Hands-on Gear Review

Osprey Tempest 20 Review

A great pack for smaller ladies for commuting or light day hikes.
Osprey Tempest 20
By: Cam McKenzie Ring ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Aug 28, 2017
Price:  $110 List  |  $109.98 at Amazon
Pros:  Lightweight, lots of features, helmet attachment
Cons:  Fit runs small, hard to adjust, doesn't carry much
Manufacturer:   Osprey
74
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 12
  • Comfort - 30% 7
  • Features - 30% 8
  • Weight - 20% 8
  • Adjustability - 10% 5
  • Durability - 10% 8
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Top Pick Award

Our Verdict

The Osprey Tempest 20 is a versatile little daypack with some great features — most notably the bike helmet holder, which is a notoriously hard piece of equipment to secure to a pack without it flopping all over the place. As such, we've given this pack our Top Pick for Around Town designation. While some people only use daypacks for hiking, there are many others who use theirs for daily commuting and other everyday uses. If you're one of those gals, then the Tempest is a great pick. Besides the helmet attachment, there's also a few smaller storage pockets and an exterior sleeve for a layer or bulky item. It's big enough to fit a standard 15-inch laptop, but is still on the smaller side, making it suitable for toting on public transport or for biking with. The back and hip belt are made of mesh for increased airflow, and it's a comfortable and lightweight daypack. Our main (and only) real beef is the sizing — this pack comes in XS/S or S/M options, but even the S/M felt very small on our 5'6" main tester. The hip belt is also on the small side, so taller or larger ladies might have a hard time getting a good fit in this pack. If you need something with more room for longer day hikes, check out our Editors' Choice winner, the CamelBak Sequoia 22. If you're on a budget, the $70 REI Co-op Trail 25 is also a great choice.

Like the Tempest but need a little more room for longer day hikes?
Check out the Osprey Tempest 30. It has many of the same features that we loved in the smaller model, but with 10 more liters of carrying capacity and a top lid. Need even more room for one or two-day backpacking trips? The Osprey Tempest 40 will do the trick.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

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The Osprey Tempest 20 is a lightweight daypack with some great features for light day hikes and commuting. The main material is both 70 and 100D nylon, and it weighs 26 ounces. It comes in two sizes: XS/S (13-17" torso length) and S/M (16-20" torso length).

Performance Comparison


Day hiking in the Adirondaks with the Tempest. Our Top Pick for Around Town works well in the woods too!
Day hiking in the Adirondaks with the Tempest. Our Top Pick for Around Town works well in the woods too!

Comfort


We felt a little mixed on the comfort of the Osprey Tempest 20. We had a hard time getting a good fit in this pack (see Adjustability below), and as such it wasn't very comfortable for our main tester. She passed it on to a slightly shorter lady, and the reviews were good, but beware that if you are on the "longer" side of Osprey's sizing scale, (19" or longer), this pack might not feel so comfortable.


Here's what we did like about the pack that made it comfortable. The hip belt and back are nicely padded and also made of mesh for added ventilation. The shoulder straps are also adequately padded, even though the padding has cutouts to reduce weight. What we didn't like too much was how the back pushed in on us when the pack was full. This problem has always bugged us a little, and now that a few daypacks are using the suspended mesh back system that keeps the entire pack off your back, you get more airflow and nothing pushing into you. Check out the Deuter Futura 22 SL and the Osprey Sirrus 24 for examples of that new technology.

The mesh back with cutout padding does help to increase airflow  though it still left us sweatier than some of the newer totally open mesh backs on other packs.
The mesh back with cutout padding does help to increase airflow, though it still left us sweatier than some of the newer totally open mesh backs on other packs.

Features


There's a lot of great features on the Tempest. In fact, every time we used it we noticed something new!


The main compartment has one small internal mesh pocket with a key clip for stowing your essentials, and then there's a separate top pouch that's rather large for things that you'll want quick access to, like snacks or a light layer. Then there's an external mesh pouch for a rain or wind jacket. This pack has two water bottle pockets and an internal slot for a hydration bladder. There's a small vertical pocket on the left shoulder strap that can hold your sunglasses (as long as they are not Jackie O sized) or GPS unit, and a pocket on either side of the hip belt for other quick access items, like your phone or lip balm.

There's a safety whistle on the chest strap  and a pocket on the left shoulder strap (right side of the photo) for stowing a pair of sunglasses or GPS unit.
The hipbelt pockets are great  but they are a little small and it was hard to get a smartphone in and out of them.

