Osprey Kamber 22 Rucksack Review
For skiers heading off piste or into the back country it is essential to carry avalanche safety items and general equipment and food. Then again, sometimes piste skiers also want to pack some spare clothes, lunch or their suncream. However, ski with a poor fitting rucksack and it can feel like you are being thrown off balance and a good ski pack should also allow quick access to items, be snow proof and have features to allow efficient organisation. For day tours this usually means a pack around 20-25 litres in size and Osprey’s Kamber 22 is their take on this ski essential. Over the last couple of months I have been taking one for a slide…..…
It always seems to me that Osprey designers have covered every base and yet again the Kamber 22 is very feature rich. On the outside there is a snow shedding moulded back panel and a padded and shaped waist belt along with padded and contoured shoulder straps and a sternum strap with emergency whistle.
At the front Osprey have added a durable padded and PU textured panel which, along with giving the pack structure, offers protection when carrying skis or a board. For ski attachment there is a diagonal carry option and the Kamber offers both a vertical and horizontal carry option for snowboards. The outside also has a fold away helmet holder, there are two zipped stash pockets on the waist belt and a stowable single ice axe loop.
At the top of the pack there is a micro fleece lined goggle/glasses pocket and to access the interior the pack has a clam shell style opening which operates via two long exterior zips and ensures quick and easy access. Open the back section and there is a hydration bladder pocket with an exit leading the tube through an insulated pocket to its position on the shoulder strap.
This rear section of the main compartment is designed to be a dry storage area to store clothes or other accessories and there is a handy smaller zipped mesh pocket at the top of this section too. Then, once you open up the front zipped section there is storage space for items that are likely to get wet such as avalanche probe or shovel. Each of these vital safety items has a sleeve to allow it to be stored and deployed quickly. There is another smaller mesh storage section in this front part too. Besides all that, osprey have added a key attachment clip, glove friendly buckles and zipper pulls - I did say it was feature rich!
The rucksack has been used for both on and off piste skiing in Norway, Scotland and the French Alps over the last few months. It has been primarily used for carrying day supplies but I have tested the ski carry system and have done some ‘dry runs’ of avalanche equipment deployment to see how quickly items could be accessed.
First impressions of the Kamber are that it is a very solidly built pack. I would say that at 1270 grams it is a reasonable weight for a ski pack, but it definitely feels like it is made out of rugged materials that will take some serious action and give the user a long life. Infact, those rugged materials are 420HD nylon packcloth which is a fabric designed specifically for tough use. Alongside this the back panel and reinforced front panel along with the chunky zips and solidly built waist belt system all add to the feeling of durability.
Alongside the rugged appearance, I would also say the Kamber is a great looking pack. The one I received was in a red colour (called ripstop red) but Osprey also make the rucksack in blue or black. The styling is subtle and, although it clearly has a lot of features, they are all colour coordinated so they blend in nicely to give a streamlined look.
On first opening the packaging the rucksack came in I started, as I’m sure most people do, by opening up the pack to take a look at what’s inside. The interior is logically thought out and the idea of separating wet and dry items is very efficient. There is a large back panel with room for spare clothes, first aid and survival equipment and space for a drink bladder. I don’t personally use a drink bladder for skiing as I prefer a hot drink and usually take a flask, but I did try it out with an Osprey Hydraulics bladder and it all works as intended. The interior pockets certainly aid organisation and there is a place for everything from suncream to wallet. It is all very efficient.
I wasn’t sure I’d make too much use of the waist belt pockets but they have in fact proved very useful for small items and the micro fleece goggles pocket is another handy addition.
I’m not a snowboarder and I don’t own a board that I could try in the carrying system, but the system seems well thought out and I see no reason it won’t work efficiently. I can say more certainly that the ski carry system is very secure and quick to set up.
So, besides the features the most important consideration for a ski pack comes down to fit. Users will want a slim profile close fitting pack that is supportive and secures to the back efficiently. On the Kamber the back panel is quite stiff but contours well to follow the shape of the back and the pack comes in different back sizes to ensure a good fit.
The shoulder straps are also a supportive construction with rather stiff foam and contoured shape so they also fit snugly. So, I did find that even having the rucksack on with the shoulder straps tightened up felt effective for a lot of situations. But, if you are carrying a lot of weight or want to stabilise further then the waist belt and sternum strap will finish the job.
The waist belt is also worthy of mention because it is a padded and contoured construction that feels very supportive - but sometimes maybe too supportive. For a pack of this size I don’t think you always need such a heavily engineered system and the only thing I would like to have seen on the Kamber is a waist belt that could either be detached completely or maybe one where the padded part could be removed leaving a simpler tape belt.
The Kamber 22 has become a firm favourite for on and off piste skiing and day tours. It has a clever and efficient design which makes it both simple to use and efficient - you’ll always know where everything is and be able to access those key safety tools quickly if needed.
The pack is also extremely well made and follows Osprey’s tradition of well designed and impeccably made products. I was reading that Osprey have been making ski packs for over 15 years (and packs in general for over 40!). It is fair to say they have certainly learnt a thing or two during that time and that expertise shows perfectly in the Kamber 22. The pack has an RRP of £130.
Posted by Paul
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