We recently had a reader – Dave, a soon-to-be resident of Denver – inquire as to what he should wear and use while snowshoeing. Here are our recommendations for Dave:
Osprey Packs Kode 30 Backpack – 1600-2000cu in
Osprey’s Verve 10 Hydration Pack ($84; ospreypacks.com) is a special-edition, women’s-specific pack perfect for hiking, mountain biking, or trail running. It comes with a three-liter reservoir and plenty of room for bike tools and extra clothing. Osprey will donate four dollars from every purchase to the Breast Cancer Fund (breastcancerfund.org), and the company screened the front pocket with breast cancer prayer flags.
Like all Osprey bags, the Shuttle always seems to have just a little bit more room exactly when and where I need it, and the 22”/40L is still small enough to pass muster as a carry-on, foiling airline agents who’d love to charge me the checked bag fee.
The Meridian is a hybrid of wheeled luggage and a backpack, easily pulled behind you by its retractable ergonomic handle. The bag has extra-large polyurethane wheels designed with a high clearance, so the wheels won’t annoyingly get stuck on curbs.
Once you’ve pulled the Meridian bag through an airport or hotel lobby and prefer to wear it on your back, it conveniently converts into the kind of backpack that Opsrey is famous for by simply unzipping the padded shoulder straps and hipbelt that are tucked away in the back of the pack.
I’ve been commuting with the Osprey Metron 35 for about a week now, so I thought I would pass along initial impressions. The first thing my wife said was that it looked a bit like a technical backpack. This may be true when compared to the offerings of Chrome or Mission Workshop, but I find it to be subtle and streamlined looking for a pack with extreme functionality. This is where the backpack excels. I carry quite a bit to work on a daily basis. First and foremost is a 15″ MacBook Pro . The computer alone weighs 5.6 lbs., and in the Osprey, it rides in a padded sleeve that keeps it firmly in the middle of the backpack. The sleeve does not allow the computer to drop down to the bottom of the bag, which in turn avoids damage to the computer when you put the backpack down. I really like this setup and feel confident the MacBook will survive commuting. The other highlights of the backpack are its incredible amount of storage, very comfortable back padding, great straps with built in cell phone and key holders, plenty of individual pockets for maximum organization, and a very slick helmet attachment. It is a rubber buckle on an elastic strap that when threaded through the helmet, cinches it up to the backpack. No more floppy helmet hitting every door frame as you are trying to get in and out of your workspace or home. It seems like a small thing, but it really makes a difference. The other feature I really like is the attachment points for commuter lights. There are two of them, and they are ideally placed, one low for when you are in the drops, and one a bit higher for a more relaxed position. Osprey has produced a well thought out bag, and I will write more once it’s been broken in.
If you like climbing or peakbagging in cooler weather, I recommend you try the Osprey Packs Mutant 38 backpack. While large enough to swallow all of your gear, it only weighs 2 pounds 15 ounces (size medium), and has a clean streamlined design optimized for rock and ice climbing that won’t slow you down over rough scrambling or more technical routes.
The Mutant 38 is an exceptionally comfortable backpack to carry with an excellent hip belt system and lumbar padding designed to transfer weight off of your shoulders and onto your hips. But it really is just intended for climbers or and not backpackers. If you want a pack that feels like the Mutant but has enough capacity for backpacking, you should try the Osprey Variant 52 which I tested last winter. That pack has the same kind of suspension as the Mutant, but has a lot more volume and external attachment points. If however you are a rock or ice climber, and you like a form fitting technical pack feels like it’s an extension of your body, this is the pack for you.
Osprey is offering a special, limited-edition version of their popular women’s multisport hydration pack, the Verve 10, to benefit the Breast Cancer Fund. Four dollars off the purchase price of each pack will be donated to the cause with a minimum donation of $5,000 guaranteed by Osprey.