Reviewed: The Osprey Cyber 26L Daysack

Ten years ago my travel packing list was a bit simpler. I went around the world with no mobile phone and a camera that took two AA batteries. No adapter plugs, no chargers and no wires taking up space in my rucksack. But nowadays it feels like I travel with half an electrical shop in my suitcase. As well as a mobile phone I always take my Kindle and my DSLR camera along with me, and more and more often now I bring my laptop too. Then there’s the wires and chargers that come with each of them. And if you’re flying, you don’t want to risk them getting damaged in the hold so they have to be taken on as hand luggage. Previously I’ve managed to squeeze everything into a small day bag, but now I’ve started travelling with my laptop, it’s time to graduate to something bigger.

I’ve been looking out for the perfect bag for a while – something which has enough pockets and padding to store all my electricals safely, but which still looks smart and isn’t so huge that it makes me feel like a turtle with an oversized shell. So when Blacks kindly offered me an Osprey Cyber 26L Daypack to road test, I jumped at the chance. It’s one of Osprey’s Portal range of bags, which are specially designed to transport your technology when you travel. So how did it stack up?

Osprey Cyber 26L Daysack

The Osprey Cyber 26L Daysack

The features

The Cyber 26L Daysack comes in four different colours – black, red, a grey pattern and the medium grey/taupe colour which I went for. Not the most exciting colour, but it’s unlikely to show the dust and dirt. And you get an unexpected pop of colour when you open up the pockets to find a bright orange lining inside. At 26 litres, the bag fits within the carry-on luggage limits for most airlines (the full dimensions are L 48 x W 32 x D 23cm) and even when it was fully loaded it still wasn’t too bulky. There’s a back support with a mesh lining which lets the air through to keep you cool if it’s hot. And the wide straps are padded to spread the weight, with front straps around the waist and chest if you need them.

Osprey Cyber 26L Daysack review

With the bag fully packed I still don’t look too turtle-like

There are three main compartment at the top of the bag and one at the bottom. The back pocket is for your laptop and has padding and a fleece lining to keep it protected. It easily fit my 17″ laptop, and there’s a separate zippered pocket inside to fit a tablet (or a Kindle in my case). The middle pocket is the largest and has pockets to store documents inside. It was just about big enough to fit my DSLR camera inside, even in its day bag which will help keep it extra safe. Otherwise you could easily fit books or a change of clothes inside. Then there’s the front pocket, which has different compartments to keep you organised – with pockets for pens, credit cards, passports and your mobile phone. There’s also a bonus pocket in the top which is designed to store your sunglasses.

Osprey Cyber 26L Daysack review

The three top compartments in the bag

The bottom compartment contains what they call the ‘Powerhouse’ organiser compartment. It’s a velcro-fastened inner bag that is designed to store all the power cables, battery chargers and wires that go with your electricals. It detaches from the bag so you can easily access everything without having to root around in the bag and stops the wires getting tangled into a huge knot. It was just big enough to fit my laptop power supply, phone charger and camera battery charger.

Osprey Cyber 26L Daysack

The ‘Powerhouse’ organiser compartment

The pros

The overall design is just what I was looking for – my laptop and camera are all well protected but it’s not too bulky. The Powerhouse compartment in particular was a great idea to keep my cables organised and the sunglasses pocket should hopefully help my tendancy to lose them. At £90 it’s not a cheap bag, but it does have a real feeling of quality. The material is thick and sturdy and the zips and tags all seem very well made, so it should be an investment that lasts for years. It looks quite smart so you could even use it for work, but it could pass as a normal rucksack so it doesn’t scream ‘steal me’! It can easily be used as a day bag – or even overnight – while I’m away, so isn’t just a travelling bag.

Osprey Cyber 26L Daysack

Plenty of space inside the main compartment – and the special sunglasses pocket

The cons

Much as I like a lot of pockets, this bag does have a bewildering amount of them. Something like 18 at my count, though I may well have missed a few! Although it’s good to have so much storage, if you need something in a hurry then make sure you remember where you put it or you can spend ten minutes trying to find out which pocket it was in. The front pocket is also a bit exposed, so if you plan to use it for your passport, phone etc, then you might want to get a padlock to secure it from pickpockets.

