Osprey wasn’t a brand I was particularly familiar with until Bike Magic sent over the Raven 10 for me to review. I’d passed Osprey over in shops in favour of the brightly designed Dakine and Camelbak bag. The Raven 10 is certainly not dull though; it’s green, it’s well made and very well designed and I like it a lot!
The Raven 10 is a women’s bike specific pack. It comes in clover green and iris purple and also has a larger sister pack, the Raven 14. It is very well built and still looks brand new even though it has been in daily use as my commuter pack, mountain biking and hiking pack since I took delivery of it. It has withstood many days under my desk being kicked and trodden on as well as out on the trails in the rain, heat, cold and mud.
The pack is very comfortable to wear. I usually hate sternum straps on backpacks as they feel too restrictive and get in the way of my boobs! However, the Osprey sternum strap was obviously designed for women and I always hook it up now – even when walking to the shops as it’s just so comfortable. The waist belt took a bit of setting up but once done it fits perfectly – I had to unhook the clips from behind the clasp to allow the waist belt to be tightened enough for me.
Here are a few of my favourite features:
- Every zipper has a neat plastic loop at the end of it allowing you to open/close the zipper with gloves on – nice!
- The bladder has a spine on it to enable easy filling and easy insertion into the bladder pocket. I am not a fan of the floppy bladders that feature in other brands’ bags as I am all fingers and thumbs and inevitably end up with some of the drink on my clothes!
- The bladder can be inserted without having to remove the tube and the tube routes really cleverly inside one of the zipped shoulder straps.
- There’s a strong magnet on the sternum strap to keep the mouth piece in place – no more catching the nozzle under your arms or dripping on your leg.
- I love the handy mesh pockets in the waist belt – great for keys/credit cards/tickets/lip balms – one on each side.
- There is a great tool pocket at the bottom of the pack. You unzip it and roll out the tool pocket – there’s even a flap to allow you to lay your tools on it – no more lost valve caps!
- You can attach your XC helmet to a LidLock so you don’t have to carry it when off your bike.
There are quite a few pockets in this bag – here’s a run-down:
- A small handy pocket for bits and bobs with a integral key fob
- A waterproof pocket behind the small handy pocket that nicely fits my iPhone
- The main internal compartment has mesh holders handy for pumps/tubes etc. but is otherwise open to allow carrying of odd shaped items.
- The bladder pocket can be used to store flat things when not in use with the bladder.
- Front stretchy outer pocket with clip, which is handy for gloves or food – no zip on this one.
- The tool pocket – the inner tool pouch can be unclipped making this an extra handy pocket.
- Two pockets in the waistband for handy access to tickets etc.
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I can carry my tools, drink, waterproofs and lunch along with other essentials such as my phone, money and lip balm. The pack has compression straps which can be loosened for larger loads and tightened for lighter loads making it the right size for most occasions.
On the bike, the pack sits centrally with a great mesh back called AirScape, which keeps the pack away from your back to keep you cool. The bite valve delivers plenty of fluid but I did notice that my drink heats up in the clear tube in hot weather – the drink in the bladder remains cold though. I can carry quite a heavy load without really noticing it as the weight distribution is very even. The pack is very stable on the bumpiest of descents. When the bladder is removed the pack still retains its shape and is still comfortable to ride it. To be honest, I didn’t even notice wearing the pack, which is high praise indeed.
Overall, this is a very nice pack. Well made, well thought out and obviously designed for women – it doesn’t feel like a small version of a man’s pack. I have used quite a few other brands of bag in the past but this Osprey is my bag of choice leaving the others gathering dust in my cupboard!
More information: Osprey Raven 10 women’s backpack
Price: £85.00 (although you can easily find a cheaper deal)