I hold the bar high for luggage. There’s nothing that peeves me more than retrieving my roller duffle at the baggage claim only to find that it’s been through the ninth circle of hell, with abrasions, broken zippers, missing snaps, and ugly black scrapes to prove it.
But there’s hope in the form of Osprey’s new Shuttle 32 ($279; ospreypacks.com). Built around Osprey’s “High Road” Chassis, which is made from an aluminum frame with molded high-impact plastic, the 110-liter, 1,600 cubic-inch ballistic polyester bag is designed for hard-core wear and tear, like a sand-infused island vacation. If you carry a lot of baggage like me (yes, I’ve been known to haul around ten-pound hardcover reference books), you’ll appreciate the bag’s straightjacket-like compression straps and top zippered pocket for those last-minute items, like underwear, you forgot to pack. The two large compartments separated by a bellows divider will keep your wet suits and sandy flip-flops separate from your clean clothes. The main compartment has a lockable zipper and there are four grab loops, plus XL wheels, which make hauling this haul bag a dream.
Our Viper 4, minus the reservoir which comes with it, weighs around 420 grammes and is a simple beast. The back system uses a flexible plate coupled with a thin layer of mesh-covered foam and the reservoir compartment is under pressure, but the tensioning arrangement is simpler with a press-stud closure rather than two snap-buckles.
There’s a small zipped pocket for valuables but everything else has to share space with the reservoir. You can use a 3-litre one, we do, but that reduces storage for other items. There’s extra storage from a shock-corded accessory patch on the back of the pack though and the series all come with Osprey’s Lid Lock, a neat plate that goes through a helmet vent and holds it in place. There’s a little gel pocket on the shoulder strap too.
Sister site Outdoorsmagic.com has revealed the brand new Osprey Viper 4 hydration pack, a slimmed-down addition to the company’s range of packs.Due on sale early in 2011, the Viper range with capacities of between 4 and 13 litres and the Verve – the women’s-specific version – are slimmed-down, simplified additions to Osprey’s range of Hydraulics hydration packs
When choosing a daypack for hiking you are going to want to find a pack that has enough room for all your gear and has ample side pockets and compartments to keep you organized. If you plan on doing a lot of bushwalking or occasional scrambling you will want a pack that is narrower so you don’t get hung up by a bulky pack.
Recommended Hiking Daypacks:
Osprey Talon 22
If you need a pack for high alpine day hiking or need a pack to haul up the climbing route with you, you are going to want to find a durable, narrow profile pack. Avoid packs with side pockets since you need the pack to be sleek so it won’t get in the way of your arms and legs when scrambling.
If you need to haul a rope and other specialized equipment you are probably going to need a pack larger than 35 liters and an internal frame pack for more support.
Osprey has a very impressive line of packs and they are very well made. I love the nice touches like the zipper pulls that can easily be used with gloves, the killer Hydraform reservoir set-up, the Lid Lock helmet holder and the sleek overall feel to the pack when worn. I think some of the organization of tools, etc, needs to be re-thought a bit along with the silly hip belt pouches that allow things to fall out too easily. But, overall the line of Raptors from the Six (liter) to the Eighteen (liter) offer a wide choice of sizes and all of them are really good packs.
Osprey isn’t joking when it calls its Exos-series packs ‘superlight’—these overnight-capable packs come with a stiff and robust frame yet weigh about the same as most frameless daypacks.
The 46-liter Exos weighs a remarkable two pounds, five ounces. Does that sound too heavy? My stripped-down Exos 34 weighs one pound fifteen point five ounces, lid and frame included. In either the 34 or 46 liter versions, the Exos feel supernaturally light. If you can lift one of these lightweight marvels in the store and not end up bringing it home, you’ve got more self control than I do.