Osprey Skarab 22 Daypack | Review - Outdoors Magic

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Osprey Skarab 22 Daypack | Review

A Spring 2019 daypack release from Osprey

I’ve managed to accumulate a few daypacks over the years, some for hiking, some for running, some for easy trips and some for tough stuff. The thing is, I might as well get rid of them all now, because in this new pack, the Osprey Skarab, I’ve found something that fits all of my needs.

Released for Spring 2019, the updated Skarab is a fairly simple daypack in terms of design, but it seems to perform with effortless versatility.

Available in 22 or 30 litre capacities for men, and 20 and 28 in the women’s equivalent called the Skimmer, I’ve been testing out the 22 litre Skarab for over five months now and have been impressed by every aspect of it bar one tiny, tiny detail which I’ll get to in a bit.

I’ve used it for my daily run commute and the occasional cycle, for days out on a mountain bike, for weekends away, on a sunrise hike up Helvellyn and even on a two-day backpacking trip in North Wales where it managed to hold all the necessary ingredients for a minimalist-style wild camp.


First I’ll start with the back system which is one of the Skarab’s most impressive aspects in my opinion. It’s simple stuff – just a foam back panel with little ventilation holes and a mesh covering it – but it feels comfortable, even while running with a full load.  There’s also a cavity behind it where a bladder can be stowed.

As for the harness, there’s one stenum clip which has a magnet to attach an Osprey hydration system and sliders for height adjustment, and there’s a buckle linking the two small, slightly padded hipbelt fins.

Credit: Mike Brindley
Credit: Mike Brindley
Credit: Mike Brindley

The main compartment of the Skarab is accessed via a simple U shaped zip at the top. There’s also another zip at the top of the pack where there’s a pocket for small valuables. Conveniently, this is lined with a soft fabric which won’t scratch or scuff up your sunglasses or phone when they’re bouncing around inside.

Related: Best Daypacks Reviewed 2017

Related: Osprey Mutant Pack Review

Another couple of other features I appreciated were the compression straps on the sides that allow you to adjust the pack volume to suit your load, and also the two trekking pole/ice axe attachments.


As well as the main compartment, the small valuables pocket at the top and the bladder pouch, there are two stretch mesh pockets on each side. These are big enough and stretchy enough to stuff a down jacket or waterproof jacket into, and they have a slit in their side to allow you to reach into them and grab your water bottle or snacks without taking the pack off.

Using the Skarab for an ultralight backpacking weekend in Snowdonia


The Skarab is tough enough to get through some scrapes I’d say. Actually, after my five months using this week-in-week-out, it’s barely scuffed or marked at all, a testament to its 210 denier ripstop fabric. It’ll withstand light rain or short downpours, but in anything heavy or prolonged you’ll want to whip out the rain cover that’s stowed in a little zipped pocket at the pack’s base.

This leads me to the one single issue I had with the Skarab, and that is that I find the glove-friendly zip pull on the pocket for the rain cover can sometimes poke into the small of my back – especially while running. To stop this, I tuck it in to the zip flap as best as I can, though occasionally it drops back out. It’s a very slight niggle, that’s all. (NB. I’ve since found out that I was reviewing a sample pack and this issue was corrected in the final production run). 

Overall the Skarab is a great pack that’s strikes a perfect balance of simplicity and versatility.

Full Specifications

22 litre capacity / 740g / 210D ripstop nylon fabric / AirScape foam back panel with mesh covering / detachable rain cover / external bladder pouch / scratch free glasses pocket / ‘bucket’ zip access / Walking pole attachments / two stretch mesh pockets / hose clip on sternum / 15mm compression straps / Women’s equivalent: Skimmer.


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