Osprey Nebula 34 Backpack Review

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Osprey Nebula 34

The Osprey Nebula 34 backpack covers all the bases for anyone who likes things well organized and easy to get to.View Latest Deal

The Osprey Nebula 34 backpack covers all the bases for anyone who likes things well organized and easy to get to.

Although this pack could be taken hiking, it is ideal for people carrying lots of different things like a laptop, tablet, cables, pens, books etc. It really excels at finding a place for everything.

One of the most impressive features of the Nebula is the dedicated laptop/tablet zippered sleeve on the back. This means it is easy to get to your electronics for either a quick TSA security check or for work or class.

Of course, there is way more to this well designed laptop, so let's dive in a take a look so you can decide if it is right for you...​

Note: jump to each using the navigation on the side.​

Specifications

  • Bag Dimensions: 19.7 x 11.8 x 13.0 inches
  • Laptop Dimensions: 15.3 x 11 x 2 inches
  • Weight: 2.11 lbs
  • Material: 210D Nylon Oxford
  • Dedicated rear laptop and tablet pockets/sleeves
  • Front organizer pocket with lots of storage
  • Other pockets: 2x side water bottle, top/subglasses, front/elastic, internal mesh
  • 5 Colors: black, gray/red, red, blue, green

The Osprey Nebula 34 Features

The Nebula has a lot going for it, but it makes it easier if you take a look at each area of the pack one by one to see how it can help you carry all your gear easily and comfortably.

Osprey Nebula 34 laptop Sleeve

Osprey Nebula 34 laptop Sleeve

Osprey Nebula 34 Top Pocket

Osprey Nebula 34 Top Pocket

Laptop Sleeve

The dedicated laptop and tablet sleeve on the back of the Nebula is one of the best I have seen.

It zips completely open so you can lay it flat and easily get to your laptop or tablet (it has room for both, one on each side).

It is also padded and secured with a velcro flap, and can easily fit a 15" laptop. Maybe a bit bigger if you squeeze it in as the spec is 15.3" and the top is open. (see image)

Top Pocket (Scratch Free)

The top pocket is also pretty handy for things like your phone or sunglasses.

It is actually specifically designed for them as it uses a scratch-free material to help protect such things.

It's also well placed at the top/front so you can get to it easily, so it's great for these kind of "often needed" items.

Osprey Nebula 34 Internal Compartment

Osprey Nebula 34 Internal Compartment

Osprey Nebula 34 Front Pocket Organizer

Osprey Nebula 34 Front Pocket Organizer

Main Compartment

Nothing too fancy here. The main compartment is big enough to carry lots of larger things (books, clothes etc) that don't go in the other pockets.

It also has a long back pocket which could also take your tablet or other papers that need to be separate from the main section.

Front Pocket and Organizer

The front pocket is where most of your small stuff will happily go.

There are three wider mess pockets at the top (see image) as well as lots of smaller ones at the bottom. 

Between the two is a zippered section for things you don't want to lose. And, you can also just stuff things in at the bottom if they just don't fit anywhere else.

In this pocket I would put things like

  • keys
  • pens and highlighters
  • cables and chargers
  • sd cards, usb sticks, etc

Exactly how you use it is up to you. There are plenty of spots for almost anything.

Other Handy Pockets

As with most packs today there are two smaller sized water bottle elastic mesh pockets on the outside/sides. You can use these to carry a couple of bottles or even an umbrella or small tripod.

On the front of the pack is an elastic pocket you could throw a small jacket/wind stopper or even a bike lock in. It is not the pocket you will use the most, but once you find out what you carry that can go in there, you might wonder how you ever lived without it.

Osprey Nebula Straps and Back Padding

Osprey Nebula Straps and Back Padding

Shoulder Straps, Carryon Strap & Padding

Although this is not a backpack designed for hiking, the Nebula beats a few others like the Samsonite Tectonic because it has hip and sternum straps (see image). If you have never used them before, they are great for taking the load off your shoulders (hip straps) and aligning the straps on your shoulders (sterum strap). So, if you are carrying your pack for a long time you will come to love this feature for sure!

The shoulder straps and back area are also well padded to make you comfortable. Although again, this is not a day-long hiking pack with specific harness and padding. Just keep that in mind.

There are also compression straps on the side to help keep things well secured inside (mainly the main compartment). These are super handy for two things I find:

  1. Making sure your backpack is compressed when it is only half full
  2. Trying to make your pack smaller when on a flight and trying to get it under a seat

There is also a well designed handle on top which is useful when waiting in line.

The last thing of note is a two sided hole on top to allow you to use hydration systems such as the camel back style hose.

A Few More Things

Osprey always makes a quality product and the materials and zippers on the Nebula are great. There are also string zipper pulls which are always handy for easier opening of each pocket.

Although not waterproof as such, a lot of reviewers on Amazon have found the Nebula to be quite water resistant. Also handy to know if you get caught in the rain!​

It is also designed to sit upright when placed on the floor, as long as it is packed evenly of course :>​

The Osprey Nebula backpack has 5 color options:  Black, Armour Gray (with red accents), Robust Red, Super Blue & Olive Green

PROS

  • Dedicated laptop padded pocket can easily fit a 15.6" laptop
  • Front organizer for tablet, cables, phone, pens etc
  • Lots of other pockets for everything else (including water, umbrella, glasses etc)
  • Well made with solid materials that will last
  • 5 attractive color choices

CONS

  • No hip or sternum straps making it not ideal for carrying for long periods
  • May not fit larger laptops (around 17" or more)