Osprey Verve 5: Women’s Specific Mountain Biking/Trail Running/Day Hiking Pack

By Jenn K.

Osprey Verve 5 Osprey has made some changes to the Verve Pack Series. The pack still has styling and a fit designed for women specifically. The new Verve comes in two colors:  Purple Passion and Platinum Grey. I will be reviewing the Platinum Grey color. This pack has red/orange upper straps, blinker light attachment and zipper for the front panel. This detailing makes the pack “pop”. The front of the front panel has a reflective leaf design, which I think adds a simple design detail that makes this pack stand out from others.

So what is new with the Verve Pack? First off the size line up has changed. It is now available in a 5, 9, and 13 liter size. Also there is now an adjustable shove-it pocket behind the front panel pocket. This shove-it pocket seems like an ideal place to stow a jacket, gloves, arm warmers, or any semi-bulky item that does not easily fit in the front panel pocket. Also the back panel, harness straps, and the hydration reservoir pocket have been redesigned.

The 2 liter Hydraulics Reservoir now is housed in a zippered pocket that zips over the upper portion of the hydration tubing as well. The hydration system has a bite valve that attaches magnetically to the adjustable sternum strap. The bite valve rotates 180 degrees to be turned on or off for liquid flow. The reservoir also has a wide mouth opening that allows for easier filling. The spine on the reservoir allows for stability of the reservoir and provides an easy way to hold the reservoir while filling it. The hydration hose can be routed either left or right of the spine. This allows for more customization of the hose length. The back of the reservoir is a rigid long plate design. This is called HydroStatic and is designed to keep the shape of the reservoir intact and more stability with movement. The 70 ounce reservoir weighs 11 ounces.

Hydration Sleeve

Hydration Sleeve

Inside the zippered front panel pocket are two mesh pockets, a key clip, and room to spare.  This would be a good place to store a pump and tools.

Verve 5 Pocket

The Lid Lock is located near the top of the pack on the exterior of the small top pocket. This is a plastic piece with an elasticized cord that secures a helmet to the Verve through a vent in the helmet. I have no idea why Osprey is still making packs with the Lid Lock feature since helmets should be worn while riding.  At least I see more people riding with helmets than without. The Lid Lock was easily used to secure my helmet for the purpose of seeing how it worked, but I will not be riding around with my helmet secured to the Verve.

The top zippered pocket is lined with a soft heat embossed fabric. This fabric is designed to protect sunglasses, phones, and MP3 players from scratches.

The bottom of the pack has a blinker light attachment made of webbing.

The hip belt is removable and has the ErgoPull fastener that offers pack stability during movement. There are fabric “hip wings” that attach the belt webbing to the back of the pack.

AirScape Back Panel

AirScape Back Panel

The back panel of the Verve is a foam ridge design with a mesh layer on top. This is called AirScape by Osprey and is designed to allow ventilation between the pack and the wearer’s back. The back of the Verve was comfortable against my back.

The adjustable harness straps are made of slotted EVA foam and covered with breathable mesh. The straps seem to easily take the form of my body. The foam is not stiff, it is bendable and soft. The strap without the hydration tubing pocket has a small pocket to store a bar or a gel. I thought it would be a good idea to store a MP3 player there. The sternum strap is adjustable by height by sliding it along a rigid spine on the harness straps. There is a hydration tube elastic loop on the harness just below the zippered sleeve for the tubing. This is to route the tube down the harness strap. The only concern I have with the hydration tubing sleeve is that there is no variation here. I have to route the tube to the right side and drink from that side. What about people that like to have the hydration tubing routed on the left side of their pack? Sometimes I like the tubing on the left.

I tried the pack on with the hydration reservoir full and with a few items in the shove-it and front panel pocket. The harness and waist straps were easily adjusted and the pack fit comfortably. I like that Osprey redesigned this pack without the bungee cord on the exterior of the front panel and added the shove-it pocket. I also like the idea of the redesign of the harness straps and the back panel. I will see over the next month if I like this redesign since I am familiar with the previous design.

I plan to use the Verve 5 in my upcoming 44 mile single-day mountain bike event, during my long endurance training rides, and night rides when I need to carry extra gear.

Update 5/4/13

verve 2 The Osprey Verve has been used the past month while mountain biking and during a fitness hike. The pack was large enough for me to carry my basic needs during short 8-16 mile mountain bike rides to a whopping 44-mile ride. Basically what I carry is simple; phone, water, tools, spare tire, tire levers, some snacks, lip balm, and keys. The weather in the spring is warm enough that only once in a while I will need to carry a jacket and arm warmers. And these items fit nicely in the front exterior shove-it pocket.

