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Backpack Review: Osprey Escapist 25 Daypack

Osprey Escapist 25 backpack review - daypack

Most women love buying lots of shoes or maybe purses. Apparently I am addicted to backpacks. If I see a travel purpose for a particular bag, I want it. So over the summer when my husband Andy and I spent a long weekend in Prague in a hotel that turned out to have bedbugs, I used the potential infestation as an excuse to replace my 5 year old grungy daypack.

Earlier this year, we bought the Osprey Momentum 22, which has officially become Andy’s daypack since the laptop sleeve is important to him. But my laptop is smaller, and after trying out his bag a few times, I decided it’s not a vital feature for me. It took two trips to our local outdoor shop, but I finally found the perfect daypack. At least until my addiction finds another perfect backpack.

What’s your backpack brand and model?

I bought the Osprey Escapist 25. Mine is black, and it also comes in red and blue. It sells on Amazon for about $93.

>> Check out the Osprey Escapist 25 on Amazon, or at REI.

How long have you had your backpack and where have you traveled with it?

I’ve had it since June 2016, and I’ve used it many times around town when I’m going to work at a cafe. I’ve also taken it on a day trip to Potsdam outside of Berlin, a 4 day/3 night trip to Warsaw, and a 5 day/4 night trip to Kosovo.

What factors were most important to you in choosing a backpack?

I’m picky about backpacks these days, so I have lots of must-haves. I love pockets, I wanted a rain cover, a good waist strap is important, and I hate when smaller outer pockets eat into the space of the main compartment. A separate laptop sleeve was once important to me, and I still think it’s a great feature, but with my small 13 inch laptop, I feel like too much space gets wasted in there.

>>Check out our guide to picking a backpack.

What do you like most about your backpack? Any down sides?

Main compartment: I really like that it can be separated into an upper and a lower section with a zippered flap. My old daypack did that too, but I never used it because my laptop would only fit when it was set up as one compartment. This bag is slightly bigger, and the laptop fits when it’s set up as two sections. (I don’t think a bigger laptop would work this way though.) This makes it easier for me to organize things and my laptop stays towards the top so I can easily pull it out to go through security.

Front pocket: There’s a good sized pocked on the front where I can fit things like sunglasses, pens, Kindle, hair brush, etc. It’s deep enough that the pocket doesn’t feel bulky, and it doesn’t push into the main compartment much. This issue always annoyed me about my old bag because it meant I couldn’t get things in and out of the main compartment easily. I’m so happy with how that pocket works on the Osprey Escapist.

Other pockets: The outer side pockets will fit a water bottle, umbrella, or flip flops. There’s a specific place for a camelback, if that’s something you’re interested in. It also has a mesh pouch on the front that doesn’t close. I’m not sure what the intent was, but it works well for something like a sweatshirt you want to have easy access to.

The bag has yet another pocket that opens at the top behind the main compartment zipper. It’s small, only a few inches deep, and could potentially block space in the main section if you over stuff it. I used it to store my passport, plane tickets, and a few other documents. They felt safer there than in the front. I like that pocket as long as I don’t put bulky things in it.

Osprey Escapist 25 backpack review
The top arrow points to the zipper. The bottom arrow points to where the back pocket sits in the main compartment.

Other features: The waist strap is comfortable and easy to adjust, and when I clip it together, I can feel the weight shifting to my hips. There are pockets on the waist strap too. I always like having them, but honestly, I never know what to use them for. The rain cover worked well the one time I had to use it, though I wish it wasn’t a blinding neon yellow.

Negatives: So far I don’t have a lot of negatives about this bag. I’m still getting used to the zippers. A flap of material protects the zippers from water (I assume) which is great, but it makes it a little harder to zip and unzip. It’s more of an issue with the bottom half of the main compartment, because that zipper is more curved.

Tell us about the fit and comfort level of your backpack.

The Osprey Escapist feels very comfortable to me, and the straps are easy to adjust. I walked around with it fully packed, including my laptop, for a few hours one day in Pristina, and it never felt uncomfortable. The weight distribution to my hips felt pretty good.

I bought the M/L size, and it also comes in S/M. I’m only 5’1″ (155 cm) but my shortness is all in my legs. So to give you some perspective, petite length pants are often still too long on me, but I never buy petite sized tops. If you are short but have more normal proportions, you might want to consider the S/M.

>>Read more about the best backpacks for petite women.

Osprey Escapist 25 backpack review
Osprey Escapist 25 from the back and side

If you want to take your backpack as carry-on luggage, can you?

Yes! Since it’s a daypack, it’s not very big and should pass as carry-on for most, if not all, airlines. I flew with it to and from Kosovo on easyJet, and they didn’t bat an eye. Amazon lists the dimensions as 20 x 12 x 11 inches.

>>See how much your flight really costs.

Have you found the size to be too small, just right, or too large?

I originally wanted to stick to 22 liters, but I couldn’t find a bag I liked at that size. So at 25 liters, this one is a tiny bit bigger than my goal, but overall it’s a good size for a daypack or a long weekend bag. I’m not quite ready to take a long trip with only a purse, but I enjoyed traveling with only a daypack for these shorter trips.

For my 5 day/4 night trip to Kosovo, here’s what I was able to fit in the Osprey Escapist, not including what I was wearing:

  • 4 short sleeved shirts
  • 1 long sleeved shirt
  • gym pants and a tank top to sleep in
  • 4 pairs of underwear, 1 bra, 3 pairs of socks
  • hoodie
  • liquids bag, deodorant, toothbrush, hair brush, prescription medication, glasses, sunglasses
  • laptop, external hard drive, cord
  • camera, Kindle, iPhone, cord
  • box of granola bars
  • wallet, passport, empty purse (because easyJet only allows one item as carry-on)
  • umbrella in the outside pocket

Overall, would you recommend your backpack?

Yes, I think it’s a great bag, and I’m really happy with it. I definitely recommend the Osprey Escapist if you’re looking for a good daypack.

>> Check out the Osprey Escapist 25 on Amazon, or at REI.

Osprey Escapist 25 backpack review

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Written by Ali

Ali Garland is a freelance writer, blogger, and travel addict who made it to all 7 continents before her 30th birthday. She enjoys travel planning, encouraging others to see the world, and packing carry-on only. She and her husband are expats living in Berlin. You can find Ali at Ali's Adventures and Travel Made Simple.

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Reader Interactions


  1. Melody says

    What’s up with rain covers being bright yellow? I have one that came with an old backpack, and I have subsequently used it on other packs that don’t have their own. It’s bright yellow with reflective brand symbols.
    I can see it being useful as a “here I am” flag in an emergency situation while hiking or something, but in a urban travel situation, it’s quite the obnoxious thing to have clinging to your back.

    • Ali says

      Melody, I totally agree! I’m glad to have the rain cover, and if they want their logo on it, fine. But yeah, it would be great if they came in slightly more subtle colors. I guess maybe it’s helpful in the rain to make you more visible.

  2. Svenja says

    Yay, another backpack addict!! I’m in the market for a new work backpack, something big enough to haul my 13″ macbook, some paper work, water bottle and snacks, and this one looks like it could work for me… Even the bright neon rain cover would be nice, I cycle to work most days, so it’d come in handy in northern Germany’s rainy-foggy-muddy fall and winter weather 😉

  3. Lizzie says

    I have this bag, too! I take it to New Zealand with me for my 9 months trip. True, it’s very comfortable! I didn’t know the bag had a whistle before I saw reviews about it. lol

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