By Jenn K.
The team at Osprey has a new pack series; the Osprey Raptor series. They come in four different sizes and are marketed for mountain biking, adventure racing, fast hiking, and trail running. I have been waiting to get my hands on one of these packs.
So, now I have a Raptor 10 pack. I will be using it mostly for mountain biking and for day-hiking while working as a trail guide. I have the size S/M which has a storage capacity of 600 cu. in. /10 liters, and it houses a 3 liter hydration reservoir.
There are seven key storage areas to this pack. I m going to describe these going from the back to the front of the pack.
The hydration reservoir is stored inside a top loading compartment with a zippered top and is secured with load lifter buckles (which help keep the pack stabilized with sudden movement). This internal frame is called the HydraLock system, which is designed to enable maximum pack storage capacity with a full reservoir. The HydraLock System is also designed to provide stability of the hydration reservoir, plus it squeezes the reservoir to obtain hydraulic pressure to increase the flow and help prevent water motion. Inside the internal fame is an attachment strap to secure a different brand of reservoir. There are two reversed zippers inside that access the frame sheet; should it need repair.
A small top hidden zipper compartment is opened by a zipper pull and is lined with a heat embossed fabric. This fabric is designed to be easily cleaned.
The main compartment is a panel loading design. Inside the main compartment there is a wide, deep mesh storage pocket that is centered with two (more slender) pockets on each side. These pockets are very deep! I am finding the slender pockets to be ideal to store my tire pump and my Shot Blocks that have a tubular package design.
A LidLock helmet clip is located on the front of the main panel. This system is designed to secure a helmet in place. It has an elasticized cord with a clip and a cord lock for tensioning. I question why it was put there, as I believe everyone should wear a helmet while riding. Maybe it was put there for transporting a helmet.
On the front of the main panel there is a vertical side pocket that has houses a key clip. This pocket runs almost the entire length of the front panel.
The front pocket of the pack has a stretch woven pocket that has reflective graphics and has a blinker patch. This patch also allows for reverse hipbelt storage. If I do not want to wear the hipbelt, I can fold it over the front of the pack and secure it trough the blinker patch slot.
On the hipbelt of the Raptor 10 are stretch woven stash pockets. These are located on both sides of the hipbelt. No zippers here!
This pack has many features and I am not done quite yet. The HydraForm reservoir is made by Nalgene. It has a wide mouth opening and a spine that acts as a handle for filling and offers stability to the water load. The reservoir has a plastic sheet on the back with a layer of nylon fabric on the top. This side is to face the user’s back. This is designed to allow the reservoir to conform to the shape of a person’s back. The reservoir has anti-microbial properties, a bite valve with that can be turned on or off, and a magnetic clip on the bite valve. It is also BPA and PVC free.
The suspension of the Raptor 10 is a molded (ridge) foam backpanel with horizontal air chimneys. This is known as Airscape suspension. The lining of the Airscape panel is mesh to allow for ventilation. This is my favorite part of the pack as this is one complete panel design with no extra padding protruding out.
The harness is made of slotted foam with a mesh covering. There are no gel pockets on the harness. The sternum strap is adjusted by easily sliding it up or down a fabric covered ridge. The sternum strap has elastic stretch and has a magnet to attach the hydration bite valve.
Two last features of the Raptor 10 are the side compression straps and the BioStretch hipbelt. The side compression straps are located near the base of the pack and I was able to easily adjust them while wearing the pack. The hipbelt houses the side stash pockets and is made of mesh. It is adjusted by using the ErgoPull hipbelt closure. The amount of tightness is controlled by pulling on the webbing loops. The hipbelt is secured in place by a buckle.
Osprey Hydraulics Raptor 10 Pack Update 4/11/10
So far I have use the Raptor 10 while mountain biking in Southern California, Southern Utah, and near Blue Diamond (Red Rocks) Nevada. During the past month I have used the pack 13 times. Typically I have used the pack three days a week (for both day and night rides) with my mileage ranging from 6-27 miles per day. During all my rides this pack has been comfortable and has not caused me any back or neck pain. I can not say that about other packs I have used.
