Osprey Packs has been around the block. Known throughout the backpacking industry for providing high quality packs since 1974, Osprey Packs as carved a name out for itself in the backpacking industry.
This latest pack from the Osprey camp, the Osprey Hydraulics Raptor, is made specifically for mountain bikers and brings several key features that we need as we mount up and rip singletrack. We have been riding with the Osprey Hydraulics Raptor 14 for several months now, so lets see how it fared with some serious trail abuse.
Tech Specs: Osprey Hydraulics Raptor 14
The Raptor 14 is a great long haul pack for an all day adventure on your favorite single track. Stretch woven side pockets with InsideOut™ compression provide versatile gear carry options, while a large zippered front pocket with dedicated compartments for bike tools keeps essentials handy.
The “Hydraulics” name specifically refers to the manner in which the 100oz bladder interacts with the pack. The idea is to keep the hydration pack from bubbling out against your back when full like many of the other hydration packs do on the market. Available in two sizes (s/m and m/l), Osprey is trying to get the best, most comfortable fit for the rider they possibly can.
This specific Raptor 14 is the 3rd highest storage volume in the lineup with the 16 being the largest.
- 180 degree on/off pivot bite valve
- Scratch free top cell/glasses water resistant pocket
- Hydraulics system
- Helmet retention system
- Multiple closure and adjustment straps
- Available in 4 colors and 3 other different storage volume sizes
- Price: Click here to get your best price on the Raptor 14
Review: Osprey Hydraulics Raptor 14 Hydration Pack
Under first glance, the Osprey Hydraulics Raptor 14 is incredibly well built. The fabric is durable, the stitches are straight and strong and layout/construction is what you would expect out of a company like Osprey Packs who have been in this business for a long time. Without any over the top graphics or colors on this gray model tested, the Raptor 14 does a great job of matching up with whatever you happen to be wearing on the trail that day and doesn’t cause too much attention.
Raptor 14: Storage, Pockets and Straps
There are plenty of pockets to carry your gear ranging from a key clip to several pump and tool compartments. Once packed up and cinched down with the straps, your gear stays put and doesn’t rattle around on your back as you hit the trail.
At the time this review started, the Raptor 14 was actually the largest pack out of the lineup. The 16 was introduced when we had already started the review process and it is a good thing they brought one more to the lineup. While the 14 does a great job for 80% of our riding, it will not carry a large camera or larger gear easily due to the pocket layout. If you are looking to pack up larger gear, you are going to want to step up to the 16. The 850 cubic inches of storage space in the Raptor 14 is not small, but the pocket and storage layout configuration leans it towards efficient handling of smaller parts and nutrition.
After riding with the Osprey Hydraulics Raptor 14, you will start to notice that there are several small pockets you might have missed previously that carry small cameras and nutrition to make them easier to access during the ride. On the waist strap, there are stretchable pockets integrated into each side (perfect for Bloks or goos) and on the side of the pack there are also two stretchable pockets that would be perfect for small point and shoot cameras or larger nutrition bars. The waist strap pockets are a nice addition and we ended up using those a lot during our rides.
The outer pocket ended up being a great place to throw extra clothes as the weather got warmer and while the helmet retention is a nice thing to have…it is designed specifically for xc/am helmets and not full face helmets. We rarely take our xc/am helmets off during rides, so this feature didn’t really get used. If it would accommodate a full face helmet, we would be able to lug our heavier helmets up the climb and then strap in the xc/am helmet as we blasted down the DH.
Overall construction and use with the zippers and buckles are top notch. We never had one issue with any failures or difficulty throughout the testing process and the strong corded zipper helpers insured fast closure every time. While the straps ended up proving to be functional and durable, we would have liked to see them be a little bit thicker to give a more secure feeling while in use…especially on the waist support.
Osprey also included their “airscape” design on the back of the pack which basically consists of a mesh outer covering on the back of the pack to keep direct contact at a minimum. While riding, we found it does a pretty good job of keeping your back cool even though you are still applying pressure to the back when completely strapped down.
Raptor 14: Hydration System
The Raptor 14 uses the Osprey Packs Hydraulics system which…as mentioned before…tries to keep the bubbling off your back affect from happening when filled to the full 100oz. From what we have found, the expanding compartment and Nalgene hydration bladder design do just that…keep the pack flat against your back at all times. when compared to the CamelBak Mule and similar sized hydration packs, the Osprey Raptor 14 does the best job and is the most comfortable with water filled to the max. The plastic support construction of the bladder also made filling much easier in the sink.
Given the quality construction of this pack, we were very happy with the overall performance, but the best feature of the Raptor 14 has to be the bite valve. Not only does it work incredibly well at delivering water to your mouth on the trail and locks out securely…but it has a magnetic attachment to the chest strap to keep it out of the way while riding. It is easy to use and it stays secure even under fast rock garden runs. That feature alone makes this pack stand out from the rest.
Overall: Osprey Hydraulics Raptor 14 Hydration Pack
Osprey Packs has come to the market with a winner in the Raptor 14. It has become our go to pack for most of our riding and the only time we have taken it off is when we need to bring larger cameras and gear on the trail. While we would like to see cut patterns that are more large gear friendly and a helmet retention that accommodates full face helmets, the rest of the pack is spot on, durable and comfortable or all day use. The design of the hydration bladder, compartment, bite valve and magnetic attachment is the best in the industry at this point in time.
Positive: Osprey Raptor 14
- The most comfortable hydration bladder system on the market
- Magnetic attachment for bite valve is a stroke of genius
- Durable, high quality construction that can take abuse
- Plenty of creative pockets for random gear
- Airscape design keeps from trapping heat on your back
Negative: Osprey Raptor 14
- Despite the 850 cubic inches of storage, it can’t handle larger gear
- Helmet retention doesn’t accommodate full face lids
- Straps are a little bit thin for our liking
If you are not carrying around large gear on your rides, the Osprey Hydraulics Raptor 14 is one you have to try out. Click here to get your best price on the Raptor 14
Riding photographs by Laurie Philips