SNOWSHOE MAGAZINE GEAR REVIEW:

From Trails to Shakespeare, Osprey Escapist Multi-Sport Pack Will Take You There

An Osprey Escapist 30 allows a user to soar on trails, making way to destinations unknown with newfound maneuverability. Hovering and diving like the bird, one covers distance on foot or two wheels, continuously going forward with all cares temporarily locked away and life supplies provided comfortably on one’s back. This pack rides with you in mind; its wanderer enjoying discovery, seeking adventures more than just a walk in the park.

The Osprey color I chose, Fjord

Lighter than a bird, the Escapist Multi-Sport barely registers its 2-pound, 4-ounce (three ounces less for the smaller version), almost half the weight of its raptor namesake. The pack rides lightly on the shoulders with a breathable mesh wrapped over slotted foam. Wearing comfortably on the back is an absolute with the AirScape™ Suspension feature. Instead of heat gathering on the back, building between the pack and your body, a series of mesh-covered foam ridges provide passages for fresh-air circulation.

Many hours toiled deep in the Osprey think-tank created a perfectly fitting pack. Every inch imaginable is adjustable whether shoulders, back or hips; if the bag feels off-kilter, fine-tune it. The straps are right there in easy reach, available for your touch, a little cinch.

As a user feels wearing the Osprey Escapist (photo courtesy Photo Dictionary)

The slotted motif continues along the hip belt, too, providing airflow to an area that all-too-often gathers moisture and dampness on a trail day. Zippered pockets line both sides of the hip clasp. I unzipped mine just now and found on the right-hand side the handkerchief I use to wrap my cellular attachment to civilization, particularly if-and-when there is an “emergency” call like, “Uh, I’m going to be about 12 hours late for dinner.”

In the other I discovered gels and bars I always carry from Wilderness Athlete and, surprise, a 5-Hour Energy bottle, “Berry” if you must know. I’ll tuck it back in there since that is my do-or-die “crash” extinguisher, when the desire to just give up in the middle of nowhere overwhelms good-ole common sense. One chest strap (left side) also has a zippered pocket. These are extraordinarily helpful for those items like quick-fuels when one doesn’t want to stop and dismount the pack.

True Grit

The true magic, though, is revealed in the galleries of storage one discovers when unzipping the cavernous Honey Comb Ripstock fabric snuggling the pack’s infrastructure. Zippers galore lace the material for all the convenience of a personal valet, while leading to more surprises than a clown’s pocket like:

A bright yellow rain bonnet for the pack is comfortably stowed on the pack base. Connected to that port, one simply pulls it out from storage, lifts and stretches the protection over the Osprey and its contents. The shield protects the supplies from those heavy mountain rains that suddenly appear. Note, too, your attached light—you do display an illuminated red light on your pack when on foot, right?—can easily be moved to the light holder on the rain cover. There is room to stash other rain gear before or after use in this area.

At the lower end of the main cargo area is a zipper that allows one to open the space to combine with the separate bottom storage. It is like a room divider one utilizes when the load needs the space. Otherwise, the pack makes two featured holds. A third and separate pouch is the outer layer that unzips to reveal a key-catch, mesh space, two holders appropriate for tall, lean bottles or tools, and much more open space for items needing quick accessibility.

These main compartments are all dual-zippered for the ease of accessibility whether loading or digging in.

Take those Osprey Talons to Challenges (photo courtesy National Geographic)

A last top-loader called a slash pocket seals itself with a heat-embossed fabric to protect even further certain valuables you may tote; any spill in this little cavern is a breeze to clean and dry, a key for a distance trek. The zipper, like all Osprey zippers, is covered, but this one has a neat notch for parking it.

The side panels are mesh with straps locking in goods while simultaneously providing InsideOut™ compression. The handy owner’s manual included with the bag or at the online location offers instructions on routing these straps to achieve a secured load properly tensioned.

Then, how cool is this trick: there is a separate HydraForm™ Reservoir available that slides into the pack from the top, providing your trail liquids in quantities up to three liters (.79 gallon or 101 ounces). Them’s a lot of ounces.

A helmet or hat LidLock™ rides on the back. I attached my Ergodyne GloWear baseball cap that has four LEDs embedded. Even though I use an Ultimate Energizer head light at night and carry a spare battery pack (easy to change out), a back-up when covering trails such as the dark found on the Superior Hiking Trails, a tender name for that quad-crushing trek, is always the best idea.

So much more awaits a proud Osprey Escapist owner like choosing colors, Fjord (a medium blue) and Grit (black). Note the abundant reflectors and multitude of protection for the bag, too, reinforcing the company’s maxim, “Our obsession to detail.”

Shedding those robes of responsibility of daily life as David Bowie sings Under Pressure, one hoist the ever-so-light Osprey Escapist 30 pack to launch out from a favored or new trailhead. Personal cares, challenges or just bad mail that starts with the words, “Greetings, how much money do you have, send it all to us, thank you,” jettison quickly from conscious thought as one step leads to another. Eventually, a rendering of peace and calm allows a user of trails to re-enter planet earth with renewed joy.

In Shakespeare’s Coriolanus, Aufidius feels threatened and rightly so by the play’s namesake imagined capable to just swoop in and take the prize, Rome:

I think he’ll be to Rome
As is the osprey to the fish, who takes it
By sovereignty of nature.

Understanding Shakespeare’s “sovereignty of nature” via this freedom from external controls that nature lovingly provides, one flies on trails and captures a modern prize—independence—as valuable of a compensation as Rome itself.

All a snowshoer, runner, biker or hiker needs are desire, destinations and the company of an Osprey to join life as a certified Osprey Escapist.

For more information on the Osprey Escapist backpack series, visit http://www.ospreypacks.com/en/group/multi-use/escapist_series_-_new.

To purchase the Osprey Escapist 30, click here.

Write phillip@ultrasuperior.com

This entry was posted in Backpacks, Gear Reviews by Phillip Gary Smith. Bookmark the permalink.
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About Phillip Gary Smith

Phillip Gary Smith, Senior Editor, published "The 300-Mile Man" about Roberto Marron's historic doubling of the Tuscobia 150 mile endurance snow run. He publishes "iHarmonizing Competition" on various forms of competition including drag racing, his favorite motor sport. Earlier, he wrote "HARMONIZING:Keys to Living in the Song of Life" as a manual for life with chapters such as Winning by Losing, Can God Pay Your Visa Bill?, and a young classic story, The Year I Met a Christmas Angel. His book, "Ultra Superior," is the first written on the Superior Trail ultra distance events. He mixes writing with his profession--the venture capital world--a dying art. He is a creator of CUBE Speakers, a group espousing themes in "HARMONIZING:Keys" in a unique way. Currently he has two books in the works. Twitter: @iHarmonizing

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