The search for the perfect Alpine and big ride pack can be a confusing one with most of the recreational packs being aimed at the Snickers bar and an innertube kind of riders. We use Osprey packs as we have found their superb harness and lightweight materials makes an excellent trail partner. Here are Cat’s thoughts on the latest Osprey Manta 25, a pack aimed squarely at the big day riders.
“Osprey offer a range of packs of varying capacity with a selection of bike specific bags featuring tool organiser pouches and easy access pockets while riding, the size range offered allows for day long trail centre blasts to more kit heavy wild ride ventures.
After much consideration I opted for the Osprey Manta 25 pack, billed as a multisports pack and featuring their AirSpeed Suspension system, allowing air circulation and avoiding a sweaty back. I was initially a little concerned about this as the system is presumably designed with a walking body position in mind and not a more leaned over mountain biking one. I needn’t have worried though, with a little adjustment of the straps (easily done one handed while moving on the bike) I moved the pack and it sat comfortably. I’m still more aware of pressure on my back than I am with my camelback but that is a much smaller pack with a much shorter torso length, the extra capacity means it has a much greater presence but it doesn’t feel overwhelming.
The hydration portion of the bag has been thoroughly reconsidered with little problems of previous designs being ironed out. A structured pouch for the reservoir means that even well the pack is fully loaded, there is always space for your water, no more having to take things out of your bag and repacking when you refill your water. This pouch and a clever strapping system means that the water is always under pressure so even when you’re running out you get a good steady flow. Osprey have also added a magnetic clasp keeping your mouth piece attached to your chest strap so you always know where it is, although a small addition this is one of my favourite things about the pack, I hate my mouth piece dangling about, hitting my leg and spraying water about so this has solved my issues perfectly, it might, however create a few new problems when I need to use a compass or with those using a pacemaker!
- Top zippered pocket
- Helmet attachment daisy
- Front stretch woven pocket
- Upper side compression straps
- Integrated rain cover
- Ventilative mesh backpanel
- Stow on the Go™ trekking pole attachment
- Zippered fabric hipbelt pockets
- Safety blinker patch
- Full elastic stretch sternum strap
- Magnetic sternum buckle
- 3-Liter reservoir included
This has turned out to be a great all round pack, allowing me the freedom to pack as many layers as I want and still have space for my tools and lunch. If and when I decide to do some walking it will adapt perfectly with the adjustment of a few straps.
It’s worth noting that the pack comes in 2 sizes, S-M and M-L, the M-L is the 25litre pack, the S-M, also called the Manta 25, has a capacity of 22litres and a shorter torso length.”