This pack carries all my essentials for both long and short rides. For example on longer rides I need to be able to carry lots of water and extra clothing, such as arm warmers and my vest. For rides that I am working as a trail guide with Irvine Ranch Conservancy I have to carry additional gear; such as a large first aid kit, extra food, and a radio. Typically I carry my MP3 player and lip balm in the small upper pocket. In the side panel pocket I place my keys on the key clip and some snacks. In the main compartment I place my tire pump in one of the side sleeves, and some rectangular (tubular) shaped snacks, my Go-Girl, and my inhaler in the other sleeve. In the center pocket of the main compartment I can fit some tissues, sunscreen packets, small first aid kit, and 2-3 bags of electrolyte mix. In the remaining space of the main compartment is where I store my large first aid kit (when I take it) and my extra clothing (depending on what I need arm warmers, leg warmers, vest). The outer stretch pocket is where I store my camera, extra bandanna, and a radio (when needed). This pack handles it all! I have yet to wish for more space.
Typically I use a smaller pack for my short distance rides. I thought at first the Raptor 10 would be overkill. But, even when the Raptor 10 was not completely full with cargo or water, it handled the load well. The hydration reservoir was not shifting around and I could not hear the water sloshing. The side compression straps help keep the cargo in the Raptor seated well when it is not full.
My favorite feature of this pack has to be the backpanel. I like the fact that it is one complete piece without added padding to help with ventilation or any added seams. I find this to be a plus, because I do not like bulges or seams from a pack digging into my back. As the Airscape backpanel allows so much ventilation, my back is not soaked. Sometimes my back is damp, but it is hardly noticeable. The backpanel is comfortable, and I think that is mostly because I do not feel a bulge from the hydration reservoir. I thought at first I may feel the ridges on the backpanel against my back, but they are not noticeable.
Generally I use the side stash pockets to hold my lip balm, gels, or a half eaten package of Energy Gel Blasts. Nothing has fallen out of these pockets yet, but I wish they had a piece of hook and loop to fully secure them. I would feel more comfortable placing other items in the pockets if they were more secure. Even though the Raptor has the side stash pockets, I wish it had pockets for gels on the harness. At times it is challenging for me to reach the side pockets when I am riding.
At first I was not sure how much I would like the hydration reservoir. First of all the tube is large, the reservoir is heavier than what I am used to, and I thought the integrated handle was a bit much. Now after using the pack for a month this is one of my favorite features. The reservoir is easy to fill, especially with the integrated handle. The way the HydraForm reservoir is designed it rests comfortably against my back and retains its shape for my entire ride, no matter how much water is in there. From time to time the hose does fall off the sternum strap where it attaches by a magnet. I can live with that. I found that it mostly falls off when I am fiddling with my MP3 player or adjusting the sternum strap while I am riding. But, I like the way the bite valve attaches to the sternum strap, even if it does fall off sometimes. The placement is convenient. When I am stopped I can just bend my head down to take a drink. I can not do that when I am riding; but I can easily remove it, take a drink, and put it back into place without looking. I found that even if the Raptor 10 is stuffed with gear I do not have to fight with the hydration reservoir to stuff it into the pack. Here again I think this is a benefit of the HydraForm design. So far there have been no leaks in the reservoir via the opening or the tubing. I can not say that about other reservoirs I own. I have rigged up a homemade drying system to use with this reservoir. This enables me to hang the reservoir and let it dry overnight. No mold here!
I ride at night quite often, so I need to have a blinker light on the back of my pack. My light easily attaches to the blinker patch and I have not lost it yet. I have also used the patch to store the hipbelt when I do not want to wear it around my waist. It is a nice feature, especially when I am riding for hours and I need a change in my positioning.
The main compartment pockets are very deep. I can see the one for the tire pump being deep, but I am finding the others to be so deep that I have to take items out to reach for what is in the bottom of the pockets. I am trying to put my items that I do not need as often at the bottom of the pockets. I will see how that continues to work for me.
I like to take pictures at times when I am riding, especially now that it is wildflower season. I have been placing my camera in the outside stretch pocket. But, I have to take the pack off to reach it. So, that is not working well for me. I have worn the camera on the hipbelt, but it is getting in the way there. I want to find a way to attach my camera to the pack so that I can reach it. I am thinking on my next ride I will attach it to the sternum strap and see how that works.
Speaking of the sternum strap I noticed that there is no whistle, that’s a bummer. What if I need help out there!
