Friday, 07 August 2015 09:34

Osprey Rev 6 hydration pack tested and reviewed Featured

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Osprey have long been established as a leader in packs for hiking, climbing and backpacking. In recent years they have expanded into other outdoor pursuits such as mountain biking and running, and we were sent the Rev 6 to review.

The Osprey Rev 6 is designed for endurance sports, where there is a need to carry additional equipment and hydration, whilst travelling light and fast. Based more on the ever growing trend of running vests, rather then the traditional back system, it dispenses with bottles and incorporates a bladder. Unlike many on the market, it includes a bladder, with many competitors opt to provide their system hydration ready – or to you and I, a small hole in the top with an elasticated sleeve in the main compartment.

So the Rev 6. First off there are two options. The Rev 1.5 and 6, the difference being the storage capacity. If I were in America, I would happily go for the smaller option, but given the growing mandatory kit list of a lot of European races, the larger option felt more appropriate. Of course, if you don’t fill up this void, you are left with a few extra grams of material and stitching, so the reality is, it becomes a more versatile pack.

Now I have owned an Osprey pack or two in my time. I still have an Exposure 36 which I got back in 2008. The colours may not be as vibrant, the fibers scuffed and the material stained, but it still works and has been my go to day pack for winter condition walks.

Osprey packs have always been comfortable, regardless of the weights put within them. Breaking away from their traditional back systems, they have incorporated a BioStretch body-wrap harness and body-belt, which hugs the contours of your body. Rather then loading the bag on the waist band and shoulder straps, the entire bag is load bearing, providing even distribution secured in place by twin sternum straps. With no hot spots, when running up and down hill, I found the bag to stay in place, without the need to constantly adjust the straps or check contents. Sitting high up on the back, the Rev is unrestrictive and leaves the lower back free to ventilate and tackle technical challenges without the bag digging in.

Starting on the shoulder straps, they both feature a PowerMesh pocket, capable of swallowing gels, energy bars, compass or mobile phone. The mesh compresses, keeping all content secure, and is resilient to your best stubby figure extraction techniques when pulling out a gel at mile 21.

Now there is one elephant in the room. The DigiFlip pocket. The DigiFlip pocket has a TPU film to protect smart device/gps screens. Located on the left shoulder strap, it flips up to allow viewing your device on move. But I’m not a fan. If you are taking a device on the move, the main issue is water and this would not provide protection from the elements. Many counter this with a waterproof case or sandwich bag, which added to the DigiFlip means two additional screens to operate through. On top of this, in my experience on the trail when people use a phone it’s to take a photo and the phone would need removing from the pocket. I’m not saying some will not like this feature, but for me it’s a waste of space and could be better used with a further PowerMesh or zippered pocket.

 

Side compression straps allow for a custom fit, cinching the load down, preventing the bag from swaying around. Having run down descents in the Howgills, even with 2L of water, food and essentials, it was more like an outer layer of clothing than a bag.

The Rev 6 comes with a 1.5L Hydraulics LT Reservoir. What sets the bladder apart from most in the QuickConnect system, which breaks at the hose. A major frustration can be pulling out the entire system and rerouting the hose to refill the pack, or water enters the bag refilling it inside the pack, however the Hydraulic allows the user to leave the drinking end of the hose in place. Simple, ingenious and efficient. The bite valve is large and allows for easy compression on the move.

Bladders aren’t my usual choice. I prefer soft flasks or normal bottles, for ease of checking how much I am drinking and not having to remove the bag at checkpoints. Yet, I enjoyed using the bladder and for longer races where extra water is required, will start using a bladder again on top of flasks. Another great feature is the magnet located beside the bite valve and the sternum strap. Rather than the lower hose and valve flopping around with every step, it secures it to either shoulder strap. No more timing grabbing it running on technical terrain. The bag itself has a rear compartment for the reservoir. This is a top zippered pocket, with a retaining strap to hold the bladder securely. Keeping the bladder separately from the remainder of the bag means condensation won’t saturate clothes and spares.

Moving forward there is a small side pocket to keep sunglasses and valuables scratch free. As ever, the designers have also chosen to put a key clip in there, which defeats the purpose. Keep the keys elsewhere. This is a plea to all brands; key loops/clips/carabineers need to be kept away from everything.

At the front, the main pocket is capable of holding waterproofs, a spare layer, food and bulkier items. If you manage to pack it out, there is also an adjustable bungee for keeping those wind or waterproofs close to hand. Particularly useful for storing wet waterproofs.

Either side of the main compartment are two further stretch mesh pockets at waist height. I used these for food, rubbish and a soft flask. They were great for access on the move. Many brands claim you can use side/rear pockets wearing the pack, but very few do in reality. These you can!

 

Reflective detailing provides all round visibility for night runs and this detailing is subtle for running in the day. Nothing worse than having a bag covered in high visibility tape.

I ran with the Osprey at the Howgill Trail Marathon, and I had no issues with it. Comfy, no chaffing and I could get to hydration and nutrition on the move with no issues. For me, would remove the DigiFlip pocket, replace it with an open mesh pocket and other than that keep it the same. Taking on summer runs or half to full marathons, this is a great bag. Looking at the Lakeland 50 or ultras with large mandatory kit lists, you may wish to look for something with greater capacity. If Osprey® come out with a larger version, I would be happy to recommend it.

It may not be the trail purist brands, but that’s not a bad thing. The pack specialists have created a worthy contender, one which raises the game for those opting for bladders over bottles. Grind up the hill and spread those wings.

Features:

  • BioStretch™ body-wrap harness and body-belt
  • Dual PowerMesh™ harness pockets
  • DigiFlip™ pocket with TPU film for instant smartphone/GPS operation
  • Front bungee compression system
  • Zippered panel access
  • Zippered scratch-free sunglasses and electronics pocket
  • Reflective graphics
  • 1.5L Hydraulics™ LT Reservoir included
  • Zippered expansion water bottle sleeve on harness
  • High visibility
  • Internal key attachment clip
  • Sternum strap
  • Sternum strap buckle with magnet
  • Weight: 0.40(S/M) kg
  • Maximum dimensions: (mm) 400 (l) x 230 (w) x 180 (d)

Price: £60

Last modified on Sunday, 23 October 2016 11:38