On test: Osprey Women’s Raven 14l rucksack

Osprey Raven 14l rucksack

The Osprey Women’s Raven 14l rucksack is a rucksack designed to fit women and specifically suited for mountain biking. It includes a host of features, as well as an internal hydration system. FionaOutdoors put the rucksack to the test.

Osprey are one of the leaders in the fast-growing world of women-specific outdoors kit. They already sell a wide range of men’s rucksacks and have become acclaimed as the creators of some excellent women-specific rucksacks. I have been impressed by what I have seen so far, including a number of walking rucksacks and this 14l mountain bike rucksack.

The Osprey packs also include a host of features. This Osprey 14l Raven rucksack includes:

• Women-specific shoulder straps, waist belt and torso sizing
• Large front zip pocket with “shove-it” pocket behind
• Lower zip tool pouch compartment and removable roll-up tool pouch
• Stretch mesh side pockets
• The pack comes in two colour choices: Clover Green or Iris Purple.

Osprey reckon that this pack is ideal for three-plus hours of riding with the capacity for extra food, tools and layers.

My thoughts on the Osprey Raven 14l

Although the Raven rucksack is only 14l, it offers a delightful treasure trove of details, pockets and features. Okay, so maybe I am getting a little over excited by a rucksack but I really do love a well-designed and full-featured pack!

To start with I like the fit. The padded and well-ventilated back feels immediately comfortable. I am a tall-ish, slim female and I found the pack fitted beautifully my shoulders and waist. There is a quite a bit of adjustment so I imagine this pack will be suitable for a wide range of female frames. The straps are easily tightened and loosened.

The position of the pack on my back was perfect for mountain biking and it hardly bothered me to be wearing a rucksack while cycling. There was none of the annoying back-of-head butting that goes on with some rucksacks while cycling.

The hydration bladder is located inside a zipped pocket at the back of the pack, between the back padding and the larger internal pocket. This makes for easy removal and access. It also means that you do not need to take other things out of your pack to refill the bladder. The hydration tube travels over the shoulder and down the shoulder trap. It is secured with its own straps so that the tube doesn’t annoy you while riding. I found it easy to get water out of the bite valve while cycling along.

The main pocket is large enough for a couple of extra clothing layers, for example a cycle jersey and spare t-shirt, and/or snacks. It also has an internal mesh pocket for keeping everything neat and tidy inside the pack. This whole section of the rucksack is secured by a zip.

Another smaller zipped pocket would be a great place to stow keys, mobile phone and other gadgets that you want to access more easily.

Then there is another pocket at the bottom of the pack. This is neatly labelled as a tool pocket. Open up the zip and you find a removable internal meshed pocket where you can place all you important bike tools. Osprey seem to think of everything when it comes to useful places in their pack for every conceivable item.

There is also an outer mesh pocket where you might stow a waterproof jacket. This is made of a stretchy material so you can pack in larger items if required. In addition there is a LidLock attachment. This is a special attachment that allows you to secure your bike helmet to the outside of the rucksack.

And if you thought that was enough pockets, there are  stretch mesh side pockets and a vertical zippered front pocket, as well as two hip belt pockets. In fact, I am wondering what on earth you would need to take with you to fit into all these pockets. You could have an item per pocket and still have pockets spare.

Osprey have even included an attachment where you can add a backlight. Frankly, it is amazing how much detail there is in this pack and how much adjustability they have included, for example for stabilising your load when on the bike.

Anything I don’t like about the Osprey Raven bag?

If I have one criticism it’s that there is perhaps too much detail in this rucksack. I wondered if I had forgotten to pack something because there seemed to be several empty pockets when heading out on a normal bike ride. And when I did try to find something in the bag I needed to remember where I had stowed it. On one occasion I was searching for an energy gel and had to look in four different places before I retrieved it.

Another small point is that the pack is priced at £75 to £90 (shop around), which is pricey for a 14l rucksack. But you do get a huge amount for one smaller pack and in my experience Osprey packs last for a very long time indeed.

When to take your Osprey Raven 14l rucksack

I can see this pack being most useful on longer cycling trips, whether by mountain bike or road bike. You could easily head off for a day or two and an overnight trip if you only need a few basic items and if you are prepared to carry all your kit on your back. For half-day trips you might find yourself wondering why you need all the space and pockets. But if you like everything in its place and a place for everything this is a perfect rucksack. It is made with great forethought and attention to detail and appears to be of very high quality. It is ideally suited to women bike riders.

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