Osprey Raptor 10 Pack Final Update 5/13/10
I can not believe a month has gone by already since my last update on the Raptor. The raptor got plenty of use on the mountain bike during the past month. It also went on a few hikes with me.
I have been mountain biking 3-5 days per week the past month. All of my riding lately has been localized to Southern California. Some of these rides have been long; my longest was 6 hours on the bike. Even during the long days in the saddle (5 or more hours) the Raptor is still comfortable on my back and shoulders. When my back starts to get fatigued from my riding position I can easily unclip the hipbelt to change my load balance while I am on the bike. When I stop for a rest, I reverse clip the belt through the blinker patch. This keeps the belt out of the way when I am riding and not wearing the belt around my waist.
Even during lots of climbing, warm temperatures, and breaking a sweat; the Raptor has enough ventilation that my back is not soaked. At times my shirt gets slightly damp under the harness straps and where the back of the Raptor rests on my back. The Raptor has more back ventilation than my other packs. I attribute this to the design of the Airscape backpanel. This backpanel is also the most comfortable of any of the packs I own for mountain biking. There are no foam bumps or seams that dig in to my back.
I am finding the LidLock helmet clip only useful to store my helmet to the pack during transport or storage of the pack. I always wear my helmet when riding, so this feature is not very useful for me. For me personally I would not mind if the LidLock helmet clip was removed from the pack. I can easily attach the helmet to the pack using the LidLock and I found that the helmet does not shift when it is locked and the pack is tossed around.
The hydration system did not leak by any manufacturing defect, only by my error. Before one of my rides I did not tighten the lid completely and water started to spill out after the reservoir was placed in the Raptor. I caught this mishap early and tightened the lid. The pack was dry for my ride 9 hours later. My clothing inside the pack was not wet; all the wetness was localized to the bottom of the Raptor. I really like the spine of the reservoir as it allows me to hold it easily while I am filling it with water.
On my last ride I had the Raptor completely stuffed with gear. Actually it was on the verge of being overstuffed. I was headed out late in the afternoon and I knew the ride down the mountain was going to be very cold. I took a change of clothing and some extra cold weather accessories. After I had the pack full, I attempted to place the hydration reservoir (which was completely full) in the compartment. I just could not stuff it in there. So, I took out some of the bulky clothing items and then I was able to put the reservoir in the compartment and stuff all the clothing back in the Raptor. This was the first time I was not able to place the reservoir in the sleeve with the pack loaded. However, this was the largest load for the Raptor; it was completely stuffed and weighed in just shy of 12 pounds.
I have yet to be on the trail or come home and find my rear light missing from the blinker patch. In the past I have lost a few lights attached to my pack. Either the blinker patch is working great or I am dodging more trees and brush.
I wish that the main compartment zipper was longer to pull the main compartment open more. I think this would be useful to allow me to reach better in to the main compartment and allow me to stuff more in the bottom of the compartment.
The hipbelt pockets are more useful for me now while I am riding. I believe I am more accustomed to their location. I am storing my energy gels, opened treats, and lip balm inside these pockets. While riding I just reach towards the rear of the hipbelt and I can easily pull out the item I desire without stopping. Nothing has fallen out yet, which surprises me.
So, I found that when I am not fiddling with my MP3 player (that I usually clip to the harness) or adjusting the sternum strap the hydration tube stays attached to the sternum strap. If it happens to fall off or when I take it off for a drink, I can easily attach it back on while I am riding and not looking at it. At first I did not know what to think about the magnetic attachment of the hydration tube. Now it is one of my favorite features!
I have yet to find a way to have my camera more accessible to me while riding. I thought I could attach my camera to the sternum strap. This seemed like a good idea, but I was not too crazy about the camera pressing and banging against my chest. Right now I will just continue to place my camera in the exterior stretch pocket and stop a rest break while I am taking photos.
I used the Raptor on a few day hikes and it worked just fine for that purpose, but I like to have a pack partially packed for mountain biking. The Raptor is now going to be my mountain biking dedicated pack for medium to long distance rides. For short rides lasting about 90 minutes I do not need this much storage space and I like to pack lighter.
I think this pack is a great first attempt by Osprey to target the mountain biking community. I will be excited to see future generations of the Raptor line. I am currently considering purchasing a smaller Raptor for short rides and even going up a size for long, cold, night rides.
If you would like more information on the Raptor 10, please visit the Osprey website at www.ospreypacks.com.