Disclaimer: my Osprey backpack was provided by Blacks.

Comments

    • says

      I borrowed my husband’s last year ans it totally swamped me so small was good! Even with my best minimalist packing I don’t think I’d manage much more than a weekend with just this one bag though!

  1. says

    I’m glad you added the note about using a small lock…my first thought about backpacks is that it leaves you more vulnerable to theft. I do however like the multi-pocket feature and it seems to pack everything into a relatively small space. The price is a little cost-prohibitive, but I can see why based on the construction of the bag. Which bag were you using previously?

    • says

      Previously I used a small camera backpack with a padded section at the bottom for my DSLR and extra lenses, then a small normal bag compartment at the top. It worked fine but there was nowhere for a laptop to go. I’ve started bringing my laptop with me on longer trips so I had to find something new. It is quite pricey but I’m hoping it’ll last a very long time!

  2. says

    Always been a fan of Osprey’s daypacks; I have a slingbag one for school and a cute backpack I use for carrying my laptop and gym clothes while biking around NYC – perfect compact size for my petite figure

  3. says

    Haha, I totally know what you mean about all the extra chargers and wires…sometimes it feels like that stuff takes up the most space of all!!

    I travelled round-the-world for a year with an Osprey 46 litre carry-on (the maximum possible size), and it was the best decision I ever made. The bag was awesome, I never worried about theft, and I had plenty of room for all my stuff. :)

    • says

      And they get so tangled despite being packed in so tight you wouldn’t think they could move! The 46 litre size looks really good, especially as it’s designed for women so isn’t too tall or wide.

    • says

      The Powerhouse is a great idea isn’t it? Though I’m sure you could substitute something else (like maybe a wash bag?) or make something. Everyone seems to really love their Osprey bags so far which is a great sign!

  4. says

    I travel internationally with my family, with two children; we switched to carrying backpack carryon suitcases about five years ago. They are wonderful, they force you to travel light, your hands are free to hold the kids hands, you don’t pay for checked baggage, and you never have to worry about an airline losing your luggage. This particular bag does look good if you carry laptops and lots of electronics. Good Review. I do agree that too many pockets can be a negative. I have a pocketbook with about six pockets and it drives be crazy!

    • says

      I imagine it’s definitely useful to have your hands free if you have kids! I usually travel carry on only with a small suitcase or backpack but sometimes for longer trips I prefer to take two smaller bags rather than one big bag. Very pleased with this one so far but I suspect half the pockets will never get used!

    • says

      The bag itself is pretty lightweight, loaded up with a camera and laptop not so much, but unless they incorporated some helium balloons I’m not sure it could get much lighter! I haven’t carried it for a long amount of time yet but the straps were comfortable and the waist strap helps balance the weight so I didn’t feel too weighed down. Would recommend trying on a few to see what feels most comfortable as they are all slightly different.

    • says

      Just read your post about it and it seems like a good choice! Great tip to make sure you try them on with some weight in so you get a real idea of what it’ll feel like loaded up. Hope it serves you well on your RTW trip!

  5. says

    Very interesting post, Lucy, especially your opinion about the “bewildering amount” of pockets. Is this daypack also available in a bigger size?

    I am looking for a new daypack with many pockets but it should be a bit bigger than my current 28 L Deuter daypack which only has a few pockets, so your presented one as a 32 L daypack would be great.

    Short before going on my most recent China trip which I did in October and November I purchased the Osprey Sojourn 25-inch 60 L rolling backpack which I really like but one of the very few disadvantages of this rolling backpack is that it doesn’t have enough pockets. After my opinion it would need at least one or two more on the outside of the front as on the forefront there are none, there are a few inside and there is only one pocket on the outside of the back but this one contains the backpack straps, so the my new rolling backpack definitely doesn’t have enough pockets.

    • says

      I think this is the largest size for this particular style, but there are several similar ones in larger sizes (some of the commenters above have recommended ones they have tried out). I would probably recommend going for one of the other ones as a daypack if you don’t plan to carry a laptop as there is quite a lot of padding around the laptop area that you might not need. You’d definitely have enough pockets with this one though!

  6. says

    I believe the bag maker should consider putting some lock system on the zipper…so you don’t have to worry about getting robbed while walking on a creepy street with all your gadgets…

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