First Test -Product Preview
Osprey are a company firmly in the fast and light camp when it comes to producing ‘sacks and bags, and unsurprisingly the Raptor 10 is no exception. Made from a durable rip-stop nylon and sporting loads of up-to-the-minute materials, the Raptor manages to feel solid even given its super light weight.
As part of Osprey's award winning Hydraulics range the Raptor is aimed squarely at the mountain biking fraternity, bringing with it some innovative features where most probably thought that once you'd seen one bladder bag you'd seen them all. The main feature of the Raptor is the impressive HydraLock spring system which is designed to maintain the shape of the bladder in the ‘sac whilst forcing liquid down to the mouthpiece in a constant and satisfying flow, meaning less time spent sucking on dirt and more time breathing - phew! Perhaps the bladder would benefit from having a tap though, such as Camelbak's design? Another nifty touch is the recessed magnet on the chest strap which secures the mouthpiece neatly across your chest - a great idea unless you're using it on the go, when it can be difficult to locate.
Tearing around the Grizedale trails the Raptor felt incredibly secure and centred where other packs have been found wanting for stability. The vented shoulder straps, waist belt and superbly adjustable chest strap all combined to fit comfortably, even on the long-bodied amongst us. Osprey's mesh back system did prove to be a little too firm for those with little meat on our bones, resulting in a bit of a rub when putting on the power, but nothing to stop us enjoying the ride - and even so Osprey promise that the finished article will be more forgiving.
If you're a fan of tidy kit then the Raptor is right up your trail, with no less than 6 pockets (7 if you include the bladder chamber) to lose track of your banana in. In the main compartment a simple pouch provides the perfect place to stash a spare tube, whilst either side of this there are long pockets which happily accommodate a track and shock pump. After this there's still plenty of room in there for a wet, midlayer and multi-tool.
A handy lanyard in one smaller pocket ensures your keys stay put and don't jangle around annoyingly - providing the bag's not empty, and at its widest part, where the waiststrap attaches to the 'sac, two handy elasticated pockets ensure you've always somewhere to stick that pesky choccy wrapper in a hurry. The quick-release slide adjusters can be a bit fiddly however, when wearing long finger gloves.
Like the Berghaus Bladdered before it, the Raptor has opted for a handy helmet carrying device, this time located at the top of the elasticated external pocket. Unlike the fiddly Bladdered, however, this lid-lock system uses a minimum-fuss tab and drawcord affair to simply and effectively thread through a helmet vent and keep it tight to the bag. It works well, though how often it would get used is another matter entirely. We figured it's not taking up space or weight by being there, so good call.
With the Raptor, Osprey continue to provide useful innovations and lighter, stronger materials where we weren't even aware we needed them. Given it's clever gizmos, low weight and ability to carry loads in supreme comfort, and providing that the prototype's niggles have been sorted out by the time the Raptor 10 hits the shelves in Feb 2010 we'll happily give it a 5 out of 5.
|Osprey Raptor 10 Rucksack|
|The new Raptor series of packs..|
|£84.99 (2 sizes 1 colours)|
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