Recently Grannygear and I were able to check out the Osprey line of hydration packs. (You can check that post out here.) In this post I wanted to give an extended view of my experiences with the Osprey Raptor 10 pack.
I’ve used the Raptor 10 exclusively since the pack came in back in early May. I have used it for training rides, mountain bike rides, gravel road excursions, and most recently I have used it on two fully self supported rides.
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.
With mountain biking, light hikes, and adventurers in mind, Osprey has made a pack we have nothing to complain about.
This is a great size for short or day hikes, it’s perfect for climbers, bikers or just about any activity where you want a light weight hydro pack with enough room for some extra food and gear. It’s construction shows that Osprey has true adventurers in mind and wants to create a product that will not only hold up to the abuse so many trails often dish out, but that they want you to be completely happy with the product you just bought.
From the stitching to the layout, everything here is top notch. The hydro set up is great with a magnet place on the sternum strap for easy access, and the bag itself (3 liters) is much better then most of the hydro packs you’ll find in stores. With a hard back and an over sized screw down lid, the bag is almost as tough as the pack. It’s still pretty easy to clean out as well, so no worries there. Lower side compression straps keep the weight from rest only on your shoulders, which provides for more comfort and enjoyment on extended trips. The Osprey wings on the Lower side compression straps are highly reflective as well, providing a nice safety touch.
Good: An front pocket gives you easy access to items you may want to get quickly, large (but not too large) pull rings on all zippers make it easy to get in your pack even with gloves on, plenty of room for a days rations and some back up gear, and a really cool strap for your helmet, 3 color-way choices, good style, great quality. Front pocket is stretchy but strong, mouth piece swivels, bike tool organization, great stitching, strong construction, comfortable to wear, reflective accents for safety.