Lots of updates from Osprey for next year, plus their Hydraulics bladder gets a complete overhaul.
Another in our series of reports from the recent OutDoor trade show in Germany and this time, a quick look at what's new from Osprey, including some serious rejigs of existing models, the odd new pack and a redesign of the brand's hydration reservoir.
New Xenith And Xena Models
Big packs may not be that big in the UK these days, but they're still serious stuff in North America, so meet the Xenith and Xena featuring pre-curved back systems, a Bioform hip-belt and Neospace harness and backpanel.
The foam used moulds better to the users' contours and there are silicone gripper strips to help hold the back system in place. Small changes over previous models help improve things too, following feedback from users, Osprey reversed the Velcro components on the hip-belt to avoid any scratchiness from the rough bit.
Access is from the top but also with side and bottom entry options and one neat touch, there's a seperate hydration reservir pocket to make refilling on the move as easy as possible. All this and they're actually lighter than the packs they replace.... And while we remember, the lid still converts to a lumbar pack, but the mechanism has been simplified.
Aether and Ariel Updated
The existing Aether (men's) and Ariel (women's) big packs get a comprehensive overhaul for 2013. First, they've been restyled to look more modern, but there's also real change under the surface. In particular the back system has been changed with the addition of Osprey's tried and tested Airscape panels to give better venting and cooling.
The hip-belt's been tweaked too and is now pre-curved and can be custom heat moulded to give better adaptation to the contours of the user's body. There's side entry to the main compartment for easier access and Osprey's Straitjacket compression for better, erm, compression. Finally both packs are also lighter for next year.
Women's Specific Kestrel
Brand new for next year is a female-specific Kestrel lightweight with an Airscape back and rain cover. Main differences are a women's-specific fit and girl-friendly colour schemes like teal blue and rose pinlk. Capacities available are 66, 46 adn 36 litres.
Hydration Reservoir Updated
We've kiled two of Osprey's original Nalgene-made reservoirs, both leaked, we think, at the stitched area, so it's great to see a new version which has no stitching thanks to a laminated construction. The reservoir is also slightly wider, so it's correspondingly thinner or shallower. It's also now hot water friendly and finally the hose walls are thicker to reduce the risk of kinking. Lots of small refinements, that should make for a better reservoir.
The mountain-biking Raptor range gets tweaked too. There's more venting for the back panel to encourage lateral air flow. The pockets on the hip belt which were previously insecure, open-topped, stretch things will have zips - hurrah! Fabrics are refined too, there's an internal key pocket and a lower tool-specific outside pocket complete with a handy tool-roll.
Sizes are 6L, 10L and 14L and there's also a women's specific version called the Raven in 10L and 14L versions.
Viper And Verve
The lighter, simpler, Viper and Verve bike packs get tweaks too. Fabric is a super light diamond triple-rip stop polyester and the back system now uses die-cut reticulated EVA foam for better breathing and non-absorption of fluid plus there's an asymmetric zip, which looks kind of cool. Sizes are 5L, 9L and 13L.
Overall looking good with some cracking bright colours too. More about the current Osprey Pack range at www.ospreypacks.com.