Day long riding companion
After the large Escapist 25 and the small Siskin 8 we have come to the last biking backpack in our series of three: the midsize Osprey Raptor 14. This midsize pack is not big enough for multiday adventures. There is simply not enough room for – let’s say – a bivvy bag or a tent, a sleeping bag and extra gear. On the other hand the pack is too large for a summer ride when you only need a hydration pack. So, what is it good for? Well, as we found out, anything inbetween.
We took the biking backpack Raptor 14 out on several occasions. It proved itself worthy on fast commutes with enough room for office clothing and a big lunch. There were long day gravel rides where you need to bring a little extra such as extra layers for the colder morning and evening, rain gear, spare parts and again a big lunch. As winter approaches and temperatures drop to freezing point we took the Raptor 14 out again on a day long mountain bike ride in the forest, taking advantage of the large water reservoir inside the pack.
Let’s start at the backside. To me this is the most important side of the pack. A backpack may look fantastic and have tons of amazing features, if the fit is not right you end up adjusting the entire day, being annoyed by it and in the end not using the backpack anymore. Osprey understands. Just like the two other packs mentioned above, the fit is excellent, thanks to the ‘Airscape’ backpanel with foam ridges. Especially this one has an almost made-to-measure feel to it. There are no pressure points and the pack follows your back with every movement. The pack is secured to your back by the hip belt with very easy to use pull mechanisms to thighten and loosen the pack on the go. The sternum strap is adjustable in height and features a fast and easy magnetic closing system that doubles as a holder to attach the bite valve of the water hose. Now, let’s flip the pack over.
If you know Osprey packs you already know they have lots of compartments and ‘hidden’ features. The Raptor 14 is definitely not an exception to that. We’ll dive into the compartments, starting in the back with the water bladder compartment. It holds the supplied Osprey Hydraulics Reservoir with a large capacity of 2.5 litres. Fill it up, slide it in and clip it in. Notice how the zipper continues on the right shoulder strap. Smart! Secured in one go and no more messing around with one or more tight loops.
The main compartment holds larger items and is adjustable with buckles and straps on the outside of the pack. A pair of shoes? No problem. A double zipper allows the compartment to be openend almost entirely for easy access. A downside is that you have to unclip the two buckles to do so. Luckily there are more compartments for easy access.
One of them is the top compartment with a lining that protects your camera, smartphone and other electronic devices from scratching. It is large enough to hold a large compact camera or even a small DSLR or mirrorless camera with a small lens attached.
That makes for a complete backpack already. But Osprey didn’t stop there. The front of the pack consists of a large flexible ‘flap’, strapped to the pack with aforementioned buckles. Between flap and pack there is room for bulky items such as a jacket or winter gloves, stowed away in a second. Also ideal to separate damp, wet or dirty gear from the rest (top left, winter gloves). Alternatively you can secure your helmet with the Lid lock attatchment. We saw this on on the Escapist before, but with the Raptor 14 a good part of the helmet disappears between the flap and the pack for a more secure hold (top right, helmet).
On top of the flap you will find a light attachment point and another stretch pocket for smaller items (bottom left, buff). The flap itself has a zipper on the side, that opens up to – you guessed it – another pocket, another mesh stretch pocket and a key clip (bottom right, headlight and keys). Because the zipper is located on the side of the compartment you have less overview of your belongings inside the pockets.
If you look closely there is yet another compartment at the bottom. A small label with a wrench and a srewdriver gives away its purpose: it is a mobile tool station. The removable tool roll offers room for a reasonable amount of tools, a pump in the middle and pockets for smaller items. As you can see there is enough room for a (large) spare tube next to the tool roll.
That’s it! Oh, wait. I forgot to mention the side pockets on both sides of the hip belt. Also stretchy, so can stuff them with food, candy or a smartphone if you like.
With this many features it is hard to come up with missing ones. The only one we can think of is a detachable rain cover in – yet another – compartment.
In conclusion the Osprey Raptor 14 is an ideal partner for day-long rides in any kind of weather, in particular cold and wet. With a plethora of compartments and pockets you can sort all of your gear, food, electronics and other stuff just the way you like it, separating wet and dirty gear from the rest. The large 2.5 litres water bladder fills up easily and is secured inside the pack in seconds. Smart features such as the helmet holder and the removable tool roll complete the backpack. But most importantly the fit is so good during the ride you almost forget you are wearing the Raptor 14 at all.
Osprey Raptor 14
MSRP 140.00 Euros
Available in ‘Cedar Green’ (tested), ‘Wildfire Red’ and ‘Black’
Also available in a smaller version called Raptor 10.