Osprey Hydraulics Raptor 18 Review
Capacity: 1100 cubic inches/18 liters
Weight: 2lbs 1oz
Average Purchase Price: $120
The Osprey Raptor 18 Pack (Spring 2010) has been my toy for the past month or so and I have been anything but kind to the poor pack. Knowing Osprey's commitment to the outdoors I knew I would not be disappointed! The Raptor series is made specifically for adventure racing and mountain biking so durability and longevity are key. The first test I did was to take it for a long trail run in Ute Valley Park. I knew I was going to be out for at least a couple hours so I packed accordingly.
I pulled the HydraForm Reservoir (bladder) out of the pack and right off the bat I knew this reservoir was something different. The cap of the reservoir looked exactly like a Nalgene lid and the design of it was something I had never seen before. The reservoir holds 3 liters of water which is more than enough for a day on the trail. It also has a curved plastic sheet along the back of the reservoir that helps stabilize while the sleek design steers the reservoir back into the pack easily when it’s full. I wondered if the bladder might leak so I filled it until it looked like it might explode and started squeezing and shaking it…no leaks. The bite valve has a magnet that attaches to the chest strap which holds it about six inches from your mouth. This in turn makes it more than easy to grab while in mid stride and keeps the hose from bouncing all over the place and getting caught on things. The hydraulics system is bomb proof and I love using it.
Now that I had the reservoir ready to go I started packing for a long trail run. I easily fit the bare essentials (rain gear, survival kit, food and water) and had space for much more. I started my trail run by slowly jogging and getting a feel for my new pack. At first I thought there was no possible way I could run with this thing on my back but I soon realized that everything seemed adjustable. The chest strap not only tightens but also moves up and down on the pack. Every pocket has a strap that helps suck the pack into your back. The hip belt has two separate pouches on it so you can cram 4 or 5 Cliff bars in each one or, even better, a can of PBR. After about 15 minutes of jogging/walking/ and messing with straps I had my new pack dialed in perfectly. The Raptor no longer felt like some weird alien thing on my back but more like a gentle hug from a little spider monkey (see below picture). It felt great and it did not take long before I pretty much forgot that I had it on.
The only problem I had with the Raptor 18 was that I cracked one of the clips on accident by stepping on it. Other than that I could not get the pack to rip, break, or malfunction in any way. I stuffed so much into that pack it was ridiculous, tried to tear the outside pocket off and bushwhacked through thick rocky mountain scrub oak.
The Raptor 18 has a great design that offers plenty of space and also many different ways to cinch every area of the pack down making for a perfect adventure racing/mountain biking pack. Be sure to check out all of the beta on this kick ass pack here. They also come in 6L, 10L, and 14L sizes which include S/M or M/L sizes but be advised that the size is based off of the M/L.