Osprey Arcane Large Day Pack Review [In-Depth & Unbiased!]

Orlaigh Magennis
Written By:
Orlaigh Magennis
Last Updated:
September 11, 2023
Check out my full review of the Osprey Arcane Large Day Pack 20L, which is a great day-to-day pack for commute with simple but functional features.
Osprey Arcane Large Day Pack Review

Looking for a great day pack you can use on a daily basis?

Well after 3 weeks of personally using and testing the Osprey Arcane Large Day Pack, I can confirm one thing ...

It certainly is a top contender as a great day-to-day bag!

Not just for travels but also for daily commuting and weekend adventure seekers.

Having tried and tested a few Osprey bags over the years, we know from experience they are great brand to trust.

And with a sustainable build and simple feature set, this day pack has got everything you need from a day-to-day backpack.

But it does of course have it's limits and drawbacks.

So in this review of the Osprey Arcane Large Day Pack, I’ll be talking about ...

  • Specific features that I love
  • How well-made and comfortable it is
  • What can be improved.
  • And more!

Without further ado, let’s go!

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Who exactly is Osprey?

The company Osprey was born in 1974 in California.

It’s known for designing and creating innovative backpacks that are high-quality and suitable for adventures.

What’s special about their product is that each model passes through the owner's and founder’s own hands.

Mike Pfotenhauer created his first backpack at 16 years old, so you know that everything is well-created and thought of!

I do believe that Osprey is such a reliable brand.

osprey arcane small day pack

They’re particularly geared towards adventure seekers who want a backpack to suit their travels.

The best thing is that Osprey is so confident in their product quality that their All Mighty Guarantee promises to repair any damage to your backpack, for whatever reason.

Osprey Arcane Large 20L Video Review

Where can you buy the Osprey Arcane Large Day Pack?

I recommend getting the Osprey backpack directly from their website.

This is because those in the US can enjoy free ground shipping that’s automatically applied when you check out.

For international customers, you can refer to the official customer service list, which includes addresses and links to buy from Mexico to Malaysia, and more.

Plus, if for some reason you end up not liking the product and want to return it, you have a 30-day window to do so without charge.

Just make sure it’s still brand new, in unused condition, and still has all the hang tags and packaging.

osprey arcane small day pack review

Quick overview: Technical Specifications

  • Price: $110
  • Weight: 1.41 LBS
  • Dimensions: 17.72H X 11.81W X 8.66D IN
  • Capacity: 20L
  • Noteworthy Materials: bluesign® approved 500D recycled polyester packcloth, PFC-free DWR
  • Color Options: Honeybee Yellow, Stargazer Blue, Pine Leaf Green, Heather Grey, Brindle Brown Heather
  • Warranty: Osprey All Mighty Guarantee

Quick answer: Who should get this backpack?

osprey arcane small day pack 20L

I’d recommend the Arcane Large Day Pack for anyone who wants a simple and functional daypack, that’s also extremely reliable.

It has enough space to fit all the essentials for a day-to-day commute and errands. Whether that’s going to work in the office, a cafe, or even if you need a pack for sightseeing!

Who should not get this backpack?

With that said, if you’re looking for a large backpack with much more capacity and organisational pockets, this Osprey bag may not be for you.

It’s much more minimalist and simple.

Plus, it doesn’t have the sturdiest back support, so that’s another thing to note!

Osprey Arcane Large Day Pack Review

The Arcane Large Day Pack is part of the Osprey Arcane series.

It was created for day-to-day use with a padded laptop sleeve, functional organisation, a built-in security hook, and more.

This sustainable bag was made from 10.5 plastic bottles and is designed to be durable and long-lasting.

Let’s get right into the details!

How well-made is the Arcane Large Day Pack?

Upon first impression, I adore the fact that this bag is made from 100% recycled materials. I was reading online that they even launched a limited-edition Hemp Backpack. 

The main materials are recycled 500 Bluesign Recycled Polyester Pack Cloth and PFC Free DWR Coating.

Everything looks well put together and has a nice feel to it. The fabrics, however, are what stand out for me as they give off that minimalist aesthetic look.

