Osprey Raven 10 Rucksack Review

5th Mar 2020

Osprey Raven 10 Rucksack Review

The Osprey Raven 10 is a women’s fit mountain bike rucksack incorporating a 2.5 litre reservoir and women’s specific fit back system.  On paper it seems to be a perfect ride companion and I got the chance to take one for a ride.  Infact, a lot of rides! Here is my review…..

Features

The Raven 10 is the female version of the popular Raptor 10 and that’s a pack I know well - Paul was given one of those for testing a few years ago and we’ve both used it a great deal.  What is different about the women’s version?

Well, knowing Osprey, I was confident they’d have carefully considered what was needed in a women’s specific fit version of the Raptor. They have made the gap between the shoulder straps narrower and added graded padding to suit the female back and neck. The packs are shorter and it is designed to sit low enough so it won't bang the back of your head on steep descents.      

The waist harness is also shaped to fit a female body shape and Osprey have tweeked the colour options to give some different choices on the female version.  Apart from that, the features mimic the men’s pack and I'm pleased they have done this because I really like all the features on that version.

The Raven is made from 210D Nylon Diamond Ripstop fabric which is designed to strike a good balance between durability and lightweight. The back features the well proven AirScape panel which comprises foam ridge panels covered with mesh. The ridges are directed towards the top of the pack rather than being placed horizontally to help heat rise and vent upwards. 

The harness system comprises ergonomically shaped shoulder straps - wider at the top to offer comfort and stability and then tapering down towards the arm pits.  The straps have plenty of soft and supportive padding and are covered in mesh to aid breathability. There is also a sternum strap that is height adjustable and houses a magnetic hydration bladder hose retainer.  Beyond that, the other key part of the harness system is a contoured and lightly padded hip belt with stretch fabric zip pockets on each side.

The load carrying options are well thought out.  Inside the clamshell zip opening main compartment there is a central mesh pocket with a sleeve at each side that’s ideal for storing a pump or spare tube.  On the back of the lid opening there’s another zipped mesh pocket which provides storage options for tools, trail snacks or things like a phone and wallet.  

There is also an additional zipped pocket at the bottom of the Raven which houses a removable tool roll.  This pocket is ideal for carrying tools (either inside the toll roll or not) or other trail essentials like a first aid kit or bike spares. Finally another well padded pocket can be accessed from the front and is perfect for a phone, shades or a wallet.  This pocket also incorporates a key clip.   

At the back of the pack there is a long zip opening that reveals the hydration bladder storage pocket that sits behind the padded back panel and the hydration bladder tube routes out along a zippered sleeve on the shoulder.  

There are a few other useful storage features.  On the front there is a LidLock helmet retaining clip system and carry handle and Osprey have also added a useful stretchy mesh storage panel on the pack front and two compression straps to help tighten the load up. Finally, a light attachment point is included and reflective detailing.    

The pack I received was in what Osprey describe as Lilac Grey colour although they also produce an option called Blue Emerald.  The Raven weighs 680 grams and costs £110.


In Use

As mentioned, I’ve used the men’s version of this pack on and off for some time and have found it to be a great biking rucksack.  I was very keen to see how this one compared in fit and performance.  In that sense, then, this can be considered a comparison review. It also means that I have a lot of familiarity with the load carrying options on both versions.

Firstly, let’s consider this pack with regard to load carrying.  Well, 10 litres is a sweet spot for me in terms of size.  Not too big for an evening ride and yet big enough to carry enough for a full day out.  Not too big as to be cumbersome or unwieldy on technical terrain and yet a size that you don’t have to stuff too full when more kit is needed.  I like 10 litres of load carrying for this type of pack.

The organisation options for the pack are perfect.  In the lower zipped pocket you can fit spares like tubes, lube and tools.  The tool roll is a nice addition and yet I must admit I don’t use that regularly (it can easily be unhooked and removed).  I tend to carry quite a few tools on/in my bike now and so have less need to pack loads.  But, the lower pocket will hold everything needed with the exception of a pump (unless it is one of the very small ones) and the tool roll is a great design if needed.

The perfect place for a pump, I find, is in one of the sleeves in the main compartment.  There is one for a pump and one that will hold anything from snack bars to maybe a shock pump if you carry one. There is also another stretchy mesh pocket along the inside of the back panel that is perfect for anything from snacks to a mobile to other tools to a wallet.

The rest of the main compartment offers space for clothes, a first aid kit and any other trail essentials.  It strikes a balance between enough space and not too much.  You won’t fit the kitchen sink in there, but that’s a good thing because it makes you be selective about your gear choices.

If you do find yourself a little tight for space the addition of the stretchy mesh pocket on the outside is a great feature.  It lies flat when not needed but stretches to a decent size for use. You can fit a waterproof jacket in here or stuff it full of your knee pads when riding the uplift.  Osprey have added a strap and quick release buckle at the top to secure the contents.  The addition of the LidLock helmet holder is also a handy feature.  You thread the plastic clip through a vent hole and pull it tight.  It is that simple and yet very secure.

The final link in the chain of storage is the hydration bladder pocket.  You unzip a long zip to offer a wide opening that reveals a substantial pocket perfect for a bladder. Once the bladder is slotted in, the long zip secures the pocket and channels the drink tube along the right shoulder. A small loop then offers the final security.  It makes loading up with fluids a simple task and also means the bladder is protected from the rest of the contents and sits close to the back in the ideal position - 2.5 litres is 2.5 kgs and yet you won’t notice it too much once the back is in place. The bladder is an Osprey and so all works a treat.

Oh, and I almost forgot those 2 handy waistbelt pockets.  They will carry everything from a lipsalve to your trail map, snack bar, compass or InReach Mini. Osprey always seem to make a great job of getting the organisation and load carrying sorted and this pack is no exception - it swallows your kit and handles a dream.

So, the next big consideration is the carry. A mountain bike pack has the tough job of needing to be close fitting, well balanced and to sit well for a full range of movement.  The Airscape back aims to combine enough firmness for comfortably carrying heavy loads, enough softness for long days on the trail and yet needs to vent well.  Overall, I think it does a great job.  On hot days it can struggle to allow enough airflow to keep your back from getting sweaty, but I think this is a trade off worth living with.  

The upside to the way the back panel works is that it fits extremely well to the back.  It is stable and secure and moves with the body.  I genuinely often forget I’m wearing it. A lot of this I put down to the back panel but it also is down to the supportive and well shaped shoulder straps, waistbelt and sternum strap.  Osprey have created a wing shape to the shoulder straps and this works really well.  On the women’s pack the straps are closer together at the shoulder and this is an important feature to fit the female frame. They are perfect actually - the padding is firm enough to offer support and soft enough to offer comfort.  They also breathe well.

The waistbelt is similarly supportive and yet streamlined.  It pulls the pack in to keep it stable and is comfortable for long rides.  The sternum strap completes the fit package.

I’ll give a final word to the construction and materials.  The 210D Nylon Diamond Ripstop fabric is robust and yet lightweight.  I had a tumble on my very first day with this pack and, although I scraped the pack on the ground and put a small rip in my jersey, the fabric held up really well.  It is reassuringly robust and yet doesn’t feel over burly - after all, this whole package comes in at 680 grams.  

Summary

I loved the male version of this pack and love the female version even more.  Osprey have produced what I would say is the perfect mid size women’s mountain biking pack and it is everything I hoped it would be. The storage options are brilliant, the women’s specific fit is superb and the quality and build quality make it a trustable trail companion.  This pack wants for nothing!

Reviewed and posted by Cal