Osprey Nebula 2019 Backpack Review

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Osprey is one of the brands that continues to make quality gear at a pretty competitive price point. They have well thought-out features and materials for anything from hiking in the Rockies to taking your EDC down to Starbucks for the day. I recently picked up the new Nebula from Osprey on a Labor day sale at $90 normally $120 from REI. I wasn’t necessarily looking for a new EDC bag but with starting EMT class a couple weeks ago I needed something big enough for my laptop, tablet, huge book and my other EDC items. The pack I was using the PDW SHADO 24 was great, but did not have enough room. The Nebula definitely gives me plenty of room to work with and comes with some great EDC/school bag features I was looking for. The Nebula comes in 5 colors, the one in this review is the Cypress Green.

FEATURES

  • TSA friendly laptop pocket

  • Front panel stretch mesh pocket

  • Upper side compression straps with tuckaway garage

  • Lower compression straps

  • Front panel organization pocket with key clip

  • Heat embossed scratch-free slash pocket

  • Dual stretch mesh water bottle pockets

  • Blinker light attachment

  • Padded laptop sleeve and tablet sleeve

  • Magazine / document sleeve and internal organization

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The Nebula looks clean and does a great job and having a compartment for everything I use on a day to day basis. I have used bags before that could hold everything I needed but looked and felt way too bulky and cumbersome to take with me all day. The Nebula somehow keeps a decent profile even when I have it fully loaded out. In total it has a front admin pocket, a back laptop/tech compartment, a main compartment with an interior zippered pocket, two full size water bottle pockets, a quick grab top pocket, and a front stash mesh pocket that I have actually used much more than I thought I would.

On the very front of the pack there is a good sized stretch mesh pocket that can hold any items you want easy access to or you don’t want on the inside of the bag. On a normal day I’ll have my gloves, running shorts, and a foot roller ball just because of how many steps I’ve been getting in these days. It does a great job at keeping these items secure.

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On either side of the pack there is a full-size mesh water bottle pocket. I think for myself this is almost a must have on my true EDC bags. I always carry a water bottle on me and most times I will have a Yeti coffee cup on the other side. These pockets also work well for tripods or like items that you don’t have room for in the interior. A great feature to have.

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On the front/top of the Nebula there is a smaller quick access admin pocket. I love when bags have this style of pocket for my keys, wallet, phone, and smaller items I don’t want to put into the main admin pocket. It gives a much better option. This pocket has much more room than it appears and easily held all of my items. On the side of the pack there are also two compression straps that can be used if you have a lot of gear in the front pockets and need to compress it down. Osprey also added a pocket at the base of the straps to give the user the option to stuff the straps back in and keep them neatly out of sight. This is an amazing feature and normally how I keep the straps even when the pack is fairly loaded out.

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In front of the small pocket there is the main “admin” style pocket. This pocket has tons of room and organization for my other EDC tools. In this pocket I keep my Leather-man, leather-man Raptors, knife, flashlight, pens/etc, and then at the bottom of the pocket there is tons of room to throw some more gear. Since there is no more pockets or dividers at the bottom I like to keep the rest of my gear in smaller pouches to be able to find what I need easier. The interior of the Nebula is also a bright blue which is super nice to have on a bag like this. There is nothing worse than having a dark interior color and not being able to see inside of the pack. Plus it looks super cool.

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PERFECT SHOULDER STRAPS AND BACK PANEL

The next feature of the Nebula I think is the main reason why this bag will continue to be my EDC pack for a long time. The shoulder straps and the back panel combination of the Nebula is truly second to none. I have used bags that have super heavy duty nylon back panels and while they are durable, they are heavy and get very hot. On the other hand I have used bags typically from more hiking focused companies or even other Osprey bags that had a very high-tec suspension system that was not needed on a bag for this style. The Nebula perfectly blends the two sides with breath-ability, durability, and function. It has the air scape back panel that Osprey puts on most of their packs. This gives great breath-ability due to the small suspension of the pack from your back. The shoulder straps offer the same style of mesh as the back panel and together give one of the best carry experiences I have had with a bag of this style. There is an included sternum strap on the Nebula that is fully adjustable.

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The main compartment on the Nebula is very simple. I do like this on a bag with this many other pockets for smaller gear, I want the main pocket where I am carrying a huge book and folders to be as smooth as possible. there is one zippered pocket and a file pocket on the back side but they do a great job at staying low profile. In this zippered pocket I normally keep all my larger bulky chargers and cables. There is not much more to say about this pocket at all other than it does a great job and carrying everything I need and staying low profile when I don’t have much to carry.

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The back pocket on the Nebula is the tech compartment. This is where the padded and fully suspended laptop sleeve and tablet pocket are. I have a Dell XPS 13 and the laptop sleeve completely swallows the laptop. I also have a Samsung Tab S4 and it fits in the smaller mesh padded pocket perfectly. When I am using a bag for school or shift I almost always am carrying my laptop and tablet. These two sleeves are crucial as I really would like to keep my tech as protected as possible. The Nebula does a great job at doing this. The pocket also zips all the way down to give quicker TSA passing, however everytime I have traveled with a bag that does this I am have never experienced a better security time…

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OVERALL

So far the Nebula from Osprey has been an absolute pleasure to use and has made carrying almost 25 lbs of gear during class days and shift great. It has amazing features and attention to detail. Every pocket on the Nebula is there for a reason and gives tons of options for the user. I love the blue high-vis interior and the stretch mesh pockets on the front of the pack. The laptop compartment gives much needed peace of mind when hauling the pack all day. The back panel and carry of the Nebula is amazing and works perfectly. If I had to change something on the pack I would consider adding a bit more padding to the bottom pocket. Sometimes when I set the bag down with my EMT book and folders I wish there was a bit more solid padding to help, however this is probably the only thing I could find to nitpick about.

PURCHASE THE OSPREY NEBULA HERE