Osprey Quasar day/backpack

Review by Arnie P

Osprey Quasar day/backpack

Quasar front view

Quasar front view

The Quasar day pack was provided by Osprey for the purpose of this review.

The Osprey Quasar is part of a family of packs being offered by Osprey in 2010, called the 24/7 series. These packs can be used in the office and for playing after work. I will be sharing all the things I’m discovering about this attractive new pack.

This is a 30 L pack with all the adjustments and features you might find in a full sized backpack. The Quasar features a semi rigid frame. The approximate measurements of the pack are are 13 in by 20 in. The shoulder straps are padded and have reflective material on them. These straps also have a breast strap that is adjustable horizontally and well as vertically. The waist belt is detachable and is about 3/4 inch wide.

The padding on the parts that touch my body are covered with a mesh cloth, it appears that may work well for ventilation. The Quasar has 3 zippered compartments. The largest zippered area contains 2 sleeve pockets. The larger one can accommodate a 3 L Platypus hydration system with a dual port to the outside of the pack. This sleeve appears to be waterproof in case there is leakage from the bladder. This could help to keep the rest of the pack dry. I put my 13 in laptop in this sleeve when I was not carrying water there. The other sleeve is shorter and not as wide and is probably best for a pad of paper or something thin. There is a small mesh pocket at the top of the pack in which a cell phone or iPod could easily fit. The opening for the hydration tube could also accommodate a connection to headphones from an iPod or similar device. The second compartment which is smaller has a doubled tabbed zipper. There is a zippered mesh pocket inside this compartment. This pocket is about 8 inches at the top and about the same at the bottom. The depth is about 6 inches. On the opposite side of the zippered pocket are 3 rectangular shaped pockets. The 2 outside pockets are meshed with a size of about 3 inches wide and almost 5 inches deep. The middle pocket is 1 1/2 inches wide and almost 5 inches deep. The third and smallest compartment has a single tabbed zipper. This pocket contains a hook for attaching a key ring. This pocket is about 7 inches wide and 8 1/2 inches deep. For a medium sized pack it has ample compartments for good organization.

Open corded storage

This is a very flexible area for storage on the outside of the pack. A stretchable cord which is laced to the pack. The cord crosses 4 times to hold an item. If the item needs more space 2 of the links can be removed to provide more length to the cord but reduces the crossings down to 2. There is a flap at the bottom to hold the item from falling. I was able to put my backpacking tent into this place very easily. Items put in this area would not have protection from the weather. This allows for more space inside the pack for items that need the protection from the weather.

Loops

Near the bottom of the pack is a loop for attaching items. This loop is about 2 1/2 inches in diameter. On the shoulder straps there are 2 horizontal loops for hanging light objects. The interesting thing is that these loops have reflective bands and the reflective part on the left bands is wider than that on the right side

Hydration

Most of the time I use a bladder type hydration system. I found I could pass the tubing from my bladder through the top loop on the shoulder strap, bend the tube and run it up through the bottom loop. This keeps the mouthpiece of the tube in a very convenient place for me to drink. But when it gets below 20 F, the tube on the hydration systems tend to freeze if it is not insulated. This pack has 2 outside pockets that will each accommodate a water bottle up to about 3 inches in diameter. I found that one-liter bottles easily fit in the pockets. Water bottles will take the cold better than the uninsulated tubes on a bladder system.

Using the pack

My primary use for the pack will be for day hikes requiring a lot of extra clothing and water and for backpacks. I have been restricted to carrying 20 lbs. This is a personal restriction and not on the Quasar. For day hikes taking 12 hours or more and at higher elevations where extra clothing and water are needed I think this pack will do well. I also do volunteer work in Lowell where I can use the pack to carry my 13-inch laptop and have room for 2 one liter bottles of water. I will be ordering a new laptop with a larger screen and it should fit in the Quasar. There will also be space for a cell phone, camera,pens,paper and other small items. I could also use this pack for going to the gym. I will probably think of more things as I start using the Osprey Quasar more often. I will be writing more about this pack in about a month.

Quasar back view

Quasar back view

Quasar top view

Quasar top view

Quasar accessory loop

Quasar accessory loop

Quasar breast strap

Quasar key ring hook

Quasar inside compartments [/caption]

Quasar external padding

Quasar external padding

2 person backpacking tent attached to Quasar

2 person backpacking tent attached to Quasar

Osprey Quasar update
4-29-2010

I have gone on several hikes with the Quasar and it has been functioning well on hikes as well as for carrying my laptop.  I recently got a new larger laptop and I had to see how well it fit in the Quasar.  The new laptop which has a 16.4 in screen, is 15 ¼ in by 10 ¼ in, and weights about 6.9 lb fits very nicely in the hydration sleeve with some extra space.  I will have more to say about carrying my new laptop in my next report, When I have had a chance to use it more for my class.

Ventilation

I have noticed the effectiveness of the ventilation on the Quasar.  When I take the pack off after hiking for while, I don’t feel the cold on my back like I have with most backpacks.  Since the sweat on my back is able to dry off almost as fast as it forms, there is very little moisture left to dry off when I remove my pack.  This is especially helpful on a longer than usual rest break because I don’t feel cold due to dampness or evaporation.  I usually dress in layers and start off with more clothing.  As the hike progresses I start to warm up and start taking a layer off.  With some previous packs, I have had to put layers back on during a rest period.

Backpacking

As illustrated in the picture, I am able to carry my tent on the outside of the pack.  This allows me to have extra space inside for all necessary items needed on a backpack.  I recently purchased a light weight sleeping bag that is compact and that should also help in conserving space.  As soon as the muddy season is over I will be using this pack for backpacking.  I have carried my tent on a couple hikes and it carries very well.  I am hoping to report on a backpack in my next report.

Along the Merrimack River

Along the Merrimack River

Horn Pond Conservation Trail

Horn Pond Conservation Trail

Watching swan on Horn Pond

Watching swan on Horn Pond

Osprey Quasar a last look

6-1-2010

In addition to a few local hikes I also hiked 3 times in the Franconia Notch area of New Hampshire Three days before I arrived, the area received 13 inches of new snow. The temperatures were in the 70’s the day I arrived and the snow was melting quite rapidly. At night the temperatures did drop to near freezing so the melting slowed down at night. There was snow on the trail on my first hike. This was a hike to Bald Mountain and Artist Bluff. I found the Quasar was stable and my back had a small wet area near my waist. I did some trail maintenance and the pack did not interfere with my actions.

last of snow on Peobody slopes

last of snow on Peobody slopes

along the Pemigewasset River

along the Pemigewasset River

clearing trail near Artist's Bluff

clearing trail near Artist’s Bluff

Backpacking

overnight backpack with Quasar

overnight backpack with Quasar

When I started to pack for an overnight solo backpack, I soon found out I did not have as much space as I thought I would. I realized I would have to do a better job of packing my items. When the main compartment is fully loaded there is slightly less space in the outer pockets. I replaced my water bladder with two 1 L water bottles. The big items in the pack were the sleeping bag, and air pad. Since this was just an overnight I decided to take only food that did not require cooking. I was able to eliminate my alcohol stove, fuel, cooking pot,and water filtration. Now I had enough space for some clothing and miscellaneous items. On longer backpacks I would be using a larger pack. The Quasar makes a good pack for short backpack or if I am able to share items and reduce the load. If I were more skilled at packing I could probably fit more items in this pack.

I have used the Quasar a lot since I received it and have found no problems with workmanship or malfunction of the zippers. The pack is attractive, ventilates well and is durable. This concludes my look at the Quasar.  I wish to thank Osprey and 4alloutdoors.org for the opportunity to test this pack.