REVIEWED: Osprey Axis 18L daypack

Hard-wearing and comfortable, this versatile bag with a sunglasses pocket is a fine companion for short trips, hikes and more

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When all you need is a change of shirt, some underwear and an array of gadgets and cables (such is modern travelling), taking cabin baggage or roll-on luggage is usually unnecessary. However, taking a laptop bag on short trip can mean sacrificing functionality. Not here; this brilliantly designed and tough day-sack is packed with special features to make your next journey a joy.

Bare necessities

Part of Osprey’s new 24/Seven range, the Axis enjoy awesome build quality. From the sturdy foam shoulder hardness and slightly padded back panel to top quality zips, all with reinforced loops, the attention to detail on the Axis is something special. The use of tough nylon gives the Axis a waterproof and super-tough construction, while a bungee mesh on the front is great for stowing a jumper or coat while on a hike.

Compact size

Available in black, green, orange and blue (we tested the latter), the Axis enjoys a great design. A main compartment houses two stacked compartments, one for a laptop and the other for a tablet. That leaves plenty of room for clothes (though TravGear usually puts a shirt into the laptop zone and travels with only a tablet). It really makes the most of its compact 18-litre size. 

Sunglasses section

So far so predictable, but the remaining sections are all unusually well thought through. A middle section, accessible via zips on the top, has three phone-sized sections for gadgets and cables, all of which are elasticated mesh of the highest quality. There’s a keyring loop, but no pen holders. Uniquely, this section only occupies the top of the bag, giving that main section more room. However, the headline grabber is really the top pocket, a sunglasses-only section that’s lined with scratch-proof material.

Side pockets

Add two zipped sections that can be closed for valuables, or left open to store water bottles or umbrellas, and you’ve got one highly functional and well-designed bag that’s as useful for hiking as it is for treading city streets and marching through airports. Crucially, it’s also got both a chest strap and waist harness, though it’s a lightweight affair that’s easy enough to ignore and keep out of the way if you don’t need it.

Handles, hooks & loops

The Axis is clearly designed by someone who has used a lot of these kind of bags. For instance, on the top is a tough grab handle that’s useful for airports and buses and trains, while there are numerous places to put a carabineer, clip or an LED (for cyclsts). There is even room and clips enough to store a couple of walking poles on the front, while there is also a place to thread a bladder tube.

Heavyweight all-rounder

Our only complaint about the Axis is its weight – it’s a few kilos even when empty – and since that’s a direct consequence of its fabulous construction, it’s not a criticism that can stick. Could anyone travel the world with an 18-litre bag? like the Axis? Absolutely – and up and down a few mountains on the way, and this is a great all-round bag to consider doing just that with. It’s already on TravGear’s packing list for the next two-week jaunt.

Price as reviewed: £45

Buy the Osprey Axis 18L daypack

www.ospreyeurope.co.uk