The Osprey Siskin 12 is a well-made, medium-size hydration pack with some considered features coupled with a comfortable fit. It’s a good benchmark for this size of trail pack.
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The Airscape back panel gives a pretty decent airflow when riding. The central area is a channel, and this allows some air movement – it's also comfy against your spine as there's foam padding either side of the gap.
With a 2.5L Hydraulics Reservoir as standard, the Siskin holds enough water for a few hours riding, and enough storage for the essentials to accompany. The whole front panel unzips clear of the pack, so access is great – you can get at everything very easily.
It has mesh pockets for separating your gear, including two vertical ones (think perfect for pumps but too small for baguettes) and a small zip pocket at the top: it's lined with cloth that doesn't look that soft, but which Osprey says is non-scratch for glasses, phones and the like.
On the outside you get a useful shove pocket / full-face helmet carrier, and it's great place for keeping a waterproof jacket. If you're carrying a trail lid, Osprey's LidLock tab takes care of that – it works easily and conveniently.
For darkeness, there are reflective areas and also a loop for clipping on LED lights.
With two compression straps on the side, the Siskin feels pretty stable and reassuringly solid when riding. With it being quite thin it can roll a little when fully loaded with water and kit, though the sternum and waist strap definitely help keep it to a minimum.
I found the included 2.5L Hydraulics LT reservoir really tough to get into initially, and it had quite a strong plastic taste on first use. Both eased off during the test, and it actually closes more easily than most once you're ready to seal it up.
There's plenty of adjustment on the sternum and shoulder straps, which are made with a mix of padding and open webbing. They spread weight well and keep heat build-up to a minimum. I like the low-profile hip pockets: they're good for gels or snacks, if a bit awkward for tools or keys. Luckily there's a special clip for keys.
The zips are all good quality YKK with metal closures, and pull toggles make them easy to use in gloves.
With a nice easy opening to get to the reservoir, a simple switch to left or right shoulder strap for the hose, and a solid webbing grab handle, the details impress. It's a really good size for all the most essential stuff you need, too, and comes in a variety of strong yet subtle colour schemes. Although the price sits at the upper end of things, Osprey has got it right with the Siskin – the design, build and functionality don't disappoint.
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