Osprey Packs - Spring 2015 Preview
Latest in our series of spring 2015 gear previews from the OutDoor show in Germany is Osprey Packs, who launched a pair of innovative new, Gold Award-winning big packs, revamped its accessory range and added to its range of trail-running packs as well as tweaking a number of other models.
New Atmos AG And Aura AG Packs
That's the Atmos AG65 in the image at the top of the page, one of four new models - two men's and two women's - that wowed the jury in the show awards to land a sought-after Gold prize. The 'AG' bit of the name stands for 'AntiGravity' and hints at a back system that's a little bit different in the world of big packs.
It's a hard one to explain, but the whole back of the pack, including the hip-belt, uses a highly-tensioned, seamless mesh that's vented but also supportive enough to spread the load right across back and hips and allow you to carry a substantial load in comfort. Or that's the theory.
The Fit-On-The-Fly mesh hip-belt's particularly distinctive and a bit of a stand-out - we've never seen anything like it before - but it also has the impressive Exo-Form harness we first encountered on the new Exos pack this spring.
The idea of a ventilated back system on a big load lugger - the packs come in 50L and 65L versions - seems a little counter-intuitive, but Osprey had a fully-loaded pack we were able to try on and we were genuinely, pleasantly surprised.
Once on and adjusted, the AG back-system kind of moulds itself across your back and round your hips giving what does feel like a really even load distribution right across your shoulders, back and hips. It's a bit like being enveloped in a snug bear-hug and a little bit different from conventional packs which tend to focus on feeding the load down onto your hips.
Of course there's a world of difference between pottering round a show stand for five minutes and a multi-day backpacking expedition, but as an introduction, it was promising.
The rest of the pack is conventional in Osprey terms at least with top notch materials and components, Stow-on-the-Go trekking pole attachment, sleeping bag compartment, inbuilt raincover and removable FlapJackettop cover.
Not the lightest pack in the world - the Atmos 65 is a claimed 2120g in medium - but not ridiculously heavy either. The 50L versions are just a smidgeon under 2000g. Nor is it cheap at £180 for the 65L versions and £160 for the 50L variants. Interesting stuff for anyone looking for a largish vented pack that should have an impressive carry.
Also new for spring are a bunch of typically thoughtful Osprey accessories. The two that really stood out were a range of roll-top, siilconised dry-bags with roll-top closure and a new, lighter-weight version of Osprey's hydration reservoir, the SL.
Nothing new in lightweight dry-bags you might say, but the Osprey ones have been cut so they're rectangular when packed. The idea is that they nest together without leaving dead spaces leading to more efficient packing. Each bag also has its capacity in litres on it in reflective print. Nice idea. They'll come in 3,6,12,20 and 30L sizes with prices between £8 and £16.
Also new are ultra-light wash-bags, ulta-light rain covers plus the same with reflective print and a selection of camera cases, but the other stand-out are new lighter Hydraulics LT hydration reservoirs. They're a claimed 40% lighter than the existing range thanks mainly to the jettisoning of the stiffened moulded back panel, there' are internal gussets to stop the reservoir ballooning or barrelling out and make it easier to slide into a load pack. They also use smaller caps.
Finally on that front, Osprey has followed the trend towards quickly detachable tubes with a new Quick Connect device that's also retrofittable to existing reservoirs. Saves de-threading drinking tubes when filling up. As ever though, Osprey has done something a little bit different. Rather than sit the connector at the base of the reservoir, it actually joins at the top end making it far easier to reach.
New Rev 1.5 and Rev 6 Running Packs
Also brand new are a pair of new running packs, the Rev 6 and Rev 1.5 using the new 1.5L SL reservoirs which are supplied with the packs. They're designed to sit high up on the chest to avoid rocking hips and feature a BioStretchTM body-wrap harness with stabilization wings and body-belt.
The result is a pack that properly wraps round your torso and grips firmly to eliminate rolling on the move. It feels super stable thanks to that comprehensive elastic harness system and dual sternum straps. The 1.5 is pretty much a reservoir and a bar sort of affair, with maybe just enough space for a super-lightweight windshell, while the 6L has a little more space for longer days on the trail.
Both have a flip-down, transparent plastic fronted DigiFlip pocket designed to carry a phone or GPS and allow you to access them on the move, while keeping them safely protected. Nice idea. The Rev 1.5 will sell of £50 and the Rev 6 will be £60.
We've had the chance to have a play with a new Rev 1.5 and we'll bring you a full set of impressions shortly, but we can tell you know that it's impressively planted in use and, as ever, the magnetic bite-valve anchoring system is a little slice of genius.
Ace Kid's Packs
Other stuff we liked included the new Ace and Jet series kid's packs. They have all the build quality and refinements you'd expect from Osprey, but for youngsters. The back-system and hip-belt are ultra-adjustable, so they can adapt to growth.
The Ace in 50 and 38L versions, has an AirScape backpanel with foam ridges plus a peripheral LightWireTM frame. The smaller Jet daypacks in 18 and 12L sizes just use the AirScape back panel. The various models should cater for youngsters from the age of 8 right up to 15 or 16, though obviously it depends on the size of the child.
And The Rest
Those are the highlights, well, the ones we can remember anyway. There are some other updates too: the Escapist multi-day bike pack has a new, more refined BioStretch harness for better fit and tougher fabrics and there's a larger 32L version for longer trips.
Also for bikes, the streamlined Synchro model has a new AirSpeed trampoline suspended mesh back system and a ventilated BioStretch harness for next year, and it's 'leaner and lighter' too, it says here.
And finally the all mountain Zealot bike pack gets tweaked too with new back panel access and an elasticated load control system to reduce roll in the main compartment.
And that's about it. All the above are due out in spring 2015. You can find the current Osprey Packs range at www.ospreyeurope.com.