August 16, 2013
The heat of the summer is not over yet, and if a couple water bottles won't cut it for your long rides, a hydration pack is a solid option. The Osprey Raptor 10 has been a favorite of mine for some years now and, with tons of useful and well made features, continues to be a strong option for a variety of riders.
Hydration is the first feature to make note of with this pack. Included is a 3 litre reservoir that is both BPA and PVC free, and uses an antimicrobial formula to fight off bacteria and mold. Despite that, I wouldn't suggest tossing too many sports drinks in there, because it can only do so much. For drinking, the magnetic bite valve is easy to use, and I haven't had any issues with it dripping when not in use. The magnetic feature is a good way to easily attach it to the sternum strap on the pack.
Some other cool features are the bike specific storage and accessory components. On the exterior of the bag, you have a large plastic tab called a LidLock, which straps to your helmet so you can carry it around securely when you're not on your bike. There's also a loop designed to accommodate a rear light. The bottom rear pocket on the pack is a roll up tool pouch with mesh pockets for easy access when you need it.
Other useful features include plenty of storage dividers inside the main compartment to keep your gear organized, and well padded shoulder and hip straps for comfort. The hip straps even have a couple pockets that can hold a small point-and-shoot camera, or some food.
Top to bottom, this is a well built and well refined pack that will handle a lot of different styles of riding, in addition to any other outdoor activities, such as hiking, trail running, or cross country skiing. Colors available are Screamin' Green, Madcap Red, or black. Retail is $120, and for a women's specific version, check out the Raven 10 pack.
Photo by Josh Tack
TOURING GEAR & TIPS is written by Joshua Tack of Adventure Cycling's member services department. It appears weekly, highlighting technical aspects of bicycle touring and advice to help better prepare you for the journey ahead. Look for Josh's "Fine Tuned" column in Adventure Cyclist magazine as well.