Osprey is a very well established brand specializing in packs, daypacks, backpacks, travel packs, for anything from just your normal traveling to off-piste backcountry skiing. We reviewed quite a number of outdoor packs and have always been well pleased. Unfortunately, we are not always outdoors, and have to work in an office…but to get to that office I do ride my bike on a very regular basis and need to take my stuff with me. So turning to Osprey I asked if there were any packs they could recommend for “urban” use. In answer to my question, I received the Momentum 26.
It was immediately very clear that all the experience that Osprey has in the fabrication of the best backpacks for high-intensity use outdoors, has been applied to the Momentum, which will get much less of a beating but still breathes quality. The materials used are strong, the seams are well made, and it’s tricked out with important features.
The pack from the inside
The marketing of the Osprey Momentum emphasizes the importance of a well-organized backpack through and a number of compartments:
First of all, there’s the separate compartment for a laptop or tablet. It has tight (but not too tight fit, securing your laptop from not moving around too much, and is well padded to protect your precious device. The fabric used is soft, so you cold even dump in your tablet without a separate sleeve. This compartment is the one closest to your back, so the device is well protected.
Following the laptop compartment, there is a small pouch you can reach with a zipper on top of the pack. It’s a pouch that I recognized from the Osprey Kode ABS compatible freeride backpack we reviewed earlier. Is designed to be able to store ski goggles (in the case of the Kode) or, I suppose for the Momentum, apter: sunglasses or any other fragile object.
The goggle pouch falls into the main compartment where you can store your notebooks, computer charger headphones or other bulkier office related stuff. Or, if you would use the backpack for a bike ride or a day of hiking, any clothing or snacks you might want to take with you. In this compartment there are separate pouches, mesh lined and otherwise to store smaller stuff you want to keep together.
In addition to the main compartment there is slightly smaller one on the front of the backpack, a bit smaller and tighter, with a zippered pouch two smaller pouches, clearly meant to stow away smaller writing materials, business cards you may carry, or any other smaller stuff. On your bike ride or day hike, you could fit in stuff like power bars, or carry your action camera with.
So as far as organization goes, the Momentum is well tuned to your commuting/urban/office needs, and also provides enough possibilities for stuff you need to take along with other activities.
The pack from the outside
The profile of the backpack is quite flat, which I like, keeping the weight you are carrying close to your back. The Momentum I used has 26 liters (there’s a 32 version well) pack volume, so you can bulk up. But when it isn’t that full it will just seem smaller and with two compression straps to the side, you can keep the pack tight.
These compression straps, by the way, line the edges of two external pouches where you can fit in water bottles. The pouches are made of an elastic mesh sewn to the canvas body of the backpack. So also fatter bottles will fit. And you can secure them with the compression straps as well.
Other features include the rain cover that you can stow away separately, reflecting accents in the design to be more visible at night, a “Lidlock” attachment with which you can secure your bike helmet to the pack, and a clip to attach a bike light. All really useful features.
Carrying the pack
As for the way the pack carries, the momentum is comfortable, the ventilated shoulder straps fit well and together with the mesh AirScape™ back system it should feel light on warmer rides or hikes as well. I haven’t been able to use the backpack in warmer circumstance yet, so I will revisit this review later and add to it when I do.
The shoulder straps are secured to the pack with stretch wings on the hips, and with a stretch yoke and elastic band at shoulder height. Comfortable and flexible and quite easy to use. The Momentum has a waist strap and a chest strap with which you can stabilize the pack. Nevertheless the pack did jump around a bit when I did a bit of running and jumping myself, so stability is not its primary quality.
The only thing I would enter as a point of criticism is the look of the pack. I used the grey on black version (there is a green/lime one available as well) and I did find that a bit boring. But then again, in a more “professional” environment, a bit less “standing-out” kind of colour could make sense.