Osprey Aoede Airspeed Backpack Review

The Osprey Aoede Airspeed Backpack is super comfortable to carry thanks to a unique back panel, and its 21L capacity has intuitive organization for your day.

Our Verdict

7.9 /10
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  • Unique, springy back panel makes the bag really comfortable to wear even fully packed
  • Elevated laptop sleeve protects your tech
  • Nice organization for everyday gear and travel essentials


  • You can only open the laptop compartment from one side
  • Tends to be a bit front heavy when taking it off your back
  • Fabric welts make some zippers hard to access

Technical Details

70 %

Carry-on Compliance

View 101/145 Airlines

83 %

Like the Look

Polled on Instagram

  • Capacity


  • Weight (lb)

    2.26 lb (1 kg)

  • Dimensions

    18.7 in x 11.61 in x 8.86 in (47.5 x 29.5 x 22.5 cm)

  • Notable Materials

    Recycled Polyester, Meets bluesign® CRITERIA, PFC-free DWR Coating, YKK Zippers, Duraflex Hardware

  • Manufacturing Country


  • Laptop Compartment Size


  • Warranty Information

    All Mighty Guarantee

Buying Options

Osprey Logo
Amazon Logo

Full Review

We look for comfort and good organization when searching for a good backpack. One isn’t necessarily more important than the other, but when brands develop a bag with both features, it’s like finding the Holy Grail.

Osprey Aoede Airspeed Backpack Side
Osprey Aoede Airspeed Backpack | It provides a unique and comfortable carry.

So we felt a little like Indiana Jones when the Osprey Aoede Airspeed Backpack arrived in the office. With its AirSpeed™ and AirScape™ back panels, it seemed like a unique way to make a bag more comfortable. It seemed a little like a product we checked out when searching for the weirdest travel products we could find: the VentaPak Lightweight Ventilation Backpack Spacer. Only this time, it’s built right into the bag. How does it feel, and does the internal organization live up to the hype of the back panel? Let’s take a look and find out!

External Components

Bear with us for a moment before we get to that interesting harness system, though. There are a lot of good features going on around the rest of the outside of the laptop bag to cover first!

Osprey Aoede Airspeed Backpack Logo
Osprey Aoede Airspeed Backpack | The ballistic nylon is recycled, bluesign® approved, and water resistant.

The Aoede Airspeed Backpack has bluesign® approved recycled 840D ballistic polyester all around the outside of the bag, coated in a PFAS-free DWR, which works well to keep your gear dry in spring rains. We’re testing the Black colorway, but you can also get it in Concrete Tan if you prefer something more Earth-toned. Both options look how you’d think a polyester backpack would, and the durable materials remind us of backpacks we’ve had since first grade. That’s not to say they look childish—no trolls, princesses, or robots rock out on the front. Instead, they’ve got a heritage vibe we’re digging, thanks to the minimal branding with the Osprey logo patch atop the front panel.

Osprey Aoede Airspeed Backpack Handle
Osprey Aoede Airspeed Backpack | A long padded carry handle is comfortable to hold and easy to hang on a hook.

A long padded carry handle is on top of the travel daypack, centered near the back panel. The padding makes it comfortable to hold, and it’s large enough to accommodate various sizes of hands, yet it still fits on a hook if you want to hang it up.

Osprey Aoede Airspeed Backpack Detail
Osprey Aoede Airspeed Backpack | We’re happy to see YKK zippers, but they’re sometimes hard to get at under fabric welts.

YKK zippers abound throughout the pack, with cords woven through the metal pulls that attach to tubular pieces of plastic that are easy to see and grab. Fabric welts cover the zippers to enter the admin panel and the laptop compartment for weather resistance, and while that’s great for protecting your gear, we find that it can sometimes be difficult to grasp the zippers. That’s especially true for the laptop compartment, which has only one zipper pull that tends to hide itself away near the top of the water bottle pocket.

Along with our favorite zipper brand, Osprey also includes Duraflex hardware adjusters on the shoulder straps. They’re easy to adjust and stay in place while we wear the bag, so we have no complaints about this choice.

Osprey Aoede Airspeed Backpack Walking
Osprey Aoede Airspeed Backpack | Contoured and padded shoulder straps are comfortable.

