Osprey Viper 7 ReviewPrice: $80 List Pros: Stylish, easy to drink, easy to fill.
Cons: Heavy for its size, expensive, harder to clean.
This pack stands out for the most structure of the small hydration packs we tested. For some, this makes this the most comfortable small pack tested. But it comes at a cost: this pack is expensive and heavy for how small it is. For the mountain biker who is not obsessed on weight, it is a great option and all the extra back padding gives extra spine protection if you fall off your bike.
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Our Analysis and Test Results
One of the more comfortable small packs in the group. Ample padding on shoulder straps and a bladder that's molded in the shape of the back.
Mild but controllable bounce during running; this really isn't a running pack. It's best for hiking and MTB.
Ease of Drinking
While the bite valve is slightly different than the CB style, drinking is very easy. Flow may be slightly less than with the CB mouthpiece but it's very close. There's a heavy plastic taste for first 10+ fills that's very unpleasant but it finally went away. The magnetic mouthpiece keeps the valve right where you want it.
Ease of Filling
This bladder was the easiest to fill and replace. It slides out of a dedicated pocket and slides right back in with only one Velcro strap to secure. It offers one of the easiest transitions of all the packs tested.
This pack is surprisingly heavy for being so small due to the heavy reservoir and use of plastics in the pack.
If not for this issue, the Osprey would be the best pack of the bunch, hands down. Initially it was absolutely bomber with no leaks whatsoever. At some point it must have cross-threaded or chipped somewhere near the threads because it now has a steady leak from the lid. This could probably be fixed with some pipe tape or something like it. It's tough to know if this is an issue just with our unit or something more universal.
Ease of Cleaning
Osprey reservoirs are not the easiest to clean and, with no quick release, neither is the drink tube.
There is not that much storage when it is fully loaded. But it is nice that you can easily lash a layer to the outside.
— Chris McNamara and Adam Pilger
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Most recent review: December 28, 2012
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