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Hands-on Gear Review
Osprey Raptor 10 Review
Cons: Still undersized for more serious bike rides
With every pack, we found numerous drawbacks, poor design features, or things hindering our ability to have the best experience, whether hiking, biking, or climbing. However, as hard as we tried, we couldn't find any cons to the Raptor. While its design isn't stunning or full of bells and whistles, its comfort, integration with the hydration system, and overall usability made it our favorite pack we tested, earning it the coveted Editors' Choice distinction.
Make sure to read our full Hydration Pack review to see how the Raptor 10 stood up to all of the packs we tested.
RELATED REVIEW: The Best Hydration Packs of 2017
Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
While the Raptor's individual components don't blow away spectators, they all combine into a harmonious symphony of comfort. We were so impressed with how well the individual components function as a system.
The shoulder straps are composed of closed cell foam cut with slits for venting and wrapped in a breathable mesh and feel solid on our shoulders regardless of the amount of weight we were carrying. However, the shoulder straps really shine where they meet the pack. Rather than two small pieces of fabric meeting the main body, the shoulder straps taper into a large piece of supportive fabric that forms a pocket that sits between your shoulders and wraps around your frame. This contour continues down into the back of the pack, creating a really comfortable and snug fit.
Many packs in this category suffer from being little more than a big sack. This isn't always bad, but when pushing the limits on how much it can carry, they tend to get a little bulbous, creating pressure points on the front of the shoulders and the middle of the back. This comes from the traditional lack of a frame in these types of packs. The Raptor ingeniously utilizes its hydration bladder as a form of support for the pack's body. With the addition of a semi-rigid plate in the back of the hydration bladder, the Raptor not only gains stiffness and structure, but this also forces the water to bulge into the pack and not into your back.
Heat dispersion is a big-ticket benefit that we wanted to see in each of the packs. The Raptor takes several steps to make it bearable on hot days. The shoulder straps are vented, with small slits cut in the foam, then covered with a breathable mesh. We found that these really did help, especially when we could create some wind on a downhill. However, these are minimally important in comparison to the back panel, which sports Osprey's Airscape design. This design uses raised cut panels of closed cell foam to move the pack away from your back, allowing cool air to find its way in, and hot air to find its way out. While most packs are not supporting some sort of system like this, we felt like the Osprey's was well designed. However, we though the massively raised frame of the Deuter Compact EXP 12 dispersed more heat. That being said, the Deuter's frame directly relates with its lack of stability. If you're looking for the coolest pack available for hot desert hikes, check out the Deuter. Otherwise, we'd suggest compromising a bit and going with the Raptor.
The stability of the Raptor really surprised us. What looks like a pretty standard pack, really sat into our bodies and didn't move around much while we wore it through rock gardens or jumping rock to rock on a technical scramble. Although it wasn't quite as stable as the best-in-class EVOC FR Team Lite, the Raptor was a close second. Its contoured, wide, and supportive shoulder pads are the backbone of the stability. The shoulder straps confluence with the pack in a wide stance, creating a pocket that sits between your shoulders and wraps the pack around your torso. Similarly, the hip belt mimics the shoulder straps with a wide swatch of fabric extending off the body of the pack. In addition, it has one of the more substantial frames out of all the packs we tested, thanks to its rigid hydration bladder and its flexible suspension frame. We felt like this pack had the perfect mix between rigidity to hold weight well, and suspension to dampen energy from being bounced around in the saddle. This led to a very stable feeling pack.
Ease of Drinking
While the bladder design doesn't offer any benefits like the Geigerrig Hydration Bladder, the Raptor's hose design and management was our favorite out of all the packs we tested. The hose included is very long, which with the wrong hose makes management problematic. However, the routing down the shoulder strap keeps the hose totally enclosed almost until the sternum strap, then the strap has another guide to keep the hose back, and completes the system with a magnet clip, which clips on the opposite side. We assumed this magnet clip would be nearly worthless while mountain biking, but much to our delight, the hose remained clipped. Additionally, the hose also has a 180 degree pivot on the mouth piece, cutting it off from flow to provide additional security to your precious water supply, though we found it to be unnecessary and left the valve open all the time.
Ease of Filling
The Raptor really shines when it comes to ease of filling, in again, ways that seem insignificant by themselves, but function fantastically together. The aforementioned rigid panel that Osprey built into the bladder really helps with filling. Rather than a shifting, bulbous bag of water, the panel adds structure, forcing the water to remain in a flatter plane. In conjunction with this, the molded plastic handle on the opposite side of the bladder allows you to hold the bladder flat while filling. Rather than sagging down into the sink, the bladder stays oriented the way you want. The bladders we tested essentially came down to two categories of openings; top openings (such as the Source and Platypus Big Zip) and side openings (Camelbak, Osprey). While the top openings are much easier to clean and to fill from a source like a hose, the side openings are much easier to fill in shallow sinks. We really didn't like the side opening bladders on their own, as they were hard to hold floppy messes while filling; however, the addition of the handle changed the game. Additionally, this handle combined with the rigid flat shape of the bladder helps slide the bladder into the pack with ease.
The hose is very easy to install thanks to its zippered enclosure, which leads to the separated hydration bladder compartment. Though the Osprey reservoir does not employ a quick-release on the end of the hose, it wasn't an issue due to their fast to load hydration bladder sleeve.
The Osprey Raptor 10 not only comes in at a paltry 16 oz on the scale, it feels lightweight on the back while riding.
The feel and durability of the bladder alone sets this pack apart. The matte finish of the thick, BPA-free plastic stood up to the test. Additionally, with the separate compartment for the bladder, there's less chance that something sharp in your pack could ruin your bladder. Throughout the months of testing, we were very impressed with the way the pack wore, and never even noticed a change in taste from the bladder.
Ease of Cleaning
In comparison to the open topped designs such as the Source, the Osprey bladder was more difficult to clean due to its somewhat small opening into the bladder. Additionally, the lack of quick release hose makes it difficult to clean the hose separately, and likely will require a specialized cleaning kit. That being said, in our six months of testing we didn't clean it once. Maybe that makes some people's skin crawl, but we honestly didn't feel the need to clean the bladder.
The Osprey Raptor 10 makes use of its ten liters better than any other pack we tested. The main fare consist of the large main compartment, suitable for jackets, lunches, kneepads, etc., while smaller pockets are available for other goodies; our favorite of which being the tool compartment. Located at the bottom of the pack, the tool compartment provides a nice place to leave things that you shouldn't leave your pack. We always kept a few tubes, a CO2 cartridge, tire irons, an emergency energy pack, a multi tool and some other accessories in this pouch. While it seems somewhat insignificant, it was nice to know those things would always be in the bag and be separated from the remainder of our cargo. Additionally, since these things are rather dense in comparison to a hardshell jacket, for example, the weight seemed well placed for carrying. The Osprey also has a nice valuables pocket.
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— Tommy Penick
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