There's also Osprey's "Stow on the Go" attachment for trekking poles, which carries them between your shoulder strap and hip belt (not the most comfortable carrying method for long distances, but convenient if you need to navigate a boulder field or steep section of the trail). Finally, there's an ice axe loop with a bungee strap holder for the shaft, and Osprey's "Lidlock" bike helmet strap. This was our favorite feature on this pack, as it's a quick and easy way to secure a bike helmet without having it bang all over the place. You pull the plastic piece vertically through the slots in your helmet and then rotate it so that it lays flat on top. The bungee cord creates enough tension to hold it in place, with no flopping around. Genius! There's no rain cover though, like on the Osprey Sirrus or Osprey Hikelite 18, so if that's a priority for you look to one of those packs instead.

The "Lidlock" helmet attachment is a clever feature. Is secures your bike helmet quickly and easily with no flopping around.
The "Lidlock" helmet attachment is a clever feature. Is secures your bike helmet quickly and easily with no flopping around.

Weight


This was one of the lighter packs that we tested. The chart below shows the actual weight in ounces of the different models in this review.


At only 26 ounces, this pack is a full pound lighter than the Osprey Sirrus. That "weight loss" is achieved by using a lighter material with no framing or rain cover. We tend to appreciate lighter things here at OutdoorGearLab, but if you need a rain cover or hike in an area with sharp rocks and plants, you may want to consider a slighter heavier pack that uses a thicker material.

Hiking around at the top of the Jackson Hole Gondola. A lightweight pack like this one is appreciated  particularly on quick sightseeing hikes.
Hiking around at the top of the Jackson Hole Gondola. A lightweight pack like this one is appreciated, particularly on quick sightseeing hikes.

Adjustability


As the chart below shows, this was the one category that the Tempest scored the poorest in, tying with the Mammut Lithia Speed 15.


It does come in two sizes (XS/S and S/M), and we ordered it in the S/M since that seemed to fit the range of our back size (16"-20"). However, this pack felt very small, and the hip belt kept wanting to sit on our waist and not our hips. We'd loosen the shoulder straps, get the hip belt situated in the right spot, but then as soon as we tightened the shoulder straps a little the hip belt popped right up and onto our waist. Perhaps this was just an issue with the geometry of the pack not quite fitting with the personal dimensions of our main tester, but it was annoying and did affect the comfort a bit, as we mentioned above. Also, our main tester is only 5'6 and does not have an exceptionally long torso, so any taller or longer-torsoed ladies out there might have a challenge finding a good fit in this pack. Finally, the hip belt barely reached around enough to cover our hip bones, and we are on the petite side, so anyone that is even slightly larger in the hips might not get very good coverage from this belt. Perhaps Osprey will start making it in a M/L size? (Hint hint…)

The hipbelt was one of our least favorite things about this pack. It kept wanting to ride up onto our waist  and was really small. Here it is show on a woman who wears a size 4 pant  and it barely covers her hipbones.
The hipbelt was one of our least favorite things about this pack. It kept wanting to ride up onto our waist, and was really small. Here it is show on a woman who wears a size 4 pant, and it barely covers her hipbones.

Durability


This pack received a great score for durability. We didn't experience any issues with this pack during our field testing, and couldn't find any durability complaints in online user reviews. As the chart below shows, we did score it slightly lower than the Osprey Sirrus due to the thinner material used on the Tempest.


We liked that this pack had a beefier nylon on the bottom, but if you live in an area with lots of pokey plants and sharp rocks, like the desert southwest, you should consider a pack with a thicker material than this one for longer-term durability. Osprey does have a great "All Mighty Guarantee" warranty that will replace or repair defects or broken parts, but that doesn't include "cosmetic wear and tear," meaning that if you get a bunch of holes in the material you're probably out of luck, and/or will need to patch them yourself.

Best Applications


We liked this pack best for using around town and commuting, hence our Top Pick award for those applications. The ability to secure a bike helmet to our pack (quickly!) and not have it flop all over the place was revolutionary. And its small size is perfect for a laptop, light sweater, and water bottle, and not much more.

This daypack worked well for a variety of uses  including commuting  sightseeing  and light day hiking.
This daypack worked well for a variety of uses, including commuting, sightseeing, and light day hiking.

Value


This bag retails for $110, which puts it in the middle of the "pack" price wise for this review. If you don't need a hip belt and want to save a few dollars, out Best Buy winner, the REI Co-op Trail 25 is only $70 and it performed well overall.

Conclusion


There's a lot to like about our Top Pick for Around Town. The Osprey Tempest 20 is lightweight, comfortable (if it fits), and has some great features. We really liked this pack for commuting in the city, thanks to the bike helmet attachment point and low-profile design. And it works great on day hikes as well!

Cam McKenzie Ring

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