The pack is comfortable on my shoulders. At first I thought it looked and would feel bulky. However, that is not the case.  The shoulder harness is comfortable and I like the option of ditching the waist strap if the pack is not heavy. The Verve is not wide for my torso, but at times I feel like it is long; especially when I am transitioning to leaning off the seat when I am going downhill.  I have fixed this by adjusting the straps shorter for when I need to. Most of the time the length does not bother me; I just have noticed in when I have to sit back more aggressively.

The pockets inside the front panel are working out well to organize some items that I like to carry; such as a hand pump, tire levers, and a tool kit.  The key fob inside the front panel pocket is great, it helps me find my keys quickly and there are no worries when I am on the trail that my keys will go astray. I like using the front panel pocket to store heavier or small items that may fall out of the shove-it pocket.

verve I absolutely love the shove-it pocket. It is great to shove arm warmers or a jacket in there. I like it more than using a bungee cord to attach items to the outside of a pack. By using the pocket my stuff is clean; no more dirt on my jacket or arm warmers.

The small accessory pocket near the top of the pack has been working well to store my phone and lip balm. It is the perfect size for my phone.

The pocket on the harness has worked perfectly for storing my MP3 player or energy gel packets. Nothing has fallen out of the pocket while I have been riding; so no complaints. I actually like having this pocket to be able to have access to items quickly, instead of taking the pack off to access the main compartments.

I am still not a fan of the Lid-Lock. I think a helmet should be worn on the bike. And when I am standing around off the bike I wear my helmet. And oh I am a dork; I wear a helmet when I will walk into a convenient store to grab a quick bite.

I like the bite valve on the hydration system. The locking feature prevents water from leaking out of the tubing and is easily angled on or off while I am riding. The valve can be completely disassembled for washing to prevent bacteria or mold build up. In my hydration reservoirs I use only water or a clear electrolyte (sugar-free) additive. This prevents extra build up and gunk. I wish the hydration tubing could be angled for either right or left sided use. The way that that tubing is housed in the zipper compartment it can only be used on the right side. I just wonder what left handed people think of this. The hydration reservoir can be easily placed in the compartment/sleeve even when the pack is full. This is a plus, it frustrates me if I have to fill up a reservoir during my ride and I have to empty my pack.  I also like the wide mouth opening of the reservoir and being able to hold the reservoir by the spine to fill it. The reservoir keeps its shape while being filled, which is a plus; no water splashing out or around.

I got some mud on the back of the Verve and it brushed off easily with a dry cloth first and then I used some soap and a wet cloth to remove the rest of the dirt on the fabric. It cleaned up well. With the grey color of the pack the dirt is not noticeable. I have received many compliments on this pack, on both the styling and the design.

Final Update 6/18/2013

The Osprey Verve Hydration Pack was used during the past month on short fitness hikes and during mountain bike rides. During mountain biking the pack was mostly used for my public programs that I lead or co-lead and during my patrol of a California State Park.

The Verve is a comfortable pack, even when fully loaded with water and gear/supplies. The harness and the waist belt can be adjusted so the load is distributed in a way that no strain/discomfort is placed on my back or on my shoulders. When hiking fast on the fitness hikes the weight is distributed in such a way that the pack is not shifting from side to side. Also the hydration reservoir stays put with no shifting side to side. I can only hear the water sloshing inside the reservoir.

I like the external stow pocket to stash a jacket or arm warmers in. That is actually my favorite feature. I have been reluctant to store the radio that I use on my public program events, because it may fall out of the pocket while mountain biking. I have already lost one radio on a program and they are expensive. So I store my radio inside the zippered large compartment.

Another great feature is the pocket on the harness; it is actually my second favorite feature. It is the perfect place for my MP3 player and for an energy gel. Nothing has fallen out of this pocket yet and I like that it is easily accessible.

There are so many features I enjoy with this pack. For one it is comfortable, fits me well, easily adjustable, and holds all my essentials. Plus it looks great. I am still getting compliments.

I have been cleaning the reservoir with dish soap, a bottle brush and a tube brush. The problem I currently have with the tube brush I am using is that the brush does not fill the diameter of the tubing. I can still get the tube clean but it takes some extra work because I have to angle the brush along the sides of the tube. However, it works for now until I get a different brush. I am happy to say that the reservoir does not have an odd odor and there is no mold.

I am happy with the Verve 5 and I especially like the enhancements and the redesign of this pack. For me it is the perfect size to be used on day-hikes and long/short mountain bike rides. I plan to continue using it while exploring and enjoying the outdoors on either my two feet or on my mountain bike.

The retail price of the Verve 5 is $89.00. Dimensions of the Verve 5: length (height) 18 inches x width 9 inches x depth 6 inches. Volume of the Verve 5: 305 cubic inches/5 liters. For more details please visit www.ospreypacks.com.


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