The unique harness system is where it’s at, though. The contoured shoulder straps are yoked together a few inches below the frame at the top of the back panel. They have good padding and breathable mesh undersides for a very comfortable feel even with a fully-packed 21L bag. Osprey didn’t add a sternum strap or hip belt to this pack, but we don’t miss them with everything else happening on the back panel.

Osprey Aoede Airspeed Backpack Back Padding
Osprey Aoede Airspeed Backpack | The unique mesh panel floats above the padded back side of the bag.

It features a sturdy frame to keep the bag standing and hold the mesh tight like a screen against your back. This mesh hovers a couple of inches above the actual back panel of the bag, creating an air channel that spans the entire space between the bag and your back. Along with more breathability, it creates an almost bouncy feel that takes a lot of the bag’s weight off your back.

Fit Notes

Osprey Aoede Airspeed Backpack Side by Side
Left: Kristyne Defever, Height: 5’5” (165 cm), Torso: 17” (43 cm) | Right: Eric Hergenreder, Height: 6’0″ (183 cm), Torso: 18.5” (47 cm)

It’s hard to explain the lightness of feeling you’ll experience with this backpack, but we’ll give it a good try. Do you know the airiness you feel on the way up into the air after you bounce on a trampoline? That’s what everything in your backpack is experiencing whenever you wear it, thanks to the AirSpeed™ and AirScape™ back panels. That may sound like an exaggeration, but they take the load off your back and redistribute it … somewhere else. We’re not quite sure where it goes, but it doesn’t feel like it’s transferred to your shoulders, either.

Indeed, while we’ve had issues with some of Osprey’s yoked shoulder straps on other bags, we have no complaints with this one. The strap padding stops at the bottom of the yoke, so both straps can move freely back and forth to accommodate broader and narrower shoulders. The straps connect to the bag a few inches from the top, raising it so that you carry more of the load on your mid-to-upper back instead of the lower back, contributing to the lightweight feel.

Osprey Aoede Airspeed Backpack Full
Osprey Aoede Airspeed Backpack | It stands upright on firm surfaces.

The only thing we will mention is that—potentially due to the frame and most likely because of where the straps attach—the pack is top-heavy. It likes to practically fall forward and off your body once you begin to take it off. Surprisingly, that doesn’t make it fall forward when you set it on the ground. While it can get a bit tippy on the car seat when you slam on the brakes, it stands quite well on solid grounds since it’s balanced on that back frame. So do as we say, not as we do, and don’t slam on the brakes!

As far as aesthetics are concerned, the Aoede Airspeed Backpack isn’t winning any beauty contests, but it doesn’t look bad. It simply looks like a fairly traditional backpack. It’ll be a great bag if you want a travel companion or an everyday hero; if you need something for the boardroom or fancier occasions, you may want to choose something else. Of course, we’re hard-pressed to think of a backpack that goes well with a suit, so that shouldn’t be surprising. That’s what messenger bags are for.

Inside The Pack

This isn’t a one-trick pony; we’re happy to see many places to store gear in this bag. Right on the front is a short horizontal zipper that opens a quick-access pocket. It’s the perfect size for your phone, minimalist wallet, keys, and hand sanitizer if you don’t carry a separate sling.

Osprey Aoede Airspeed Backpack in Use
Osprey Aoede Airspeed Backpack | A front pocket is great for your wallet and phone.

The lining is a fairly soft material with a bit of stretch, and there’s plenty of room inside for more tiny accessories like earbuds, gum, or lip balm. It may weigh down the front panel when you open the main compartment if you pack all of that inside, but it fits. Just be sure to zip it up before opening the main area, or all your gear will spill out from the front pocket.

Osprey Aoede Airspeed Backpack Side Pocket
Osprey Aoede Airspeed Backpack | You can use a side pocket for snacks, a small bottle, or other gear you want to grab while wearing the bag.

If you need more room for small gear and snacks that you want to access while wearing the bag, or you want to lock down a small travel water bottle, there’s a pocket on the right side of the bag for that. It opens vertically along the front panel and is made of the same stretchy mesh material as the bottle pocket on the opposite side. Both pockets are the same height, but since this one is closed on top, you have to slide in shorter bottles or use it for any other gear you want to access quickly but didn’t already put in the front pocket. Truthfully, we didn’t ever find a need to use it throughout our testing period, but since it lays flat when it’s empty, we appreciate its inclusion. There’s nothing worse than needing another pocket and not having it, so it’s nice to have the option.

