Credit: Osprey
Credit: Osprey

Osprey Pixel Port

($130; ospreypacks.com)

Keep your cycle-commute going strong — Osprey’s Pixel Port is ideal for active-living urbanites. With a padded 15-inch laptop sleeve, a main compartment large enough for lunch and a jacket, a plethora of multi-sized internal pockets for everything from smartphones to Sharpies and an external stash pocket for quick-access items, it carries everything the workday requires. The key feature is a transparent, touch-sensitive port-window that holds an iPad and allows use without removal. But what we loved most about the Pixel Port was its high-riding position and low-profile style. When dodging downtown traffic, this pack feels good and looks good.


Osprey Osprey Packs Pixel Port Daypack, Pinot Red
Amazon Price: $120.00 $75.00 Buy Now
(price as of Jan 20, 2015)
Credit: Westcomb

Westcomb Apoc

($480; shopwestcomb.com)

I learned a lot while touring Westcomb’s East Vancouver factory — such as how their 20-stiches-per-inch exceeds industry standards and how they not only design and construct in Vancouver, but also source a great deal of material from within North America. I learned even more by testing their top-selling Apoc hard shell. Features like a helmet-compatible hood, pockets designed with a backpack in mind (including Napoleon and bicep pockets, i.e. “granola bar pockets”), watertight YKK zippers, articulated sleeves and a velour-lined chin-guard are all welcome. But it was the breathability of the PolarTec NeoShell membrane that truly impressed. Fully meeting waterproof standards, and even offering a slight two-way stretch, this seam-sealed hard shell breathes better than some soft shells; the armpit vents are practically superfluous. 


Westcomb Westcomb Men's Apoc Jacket, Harvest, Large
Amazon Price: $480.00 Buy Now
(price as of Jan 20, 2015)
Credit: ENO

ENO DoubleNest 

($70; eaglesnestoutfittersinc.com)

I've thoroughly enjoyed reviewing the DoubleNest Hammock from Eagles Nest Outfitters. This nylon, 180-kg-rated pack-hammock has become standard gear for our camping trips. For starters, it weighs only about half-a-kilo and packs into a stuff sack that's the size of a softball. Combined with the available nylon-webbing SlapStrap Pro straps ($25), which utilize a clever adjustment scheme (and add about another half-kilo), setup is as easy as finding two sturdy supports (trees, stumps) anywhere from three to five metres apart (give or take) — in about 30 seconds you're kicking back, staring at the sunset. The DoubleNest is rated for two people, but is especially spacious for one.


ENO Eagles Nest Outfitter DoubleNest Hammock: Assorted Bright Colors
Amazon Price: $69.95 Buy Now
(price as of Jan 20, 2015)