Osprey makes some of the most popular backpacks for cycling. The Radial line was made with the daily commuter in mind. It accommodates laptops and has enough room for work or school items, such as books and pens.
The Radial backpacks come in two models; the Radial 26 and the Radial 34. These models came out at the beginning of 2017, and we are not surprised that they have been such a hit with customers.
But many are wondering what the differences between the 26 and the 34. Is it just about the size? Actually, there are a few things to consider when making this decision. This is why we have written this comparison of the Osprey Radial 26 vs 34. We will first be covering what these cycling daypacks have in common.
Osprey Radial 26 vs 34
What the Radial 24 and Radial 34 Have in Common
What we love most about these backpacks is the ventilated mesh. The design of it stands out from other models, as it is placed away from the backpanel. This means that the mesh rests against your back and wicks away sweat. The ride on your bicycle will be that much more comfortable, as you will not have to deal with a sweaty back.
The shoulder straps are also ventilated and have a different kind of mesh. This is also important, as the straps are quite wide for stability purposes.
You can adjust the shoulder straps using the elastics at the top. Adjusting them means that you can loosen them up to such a point that the pack actually rests at the bottom of your back. Some cyclers prefer it that way, while others prefer to tighten it up so that the backpack does not move around.
There is a front mesh panel that stretches and is designed to carry a u-lock for your bicycle. In most cases, cyclists will be bringing one of these locks with them to work or school, and it is great that this backpack can accommodate it instead of it needing to be placed inside of the main compartment.
There is a helmet clip on the back of the backpack. It stretches forward and locks into place through one of the holes of your helmet.
Another one of our favorite features of these backpacks is the kickstand.
The bottom of these backpacks are designed so that they stand upright whether they are full or empty. This will come in handy in case you need to sit down for a few minutes while you are doing something else.
The side pockets on these backpacks serve two functions. The side pockets on one of the sides can carry your small items such as your keys. The top pocket houses a retractable key chain. But the other pocket is especially meant for your water bottle. It also has a loop above the pocket so that you can secure the water bottle to prevent it from slipping out.
Osprey Radial 26 vs 34: Comparison
Now that we have covered what makes these backpacks so awesome, we will go over some considerations to keep in mind before making a purchase. Here they are, in no particular order:
Bottom compression straps
In order to keep your gear stable, the Radial 34 has compression straps at the bottom. On the other hand, the Radial 26 does not have any compression straps at all. This is likely due to the fact that it is of a smaller size. Having compression straps on the Radial 34 is great because it will reduce some of the bulkiness caused by it being a fairly large daypack.
Vertical zippered pockets
An additional feature of the Radial 34 is that it has vertical zippered pockets in the front. They are located on both sides of the front of the backpack. This provides additional organizational benefits for your smaller items.
Size of your laptop
An often overlooked design difference between these two backpacks is the fact that the Radial 34 is wider than the Radial 26. The implications of this is that you can only carry a 15-inch laptop in the Radial 26. But if you own a 17-inch laptop, you will likely need to purchase the Radial 34. As the standard size for a laptop is only 15 inches, this is not a problem in most cases. But many people nowadays are opting to go with a larger laptop. The size of your backpack will be increasingly important as in the coming years.
Use for hiking
If you’re looking for a backpack with which you can hike, the Radial 34 might be your best bet for overnight stays. Unless you’re going to be packing extremely light, the Radial 26 may not be enough to carry your change of clothes. This is especially true if you’re also going to be carrying a laptop.
When it comes to riding your bicycle, a slimmer backpack is always more comfortable. If you’re only going to be purchasing one of these backpacks for your daily commute, the Radial 26 is going to be more comfortable. While the Radial 34 has compression straps at the bottom, the width of the backpack will make it more likely to sway back and forth.
Osprey Radial 26 vs 34: Price Differences
To view current prices for the Radial 26 and the Radial 34, please follow the links below:
Both of these new Radial backpacks from Osprey are an excellent way to commute to school or work everyday. Despite a couple of extra features on the Radial 34, we do have a slight preference for the Radial 26. This is simply due to the fact that it will be less bulky on a bicycle. As they are cycling backpacks, it is important that they be slim and comfortable on the back.
While the Radial 34 will give you the option for overnight stays, the Radial 26 will be more comfortable. But if you do own a 17-inch laptop, it would be wise to choose the Radial 34, as it will be a very tight fit with the Radial 26.
Do you have a preference for one of these Radial backpacks? Please let us know by leaving a comment below.
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