Osprey unveils an innovative new series of hydration packs for hikers and bikers.
One of the most interesting new
for 2010 products
at the recent Friedrichshafen OutDoor
Show was Osprey's innovative new range of hydration packs, Osprey Hydraulics
The show award judges obviously agreed and the Manta 25 hiking pack
won the Gold Award
To put things in context, Osprey took three years to develop Hydraulics
and went through around 100 prototypes - the Mutant climbing pack had
just seven - and the result is quite different from other packs we've
seen with both hiking and biking variants.
So what's the big deal? Well, in very general terms it's all about the
hydration bladder and how it interacts with the pack. Made by Nalgene,
the HydraForm reservoir is really unusual with a patented flat, foam
back panel that makes it freestanding - above - unlike other bladders.
There's also a handle to make holding and filling the bladder more
The next unusual touch is that theY-shaped HydraLock frame locks slides
into the pack and locks the reservoir in place, even when the pack is
full. The flat section means there's no barrelling even when the
bladder and pack are rammed.
Once the bladder's inside, a locking top actually locks the bladder
into place, but also puts pressure on the contents, so that the liquid
inside is force-fed out of the bite valve meaning no vigorous sucking
is required and sloshing is minimised.
We're not sure that there's a real issue with extracting water from
existing hydration systems and in any case, with full packs, bladders
are under some pressure anyway, but you can't fault Osprey's design
ingenuity and we'll reserve judgement till we've tried the packs for
Hiking And Biking Packs
The outdoor version of the pack is called the Manta
and comes in
20, 25 and 30-litre capacities with prices from £90 to
£100. All the packs also include classic Osprey features like
stretch side pockets, a reverse-wrap hip-belt a rain cover and the Stow
On The Go trekking pole system.
Mountain bikers get their own version designed purely for on-bike use.
Called the Raptor
it comes in 6,10,14 and 18-litre sizes with prices ranging from
£70 to £90. It's curved to match a canted forward
riding position, has no frame and unlike the hiking pack, uses the
bladder panel as part of the back system.
Again there's no barreling thanks to the flat back panel, but in
addition, riders can increase the pressure on the liquid by arching
their backs giving what Osprey calls quick ‘hydraulic’ bursts of H2O.
The Raptor also has a ventilated back panel, ventilated BioStretch
harness, lots of compartments for easy kit stowage and differentiation,
stretch mesh hip pockets and a neat helmet carrier that uses the helmet
vents for secure carrying.
Hydraulics is the big story from Osprey, but there are
other tweaks to the range as well. The Aerial
been tweaked and re-designed along 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it'
lines with added ice axe bungees and Stow On The Go pole carriers.
There are new 68 and 58-litre version of the entry-level Kestrel
an added Light Wire frame for better carrying, a thicker hip-belt and a
floating removable lid. Priced at between £70 and
There's a new kids' packs in the form of the Jet - above - which is
basically a scaled-down Talon 22 and looks great into the bargain.
Finally the Stratos
entry-level ventilated packs have been redesigned with a new back
panel, a new lightwire frame and brace, Stow On The Go, rain covers and
neat new looks. Sizes are 24-litres and 34 litres in panel-loading
format and conventional top-loading 26 and 36-litre versions.
All the above are out in early
. More about Osprey at www.ospreypacks.com