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OutdoorGearLab.com – Featuring Talon 22 (Top Pick) and Raptor 14 – June 2013

Osprey Press

OutdoorGearLab.com – Featuring Talon 22 (Top Pick) and Raptor 14 – June 2013

June 1, 2013

We took 11 top packs and spent six months hiking, biking, and running to find which is the ultimate hydration system. Ever since the first CamelBak arrived over a decade ago, hydration options have changed a lot and there is now an overwhelming number of innovations and options. Which of these innovations is necessary and do you even need a dedicated hydration pack at all? Read on and be sure to check out the article How to Choose a Hydration Pack where we go more into the pros and cons of hydration packs and reservoirs.

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Top Pick – Most Versatile

Narrowly missing Editors’ Choice is our own creation: the Osprey Talon 22 with Platypus Big Zip SL. It is the most versatile system we tested and scores very high for storage and comfort. Best of all, when you don’t want a hydration bladder/hose you just remove it and you are left with the Editors’ Choice from our Day Pack Review. Carefully read our How to Choose a Hydration Pack article… you may find you want a setup like this and not a hydration pack after all.

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BikeRumor.com – Featuring Portal Series, Radial Series, Spin Series and Momentum Series – May 29, 2013

May 29, 2013

Osprey has expanded their lineup of packs from the hydration models we’ve seen before to cover commuters as well.

The new Portal series gets, as the name suggests, clear “portals” that allow tablets to be used without removal. Shown above is the Pixel (right) and Pixel Port (left). The Pixel’s portal is under the flip cover front panel, and there’s a handy removable zippered punch to store all of your cables, chargers and various other lifelines required in this digital age. Closed, it fits into the lower zippered pocket on the bottom of the bag.

Inside the Pixels are plenty of pockets for small bits, a main cargo section and padded laptop sleeve. The larger Pixel also has zippered expansion panels, increasing your carrying capacity on demand. Last but not least, both feature a padded top carrying handle. Retail for the two is $139 and $119, colors available are Black Pepper, Chestnut Brown, Pinot Red and Grey Herringbone (shown here).

Somewhat more bike-specific are the Spin (left) and Radial bags. The Spin uses a flap-style front cover with a nifty, easy to grab release handle on the bottom that holds it snug without the business-meeting-interrupting rip of Velcro. Inside there are laptop, tablet and document sleeves plus the main cargo section. A top stash pocket is on the outside, just above the LidLock helmet retention doodad (which works pretty well in our experience). Two sizes are available, retail is $129 to $139.

The Radial series (green) comes in two different volumes, each with two different frame sizes. The cargo section has a main top-zip entry plus a separate exterior zip entry for the padded laptop sleeve.

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UtahOutside.com – Featuring Raptor 10 – May 23, 2013

May 23, 2013

A major key to enjoying a comfortable mountain bike ride is owning a good hydration pack. It needs to be balanced, snug, and have a plethora of pockets to carry all kinds of gear from bike tubes to energy bars to water reservoirs. Unfortunately, most hydration packs are made for a variety of activities – not specifically for mountain biking. But Osprey made one. Their line of mountain bike specific Raptor packs, including the Raptor 10, have all the features you’d want and more. Plus, their renowned hydration system got even better with a redesign for 2013.

I’ve been carrying the Osprey Raptor 10 on my back during spring rides in the Salt Lake City foothills, and wonder if this is the be-all, end-all of MTB sacks. Features include:

Direct Access Zip

ErgoPull™ Hipbelt

Front Stretch Mesh Pocket

Hydration Reservoir with LidLock™

Lower Compression Strap

Panel Load

Tool Pouch

Slash Pocket

Zippered Hipbelt Pockets

Blinker Light Attachment

Reflective Graphics

The first thing I noticed with the Raptor 10 is how well it fits my body. The Raptor packs are men’s specific (there is a women’s version called the Raven) and easy-to-adjust hip and shoulder straps make cinching the pack down to size a snap. I really appreciate that the straps have clips at the ends so they attach to themselves and don’t annoyingly flap around when I’m bombing down the singletrack.

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NationalParksTraveler.com – Featuring Volt and Viva Series – May 23, 2013

May 23, 2013

Just in time for high school graduation, or maybe even Father’s Day, comes the Volt backpack from Osprey.

While this pack maker has really worked to push its designs (ie, custom-moldable hipbelts, gender-specific shoulder harnesses, top pockets that double as fanny packs), the Volt is basically slimmed-down, a minimalist backpack aimed at getting the job done without bells and whistles. That’s not to say that the Volt is a second-rate or even entry-level backpack. Rather, it’s a pack that’s well-engineered yet doesn’t push the price too far.

The Volt comes in two sizes, the Volt 75 (MSRP $199), which offers almost 4,600 cubic inches of storage capacity, and the Volt 60 (MSRP $179) which offers 3,661 cubic inches of capacity.

Despite their somewhat Spartan approach, these packs offer all the basics when it comes to carrying your gear into the backcountry. There’s a zippered sleeping bag compartment on the bottom, a top pocket for holding items such as maps, notepads, matches, etc., and a deep center compartment for storing most of your gear.

More and more packs in recent years have offered zippered openings for that main compartment, and the lack of one for the Volt is a slight drawback. And yet, the lack of a zipper saves a slight bit of weight and does away with a potential weak spot, or one conducive to leakage.

There are plenty of things to like about this backpack. On the inside of the top pocket you’ll find a zippered mesh pocket to hold things like you car keys, wallet, cellphone, or that MP3 player you don’t want to get wet. There also are stretch mesh side pockets for carrying things like water bottles or perhaps a first-aid kit, and you’ll also find a large capacity mesh pocket on the back of the pack for more stowage.

Of course, the Volt packs also come with external attachment points for carrying things such as ice axes or ski or trekking poles, and you can even add one of Osprey’s crampon pockets. The adjustable hip belt also has small hip pockets for more items, such as snacks or a GPS device or compass.

There is an external hydration sleeve so you don’t have to worry about any leaks soaking your gear. Unfortunately, the hydration bladder is extra (MSRP $34-$36). That might not be an issue if you have other daypacks, or even backpacks, with bladders you can use with the Volt. Also extra is a rain cover (MSRP $34).

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