The Metron from Osprey is a street-styled backpack with top-loading flap design. Spiffy features include a padded laptop sleeve, integrated rain cover, phone case on one shoulder strap and a key/wallet pouch on the other. Comes in two sizes, for $140/160. www.ospreypacks.com
The Osprey Raptor 10 is a feature-rich mountain biking hydration backpack. The pack’s capacity is 600 cubic inches. With an empty hydration bladder the pack weights 2 lbs. 4 ounces or just over a kilogram. There are two sizes depending on torso length. I tested the Osprey Raptor 10 while mountain biking on trails along the Wasatch Foothills. I also took it for a few day hikes and cross country skiing.
I recently started using an Osprey Raptor 10 pack and let me say I like it. I picked up a Osprey Flap Jack pack for my work travel and really liked it. I was so impressed with the quality of the Flap Jack that I looked for a new hydration pack for 1 to 2 hour rides from Osprey. I got an Osprey Raptor 10 and it is a great bag.
The hydration pack market is (forgive me) flooded. Sew an extra sleeve inside, buy an unbranded IV drip for a bladder, and you’ve got yourself a product line. Now along comes Osprey, a small company very much not into copying others, with an offering of seven “hydraulics” packs, and the obvious questions to ask are, are they different and are they better? Well, I gave the smallest pack, the Raptor 6, one of National Geographic Adventure’s gear of the year awards a couple months ago, so in my eyes the answers are yes and yes. Details to follow.
The Raptor 6, however, is a bit too small for my purposes–perfect for hour loops, training rides, a trail run, but lacking the capacity for three hour, four hour, all-day adventures. That’s where the Raptor 10 comes in. It’s still compact and trim enough to be an everyday sprint pack, but has the room for a few thousand calories, some extra layers, and an industrial-sized patch kit.
All seven of Osprey’s hydration packs are built around the idea that sucking hard to get your water sucks, so they’re designed with a simple system called HydraLock, which pressurizes the reservoir and increases water flow. HydraLock stabilizes and squeezes the bladder, which also cuts down on sloshing–not a huge issue for cycling but something that quickly becomes annoying on a trail run. The flow it creates isn’t exactly at the level of a fire hose, but it is improvement over traditional systems. Bite the valve and it’s like opening the faucet a trickle, give it a pull and it streams.
Okay, brownie points for a executing a good idea. Lack of water pressure isn’t the biggest issue in hydration packs, though. That would be poor design and inattention to how these suckers actually feel on your back. And that’s where the Raptor 10 really shines–this little pack carries great, whether you’re bombing down a rock garden on a rigid single speed or motoring like Legolas along a loamy old-growth trail.
The key, I think, actually comes from HydraLock. For this pressurizing system to work, it needs structure–a plastic spine on the reservoir, a semi-rigid frame that doesn’t collapse under its own weight, a back panel that’s more substantive than simple padding–and that provides the Raptor with corporeal stability that translates to carrying comfort. It’s found the perfect blend of conforming to your body yet having enough backbone to carry a full three-liter reservoir without tugging on the shoulder straps at every pedal stroke.
Other features worth noting include a helmet carrying system that secures your lid without letting it flop around like an empty turtle shell on a runaway poacher’s pack, stretchy pockets on the waist belt for energy packs, and a strong magnet on the sternum strap to hold the bite valve at the ready.
The Osprey Raptor 10 costs $89. It comes in gray, dark green, and gold, weighs 27 ounces, has a 10-liter capacity, and measures 18 x 8.25 x 7.50 inches.
For more on Osprey Packs, including warranty, factory locations, and where to buy, see The Adventure Life’s company profile page.
March 5, 2010
Designed specifically for mountain bikers and adventure racers, Osprey’s new Raptor 18 backpack is an 18-liter (1,100-cubic-inch) mule.
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.
The main attraction in West Virginia’s Valley Falls State Park is the rushing water over the sandstone ledges of the Tygart Valley River forming several waterfalls. The park also boasts exhilarating singletrack mountain biking along its 18-miles of trails. A mountain biker will take on rock gardens and stream run-offs and pump through steep ascents.
A mountain bike ride through Valley Falls State Park will dehydrate a biker quickly, and a hydration pack such as the Osprey Raptor 14 is designed for longer mountain bike rides. The Osprey Raptor 14 along with the other hydration packs in the Raptor series will be available at retailers in mid February of 2010.