Hydration packs have been around a few decades now and every backpack company makes them. They revolutionized the way we carry our water while hiking, mountain biking, ultra-running and even fighting wars. But after breaking new ground, hydration packs haven’t changed much. Sure, they come in different sizes and configurations for different sports but I haven’t yet seen a pack that makes me want to give up my ten-year old Camelbak. Until the Osprey Raptor 18 ($80) arrived.Read full post
My Rating 5 out of 5
The Osprey Argon 85 backpack is the elite backpack in Osprey’s deluxe, custom fit line of backpacks. The Osprey Argon 85 is an internal frame backpack, which incorporates Osprey’s ReCurve system, for strength and comfort. According to Osprey, the Argon 85 provides classic features and volume for the serious backpacker and combines such features as the innovative ReCurve Suspension, an Air-Scape back panel and Bio-Form A/X components. The Argon 85 also comes with the ultralight 40d Sil Nylon Aqua Source, which can be removed and utilized independently. This pack is a top loading pack, but also has vertical zip access to the main compartment for ease of use. The Argon 85 comes with a water bottle pocket on one side, a zippered easy access side pocket on the other and compatible laser cut attachment slots. As tested the Osprey Argon backpack was a men’s size large and a color Kelp.
This year, a team of 26 men and women will be climbing the 14,179-foot tall Mt. Shasta in Northern California to raise awareness and funds for the program. Each of these men and women have been touched by cancer in some way, making this a very personal climb for each of them. The climb is scheduled to take place June 13-19 of this year. As one of the major sponsors for the expedition, Osprey will be outfitting the women with one of their Ariel packs, while the men will receive an Aether pack.
If you’re looking for a laptop backpack that’s more streamlined and less bulky than most on the market, the Osprey Flap Jill Pack ($89 list) may work for you. The bag’s design–complete with bird of prey logo, spray of flowers, and brightly colored, changeable webbing–is snazzy, too, though it’ll probably appeal more to students and creative types than to business people.
I carried this very comfortable bag around for several weeks. My favorite thing: The straps in back don’t slip off my shoulders! This is a problem I’ve experienced with many other backpacks–and it’s very annoying–but the slim Jill Pack stayed up for me. (Osprey also makes the Flap Jack Pack, sized larger and designed differently for guys.) The fact that it’s so slim means you won’t be able to pack as much into it as you can with other bags, but it’s just fine for a day pack, especially if you’re commuting on crowded trains. You’ll be able to slip laptops up to 15 inches into the inner padded sleeve.
The pack, which was first available last month, fits enough clean clothes and tools for an all-day ride. And it has ample room for clothes, shoes and a lunch if you want to use it as your daily commuter pack.
Perhaps the best thing about the pack is that, unlike many others, it expands outward away from your back instead of across it.
Not only does that keep your load centered, it allows you to see behind you when you’re looking for fellow riders or cars.
I rode with the pack for hundreds of miles last fall and took it snowshoeing a couple times this winter. Each time, I was impressed.
When the Osprey Kode ski backpacks were introduced just over a year ago, I must say I was impressed. With a slew of great features and the renowned Osprey fit, the Kode series (Kode 38, Kode 30 and Kode 22) was bound for greatness, right? After a full season of use, the Osprey Kode 30 is an excellent backcountry ski pack with only a few weaknesses.
About the Osprey Kode 30 Backpack
A great all around snowplay pack, the Kode 30 is great for a few hour to all-day side and backcountry tours. Unique features include front panel access to avy gear compartment, backpanel access to dry pocket, stowable helmet carry and a LightWire™ frame to support heavier loads with flex for dynamic movement.
I own a number of packs for a variety of pursuits and they all have hydration support. What this usually means is a compartment for a bladder and on the higher end packs, elastic bands for tube routing. That’s really the extent of the “advanced” features when it comes to hydration packs – until now. Osprey, a name synonymous with high-end technical packs, has recently introduced their Hydraulics line and their engineers have come up with some really unique features that make so much sense, it makes you wonder why nobody thought of them earlier. The Raptor is geared towards mountain bikers and comes in four sizes, all the way down to a minimalistic 6 liters. It touts a dedicated tool pocket, blinker light attachment, reflective graphics among its features. The Manta is their answer to a modern daypack and the one I am most excited about. Three sizes (20, 25, 30L) means anything from a full day outing to a light overnight. It boasts a built in raincover and trekking pole attachment among its lengthy feature list.
What really sets this series apart are the best-in-class innovations. First is the bladder, which was developed by Nalgene. The stiff back allows you to easily slide it into a pack even when loaded. It provides support that molds along your back and you can refill it even when the pack is full. It also is designed to prevent barreling while creating positive water pressure. Another feature I really like is the magnetic attachment for the bite-valve. Great innovations by Osprey, check it out.
I seem to have an obsession with packs. The last time we moved, I realized we had packs I hadn’t seen in years (but of course I couldn’t get rid of them, what if I needed it later?) That being said, it seems that a lot of packs aren’t all that great, instead marketed to the masses who don’t really know better and will buy whatever the sales rep at the local gear shop tells them to. Every now and then, however, you come across a great pack that actually does what it’s supposed to, and in that category I would put the Osprey Mutant 38, loaded with features designed specifically for climbers.
I’ve been using this pack since last August for everything from casual cragging, to full on sport development, to ice climbing. It has held up to the abuse rather well, minus a puncture in the bottom that nothing outside of a haulbag could have withstood. As far as carrying capacity, it’s listed at 35L, but the floating lid allows it to be expanded to 48L, and it felt like it held significantly more than my Black Diamond Sphinx 45L. Maybe there is some shoddy math going on here, but whatever the reason, this is one of the few climbing packs that I feel can carry everything I need for a day at the crag, plus a rope on top. The outer fabric is durable but light, and the pack’s shape makes it easy to pile stuff into it. The suspension is nice and carries really well, even with heavier loads like, say, a drill, bolts, rope, etc.