Review: Osprey Nebula Daypack – A Good Light Pack?

Last Updated on by Valeria Salamanca

Osprey backpacks are legendary throughout the backpacking world. Ever since the company was founded in 1974, every single Osprey product design has been inspected and scrutinized for quality by owner and founder Mike Pfotenhauer.

Mike began the Osprey company as a small retail shop in his rented home in California, where backpackers and travelers traveled near and far by word-of-mouth to get measured for a custom-fit, made-to-order packs constructed by Mike himself over several days.

Over the years the demand for Osprey backpacks grew and in 1987 Osprey started selling wholesale and moved their operations to Colorado. Some of the first sewers of Osprey packs were women from the nearby Navajo reservation. In 2003 the ever increasing costs of producing products in America forced Osprey to move all of its production to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

Mike moved with his company to Vietnam and lived there for four years to ensure production was running smoothly and the quality of each product met his high standards.

In 2009, Osprey celebrated its 35th anniversary and launched its “All Mighty Guarantee” that matches the robust lifetime warranties of outdoor legends like L.L. Bean and Eddie Bauer. Every Osprey product is backed with a lifetime warranty or if it can’t be repair then they will replace it for free.

The Construction of the Pack

The Osprey Nebula Backpack is a jack of all trades. It is the perfect pack for planes, trains, and everywhere in between. While the backpack could be used for light day hiking, the pack is really built for the purpose of travel and everyday use.

One of the Nebula’s best features is its TSA approved padded laptop sleeve that unzips to lay completely flat so you don’t have to take your computer out of its sleeve. Brilliant! The Nebula daypack can hold a lot of stuff in its 34 liter size.

The pack has four external pockets: two side stretch mesh, one zippered stash, one front organizer, and one front stretch. If the external mesh pockets aren’t enough, the inside contains 1 padded laptop sleeve and 1 one padded tablet pocket to keep all your electronics safe during transport.

The Nebula daypack is weighs in at 2 lbs 2 oz and is constructed of 420D nylon packcloth and 210D nylon ripstop. The Nebula features adjustable shoulder straps and a removable waist belt (or hip belt) to help you create a comfortable custom fit.

There is even a blinker light attachment helping you stay safe during your bike ride home from the office. And, of course, the Osprey Nebula Daypack is backed with Osprey’s lifetime warranty.

The Tech Specs

Volume:34 liters
Dimensions:19 x 11 x 11 in
Material:420D nylon packcloth, 210D nylon ripstop
Pockets:External: 2 side stretch mesh, 1 zippered stash, 1 front organizer, and 1 front stretch

Internal: 1 padded laptop sleeve, 1 padded tablet pocket

Shoulder Strap(s):Adjustable
Waist-Belt:Removable
Weight:2 lb 2 oz
Hydration Compatible:Yes
Reservoir Included:No
Recommended Use:Travel, everyday
Access:Top load
Manufacturer Warranty:Lifetime
Color:Marsh Green, Brick Red, or Black
Retail Price (as of this writing):$109.95 (check this listing for latest price)

 

Traveler Reviews – Word on the Street

The Osprey Nebula Daypack is a versatile workhorse pack that can carry everything you need for work at the office to a short weekend getaway with your friends. If you’re a digital nomad working in coffee shops across the globe or just a rugged urban business who lives in flannel on the weekends, this pack is perfect for your everyday needs.

The Nebula can easily hold a laptop, a tablet, all your little chargers and gadgets, a water bottle, and perhaps your swimsuit to hit the beach after work. Osprey is world renown for their quality hiking and backpacking backpacks. You’ll see the familiar design elements and features of Osprey’s other backpacks in the Nebula. She’s sleek and sexy.

The Nebula is designed especially for travelers in mind. The small zippered top pocket and the front flap-style pocket are perfect for stuffing little things that you need to access frequently like a map or maybe your passport at the airport. The best travel feature of the Nebula pack is the so-called TSA approved padded laptop sleeve.

Osprey claims that it “unzips to lay completely flat on the x-ray belt so the user doesn’t have to remove the laptop from its padded sleeve.” Do you hate when TSA agents make you take your laptop out of your bag?

Well, this might sound like the answer to your TSA prayers, but most travelers find that they still have to take their laptop out of their bags and put it in a separate bin at the security line. Despite that little hiccup, the padding and the accessibility of the laptop sleeve still make the Nebula an awesome bag for travel.

One frequent business traveler found the Nebula to be the perfect carry on bag for his business travel needs. He found he could fit 1-2 nights of business clothes, casual clothes, a pair of sneakers, his 15” laptop, and miscellaneous toiletries and papers in the Nebula that easily fits under the seat of a small regional jet.

After work he could leave his work stuff and clothes at his hotel and use the pack around town or on the trails if he had some free time.

The Nebula Daypack is similar to the North Face Surge II and many shoppers will either opt between the two packs. The Surge II offers two large external zip pockets that some people find attractive, but overall the Nebula has better organized and functional pockets for storing items.

The Osprey Nebula Daypack is also very bike friendly. The pack is sleek and doesn’t have a lot of extra loose straps that can get caught in gears or tree branches.

The Nebula has reflective elements that will help you be seen better by drivers at night and has a loop near the bottom where you can hook a blinking bike light. You can never have too many lights at night! A 32-oz water bottle can also fit in one of the side mesh pocket.

Overall, Osprey Nebula Daypack owners are very happy with their purchase.

Pros of the Nebula Daypack

  • The pockets are well organized and functional
  • The padded laptop and tablet sleeves help protect your expensive electronics
  • Reflective material and blinker light attachment for added safety
  • Fits under an airplane seat making it the perfect carry on bag
  • Lifetime guarantee

Cons of the Nebula Daypack

  • You still might need to take your laptop out of the sleeve during TSA security checks
  • The laptop sleeve can only fit a laptop up to a 15” screen
  • Not waterproof (it is water resistant) so if you are in an area of heavy rainfall it is recommended to purchase a separate rain cover
  • Expensive, but can often be found on sale (see here to check)

Other Osprey Nebula Alternatives to Consider

I find it helpful to always look at packs in comparison to the competition. Osprey has a number of similar packs available which I personally checked out before buying the Nebula. They are:

  • Osprey Daylight Pack: Similar pack but slightly slimmer and more ergonomic. Best for short travel and trips less than 2-3 days. You can read the full review I did here.
  • Osprey Farpoint 55 Pack: Has some extra front poaches and attachments for a slightly more versatile carry bag or travel backpack (attachments can be removed to save weight which is ideal for travel situations with weight and size restrictions). Also has a sleeping pad attachment.
  • Osprey Escapist 18 Daypack: Another similar option to the Nebula, with dual zippered hipbelt pockets and an inside out lower compression strap system.

The Verdict – Is the Nebula Worth it?

The Osprey Nebula Daypack is a great all-around everyday use backpack. If you’re a frequent flyer, whether for business or pleasure, and prefer a backpack the Nebula is a no-brainer.

The padded laptop and tablet sleeve are awesome features that help protect your valuable electronics during transport. Despite the laptop sleeve not living up to Osprey’s claims of TSA approval, the sleeve does make pulling your laptop out easy and quick.

Final Word: The Nebula Daypack is equally as good around town and on your bicycle commute home from the office. She can even be used for day hikes. The Osprey Nebula Daypack available here with FREE SHIPPING is sleek and sexy, yet functional and well built. We give her two thumbs up!

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