comes in a small/medium and medium/large options. I’m about 5’10” with a relatively long back and used the large - the fit was good.
There is a decent amount of reflective detailing across the pack, and a light mount on the base. The rain cover is also a highly visible bright yellow/green; perfect for commuting or road sections.
The stretchy mesh side pockets (with webbing compression straps) are good, but the fabric could be tougher – brambles and branches can tear it. The rest of the pack, however, is very tough.
There's a pocket for a water reservoir, but it's not supplied. There's no zip to secure it if you do add one either, but there is a small clip to keep the reservoir from slumping when full, and it works just fine.
I found it better for longer, sedate rides and steady pedalling, and it actually sits better when well-loaded that half-empty. It's a pretty light pack, too, which only helps when you're already hauling larger cargoes.
The Escapist 18 feels more like a general pack than a targeted trail one, but that's no bad thing – especially as that's what Osprey is going for here. The lack of reservoir is a bit of a letdown, but otherwise it's ideal for days out with lots to carry, or if you commute (without a laptop). Its got plenty of storage and, apart from the mesh, it’s sturdily-made with a decent finish – it should provide reliable service for plenty of miles.
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