The Raptor 14 is a great long haul pack for an all day adventure on your favorite single track. Stretch woven side pockets with InsideOut™ compression provide versatile gear carry options, while a large zippered front pocket with dedicated compartments for bike tools keeps essentials handy. 3-liter HydraForm™ Reservoir Included. Colors available: Silt Gray, Spruce Green, Sand Gold.
To prepare for and finish the Speight’s Coast to Coast, a 151-mile adventure race down under, my relay partner (and wife) Mary and I faced two broad challenges and scores of little ones when it came to gear.
For one thing we were complete novices at two of the sports (road racing on bikes, whitewater kayaking), and we were about to get a re-education on the third (running). So we needed to borrow, purchase, and gain a basic competence with a lot of gear we didn’t already own.
Buy a hydration pack just big enough (25 liters) to fit the mandatory first-aid gear and extra clothing layers for the 21-mile mountain run. Go even smaller by ditching the hydration bladder and drinking from streams as locals do. (As a rule, you do not want to drink from streams near livestock, campgrounds or industry.) For the race, my wife, Mary, opted for the Mountain Hardwear Fluid 26 ($100). For longer training runs, she swears by the Osprey Raptor 14 (right; $99). I found that there’s no hydration pack that fits my torso that well. If I cinched the shoulders, the hip belt ended up squeezing my diaphragm. If I loosened the shoulders and cinched the hip, the pack banged against my shoulder blades. And so I came around to something I swore I’d never be: a waist-pack guy. For runs over 8 to 10 miles or longer, I carry water, snacks, mobile phone, ID in an Osprey Talon 4 (below; $54), a sturdy belt that easily carries up to 240 cubic inches(room for a shell, even nano-puff jacket), and two quart/liter water bottles. Just don’t call it a fanny pack; the preferred terms are hip or lumbar pack.
Get on the water: Log time in a sea kayak or, ideally, a “long boat,” such as the Sisson Evolution, the kind you’ll want to rent/race in New Zealand. Get used to cycling in a pack: Drop by your local bike shop and ask, “So, when’s ‘the ride’?
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.
Osprey and nalgene are making a dynamic duo as they proceed with excellent reviews, to read more from GearJunkie.com, click here.