It’s soft but scratch-free, which is great for an active lifestyle.

At just 0.6 kg or 1.41 lbs, this Large Day Pack is surprisingly lightweight!

The bag itself has a slim silhouette, which is quite flattering in terms of style, but the best thing is that it holds its shape even when not fully packed.

The hardware is pretty solid too. Specifically, the YKK zippers are easy to zip and unzip, especially with the puller on them.

YKK zippers puller

This makes me truly believe that they’ve thought about the design and how everything would work well with the backpack!

Finally, the top strap is a seatbelt-style strap, which is nothing outstanding but good enough to do what it needs to do.

top strap

How comfortable is the Arcane Large Day Pack?

All in all, the Large Day Pack is not the best in terms of comfort but is still pretty solid for everyday use.

The main thing for me is the back padding that doesn’t feel too thick or supportive.

back padding

With that said, the adjustable straps can be tightened quite easily so that it gives more support.

Top features of the Osprey Large Day Pack

1. Simple but functional organisation

If you’ve read my other backpack or luggage reviews, you’d know that I’m not the biggest fan of overly organisational pockets.

Well, this Osprey Day Pack is perfect in that it has enough pockets and features without being too much!

The only exterior pocket here is the front one, which is horizontal instead of vertical. 

It’s less reachable but I do prefer it this way as it feels more secure and you don’t have to worry about anything falling out. Plus, there’s an extra bit of fabric here covering the zippers, which is nice.

front compartment

It has enough space to fit small knickknacks that you may want to keep separate like a tablet, Airpods, a book, a wallet, or even your passport.

front compartment 2

I also love that the zippers run low on the main compartment itself. With bags, you usually get either a midway or clamshell opening, but this one gives you full range without that wide suitcase-style opening.

main compartment

2. Sustainable build

Osprey is huge on sustainability, and this happens to be one of my favorite things from the Arcane Large Day Pack.

It’s made of 10.5 plastic bottles!

It features recycled polyester fabric that’s soft but durable and uses PFC-free durable water repellent (DWR) for a more sustainable approach.

Other than using eco-friendly materials, Osprey also makes sure to use sustainable chemicals and uphold social responsibility.

3. Aluminium security hook

The Arcane Large Day Pack comes with these industrial clips that keep the backpack casual but adventurous. 

One of the clips is a gatekeeper and it allows you to attach it to fixed things should you want extra security when sitting down.

You can use the aluminium security hook to your own advantage for extra security when you’re out in public, a bit like the Pacsafe Citsyafe Anti-Theft bag.

Aluminium security hook

4. Adjustable straps with mesh pocket

The straps adjust very smoothly and are easy to use. A good thing is that they run pretty tightly, which definitely makes up for the lack of back support.

adjustable straps

There are also mesh pockets on the straps, where you can fit a pair of glasses, cards, or maybe a lip balm.

It’s super small and handy for accessories, but I honestly would’ve loved for these to be bigger.

5. Padded laptop sleeve

Next up, of course, you can’t have a daily backpack without a padded laptop compartment!

This is perfect for those of you who are using the bag for work.

The laptop compartment fits up to about 16 inches. Mine is 11 inches, and there is enough padding and security so your tech isn’t flapping about.

osprey padded laptop compartment

There’s also another zipper compartment right in front of it, which can be great for documents and other loose items.

6. Low-profile water bottle pocket

The water bottle compartment is hidden and low-profile, which I do like.

It can fit my 500ml bottle nicely due to the stretch, although I think it would struggle if it was a larger bottle.

water bottle pocket

Overall, it camouflages well and is not too bulky, which is great!

hidden water bottle pocket

7. Everyday bag capacity

20L doesn’t seem like a lot, but remember that it is a day pack so you will fit in what you need.

However, saying that, I felt like I could get a lot more in when I reviewed the 25L Patagonia Black Hole backpack & used packing cubes.

So I’d say that if you pack smart, you probably can fit a lot more in here!

osprey arcane day pack inside

Otherwise, you can get this bag in the small 10L version.

