Ergonomically superb womens specific pack for quick laps or big days in the saddle alike
Nov 26 2017
Doesn't move about on your back
Lots of organisational features
Comfortable and breathable
Excess straps need to be secured with a zip tie
Upper handle looks a bit odd
You want an everyday pack that will hold all your gear, 3L of water and stay still on your back
The Osprey Raven 10 is a mountain bike hydration pack incorporating a 3 litre reservoir and as many ergonomic features as you can imagine. It’s a secure, well designed piece of kit that is one of the top contenders for my favourite bag, and I collect bags like a squirrel hoards nuts for winter.
Like any woman, I like bags, just I’ve got a penchant for technical backpacks, rucksacks and bumbags for the great outdoors. Over my years of mountain biking, I’ve owned and used many of the above, all of which have promised various advantages whether it be a low centre of gravity, lots of space or a comfortable fit. On most occasions I’ve been let down in one sphere or another, being hit in the head by a bag migrating up my back, disappointed by the lack of storage on offer or by just being damn uncomfortable.
The Osprey Raven 10 is the female edition of the popular Raptor 10, with the fairer sex getting a slightly shorter and narrower back panel whilst still incorporating the 3 litre reservoir and 10 litres carrying capacity. On the outside the Raven looks like most other packs on the market, if a little underwhelming in design. The rear features Osprey’s AirScape back panel which consists of foam ridge panels covered with mesh, it kept my back as cool as you can whilst wearing a pack and also close to the body. The contoured hip belt with handy pockets does a fine job of keeping the pack stable, wrapping around the upper body and ensuring the pack stays put. The stretch and female fit incorporated here makes the whole affair pretty comfy and allows the pack to be winched in relatively tightly with no discomfort.
The flexible shoulder straps are ergonomically shaped to take into account female curves, which in turn makes wearing this bag a comfortable experience. The excess strap is poorly designed though, the Raven uses plastic hoops that hold the excess webbing to itself. Whilst this does prevent the tails flying around, it results in a loop of excess material on the shoulder and hip straps, if you are smaller then this leaves quite a lot flapping around. Apart from the fact it’s annoying and unsightly, it also holds the worry it might get caught on things as you ride. I rolled the excess up, zip tied them down and forgot about it, this would have to be undone though if you want to adjust the pack. Osprey say they have a solution for this – future packs will address and fix the issue.
Staying on the outside of the pack there are also straps to winch flat the contents, a useful helmet holder, an outer ‘stuff’ pocket for dirty items, two smaller top pockets for valuables and a tall handle on the top which is actually a rather unwieldy item and one I reckon the pack would look better without.
At the bottom of the bag there is a separate compartment to place the tool pouch which rolls up neatly whilst still being easy to access. The location of the tool roll keeps the weight of the bag low, the pouch itself stays attached to the bag which when open provides work surface on which to lie tools, hopefully preventing them from going walkies as you work.
Inside the pack the bladder sits at the rear, it has stiff plastic backing that helps it slip easily into its own separate pocket even when the bag is stuffed full. The hose lies neatly over the right shoulder (there’s no choice in the matter) inside a zip-up sleeve, then crossing the chest to locate the high volume bite valve on a magnet. Undo the zip and it’s easy to remove the bladder and hose from the pack ready for filling, negating the need for a detachable hose.
The main bag features places to store a pump and a shock pump which is handy, stops them falling around inside the bag, which due to all its other compartments is empty other than these things. Plenty of room for snacks and a jacket.
Riding with the Raven was a pleasure, it sat still on my back over rough and steep terrain, never once rode up and hit me on the head and didn't knock me off balance by swinging to the side. It moved and flexed with my body not once creating any pressure points or rubbing uncomfortably. Whether fully loaded with a day’s kit and three litres of water or nearly empty containing just the bare essentials it sat neatly on my back without moving around.
The Osprey Raven has become my everyday pack, it’s ergonomically superb and super comfy, a pack I forgot I was wearing, which in this case is a good thing. It left me free to concentrate on whichever divine piece of forest singletrack I happen to have the good fortune to place my wheels on.
Editor here at off-road.cc, Rachael is happiest on two wheels. Partial to a race or two Rachael also likes getting out into the hills with a big bunch of mates. In the past Rachael has written for publications such as, Enduro Mountain Bike Magazine, Mountain Biking UK, Bike Radar, New Zealand Mountain Biker and was also the online editor for Spoke magazine in New Zealand too. For as long as she's been riding, she has been equally happy getting stuck into a kit review as she is creating stories or doing the site admin. When she's not busy with all the above she's roasting coffee or coaching mountain biking in the Forest of Dean.