Osprey Tropos Review
While the compression straps do slow down the access, we’re still digging the Osprey Tropos as a large, comfortable daypack that can even be used for travel.
- Super comfortable harness system (except for the waist strap)
- Versatile organization
- Stretchy water bottle pockets can accommodate larger bottles
- Compression straps restrict access to most compartments
- Waist strap isn’t padded or supportive
- No included elastic keepers for managing excess strap (which there are a good amount of on this bag)
2.69 lb (1.2 kg)
20.88 in x 13.4 in x 10.64 in (53 x 34 x 27 cm)
Nylon Dobby, Packcloth, Nylon, Woojin Hardware, ITW Hardware, YKK Zippers
Laptop Compartment Size
The name Osprey Tropos might make you think “tropical” at first—palm trees, warm weather, and relaxing on the beach. This bag will work well in other situations as well, including outdoor adventures and city jaunts.
This Osprey bag has all the urban daypack charm you could ever want, but can still be used as a travel pack. It has a versatile organizational layout, a super comfortable harness system, and a polished demeanor that will hold up even in rougher terrain.
We’ve been testing the Tropos for two weeks now, including hiking through Hocking Hills State Park in Ohio. Keep reading to see what we have to say!
Materials & Aesthetic
This pack is on the larger side and looks rugged enough for the outdoors, but still refined enough for more urban environments (although it’s a little overkill as a daypack). We’re not surprised with its 82% score on our Instagram poll regarding its look, as this bag adopts a cleaner, sleeker take that most would appreciate.
You can pick up your own Tropos in one of five colorways—Kraken Blue, Black, Umber Orange, Tortuga Green (where have we heard that name before?), and the Sentinel Grey that we’ve been testing. The dark shade helps keep a larger daypack like this one as low-profile as possible, so it’s not drawing an excess of attention.
The classic Osprey logo—their wordmark above a majestic osprey hawk—is sewn onto the front of this bag and appears along the back panel as well. It works as an outdoorsy accent but is subtle enough that it’s not detracting from the pack’s serious, streamlined look.
This bag features a mix of 210D, 420D, and 630D Nylon Dobby for its main fabric, accented with 420HD nylon packcloth. This material feels rugged enough for the outdoors and has held up well throughout some rigorous testing. Plus, if you like piña coladas, and getting caught in the rain, this bag will be just fine in some light, sprinkling weather.
We’re happy to see some YKK zippers make an appearance on this pack, as we’ve had plenty of positive experiences with them in the past. They have easy-to-grab zipper pulls that smoothly open and close, and have overall been working nicely during our testing.
The Tropos also includes both ITW and Woojin hardware, both of which we also have a lot of experience testing. Every buckle has remained secure, and every adjuster has been adjusting just fine, so we don’t have any complaints in this department.
The shoulder straps connect to the pack via a fabric welt at the top that allows them to flex comfortably to your shoulder. They’re also densely padded and lined with a layer of mesh that keeps sweat at bay, even on lengthier wears. Plus, you have an attachment point on either strap to hook a carabiner or to feed the hose of your hydration bladder through, so it’s out of the way but still easy to use.
At the top of these straps are load lifters you can adjust to pull the bag closer to your body for a more comfortable carry. These are especially nice on a larger bag like this one, as 34L can get heavy after a while.
As for the sternum strap, it’s pretty simple. It attaches to a rail system on the shoulder straps so you can easily glide it up and down to wherever it feels most comfortable. Again, no elastic keepers, so you’ll have to deal with some dangling.
What you do have, though, is a built-in whistle you can blow into to alert anyone close by in an emergency. This whistle is a thoughtful integration considering the bag’s primarily outdoor use case, especially when you’re in a situation that you may not be able to reach your phone to call for help.
The Tropos has a hip belt you can utilize, but it’s more of just a nylon waist strap—there’s no real padding, so you’re not getting the level of support you might prefer with a bag of this size. Essentially, it’s only working to keep the bag closer to your body. There aren’t any elastic keepers to manage excess strap here either.
Stiff piping outlines the Tropos’ back panel, making it highly-structured. It’s also equipped with an AirSpeed™ ventilation system that creates some space between your back and the actual back panel to increase airflow. We’ve had this bag on our backs for hours at a time while hiking, and while some back sweat is inevitable, the mesh and suspension have been doing a fantastic job of keeping us cool and comfortable.
That piping we mentioned extends down to the bottom of the bag, creating a built-in kickstand. This kickstand makes it easy to stand the bag up when you’re working or just looking for something, as the bag sits upright so you can easily reach inside to grab gear. It’s another thoughtful, innovative design, and we’re digging the functionality it adds to the pack.
Like most standard backpacks, there’s a handle at the top you can use to grab and move the bag as needed. It has some light padding to it that we’ve found comfortable enough in hand, and it stays close to the bag when not in use, so it’s out of the way.
