When I first saw the new Osprey Hydraulics hydration pack lineup at OR last year, I was stoked. With how much I liked Osprey’s products, I thought their new design looked great and could be a knockout-punch to the market. After testing a prototype last Fall and the production model this Spring, I’m still mixed on the overall package. It has some really good and some not-so-good points.
Osprey Hydraulics Raptor 6 Features:
- 180-degree on/off pivoting bite valve
- Bike tool organization pockets
- Size: 360 cu in space
- Weight: 1 lb 9 oz
- MSRP: $79
Osprey Raptor 6 Hydration Pack Review
After seeing the new Raptor line of hydration packs, I quickly received an advanced sample in the Fall that still needed some bugs worked out. This Spring I then received a production Raptor 6 and have been using it exclusively mountain biking this Spring.
What I’ve found is a comfortable pack with a lot of promise that may have missed the mark in some respects. I am a huge fan of Osprey packs and really dig their products, but this one is borderline for me, so let me explain.
First off, the HydraForm bladder is a great concept and does have some really good attributes. What I really like about the bladder is the plastic handle to hold onto it while refilling — giving you a firm hold on the bladder instead of feeling like you’re juggling a sea slug. It also does a great job of keeping the water from sloshing around and thus provides one of the most consistent flows I’ve tested. It doesn’t come without its downsides though. To refill, the hole is too far from the top of the bladder and it makes it difficult to get fully under a water cooler or the refrigerator dispenser. Additionally, because the backside is firm plastic, the wide-mouthed hole is blocked from the backside when dropping ice cubes inside. You have to either hand-feed ice cubes or somehow grow another arm, which got annoying enough that i rarely put ice inside.
Related to the bladder is the bite valve. While this bite valve provides excellent flow — thanks to the nature of the bladder system. The magnetic clip is quick and easy to attach, but the weight of the magnet/clip combo causes the sternum strap to loosen completely every time the pack is removed. I found it bothersome having to re-adjust it with every on/off of the pack.
Let me mix in a few good points once more. I really like the organized gear sleeves for tubes, toolkits, pumps, energy snacks, camera’s etc. The uppermost pocket is lined with a soft material that kept my iPhone nice and cozy. The back panel is superb and extremely-comfortable as well. It breathes well and conforms to your back extremely-well.
A few more gripes though. For some reason, the straps are looped-back to the waistbelt or shoulder straps to keep the strap ends from flapping around (see above). For me, it became annoying as I was prevented from simply pulling on the strap ends to tighten. To tighten, you have to grab the strap in the middle instead of simply pulling on the end loop (like every other pack in existence).
The pack rides comfortably and offers many convenient features, but there are a few more negatives than I’d like to see from a high-quality pack maker like Osprey.
Good Raptor 6
- Soft-lined camera/phone top pocket is awesome
- Very comfortable to wear
- Bite valve produces a consistent flow
- The plastic frame on the HydraForm bladder makes for easy handling (just not easy filling… see below)
- Bladder system does keep the water from sloshing around or intruding on gear space
- Helmet lock is a great feature to help keep your gear together
- Stays in place while riding
- Little flexible waistbelt pockets are great for gel storage
- Magnet clip is easy to find on-the-fly when re-attaching nozzle
Bad Raptor 6
- Zippers can sometimes catch
- Bladder can be difficult to fit under the water cooler nozzle or refrigerator spout
- Because of the firm backside of the bladder, ice doesn’t just fall in… you have to manually feed it
- The straps are really odd to adjust and the waistbelt straps max out before I can cinch them down properly (33 waist)
- Sternum strap loosens all the way with every unbuckling (gotta re-adjust it every time)
- Buckles (especially on waistbelt) are entirely too small and difficult to clip
Bottom Line: Osprey Hydraulics Raptor 6
I really wanted to love this pack and I tried hard to look past some of the annoyances, but I couldn’t. Osprey makes killer packs, but this one seems like it just missed the mark in enough areas that can’t be given my seal of approval. The necessary changes are really minor and will hopefully be addressed soon. I’d say this is a great pack if you’re willing to overlook the negatives… it rides well, breathes well and is comfortable.