As spring and summer start to heat up and many of us start to get into the thick of longer adventures, it becomes ever so important to make sure you have the right gear. While you’ve been trying to figure out what to buy, our testers been have been busy testing out the Osprey Viper 9 hydration pack over the past few months in activities including mountain biking, trail running, and hiking.
On the Osprey website, it says the Viper 9 is best suited for activities between 1.5 and 3 hours which is definitely the sweet spot for this pack, but our testers also felt this pack was more than adequate for longer and shorter adventures making this pack great for riding, running, hiking, etc. between 1-4 hours depending on terrain and weather conditions.
A disadvantage to participating in most activities in Colorado is that the air doesn’t have a lot of moisture in it which requires you to hydrate more often so you stay properly hydrated and able to perform at your best. That said, staying hydrated is a definite focal point for our testers and can be just as important as a pair of running shoes or a bike.
The Osprey Viper 9 hydration pack is bike specific, which means you’ll find bike specific features such as a helmet strap which Osprey calls a Lidlock. And while these features make for a great mountain biking hydration pack, the pack also works very well for trail running and hiking. To start, the Viper 9 comes with an easy access Osprey hydration reservoir. This makes it easy to fill, refill, and slide back into your pack. The main feature that sets this reservoir apart from others on the market is that it has a semi hard plastic sheet on the back allowing it to slide in and out of the pack.
Surviving in harsh mountain environments takes a combo of skills, wits and know-how. But it also doesn’t hurt to be outfitted properly. With backpacking season upon us, here’s the stuff you need, whether you’re planning an ambitious outdoor adventure or just want some cool gear for your next car camping trip. (For more wilderness wisdom, hang out with Eustace Conway and friends on HISTORY’s Mountain Men, Sundays at 9/8c.)
Osprey Atmos 65 Backpack
Any true mountain man needs the right pack, and this Osprey model has all the capacity of its more rustic, aluminum-framed counterparts while still looking damn good. It can hold enough gear for true backcountry adventures, but with an interior structure that makes it comfortable to carry while ventilating your back. Plus, it’s available in eye-catching red, blue or grey.
Now that the snow has finally melted from the Ridge of Bell on Aspen Mountain, our thoughts can turn from skiing to hiking in the backcountry.
In planning my first outing of the season I realized it was time to trade in my outdated pack from the last millennium and update to the latest technology. This was a much needed equipment upgrade, considering my old backpack by itself weighed almost as much as my new Osprey Aether 60 (4 lbs. 11 oz) does when it is full of gear.
When searching for a new pack, take plenty of time to do your homework and learn about the different models and what each has to offer. I originally was going to purchase the Osprey Atmos 65, which is even lighter than the Aether. However, after I explained to the helpful salesperson at the Ute Mountaineer that I typically hike with heavy camera gear, he recommended the more sturdy Aether model. Another tip he gave was to purchase the smallest pack necessary, because otherwise human nature kicks in and we tend to fill whatever space we have available, often with unnecessary items. In my case I settled on a size medium Aether 60, where the “60” refers to the approximate liters or volume the pack can hold.
Beyond it’s great weight-to-space ratio, the pack is incredibly comfortable. Be sure to purchase the right sized pack, based on your height and torso. Then make use of the pack’s many micro-adjustments to dial in the amply padded shoulder straps and hip belt.
Ask Me: Advice on Buying a Lightweight Backpack
Any recommendations on a lightweight backpack for overnight to five-day trips?
I’d say get a pack around 50 liters that’s lightweight but not ultralight, so you can use it on a greater variety of trips, that will carry up to 35-40 lbs., but is light and compressible enough for a 20- to 25-lb. trip.
The Deuter ACT Zero 50+15 is an excellent example and reasonably priced.
The Osprey Exos 58 is one of my favorite packs for light to moderate loads; I’ve used it for years. It’s a pound lighter than the other packs I’m recommending here, but will handle 30 to 35 lbs. comfortably.
The Gregory Savant 58 would handle a somewhat bigger load, but is still not too big for what you’re looking for.
You might consider a slightly larger-volume pack if you want to have one that would allow you to also carry some of another person’s (wife, kid) stuff, like the Osprey Atmos 65.
Hope that helps. Make sure you measure your torso correctly to get the right size pack. Try on packs with weight in them before picking one. Good luck.