Osprey Pandion 28 backpack review

The Osprey Pandion 28 is big enough for heavy packers and won't break your back thanks to its figure-hugging design

Cycling Weekly Verdict

The Osprey Pandion 28 is more comfortable than its bulky metal kickstand design would lead you to believe. It swallows up my commuting stuff easily enough, sits flat on your back and hugs your torso nicely. Considering that it isn't a cycling specific pack, it works for the job nicely.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Flat profile, even when full

  • +

    Figure hugging

  • +

    Plenty of pockets

  • +

    Kickstand actually works

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    No rain cover

  • -

    No elasticated keyring and pocket

  • -

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The Osprey Pandion 28 is a 28-litre backpack, with a metal skeleton "kickstand" designed to keep it upright when placed on the floor. Admittedly, it's not a commuting specific pack, but it does this job admirably.

If you’ve ever used a backpack not fit for the job on a bike you’ll know the nuisance it can be. It doesn’t vent heat well, it isn’t figure hugging and doesn’t have the required storage and pockets that cycling demands. Well, despite the fact that the Osprey Pandion 28 is not cycling specific, it still does these things admirably.

When holding the empty bag the kickstand makes it seem bulky and like it should sit uncomfortably on your back. But in reality the metal structure actually helps the bag holds its shape and even when filled to the brim it still sits remarkably flat without any bulges. Additional side straps help you cinch it down flatter still and it comes with waist and chest buckles.

There's also a suspended ventilated back panel which is designed to leave breathing room between the bag and your back.

Osprey Pandion 28

The inside with its laptop/tablet sleeves. There's an additional compartment to this as well as a front pocket

Inevitably, the kickstand does add some weight to the pack, so that might be something to consider if your concerned about the heft of your bag. Happily though, the skeleton does a good job of avoiding getting in the way and it never sits uncomfortably.

The Osprey Pandion 28 is not the brand’s biggest pack, but it squeezes in everything I need for my day-to-day working life. For some context, my usual commute is 25km and includes me carrying a laptop (the Osprey Padion 28 has multiple sleeves to accommodate your computer or tablet), a notebook, my trainers, clothes, required cycling tools plus food and snacks. Inside the bag are plenty of pockets, but the ones inside the front compartment could perhaps be slightly bigger.

Osprey Pandion 28

Plenty of pockets, but they could be a touch bigger

Once you’ve swung that onto your back it’s easy enough to forget its there, with it only intruding slightly when glancing over your shoulder. On occasion, I’ve overfilled it and it’s possible to feel it swinging a little on your back. So if you’re unsure about what capacity you need it’s always worth doing a “commute audit” and working out exactly what you take.

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It’s disappointing that the bag is not equipped with a rain cover, but Osprey tells us this is because it's a day pack, rather than a bespoke commuting bag. Either way, it'd still be useful, and a rain cover prevents the underside getting mucky and provides additional reflective detailing when riding in the dark.

I’d also like to see it given a side pocket with an elasticised key chain. It’s something I’ve had on other Osprey packs and its convenience is immeasurable.

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