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Hands-on Gear Review
Osprey Syncro 10 Review
Cons: Less support
Bottom line: The Syncro scores well across the board; this is a lightweight, yet fully featured, hydration pack.
The Osprey Syncro 10 shares many of the features of the other 3(ish) liter liquid/10 liter cargo capacity packs in our hydration pack review, but comes in at a lower weight. This pack is for the rider who wants new pack technology but in more of a minimalist package.
RELATED REVIEW: The Best Hydration Packs for Hiking and Biking
Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
While some hydration packs have come equipped with gizmos and features galore, the Osprey Syncro 10 has found a sweet spot for riders, hikers, and runners. The pack has several cool features like an inline quick disconnect fitting for easy cleaning and filling, as well as several specialty storage pockets and even a removable rain cover. Maybe best of all is the highly breathable mesh back panel that will keep you cool.
Take a look at the chart to see how the Syncro 10 (shown in blue below) weighed in against competitors like its sibling the Osprey Raptor 10, the CamelBak M.U.L.E., and the Platypus Duthie A.M. 10.
Ease of Drinking
The Hydrapak Blaster valve didn't provide the highest flow rates in our test (that went to CamelBak's bite valve) but fell somewhere in the middle. While it was not difficult to find the best spot to bite on the valve, the Hydrapak bite valves are a bit positional. After using the valve just a couple of times, the best location to bite for the maximum flow was apparent. The Hydrapak Blaster valves also feature a shut-off function, easily used by a 90-degree rotation of the valve itself - to a marked stop point on the housing of the valve.
The Syncro 10 is supplied with a 2.5-liter Hydraulics LT hydration bladder, which is similar to the Osprey Raptor 10 but 0.5 liters smaller. The bladder is stored inside the main compartment of the pack and has a quick disconnect fitting, which is conveniently located at the top of the bladder, in an inline position on the drinking tube.
Like the Raptor 10, the bladder is made from a flexible TPU film construction that is BPA, phthalate, lead-free and is of food grade quality. While seemingly not as puncture-resistant as the bladders of the Deuter Compact Air EXP 12 or the Platypus Duthie A.M. 10, it seemed on par with CamelBak's products and shouldn't be an issue if you keep the sharp and pokey things away from it. The Syncro's hydration bladder skips the stiffening and protective Hydrostatic Backerplate of the beefier Osprey Raptor 10 for further weight savings.
After the quick disconnect fitting, the drinking tube exits the pack through a simple opening at the top and routes down the left shoulder strap. The Syncro's drinking tube is a relatively flexible plastic material and is easily routed through the left shoulder strap. It's not too soft and not too firm; the flexibility is in the middle.
Attached to the tube is Osprey's Hydrapak Blaster bite valve. The bite valve has a magnetic clip that easily attaches to the opposite half of the sternum strap which keeps your water easily in reach and in a controlled location - although we did occasionally dislodge it accidentally. Depending on your location and the makeup of your soils, you may find the magnetic clip attracting various dirt particles. This didn't affect the functionality of our test model.
Ease of Filling
The Syncro 10's hydration bladder, the Hydraulics 2.5 Liter LT features a wide opening bladder that makes filling up no problem. The fully-opening water bladder is similar to the Platypus Duthie A.M. 10 and the Deuter Compact Air EXP 12 in that they all provide complete and easy access for filling up. Additionally, the Pour Shield makes things easier, especially in shallow sinks, etc.
The 2.5-liter bladder is housed in its dedicated sleeve inside the main compartment which keeps the wet stuff in its place, not completely separating it from the rest of the pack in case of leaks or spills. Access is then gained by opening the zipper to the main compartment. Once your hydration bladder is topped off, fold the top flap of the bag over itself and slide the Slide Seal clamp across the upper part of the bladder.
Once you've secured that, go ahead, tip it upside down, shake it, and be impressed by the magic that keeps this bladder watertight! This system makes filling up an easy task no matter where your adventures take you.
The Syncro 10 is supported by a tensioned mesh sheet that attaches to the main pack bag where there is a wire frame, much like the Duthie A.M. 10's construction.
When it came to breathability, our testers remained undecided between the Platypus Duthie A.M. 10 and the Syncro 10. Both packs did a superior job in keeping the pack to back contact to a minimum and were the coolest in our test.
An aid in keeping you cool, Osprey utilizes breathable mesh for all surfaces that contact your body, including a minimalist air mesh/webbing hip belt and well-ventilated shoulder straps.
We used the pack for mountain biking, hiking, as well as trail running and found the pack was comfortable, well-ventilated, and moved well with us even with the wire frame.
While the Syncro 10 isn't the largest capacity in our hydration pack review, this Best Buy winner does contain ample storage for fast and light riding, hiking, running, and yes, even spring skiing missions.
With two main compartments for storage, the Syncro 10 is a much simpler pack than its sibling, the Osprey Raptor 10, with its bike-specific extras. When looking at the front of the pack (the side away from the back), there are two zippers present. The top zip houses a "Front Stash Pocket" which is a scratch-free material for glasses, goggles, or phone storage, while the lower zipper access the small compartment that houses the integrated rain cover. Similar to the Deuter Compact Air EXP 12, the safety yellow cover stretches over the entire pack to keep it dry.
To lighten the weight even more, the cover can easily be removed if you're not riding in wet areas. The Syncro also has a LidLock helmet keeper for carrying your helmet when you're climbing on hot days. The large outer pocket houses a sewn-in key clip up top. Immediately below this are two stretch mesh pockets that span the width of the pack and are ~7"x4.5". Next to the mesh pockets are three elasticized loops that are stitched to the left side of the pouch (for pump storage). The lower portion of this compartment is just open space.
Inside the next compartment is the largest chamber, which opens with double zipper sliders and contains the hydration bladder which is stored in a thin nylon divider, away from your gear. The lower portions of the sides of the pack each have stretch mesh pockets, although these don't have any means to secure equipment stored inside them.
At 1 lb 9.6 oz, the Syncro 10 is the lightest of our larger capacity packs. If shaving ounces is your idea of fun, this pack might be for you!
If you're after more of a minimalist model, we'd recommend the CamelBak Rogue or the Camelbak Classic, which weigh 12.8 and 11.2 ounces, respectively.
Ease of Cleaning
The Syncro 10 outscored its relative, the Osprey Raptor 10, scoring a perfect 10 out of 10.
The Syncro edged out the Raptor with its quick disconnect fitting and quick access main compartment location.
The hydration bladder is easily accessed through the main compartment zipper. You can then unbuckle the small keeper buckle and lift the bladder out with the integrated handle.
The cleaning process is easy, and our testers were easily able to reach their whole hand in with various brushes and sponges to scrub and dry the inside of the bladder.
This pack not only performed great while on the bike, but it also shined while hiking and running too.
The Syncro 10 even skied with us this spring! While it doesn't have the degree support of the Platypus Duthie A.M. 10 when we loaded the pack down with more weight, it performs admirably with lighter loads.
With a price similar to that of the CamelBak M.U.L.E., the Osprey Syncro 10 comes in a bit cheaper than several of the other competitors in our lineup of higher capacity packs. Osprey products are also covered by their "All Mighty Guarantee" which covers your pack from "any damage or any defect" for the lifetime of the pack. If they can't repair it they'll replace it. This is the most comprehensive warranty of all the packs in our lineup.
Are you someone who likes endurance activities like mountain biking, trail running, and hiking? Do you count the ounces or even grams on your back? If you fall into this category, the Osprey Syncro 10 just might be the hydration pack for you!
— Jason Cronk
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