A few months ago we reviewed Osprey’s Flap Jack Courier laptop bag, and it scored a pristine five-turtleneck rating.
Well, turns out they actually come in two flavors, and we decided to put the Courier’s big brother — the Flap Jack Pack — through the Cult’s rigorous, uncompromising bag-testing procedures. The result was a demonstration of how applying the exact same design elements to a slightly different application can change things.
I won’t rehash in detail the Flap Jack’s features; suffice to say that absolutely all the goodies described in the Courier’s review — the zippered side pocket, zippered stash pocket, organizer pocket, main compartment with gasket, and customizable webbing — is here, down to the cool, novel pattern on the super-lightweight pack fabric.
And that’s really why the Pack slips one turtleneck from it’s little brother’s five — because all the things that made for a slice of bag heaven on the Courier just don’t quite hit the sweet-spot on a backpack: the side pocket’s accessibility while wearing the bag is gone; backpacks don’t have the same lack of closure integrity as backpacks, so the gasket doesn’t make quite as much sense; the stash and organizer pockets are both too deep on the backpack’s elongated body; and because the Pack holds more, the Flap Jack-series’ spartan construction and trick lightweight material that worked so well on the minimalist 20-liter Courier tend to seem just a little overworked when the 25-liter Pack is fully loaded.
Then again, the Pack impressively makes short work of light-to-medium weight oversize loads (like bike helmets) and carries the same good-looking genetics as its little brother; and as long as it’s loaded judiciously (i.e., it’s not the bag for textbooks or bricks) it feels almost as good to wear as the Courier.
UPDATE: The Pack handles 17’ MBPs just fine, and isn’t limited to 15’ laptops, as previously stated.