Hands-on Gear Review

Osprey Flapjack Review

The Flapjack in Burnt Orange
Editors' Choice Award
Price:  $110 List | $66.00 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Comfortable, roomy, secure, good laptop protection, versatile
Cons:  Doesn't sit upright - needs to lean against something
Bottom line:  Perfect pack for commuting to and from the office, school or play; this is a one stop shop.
Editors' Rating:   
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Volume (L):  21 L
Dimensions:  19 x 13 x 9 in.
Weight:  2.01 lb.
Manufacturer:   Osprey

Our Verdict

The Osprey Flapjack continues its reign as our favorite laptop backpack. It possesses a winning combination of durability, a modern inspired chic look, and plenty of features to help you navigate everyday life with serenity. It boasts some of the best protection for your laptop and smaller devices without looking like a tank. It is a sleek top-loading laptop backpack that is well-thought-out. The large main compartment has a separate laptop compartment that fits a 15" laptop and has a great velcro strap to secure it in place. This contender is explicitly designed as a laptop backpack, which we appreciate, and has many little features that help it accomplish this purpose. With its excellent usability and comfortable straps, this can also be an ideal choice for a day hike on the trails. It is one we would highly recommend to any office commuter. It won our Editors' Choice Award for excelling in all the things that make a laptop backpack worthy.

The women's version of this pack is the FlapJill. Worth noting, our female testers enjoyed the FlapJack as much as the guys.

If $110 price tag feels steep, The North Face Borealis is less expensive without dropping the ball on performance. It lands behind the FlapJack in most metrics, but not by much, and therefore could be the budget solution you're seeking.


RELATED REVIEW: The Best Laptop Backpacks of 2018


Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Katherine Elliott

Last Updated:
Thursday
June 21, 2018

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Nowadays it seems that the average working individual has an abundance of electronic devices that help make our daily routines easier and more bearable, but with that comes the added chance to lose, break or misplace those trusty life-saving gadgets. This pack has a torrent of pockets and compartments to help you maintain a well-organized bag of gear and keep them adequately protected as well.

Not only does it come with an amply padded laptop sleeve, but there are also secondary pockets for a tablet, a separate document sleeve, and room for just about anything else you'd like to carry with you. There is even room in the main compartment for a jacket, change of clothes and your climbing gear, just in case you want to drop by the gym after you've wrapped up your day at the office. If you tend to do a lot of traveling, whether it be to the office or on a trip, this is an excellent choice to protect your technology and will also keep you comfortable and well-organized while doing so.

Performance Comparison


The Flapjack in all its brilliance. This pack won our Editor's choice award for being an all around champ in our 6 testing criteria.
The Flapjack in all its brilliance. This pack won our Editor's choice award for being an all around champ in our 6 testing criteria.

Laptop Protection


This backpack provides great overall protection, earning a high score in this metric.


Osprey has a carefully considered design to keep the weight of the pack down and also ensure that your laptop is adequately protected. When your computing device is snugged away in the main pouch that can fit up to a 15" laptop, the big foam piece extends further than the pouch. This is a feature that many of the bags encompass, but this design was one of our favorites. This section of foam has to fold before a laptop touches the ground. If you set the bag down forcefully, or drop it for some reason, this design prevents your laptop from hitting the ground. That said, the design could be made a little better by offering protection along the top of the laptop. This is an excellent feature of this pack considering it is not a free-standing bag and needs to be leaned against something to stand up.

The large sturdy velcro strap on the Flapjack makes it an excellent choice for laptop protection.
The large sturdy velcro strap on the Flapjack makes it an excellent choice for laptop protection.

Comfort


This is a comfortable bag plain and simple, ranking highly in our tests for comfort.


This pack is super comfortable. It has a firm but well-padded backplate that fits well against a person's back; it also has nicely padded shoulder straps that are also a slim ergonomic design like that of most of Osprey's packs. Most importantly, the shoulder straps are explicitly designed not to bite into the neck, and this couldn't be truer; it was exceptionally comfortable while sitting on a bike. Its sternum and waist strap add stability when riding a bike or with heavy cargo. Our testers find it is comfortable in all its habitats, loaded up, loaded down, or somewhere in between. The Flapjack will not only keep your laptop safe and secure, but it is also a very comfortable pack to wear while doing so.

The Flapjack was a comfy companion while biking and walking.
The Flapjack was a comfy companion while biking and walking.

Storage


While the Flapjack is a smaller bag by volume (21L), it ranks pretty high for storage. It has so many great organizational features that not only help you stay organized but hold everything you need for after work as well. This includes a change of clothes, groceries, your laptop and more! Most of the packs we tested had no problem holding all of our extra gear, but the Flapjack made a better impression.


