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Osprey Tempest 20 Review

A versatile, durable, and comfortable pack that works just as well on the trail as in town
Osprey Tempest 20
Photo: Osprey
Best Buy Award
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Price:  $130 List | Check Price at REI
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Adjustable torso length, very durable, great features and pockets
Cons:  Runs a bit small, front stow pocket a bit small
Manufacturer:   Osprey
By Maggie Brandenburg ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Jun 21, 2021
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75
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#3 of 13
  • Comfort - 25% 7
  • Versatility - 25% 9
  • Weight - 25% 6
  • Ease of Use - 15% 8
  • Durability - 10% 8

Our Verdict

The Osprey Tempest 20 is a versatile little daypack with an adjustable torso length along with some great features and impressive durability. Though it's not the cheapest pack we tested, it holds some seriously impressive value as being a pack that can just about do it all. It's large enough for a full-sized laptop and securely stores your bike helmet on the back, while still full of technical features for your weekend adventures. It runs a touch small, but the velcro-adjustable torso length adds versatility and it comes in two base sizes. It's a versatile, impressively durable, reasonably priced model we love to wear and use.

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Osprey Tempest 20
This Product
Osprey Tempest 20
Awards Best Buy Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award 
Price Check Price at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
$155.00 at REI
Compare at 2 sellers
$120 List
$118.09 at Amazon
Check Price at Backcountry
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Check Price at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Adjustable torso length, very durable, great features and pocketsComes with hydration bladder, very comfortable hip belt, good capacity, solidly constructedGreat ventilation, backpack-like comfort, useful pockets and attachments, well built, intuitive useGood for on-the-go, secure fit, fits more than expected, many shoulder strap pocketsShockingly lightweight, padded shoulder straps, useful features, packs into own pocket
Cons Runs a bit small, front stow pocket a bit smallU-shaped top opening is smaller, some pockets are less convenientOne size only, heavy, lame hip belt webbing systemOpens unconventionally, meant for more specific use, not rainproofNo hip belt, small overall size, no back padding - can feel contents
Bottom Line A versatile, durable, and comfortable pack that works just as well on the trail as in townA super comfortable pack with a unique waist belt system and included hydration bladder for the serious day hikerAll the comfort and security of a full backpack in a bite-sized daypackA lightweight, securely fitting pack, cleverly designed for use on the goAn ultralight solution that doesn't cut out all the comfort and features
Rating Categories Osprey Tempest 20 CamelBak Sequoia 24 Gregory Juno 24L The North Face Chim... Osprey Ultralight S...
Comfort (25%)
7.0
9.0
8.0
7.0
3.0
Versatility (25%)
9.0
8.0
8.0
6.0
6.0
Weight (25%)
6.0
6.0
6.0
8.0
10.0
Ease Of Use (15%)
8.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
5.0
Durability (10%)
8.0
9.0
9.0
7.0
4.0
Specs Osprey Tempest 20 CamelBak Sequoia 24 Gregory Juno 24L The North Face Chim... Osprey Ultralight S...
Weight (oz) 31 oz 36 oz 31 oz 17 oz 4 oz
Volume/Capacity (liters) 20L 24L 24L 18L 18L
Back Construction AirScape backpanel; large spaced horizontal padding bars covered by large-holed mesh AirSupport(TM) backpanel; mesh covered foam panels with air flow channels VaporSpan ventilated mesh FlashDry backpanel; lightly padded and covered in fine mesh Lightweight nylon
Hydration External hydration sleeve External hydration sleeve and 3L Crux reservoir included Internal hydration sleeve External hydration sleeve None
Hipbelt Yes Yes Yes Yes, webbing No
Compartments 1 2 1 2 1
Rain Cover No No No, but DWR finish No No
Additional pockets 8 6 6 7 2
Outside Carry Options Lidlock helmet attachment, trekking pole quick-stow, large stretch front pocket, ice tool loop with bungee tie-off, side pockets, hip belt pockets, sunglasses shoulder stow, bike light loop Trekking pole and ice axe attachments, side pocket, expandable overflow pocket, hip belt pockets (one zip, two stretch), daisy chain, hydration hose clip Lare exterior stretch pocket, 2 stretch side pockets, 2 zippered hip belt pockets, 1 zippered pocket, hiking pole storage, ice axe loop Trekking pole and ice axe attachment, side pockets, expandable front stuff pocket, four small pockets on shoulder straps, loops on shoulder straps Side pocket
Whistle Yes No Yes No No
Key Clip Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Materials 70D x 100D nylon body, accent and bottom 420HD nylon packcloth 420D oxford nylon 210D Honeycomb Cryptorip nylon, 420D reinforced bottom 70D ripstop nylon, closed-cell foam, elastic pockets 40D Nylon ripstop
Notable Features Helmet attachment, trekking pole quick-stow, sunglasses quick-stow, bike light loop, shoulder strap pocket, stowable ice axe loops Hydration bladder included, hydration pocket has blue zipper pull, removable metal stiffening rod in center of back. multiple pockets in both hip belts, several internal stretch pockets, U-shaped top zipper Sunglasses stow loops, hydration hose attachment, trekking pole attachment Dyno Cinch System connects shoulder straps and waist webbing as one system, cinch cord for top and sides of pack all one system, main and small zippered compartments are opened via side zips for one-shoulder access Packs into its own pocket

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Osprey Tempest 20 is a reasonably lightweight daypack with some great features for light day hikes and commuting. It's made of both 70-Denier and 100-Denier Mini Shadow Brick nylon, with a 420HD nylon packcloth bottom, and weighs 31 ounces. It comes in two sizes: XS/S (13 to 17-inch torso length) and S/M (16 to 20-inch torso length), both of which have adjustable torso lengths.