You also have compression straps on both sides of the pack, toward the top and at the bottom. The buckles that secure the top compression straps are hidden by a fabric welt, promoting a clean look that we’re fans of.
When tightened, they help the Tropos keep a slim figure for as minimal a look as possible with a 34L pack. That said, these straps do stretch across the zippers for most of the external pockets and compartments and can slow down your access as a result.
On either side of the bag, you have an elastic water bottle pocket that’s stretchy enough to accommodate larger bottles, even something as big as a 32 oz Nalgene bottle, which is what we’ve been able to fit inside (with room to spare, too). You can then cinch down the compression strap that lies across each one to keep your bottle secure while you’re out and about.
To finish off this section, we also want to point out the attachment point at the bottom of the pack, where you can attach a smaller carabiner or a bike light to add some visibility on those late night/early morning rides.
Inside The Pack
The first pocket we’ll be taking a look at is located on the front of the bag. It opens up vertically, but you can also disengage the velcro at the top to open it up even further, allowing full and easy access to what’s inside.
We’ve found it an excellent spot for keeping a rain jacket handy for when you run into some surprise showers. Of course, you can use this pocket for whatever you’d like. If you plan on keeping some smaller stuff, you’ll be grateful for the gusseted fabric toward the bottom that not only helps with opening the pocket up, but acts as a sort of net to prevent gear from falling out.
The next pocket at your disposal is located at the top of the bag. It’s a quick-grab pocket that’s lined with a softer material than what you’ll find on the outside of the bag, making it a convenient spot to stash your phone or sunglasses without having to worry about scratches. You can keep other more frequently-used gear like your wallet or keys inside as well, so they’re easy to grab when needed.
Next on the list to talk about is the front compartment, which features a conveniently organized layout for your tech when carrying in more urban environments. There are three medium-sized mesh pouches along the back wall you can slip cables, dongles, a mouse, and even power banks inside without a problem.
They’re not as stretchy as the pack’s water bottle pockets per se, but they have some reinforced material toward the top for added durability. This pocket stretches almost the full length of the bag, so you’ve got some free space below to store more oversized items, whether that means larger chargers, adaptors, or just extra accessories.
You’ll also find the pack’s dedicated key clip attached toward the top of this front compartment. It’s bright red, which makes it easy to spot. However, it’s also relatively short—you won’t be able to reach your car or door without detaching your keys. That said, if you are using this bag for outdoor activities and don’t have a constant need for them, this is a secure place to store them for the time being.
Behind this compartment is…drumroll…the main compartment! At 34L, the Tropos has all the space for the gear you need daily or enough room for a shorter trip. Plus, its horseshoe-style opening offers a convenient amount of visibility and ease of access to everything inside.
In terms of organization, you have a sleeve against the back wall where you can slide in up to a 17″ laptop. There is a dedicated laptop compartment—which we’ll talk about next—but this sleeve is helpful for when you want to carry both your laptop and a hydration bladder at the same time. The bladder can be secured in the dedicated compartment, and you can safely store your laptop in this main compartment.
If you do decide to keep your tech in the main compartment, you have the padding from the front and back of the bag to serve as a cushion when your laptop is getting shuffled around. This sleeve is also suspended, meaning it’s protected at the bottom from any accidental drops.
The rest of the main compartment is a whole bunch of open space. This lack of organization might be a plus for you if you have multiple larger, bulkier items to store. However, if you’re looking for a bit more segmentation, incorporating packing cubes will help better compartmentalize your stuff.
Lastly, you have the laptop compartment toward the back of this pack. Like the sleeve in the main compartment, it can accommodate up to a 17″ laptop, though we’ve been testing with a 16″ MacBook Pro ourselves.
We’ve found that there’s enough room to keep your tech in a protective case as well if you’re looking for some added protection. That said, this compartment is suspended and does have the support from the frame sheet, so we’ve felt comfortable slipping our laptop inside as is.
As we mentioned earlier, if you decide to keep your laptop inside the sleeve in the main compartment, you can use this space to store a hydration bladder. You can feed the hose through an opening at the top and run it along with the shoulder straps for hands-free hydration while you’re walking, hiking, or exploring.
There’s also a deep zippered pocket against the other side of the compartment with some padding of its own. You can use it to store your laptop charger, or you can even slip a tablet inside if you’re traveling with one, so everything is all in one place.
- One of the most intense harness systems we’ve come across in a commuter bag, the stiff structure of the back panel keeps the main part of the bag a few inches away from your back for maximum airflow
- Bottom of the bag has an additional structured stay that can be used as a “kickstand” to keep the bag upright
- A little on the large size for an everyday commuter bag
After totaling about 20 miles in hikes over the course of a week in Hocking Hills State Park in Ohio, we can officially say, this is an amazing hiking backpack. Even fully packed out this bag is comfortable to carry over long distances thanks to the stiff structure and solid harness system. The AirSpeed back panel is an absolute game-changer, it allows maximum airflow and we encountered no cases of the dreaded swamp back, even after our longest hikes.