Osprey Escapist 30L, £75. www.ospreypacks.com

New this summer, Osprey’s Escapist range is designed for multi-day ‘bike-packing’ adventures, though in practice we found it equally capable for overnighters and commuting. Three sizes are available (20L/25L/30L), all of which are offered in two back lengths, S/M and M/L, the former aimed at women and smaller-framed fellas.
As the largest pack in the series, the Escapist 30 maximises carrying capacity for long rides. We found it very useful on point-to-point trips like the Coast to Coast, where you need to pack multiple bike spares and a change of clothes. For those of us who prefer a pack to panniers — and it makes even more sense off-road — it’s extremely comfortable thanks to a Bio-Stretch ventilated harness, mesh hipbelt and ventilated backpanel. You get very little clamminess used with a proper jersey.

For balmy two-dayers we’ve managed to fit in a 3-litre reservoir of water,  jacket, midlayer, trousers and socks, first aid kit, tools, spares and even a sleeping bag liner (for hostelling) — and that still allowed room for a book or two. You can bundle up dirty kit into the bottom compartment or squeeze in an ultra-lightweight down sleeping bag. On work days the pack swallowed a 15-inch laptop and papers with ease. Two stabiliser straps and chest-strap keep loads from moving around.
There’s an internal organiser pocket, a clever LidLock, LED light attachment and plenty of reflectivity for night-riding. Mesh side pockets (for snacks) and zipped hip pockets are accessible while riding.  JK

PROS: Perfect weekender pack, superb features 
CONS: Pricey — but much cheaper than pannier/rack combos