observations on gear, adventure, and the world

Surprised again by the Osprey Flap Jack

I’ve been using the Osprey Flap Jack for just about everything that I don’t use my Chrome bag for. That is if I have to walk I’m taking the Flap Jack. I didn’t buy it, it was given to me by Specialized, so I’m always second guessing it’s suitability for my next adventure. Then I’m always surprised at how perfect it is.

Surprised because it’s listed on the osprey site as an Urban/Commuter pack. Look at this:

Flap Jack Packed

Here’s the Flap Jack with a 85% Load

I think of a 100% load as the absolute limit of possibility for loading a pack. Think insanely overloaded. That’s 100%. By this metric 80-90% is the sweet spot. Too much less than 75% and you’re carrying extra pack. To much more and it starts to get awkward and uncomfortable. Wait until you see what’s inside.

Flap up

There is still room for something under the flap, and the “half closure” bit holds everything in but is easy to work around.

I didn’t get good shots of the back panel and the straps, they’ve got an interesting corrugated padding that it light and quite comfortable. On the way down from Lone Peak I hiked for about two hours without a shirt and had no complaints.

The back panel also does a great job of keeping gear from digging into my back.

The load!

I was able to scramble, and hike-o-run comfortably with this load for an afternoon exploring. Then when I was climbing it stayed out of the way and held my water and food like a champ!

I was jogging around the Wasatch foothills for a few hours the other day with:

  • 2l Water in a camelback bladder – the laptop sleeve and the flap top make this pack perfectly hydration system compatible.
  • 10draws
  • 4 alpine draws
  • 2 full length slings
  • 4-13 BD nuts
  • .5-3 BD c4
  • 60m rope
  • Harness (very old BD)
  • Shoes 5.10 Copperheads
  • 4 lockers
  • GriGri 2
  • BD ATC-Guide

All told, a non-trivial load.

I didn’t realize how much I had in there until I got back and up packed it. All that and it’s made to carry your school books? AMAZING!


The Girl has a Patagonia pack, the Hotwire, and it’s the same sort of pack. An Urban/School/Commuter pack with a mountaineering lineage. The Flap Jack blows it out of the water – weight, space, comfort. The pack actually performs in the mountains, isn’t over designed for it’s urban side, just three elegant pockets, that I’m never sad I have. One fits a water bottle and some food on the side (securely I might add – no mesh half pockets here). Then phone keys, head lamp and wallet all stay accessible and out of the way in two zippered pockets on the back, which are covered by the flap when the bag is closed.

Two things that are sub-optimal:

(1) the buckle on the hip belt is a little less than burly. I’ve cracked one of them… to be fair it still works.
(2) It’s two layer/three pocket/flap top construction leads to some extra material.

As far as fit goes – I’ve got a VERY long torso, so any smaller pack is going to be a little tricky. The shoulder straps allow me to put the load on my hips if that’s what I need. I’m 6’2″ with the torso of a 6’6″ person and the legs of a 5’10” person… so unless you’re a giant you won’t even notice it.

If you want a day pack, climbing pack, and commuting pack that makes it all work. This is the one.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s