This thing swallows gear like a python. It’s a top and side loader with a gigantic sleeping-bag compartment, and a removable top-lid that works as a day pack. It has six exterior pockets for keeping your little things organized. The hip belt can be custom molded to fit you, and it has a pouch for a hydration bladder. The best part, though, is that it’s incredibly comfortable and does a great job distributing weight. For a week-long trip with a ton of extra gear, it made an 80-pound pack feel a lot closer to 50.
There are so many great features that it’s hard to choose my favorites. The large open pocket on the top of the pack is perfect for stashing jackets or other gear that you want to quickly and easily access. I also love the open side pockets for water bottles or snacks. Each side of the hip belt has a small, secure zipper pocket that is perfect for lip balm, cash and identification, preventing these small, yet important, items from getting lost in larger pockets.
Osprey’s revamped Hydraulics line includes the women’s-specific Raven series (MSRPs $109-$129), a sister to the Raptor collection. All three sizes feature the AirScape back panel, BioStretch harness and full hip belt. Also new is the Mira series, multisport hydration packs with many of the same features in a daypack style, and the Verve series, light, high-performance packs to be used for cycling, running or hiking.
The major revamp in Osprey’s Hydraulics line comes in the new proprietary reservoir made with BPA- and PVC-free metallocene polyethelene film, which strips that plastic-y taste from drinking water. CamelBak’s belt Arc Series also is BPA-free and made with its proprietary True Taste material, which won’t leach plastic into the water.
I’d tested this pack out at the OR show in January and was impressed by it’s versatility and how lightweight it was. Carrying our daughter it fit me right on the hips and shoulders and she sat up well in it. One thing that I really liked about the way she sits in this pack versus our other one is that it is a seat and not a harness that pulls at their hips and makes them uncomfortable or cause hipdisplacia.