Thanks to their thoughtfully-designed hydration packs, Osprey has made an impressive gain of market share against the once untouchable Camelback. After years of using nothing but a Camelback, I recently switched to the Osprey Raven 10 and have been impressed by its comfort and functionality.
The Raven is Osprey’s women’s-specific 10L storage / 3L reservoir mountain bike hydration pack. The pack comes in a variety of bright colors, has an ergonomic fit, and boasts plenty of “extras” that help justify that somewhat painful pricetag. The pack in Osprey’s mid-range size, making it a good all-around hydration pack for both 2-hour rides and all-day epics.
Review in a Nutshell
* Good airflow to back
* Attractive and durable construction
* Helmet clip
* Roll-up tool pouch
* Plenty of compartments to keep tools and personal items separate
* Magnetic bite-valve doesn’t hold well
* No way to secure extra staps
* 10 liter gear storage
* 3 liter water reservoir
* 1.34 lbs
Price & Where to Buy:
Osprey Raven 10 Detailed Review
Storage in the Raven 10
The Raven 10 hits a bit of a sweet spot on the storage to weight spectrum — there is plenty of storage for all-day epics, but it isn’t excessively large or heavy. Here’s what I typically carry (with some space to spare):
* Phone and keys
* Rainjacket or fleece jacket
* Mini tool, tire levers, spare tube, pump
* Small first aid kit
The 3-liter water reservoir is enough for an all-day ride (for me). For a more typical 2 or 3 hour ride, I generally fill it half-way, unless it is a particularly hot day, in which case I fill it all the way. Thanks to the wide mouth, screw opening, the reservoir is easy to fill and I’ve never had an issue with it leaking.
In terms of storage pockets, there are 4 main compartments: a large “stuff” pocket on the front (usually where I store a jacket), a “sunglasses” pocket with smaller interior zip pocket (where I usually store my cell phone and keys), a large zipper pocket with interior mesh (where I like to store snacks and my pump), and finally a small tool pocket with roll-out storage. On each of the hip straps, there are is also a small zippered pocket. Osprey markets these for storage of a cell phone or keys, but I’ve found that they aren’t quite big enough or comfortable enough for doing so. They are big enough for a drivers license and cash or a GU packet.
In addition to the storage pockets, there is a helmet clip and blinky light clip. Quite honestly, I’ve never used the clip for a blinky light, although it seems handy. The helmet clip is nice to have, although I rarely use it and find it a bit difficult to use. My husband, on the other hand, has the male version of this pack and uses his helmet clip constantly, proving this is merely a matter of personal preference.
Bottom-line on storage: if you plan on only doing short rides or racing, this pack would be too big for you. If you plan on using a pack for an overnight, then you might want a bigger pack. Otherwise, the Osprey Raven 10 is just the right size.
Aside from the pretty colors, what’s the point of buying a women’s-specific hydration pack? Women tend to have shorter torsos, narrower backs, and wider hips then men. The Osprey Raven is appropriately sized and contoured with this in mind. The torso length of the Raven is 18 inches and it measures 9 inches wide.
Compared to the Camelback bite-valves, which I find leak easily, the bite-valve on the Osprey works really well. I’ve been using the same valve for about 9 months now and have never had to replace it or have it leak. The valve rotates 90 degrees to turn on our off, and is easy to with your mouth while riding.
The one thing that I was really excited for on the Raven, and then really dissapointed about, is the magnet that is supposed to hold it in place and keep the hose from dangling. Located on the sternum strap, I’ve found that the magnet is not that strong, fails reguarly, and attracts lots of dirt and debris — not something you really want near your bite-valve. This is the only major complaint I have about the Osprey Raven 10.
I’ve been really pleased with the straps on the Raven. They are both easy to adjust and comfortable. With other hydration packs I’ve owned, I’ve suffered from shoulder straps pinching a nerve in my shoulder. Not so with the Raven. Similarly, the hip strap sits in just the right place and doesn’t rub.
Unfortunately, the design of the waist and chest straps is such that you’re more or less forced to buckle them or else you have a bunch of straps hanging precariously around you. It would be nice if they could tuck away cleanly when not in use.
Perhaps the thing I like best about the Osprey Raven 10 (and all Osprey packs for that matter) is the highly breahtable back. The “airscape backpanel” holds the pack provides lots of airflow between your back and the pack. I rarely end up with the dreaded sweaty patch on the back of my jersey when wearing the Raven.
If you want one pack to do it all, the Osprey Raven 10 should be on your short-list. The pack is comfortable (even on long rides), boasts plenty of storage space, and provides excellent back ventilation. All the extras–helmet clip, roll-out tool storage, reflective details–are just the cherry on top.