Is the Osprey Arcane Large Day Pack waterproof?

No, the Osprey Arcane Large Day Pack is not waterproof, which might be a bummer if you need a tough and hardy day pack to withstand the weather and whatnot.

Cons of the Osprey Arcane Large Day Pack

One thing that just brings it down for me about this bag is the lack of padding. 

The back padding feels as though a piece of crinkled cardboard box has been placed there and covered with mesh. The mesh is stretchy and the padding runs onto the shoulder straps as well. 

I don’t think the back padding is amazing, but it works surprisingly well for this day-pack style. I’d imagine that anything too bulky would take it away from the aesthetics…

Besides, I do get that this kind of bag isn’t meant to carry the heaviest load for long periods of time, so the mediocre padding is not a massive drawback.

There’s also nothing really protecting the bottom of the bag, so be aware of this when setting your bag down on rough surfaces.

bottom padding

Another small thing I keep wondering is why the key clip is inside the main compartment, as I think it would be more convenient in the front pocket.

But other than these, the Osprey bag is actually fantastic!

Osprey Arcane Large Day Pack: Performance over time

Here are my impressions in bullet points after using the Osprey Arcane Large Day Pack for the first time, and then three weeks later.

First use:

  • Beautiful colour that is stylish and unique (I got the Honeybee Yellow)
  • Not waterproof. The material feels like it would need extra care to maintain clean 
  • Compact, minimalist design but reliable 

After 3 weeks:

  • No real back support but enough padding to protect your laptop
  • The style is a huge win for me!
  • I love the anti-theft style gatekeeper buckle on one side so you can attach it to things 
Osprey Large Day Pack

Overall verdict: Are Osprey bags worth buying?

osprey arcane small day pack yellow

My review boils down to one question…

Should you buy the Osprey Large Day Pack?

I would say yes, you probably should.

Overall, I would give this a rating of 8.5/10.

This Osprey Day Pack has a city backpack vibe, making it perfect for a compact, laptop backpack for heading to work.

But it also works well for other types of commutes and activities, like going on a walk, coffee shop, or even for overnight trips.

Note that it doesn’t offer a lot of padding so do be careful if you have valuables in there. 

Overall, I think for the price and what it provides, it’s an amazing bag. Not to mention that the longevity of this bag is what makes it so amazing.

What else does Osprey sell?

Arcane Small Day Pack

If you love the features of the Arcane Large Day Pack but want something more compact, the Small Day Pack might be for you. It fits up to a 13-inch laptop, has 10L in volume, and is made from 7.8 plastic bottles!

Arcane Duffel Pack

At 30L capacity, the Duffel Pack is great for weekend trips and quick getaways. You can carry it over the shoulder and also backpack-style. Inside, there’s a mesh organization pocket and even 15" padded laptop sleeve.

Arcane Roll Top

The Arcane Roll Top is a perfect everyday backpack alternative to the Large Day Pack, and is slightly larger in capacity. It’s ideal for everything from hitting the gym to an office work day. Not to mention that it’s super comfortable to carry with an easy roll-top access.

Osprey Arcane Alternatives

Based on bags I have personally tested and review, here are some other great alternatives to consider if you're still not 100% sold on the Arcane.

  1. Pacsafe Citysafe® CX Anti-Theft Backpack - This is a small, compact day pack with extra anti-theft pockets for commuting in daily life. It has a suitcase slit and can fit nicely over a suitcase, making it great for travel. There's plenty of space and is also eco-friendly. Read my full review of the Pacsafe Citysafe here.
  2. Matein Travel Laptop Backpack - This is a larger laptop backpack with plenty of pockets and space for more equipment and accessories. It comes in much cheaper but is still long-lasting & extremely popular with buyers all around the world. You can read my full review of the Matein Travel Laptop Backpack here.

Now over to you ...

Have you taken the plunge and gone for the Osprey Arcane?

Do you have any other questions not covered above?

Just drop a comment below and let me know.

If you enjoyed this, you can check out some of my other reviews:

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Some images courtesy of Deposit Photos.
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