We love the central compartment's expandability, as well as the unique zippered padded tablet sleeve and the document pouch between the two padded sleeves. The smaller outer zippered compartment has tons of little pockets for holding all of your small knick-knacks, as well as smaller office electronics and supplies. The key clip is also a plus for those individuals who tend to lose their keys often; it also made a significant ID holder if you are a working individual who needs such a thing. We were surprised at how many of the packs did not have such a small luxury. We awarded the Flapjack high marks in storage because it offers lots of space while keeping everything organized.

The Flapjack features a separate documents holder  making it a safe place to keep and store loose paper work you might have. Even with its small volume (21L)  it's a great pack for your everyday needs.
The Flapjack features a separate documents holder, making it a safe place to keep and store loose paper work you might have. Even with its small volume (21L), it's a great pack for your everyday needs.

Ease of Use


While the storage compartment is large enough to carry extras like a jacket, water bottle or gym gear, there is also an extra tubular zippered pocket on the outside that allows for room for extra carrying capacity. Most liked to use it as a place to store a thermos of caffeine for those long days at the office.


This contender tends to be centered around work, organization, and laptop carrying. The lid features a big clip that makes it easy to get in and out of the back, but there are no additional zippered entryways into the laptop compartment…so if your bag is fully packed, laptop access will require a little digging around. Aside from that, this is an excellent laptop backpack for travel to and from the office.

All the extra pockets  including the zippered one on the outside make the Flapjack an excellent choice if you have a lot of gear for the office or your daily routine.
All the extra pockets, including the zippered one on the outside make the Flapjack an excellent choice if you have a lot of gear for the office or your daily routine.

Water Resistance


If partly cloudy with a chance of light showers is on the forecast menu, this pack will fit the bill. It was surprisingly more waterproof than we expected and ranked amongst the highest in water resistance out of the tested bunch.


The Flapjack emerged from the 30-second shower test with little to no moisture on the paper inside. We were hesitant at first because there are no zippers on the main laptop compartment, but the vast flap fully encloses the compartment and keeps things dry. If you frequently find yourself caught in the rain and want something that's better than nothing, this bag will do the trick. If you want a highly repellent laptop bag for those heavy showers, look to the Patagonia Black Hole 25.

The Flapjack's highly water-resistant material made this a top contender in the 30 second shower test. The water beaded off nicely and the paper within stayed dry.
The Flapjack's highly water-resistant material made this a top contender in the 30 second shower test. The water beaded off nicely and the paper within stayed dry.

Style


The Flapjack features a stylish design with a sleek and modern look. It is well-suited to the relaxed office environment. In that regard, it is very similar to a few of the other packs we tested, but the sleek design and modern color choices will be sure to attract some attention.


The Flapjack also offers a unique design among the other bags in the review, as this is the only style of laptop backpack that uses a sizeable flap to cover and enclose the inner compartments.

The large flap that closes the pack works great for keeping things secure and in place. It also allows easy access to the small zippered compartment if you need to quickly grab your keys without taking the pack off.
The large flap that closes the pack works great for keeping things secure and in place. It also allows easy access to the small zippered compartment if you need to quickly grab your keys without taking the pack off.

Best Applications


This is one of the best bags for commuting to and from the office and on day-to-day missions, with a deluge of pockets that helps you stay organized. If you're looking for a laptop bag to take to work and like the modern style that the Flapjack offers, this is right up your alley. The small attachment for a flashing bike light on the back of the pack gives you peace of mind while bike commuting. Along with a few other small reflective strips on the front, we also found this pack to be a rather comfortable fit while seated on a bike. Overall, it has a plethora of uses.

The sternum strap and the hip belt make this a great choice for heavy cargo and your commute to and from the office  school or on your daily travels - whether it be on foot or by bike.
The sternum strap and the hip belt make this a great choice for heavy cargo and your commute to and from the office, school or on your daily travels - whether it be on foot or by bike.

Value


This model retails for $110 which is on the pricier end of the spectrum, compared to other models we tested; but, we believe it is worth every penny.

The Flapjack is a highly versatile laptop backpack - with looks to match.
The Flapjack is a highly versatile laptop backpack - with looks to match.

Conclusion


If you want a great combination of laptop protection, comfort, organization, and great features, this is an excellent bag that'll help you handle whatever gets thrown your way.

With a sleek ergonomic design and lots of great organizing pockets  this bag comes highly recommended for the daily laptop user.
With a sleek ergonomic design and lots of great organizing pockets, this bag comes highly recommended for the daily laptop user.
Katherine Elliott

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Most recent review: June 21, 2018
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
  • 1
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  • 5
 (5.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
 (0.0)
Rating Distribution
1 Total Ratings
5 star: 100%  (1)
4 star: 0%  (0)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)


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