For the last two years, I rode around with my hydration pack hitting me in the back of the head off every jump. It’s not that we had a bad relationship, mind you — my dog had just chewed off the hip belt. It was her puppy phase, and no strap was safe.
When I met up with a friend and he was wearing a shiny new Osprey Raptor 10, I was immediately intrigued. The pack and the company producing it both have a pretty good reputation in my circle of riding buddies. Here’s their “All Mighty Guarantee,” in their own words: “Osprey will repair any damage or defect for any reason free of charge — whether it was purchased in 1974 or yesterday. If we are unable to perform a functional repair on your pack, we will happily replace it.” Sounds pretty good to me.
I did the bare minimum of research before pulling the trigger, mainly debating over the 10L version vs. the 14L, and I’ve been incredibly happy with the pack. I’ll start with the basics.
In addition to the hip belt with two pockets that went missing on my last pack, the Raptor 10 has a single main pocket with a mesh area that’s perfect for keeping your new smartphone screen from getting too frisky with your car keys and the empty beer cans likely living in the bottom of your pack.
It also has vertical pockets on each side that are either for bringing along tasty trail pickles or a pump, like my Lezyne Micro Floor Drive pictured here. Depending on the season (and the ride), I generally bring along an extra layer and some sort of rain shell like my Outdoor Research Helium II jacket that packs down to about the size of a hackey sack.
The Osprey 10 comes with a 3-Liter “Hydraulics” reservoir. I was initially disappointed when I saw the fold-and-clamp closure system. Call me old-fashioned, but I’ve always been a screw-top kind of guy. I can also admit when I’m wrong, and the closure system has yet to let me down with the slightest leak. The bladder also comes with some plastic back protection built in. I’m not sure whether it’s for me or the bladder, but I like knowing it’s there.
Lots of purpose-built mountain biking packs come with tool storage of some sort, and the Raptor 10 is no different. A convenient unrolling pocket at the very bottom of the pack means heavy things like multitools, tubes, and CO2 cartridges stay down there, while other light, fluffy things like granola bars and marshmallows are stored higher up. This might not have a drastic impact on your center of gravity, but it’s a nice detail.
And ultimately, the details are really what set the Raptor 10 apart. There’s a little zipper lock to keep your tool pocket from accidentally opening and dumping your thoughtfully-chosen emergency tools all over the parking lot, you Eagle Scout. There’s a magnet that keeps your bite valve nicely in place on your chest strap. Sounds like a gimmick, I know, but it works perfectly the vast majority of the time.
There’s a pocket for your glasses that has a nice, soft liner so your clear-lens tri-goggles (like mine) get scratched up defending your eyeballs on the trail instead of in your pack.
Using it on a commute? The Raptor also has a spot so you can rock a red blinky light in traffic, as well as a “Lidlock” attachment to hold your helmet that I can’t take advantage of since I have a Smith Forefront. Not being able to walk around looking like a ninja turtle is a small price to pay, I guess.
I was a little concerned that the 10-Liter version of the Raptor would be too small. If you’re looking for something that doubles as a light day pack for the rest of your active lifestyle you might want to bump up to the 14-Liter. I’d go with the 10 if your pack is strictly destined for riding. It’s been perfect for everything from two miles (it was really cold that day) to 82, and if you pack smart you can make every cubic centimeter of space count.
Speaking of, here’s what I bring in my pack, just for kicks:
- Phone (I <3 Strava)
- Extra layer
- Crankbrothers M17 multitool
- Patch kit
- 2 tire levers
- 2 quicklinks
- 2 cleat screws
- Valve core
- Derailleur hanger
- Big rubber bands
- Zip ties
- Brake pads
If this seems like a lot, I occasionally do some pretty long and pretty solo one-way rides, and I like knowing I can get out of just about any sticky situation.
A review isn’t complete without one or two gripes, so I racked my brain to come up something about this pack that I don’t like. The one major downer is that the material the pack is made of could be more durable. I strive to spend more time on my bike and less time doing front flips onto the trail, but if you mess with fire you’re going to get burned. The pack is showing signs of these “burns” and could probably use a patch or two where I’ve landed on my back. That being said, it’s mostly cosmetic and far from meriting a return to Osprey for repairs. When I do send it in for a fix, I’ll be sure to report if their guarantee is truly “All Mighty.”
Overall, I would highly recommend this pack. I’m a thirsty rider, and I like having the three liter capacity for rides in the summer heat. The mesh back helps it breathe reasonably well, and the hip belt and chest strap keep it right where you want it when the trail gets bumpy (or jumpy). It’s also obvious that the bells and whistles were designed to serve a purpose on the trail and not as selling points for the retail staff at REI.
Claimed weight: 1lb 6oz
Your Turn: If you have a Raptor 10, let me know what you think in the comments section below, or you can feel free to critique the contents of mine.