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Osprey Resource Elroy Review

Osprey Resource Elroy
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Price:  $99 List
Pros:  Tons of storage options for small items, great laptop and document storage, two external side pockets, comfortable shoulder strap pad.
Cons:  Too many pockets, slim buckles are harder to use than traditional ones, bulkier than other bags, looks like a hiking backpack.
Manufacturer:   Osprey
By Chris McNamara and Max Neale  ⋅  Oct 9, 2011
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  • Comfort - 15% 8
  • Storage - 15% 8
  • Versatility - 15% 9
  • Laptop Protection - 15% 10
  • Professional Look - 15% 6
  • Water resistance - 15% 6
  • Durability - 10% 6

Our Verdict

The Resource Elroy was Discontinued as of Spring 2015
The Osprey Resource Elroy laptop messenger strikes a happy medium between excellent storage and versatile comfort. The bag has a stellar array of pockets, sleeves, and slots that protect a laptop, documents, and everyday essentials. Looking at the Elroy alone one would conclude that the bag is an excellent choice. Examining it within the broader context of the sixteen laptop messengers and backpacks we tested, the bag performs only OK.

The Elroy attempts to be both the ultimate office messenger and the ultimate bike messenger. But it is neither. We recommend getting one (the Mission Workshop Rummy) or the other (Rickshaw Commuter 2.0). In addition to being more durable and more waterproof, these alternatives provide easier access to things on the go and in the office, respectively. The Elroy wants to be the renaissance man of laptop bags, but that's what backpacks are for.

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Osprey Resource Elroy is a hiking pack inspired messenger bag. The Elroy is a bag for people who bring lots of small things with them everywhere. It boasts many pockets of all shapes and sizes, zippered and not, mesh and solid, expanding and fixed. There are font pockets, middle pockets, center pockets, rear pockets, inner pockets, outer pockets, side pockets, top pockets, and an expanding pocket. There are multiple compartments, too.

Unlike the North Face Surge, the Elroy does a good job at providing all of these pockets without making the bag hard to use. Our testers found the bag's pockets were easily accessible both when you're wearing the bag and when it's sitting at your desk.

On the broad spectrum of messenger bag styles, from bike messenger to computer bag, the Elroy lies smack dab in the center. It has one of our favorite built-in laptop sleeves and a great document compartment that prevents papers from being crushed and crumpled. The large central compartment holds 25 Liters. The strap is very similar to the Patagonia Half Mass, but its wide, movable pad makes with more comfortable. An adjustable cross strap make the bag suitable for biking, but not as good as the Mission Workshop Rummy, Chrome, Buran, or Timbuk2 Classic Messenger. This is one of the best all-purpose messengers we reviewed.

The Elroy has two unique features. First, there's a zippered pocket at the rear of the bag, near the grab handle, that provides quick access to your computer. We found this to be useful when the bag is filled to capacity but you only need to whip out your computer for a minute. Second, a medium sized font pocket can expand in case you need a little extra storage.

The Elroy is made of 72% recycled content!


The Elroy is not without faults. Though its material is durable and water resistant enough for unexpected rain showers it's not as waterproof as many of the other messenger bags we tested. Similarly, it's not as durable.

The Elroy has odd, low profile buckles that are harder to use than the traditional style plastic buckle that all other messenger bags have. You get used to them, but they aren't ideal. Like almost all other messenger bags, the Elroy can also close with velcro. Unfortunately, however, the Elroy's (and also the Astro's) velcro is a merely a small strip in front center of the bag. Other messengers have more velcro that provides a more secure colosure one the go. Our testers also agreed that the Elroy looks "alright." This author believes it looks like an oversized backpack brain.

Perhaps the most significant drawback, and as mentioned above potential benefit, to the Elroy is its overall design, which sits squarely between comfortable bike messenger bag and office style/ briefcase messengers. The Elroy is a big bag meant for carrying much more than a computer and loose papers. Though the strap is comfortable in most circumstances it can't compensate for the large loads the bag is capable of carrying. Ask yourself: do you need to carry this much stuff? If so, do you need near instantaneous access to the bag? Consider a more comfortable backpack like the Timbuk2 Swig (for everyday use) or the Arc'teryx Blade 24 (better for documents and a computer). We prefer these backpacks to the Elroy.

Chris McNamara and Max Neale