Like the Tempest but need a bit 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 ten 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.

Performance Comparison


The newest model of the Tempest has an updated back panel system. It...
The newest model of the Tempest has an updated back panel system. It still threads the needle of light support, moderate breathability, and limited structure, though is a modest improvement to previous iterations.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Comfort


This frameless pack has a pliable shape that conforms pretty well to the individual wearer. The BioStretch harness is thin but padded and full of breathable holes that keep it pretty comfortable in the heat. The AirScape back panel rides the line between comfort, support, and minimalism. It's reasonably breathable as well, which we appreciate on a summer bike commute. The updated version of this back panel features horizontal padding bars running underneath the back mesh. This offers more support than previous versions but doesn't completely prevent you from feeling a bulge from the overstuffed pack. Its external hydration reservoir sleeve is also on the small side, making it difficult to put more than a liter of water inside — which is pretty easily felt against your back.


The hip belt also toes the line of being minimally designed while retaining a fair amount of comfort. It's integrated into the back panel to provide a continuous wrap around your waist (no seams between the belt and the bag touching you). We also love how soft the whole harness and back panel of this bag are. They're quite pleasant to wear against your skin on a warm day and do a solid job of flexing with you as you move.

The Tempest hip belt pockets are another great feature on a...
The Tempest hip belt pockets are another great feature on a comfortable, versatile bag.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Versatility


There are a lot of great features on the Tempest that make this a super versatile bag for commuting or day hiking. It felt like 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 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 (with a hook to hang it). There's a small vertical pocket on the left shoulder strap that can hold your GPS unit and an elastic Stow-on-the-Go loop that easily holds sunglasses. It also features two hip belt pockets and our favorite commuter feature: the helmet LidLock. This is 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!

For bicycle commuters and mountain bikers, the LidLock on the...
For bicycle commuters and mountain bikers, the LidLock on the Tempest is a dream come true.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

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, a bike light loop, and a whistle on the sternum strap clip. There's no rain cover, though, so if that's a priority for you, pick one up separately.

Osprey's Stow on the Go system is a quick fix for getting your poles...
Osprey's Stow on the Go system is a quick fix for getting your poles out of your hands during a temporary scramble on the trail, but not really comfortable as a long term storage solution (there are separate straps for that).
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Weight


At 31 ounces, this is about average weight among fully-featured packs that we tested.


We tested the M/L size, which Osprey lists as being a full two liters larger than the XS/S size. In addition to the extra capacity, it's also likely a bit heavier. However, we only ordered one of these bags to test, so we didn't actually weigh the other size. This weight also doesn't include any extras like a rain cover or hydration bladder. Or, obviously, the things that you'll carry around with you on your adventures.

The Tempest feels lighter than it is and has a ton of handy features...
The Tempest feels lighter than it is and has a ton of handy features like a sternum clip whistle and sunglasses stow pouch.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Ease of Use


Though in the past, we've had a hard time finding a good fit in this bag, the ability of the torso to adjust with a simple velcro attachment makes a world of difference. On its smallest setting, the Tempest 20 seems to run a bit small, but our testers were all able to find a fit that was comfortable for them. Our main tester has a 17-inch torso (at the far high end for the XS/S size of 13 to 17 inches) and was very comfortable wearing the M/L. It has all the adjustments we've come to expect from a more technical daypack and does a great job evenly distributing weight for a comfortable and balanced carry, no matter what you've brought.


The main compartment zipper has the ability to zip quite far down the sides, making it easy to pack full and find what you need without pulling everything out. We do think it's a tad small for our preferences — we're much happier with a couple of extra liters - but it's still very usable. The exterior hydration pocket is simple to use and compatible with pretty much any hanging hydration bladder, not just Osprey's, though allows the bladder to be felt through the thin back padding. One feature we wish was better is the front expandable pocket. It's very narrow compared to most other daypacks, and we prefer a little extra room to jam a whole puffy and snacks in there if we want. However, jamming a pocket in that location so full would probably make it difficult to use the LidLock clip, so perhaps keeping it small is best for this bag.

A versatile clip can hold most hydration reservoirs - though this...
A versatile clip can hold most hydration reservoirs - though this pack can only take smaller bladders, all of which will bulge into your back and minimize ventilation.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Durability


This pack earned 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. It's made of a 70-Denier x 100-Denier Mini Shadow Brick nylon body and a 420HD nylon packcloth bottom.


We like that this pack has beefier, 420-Denier nylon on the bottom, but compared to many others we tested, its main body is on the thin and light side. If you live in an area with lots of pokey plants and sharp rocks, like the desert southwest, you might need to be careful what you scrape against. But if your intended usage is more on the "average" side of activities, this pack is a pretty solid choice.

Both side pockets can accommodate a standard 1-liter Nalgene of water.
Both side pockets can accommodate a standard 1-liter Nalgene of water.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Value


This bag is on the low end of average regarding the prices of packs we tested. It's far from the cheapest, but also nowhere near the most expensive. We think that it offers an exceptional level of versatility and usability and a good level of durability that makes it very worth what you'll pay.

Conclusion


There's a lot to like about our Best Buy award winner. The Osprey Tempest 20 is reasonably low weight, comfortable to wear, and has some great, easy-to-use features. We love 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!

We love the relatively lightweight, feature-filled versatility of...
We love the relatively lightweight, feature-filled versatility of the Tempest.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Maggie Brandenburg

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