January 27, 2014
I've been using the Raptor hydration pack from Osprey for over a year now with a brief interlude using a model from another major national brand. The Raptor's design continues to stand out as one of exceptional quality.
The bladder removes from the pack quickly and easily after undoing a couple of buckles and an optional zipper that I normally leave open. The side of the bladder that faces the user's back has a rigid structure that helps maintain the shape of things, avoiding the slosh factor and preserving pack fit & overall comfort. At the business end of the hose, the bite valve features a magnetic piece that attaches to the sternum strap (or, in my case, a nearby suspender buckle). Rotating the valve 45 degrees closes or opens that interface.
The AirScape™ back panel features a tensioned mesh that preserves circulation between the pack & the user's back. All straps are quickly & intuitively adjustable and the BioStretch™ ventilated harness keeps things comfortable.
The LidLock™ clip allows a quick method for attaching a helmet without sacrificing any internal capacity. It's one of those features that inspires a face-palming, "why didn't they think of that years ago?"
The only qualm with the pack would be the bite valve - it's just a little too easy for me to bite through, de-pressurizing the bladder/hose, which makes for some dead air before getting water.
Right now, we're clearing out the 2012 models at a great price. The only differences of note are the older Nalgene-manufactured bladder, the body-specific sizing (newer models are one body size), and the removable roll-up tool pouch which is included in newer models. Either way, it's a great pack at a great price with all the important features.
Photos courtesy of Osprey
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