Two new hydration packs from Osprey to consider for trail riding, light hiking, and bike commuting.|
This month (2012 May / June) we've chosen to review two 10 L packs from Osprey, and the premium member who's a winner in our June draw will get to pick one of these models.
The Verve is a women's specific pack, with a sleeker design and fit. Both the Syncro and the Verve (and other Osprey hydration packs in the line-up) share the basic features that Osprey have become famous for. These are great mountain bike packs, but as anyone knows who rides, also great for day hikes.
Things like; ultra-lightweight design, rugged where it needs to be, lighter weight mesh and fabric where it's acceptable, ventilation mesh on the back-side, quality hydration system and bite valve, magnetic sternum straps, shaped shoulder straps which feature Biostretch breathable mesh material, and generally, all the compartments you could wish for.
When it comes to compartments, especially for biking, Osprey has somewhat standardized on the following winning formula and the Syncro is no exception; a large inner storage area for jackets, food, and other goodies. An outer "thinner" storage area more organized with mesh pockets for things like bike pump, spares, and, maps (note the key clip as well). Then there are the smaller outer pockets, the small top zip pocket for media, GPS, or change. The side mesh for a small items like gel packs or a map. There is often (and in this case Osprey does it again) a waterproof cover for the pack hiding on the bottom, to cover the pack when it rains.
Some will purchase this lightweight pack and never realize the rain cover is there (took me a while). As an Osprey addict (yes I am biased, hence the additional reviews that will be appended to this review in June), the familiar is welcome. The mesh to keep the pack off your back is excellent, you've got a good inch of separation there to keep your back dry!
This pack is shaped so that when full, it has a very clean look, and, this may be helpful when moving through brush and tree. You've got a "lidlock" to clip your helmet onto for long slogs up the road before you start your single-track session. Since the Syncro can also function as a commuter pack, there is a helpful amount of reflector material on it -- that's a nice touch. If you can get away with just one pack, consider the Syncro.
The Verve -- really is a beautiful pack -- I'd almost call it fashion wear except that it's likely the most functional and high performance women's specific 10 L hydration pack going. The pack really tapers down at the small of the back, it's clear that female athletes have given their input on the design. It's very light compared to the Syncro -- and sleeker. It's still rated at a 10 L carrying capacity. 10 Litres is generally ample storage for a jacket, shirt, food, bike goodies and spares, water, tools, and your camera / GPS.
It has the lidlock, the sternum strap, and the media pouch like the Syncro, and the main inner pouch for the larger items. Similar high quality fabrics and hydration system. But there are some differences; such as the ventilation mesh, it's the kind of mesh that sits on the back -- do women sweat a little less than men -- maybe. Instead of two inner compartments however, the Verve 10 has a simple outer mesh pocket (stuff a jacket) and the main inner pouch with the small pockets and holders for pump, spare, etc.
These two new packs from Osprey have similar functions and intent, the Verve being lighter and slighter for women, the Sycnro being a great all round hydration pack for the trail or the commute. Both have a fill-able hydration bladder (2L or 3L), the Osprey systems have a decent oval unscrew lid.
Two other guest reviewers had this to say about each pack:
Power user Benoit L (east coast) has this to say of the Syncros:
"The most noticeable feature of this hydration pack is what Osprey calls its Airspeed™ suspension. This is a fancy name that translates into a dry back after a ride. What I mean is that instead of the pack sitting on your back, the special suspension creates a ventilated backpanel. It’s the same technology you see in most expedition backpacks to prevent soaking the back of your shirt by creating an airspace between you and your backpack.
The best feature of the 3L reservoir is the 80mm cap which is big enough that you will be able to thoroughly clean your reservoir. The inside is lined with an antimicrobial but I think that might be a bit going overboard. Simply cleaning and air drying your reservoir and delivery hose after use should take care of any nasties.
However I was a bit disappointed when the magnetic bite valve detached a few times when I was going over rougher terrain. Most of the time you can reattach it without looking ... "
Above Syncros comments from Benoit L (one of our top east coast trail submitters).
Sophia T. (adventure racer) had this to say about the Verve:
"I’ve tried many different packs in my day, and the first thing I noticed about the Osprey Verve is it’s unique design and feel on your back. It conforms to the shape of your back, stays put when faced against some rocky, bumpy trails and yet is relatively breathable.
The 10L size is perfect for day trips, you can fill the bladder (which has it’s own pouch and once again stays put!), and also have room for some food, a jacket, bug spray, sunscreen, a pump and your camera. Of course there’s also the cell phone holder on the shoulder strap (or gel, bar, mp3 player holder?).
My favorite feature though has got to be the magnetic bite valve, no fussing with trying to put it back, gets out of your way quickly – very handy when you need to focus on the trail ahead. I look forward to racing with this pack, stick some gels on the top tube and the magnetic valve and you’re dialed in for short races where you’re not taking in bars galore.
My only beef is the chest strap. You can only adjust it from one side and depending on where you want to keep the bladder that might be an issue as you can’t move the valve. I guess they were trying to save on straps which I do support. Overall, this is a fantastic pack (and looks good too!), and you won’t see me on my mtb without it!
Above Verve comments from Sophia T.
Osprey just keeps innovating, and, at trailpeak.com, we've come to rely on their lightweight packs for expeditions as well as trail riding and day hikes. I don't think there's another company on the forefront quite like Osprey. The downside, as all reviews have to have; ... pause ... um, I don't have any myself. Perhaps one small criticism, there are too many packs from Osprey to comprehend (check out the Osprey Raptor, Manta, Zealot, and Viper). The Syncro comes in various sizes, but not the Verve. We chose the Verve for a sleek XC mountain biking female pack, the Syncro as a great all around pack.
If you are a premium member on trailpeak.com, you could win your choice in mid-June 2012. And if you miss that, we'll be reviewing and featuring some selected hiking packs in July, one of which, the Atmos 65, will be West Coast Trail tested in June (this means the rain test) by one of our guest editors.
To get all the specs, colours and more, visit www.ospreypacks.com. Note: A purchase of the verve supports breast cancer research with a $4 donation. As we got just got the packs, we'll have them out for full review with two other trailpeak editor riders and you'll get the updates here in June (yes right here). We want to give one away at the end of June, so we just couldn't wait.
Kurt - Founder www.trailpeak.com