Osprey Viper 13 Hydration Pack Review

Here is something new for 2011 from Osprey: the Viper 13 which is the men’s version of the Verve pack mudhunny reviewed not too long ago. Is the Viper every bit as good? Read on.

The Osprey Viper 13 is the largest of the Viper Series with 800 cubic inches of storage capacity, a decent amount for sure. It’s big enough for many day-long rides yet small enough to be considered a marathon pack. With the proven 3L large mouth Hydraform bladder you get one of the best bladders on the market plus key compartments to help you organize your gear.

The large hose and decent bite valve on the included bladder both work great and the reservoir didn’t leak on me. The bladder, which I can’t rave about enough, works, fits, and cleans well. The molded form ensures that even if filled to the brim with water, you don’t feel like there’s a salami on your back.

The pack’s main compartment has a few internal sleeve pockets to keep stuff like bike pumps, multi-tools, power links, tire irons, and tubes organized and easy to get to. Up top you get the stash pocket which is a quick access zippered pocket. The stash pocket features a soft fabric lining which makes it perfect for sunglasses or electronics or whatever you don’t want scratched. On the very outer part of the bag there’s a swatch of stretch fabric which doubles as the embossed logo and blinker attachment.

Other small but welcomed features include the stretchy front pocket on the shoulder strap which is just about the right size for energy snacks and most phones (it’s a snug fit for iPhones). The padded shoulder straps and back are comfortable even on longer rides where other packs tend to start digging into your back and clavicle area. The waist strap is a bit on the thin side with no padding, perhaps in an effort to save weight. For those who are looking for extra for comfort here, the thin strap could chafe a bit depending on your body shape. But to me, the waist strap wasn’t a noticeable issue. All the buckles are high quality and the helmet attachment and back light hoop are all welcome additions and multiply the versatility of the Viper 13.

Using the Viper 13 for an all day ride may be a bit of a stretch depending on what you need to carry. Although 3L should be plenty of water, depending on conditions you may need a bit more room in the pack (if so consider the Manta 20 or Raptor 18, both from Osprey). But for the rider who just needs room for snacks, a tool pouch, spare tube, and maybe a thin jacket, the Viper 13 should work well. I tend to use the Viper on my 4-hour rides and find it’s perfect for that. The light weight of the pack itself ( 1lb 7 oz empty) makes the Viper almost feel like it’s not there.

Available in three colors for about $94, you’re getting a decent pack for the money. Osprey also has their all mighty guarantee: “Osprey will repair for any reason, free of charge, any damage or defect in our product whether it was purchased in 1974 or yesterday” (see Osprey for further details). So check out Osprey’s hydration packs when you have a chance!

I would like to thank the folks at Osprey for sending down the Viper 13 for a review.

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