Osprey Aoede Airspeed Backpack Water Bottle
Osprey Aoede Airspeed Backpack | This tall pocket is also accessible from the side for shorter bottles.

Let’s pop over to that travel water bottle pocket on the other side for a second. It’s topped with elastic and features a small tab you can pull to open it wider to slide your bottle inside. It’s perfectly sized for a standard-width bottle, though it can also accommodate slightly wider ones. There’s an opening along the side, too, adjacent to the back panel. While we thought it might work to let bottle handles stick out, it was difficult, if not impossible, to get them in the pocket to begin with, so we’re not entirely sure why it opens there and at the top. However, we think it’s probably to make it easier to grab a shorter bottle out of the pocket. It is a deep pocket and your bottle will slide to the bottom; this makes it easier to grab lunch box-size hydration or cans. It’s another feature on this bag that we didn’t use much, but its inclusion doesn’t bother us.

Three zippers run across the top of the bag. We’ll skip over the first one for now, as it opens the main compartment. Instead, we’ll start with the second, which opens to the admin panel. It’s protected by a fabric welt to keep moisture away from any sensitive gear, but there are two zipper pulls to choose from, so you can situate them more toward the middle of the bag instead of the side to be easier to find.

Osprey Aoede Airspeed Backpack Admin
Osprey Aoede Airspeed Backpack | There are slip and zipper pockets in the admin panel.

Against the back panel of this section is a large zipper pocket where you can lock down dongles, your passport, cash, a smart tracker, or any other small tech accessories you don’t want bouncing around. Right below the zipper, on the left, is a key clip on a very short leash. It’s not the most easily accessible location to get to quickly, but it’s a great spot to put your keys so you know where to find them when you’re heading home from vacation or to put your work key fob when you’re home from the office.

In front of that pocket are three slip pockets. The one on the left is made with mesh and topped with elastic to hold bulky wall chargers, cords, or larger battery banks. The one on the right is a simple slip pocket for your travel mouse or something similarly sized, and there’s a thinner one in the center for a pen or a stylus. We use it for our glasses case and a small tech pouch, but you’ll have more room in the main compartment if you leave it empty. More on that shortly.

Osprey Aoede Airspeed Backpack Laptop
Osprey Aoede Airspeed Backpack | The laptop compartment is elevated from the bottom of the bag for device protection.

The rear-most zipper gets you into the laptop compartment. It fits up to a 16-inch laptop and has an internal sleeve for documents or to keep a smaller laptop or tablet from bouncing around the larger space. Both are raised off the bottom of the bag, so your device is protected from accidental drops, and there is padding between this compartment and the admin panel in front of it.

Now let’s head back to the front-most zipper and enter the main compartment. It has a much larger opening than the two previous sections, opening horseshoe-style around the front of the bag. This is the only zipper not protected by extra fabric, so you’ll want to avoid putting sensitive gear here if you think you may get caught in the rain.

Osprey Aoede Airspeed Backpack Stuffed
Osprey Aoede Airspeed Backpack | There’s a decent amount of space in the main compartment, though it’s affected by how you pack the admin panel.

This space has no extra features, but it seemingly has a lot of space, though you have to take care when using it. The admin panel hangs here, so it takes up at least two-thirds of the space at the top if you have it packed full. There is plenty of space at the bottom, but you’ll have to squeeze past the admin panel to get down there. Because of that, we find it great for a small cooler, a small packing cube with an extra outfit, or an extra layer. Flexible gear works better here than something tall and rigid, although you can slide something slender along the side, like a travel tripod. Or, if you need to carry something larger, like travel shoes, you’ll want to pack those before filling the admin panel.

Overall, the Aoede Airspeed Backpack is really comfortable, especially if you usually get a sweaty back while commuting. While it gets top-heavy easily and can almost feel like someone’s pulling your back like they may have in middle school, it’s not uncomfortable—it’s just there. With great organization and a good amount of usable space, it can work well for a personal item bag on the plane or your everyday carry to and from the office. And wherever you go, it’ll bounce along with you.

Usage Timeline

Initial Usage

Condition: Excellent

  • The back panel is so interesting; can’t wait to use it
  • Plenty of interesting organization
  • Lining has a unique pattern
2 Weeks of Use

Condition: Excellent

  • So much organization that you may not use everything
  • Admin panel blocks a lot of the main compartment
  • Comfy to wear, even for smaller users
By Kristyne Defever
Created March 18, 2024 • Updated April 9, 2024
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