Paws on first impressions of Osprey's new, sleek, lightweight daypack out early in 2012.
Osprey's big news for next spring 2012 is the new range of child carriers, but the brand also has three new lightweight day-packs in the Syncro series and we have one in for a very early look.
The Synchro comes in three capacities, 10, 15 and 20 litres, and we have a Syncro 15m here. Visually it has similarities with the bike-friendly Talon packs, with a sleek, narrow shape, but the construction is different.
It's not a hydration-specific pack either, despite the looks, though it will take an Osprey Hydraform Reservoir quite happily.
Just a few years ago, packs of this size would have been considered on the small side for day use, but the development of lighter and more compact clothing and equipment means that 15 litres is more than adequate if you have the right kit.
So what's it like? Well, first it's light. Osprey says 730 grammes for the 15-litre version. Next, it's 'very Osprey', which is to say very neatly designed, sleekly contoured and with a quality feel to it. Fabrics feel top notch and are specced light to keep weight down.
It also features quite a few familiar Osprey technologies. The back panel, for example, is the AirSpeedTM one as used on the Stratos and Atmos daypacks. That means a lightweight alloy perimeter frame with a tensioned, breathable mesh sheet with open sides for added venting.
It gives some extra ventilation, but still sits close to the back which is good for stability. It's also, based on a brief try-on, very comfortable, nestling nicely into the contours of our back. The lower corners are padded with EVA foam as well, so no pointiness there. The harness is BioStretchTM with perforated EVA foam and comfortable give to it.
In lay-out, the pack's similar to a Talon 15, so there's a zipped top-pocket, a main compartment, with a whopping zip-entry, then an outer pocket complete with internal pockets for storage of bike tools, phones or anything else you might want to organise.
You also get the cracking LidLock helmet attachment feature, which neatly secures a bike or climbing helmet via one of the vents and a rear light slot for after dark safety. There are couple of stretch stash pockets at the side too.
What you don't get is any sort of compression system. The jury's kind of out on that one. We're guessing that Osprey's thinking is that full-on runners and mountain bikers will be looking more at the Talon or the stripped-down Verve and Viper packs, whereas the Syncro is more of a lighter, smaller-capacity alternative to the more hiking-orientated Mantas.
Blah... all you really need to know is that it doesn't have a compression system, which may or may not turn out to be an issue depending on you and what you're carrying and doing.
For some weight perspective, the Synchro 20 weighs a claimed 880g, a Manta 20 is 1070g and the smallest Stratos, the 24, is 1120g, so you are saving a chunk of weight over equivalent Osprey packs.
Light But Still Comfortable
Overall, we rather like the new Syncro 15. It's light, but still comfortable and stable. Sure, something like the Salomon XA20 M – is significntly lighter at 490g compared to the 730g of the Syncro 15, but then the Osprey has a vented, more supportive back system and harness and a less minimalist, spartan vibe to it. It comes with a high vis integrated rain cover for example.
In short, the Syncro 15 feels like a good balance between weight and functionality. It's both bikeable and hikeable and not so stripped down that it feels like a shopping bag with straps sewn on.
More to come, but the Syncros will be out early in 2012, prices £60, £65 and £70 for the 10, 15 and 20-litre versions respectively.
More Osprey information at www.ospreypacks.com.