Like most outdoor sports, mountain biking is primarily a man’s world, at least in terms of gear. So I was happy to find the women’s specific Osprey Verve 10 Hydration Bike Pack. I’m an intermediate mountain biker and most of the rides I did in this pack were one to three hours. I used the Osprey Verve 10 on around 20 rides for this review.
I’m picky when it comes to hydration packs, the extra weight on my back usually makes my lower back hurt. For years, I used a minimal Wingnut pack that didn’t even have a top compartment.
Osprey makes the Verve series in both a men’s and women’s model, with the primary difference being that the women’s pack features a shorter torso. This is good or bad, depending on the length of your torso. I am 5’8” and felt the torso on the women’s pack might be a bit short for me.
However, the pack is comfortable and has some nice features. There is a small pocket at the top that is good for small items or electronics. Since I turn my phone off and don’t ride with an Ipod, I fill the small pocket with car keys, lip balm, patch kit and energy bars – the kind of stuff that would fall to the bottom in other packs I used.
The main compartment contains small organizer pockets for a multitool, extra tube and pump. This is useful. The zippers for the main compartment only come down part way, so when the pack is loaded with a full bladder, 100 ounces or 3 liters of water, the fit is tight, even for a midweight layer. There is enough room in this pack for a 3-4 hour ride with very small lunch, but just. You can put another layer in the outside stretchy mesh pocket on the back of the pack.
That said, the pack is nicely streamlined and the shoulder straps are stretchy so it makes the ride nicer. There is a little pocket on the shoulder strap that fits a couple of energy gels.
Because my torso is longer, I found that the very thin waist belt rode up high above my waist. I was accustomed to using a wider mesh waist belt, and didn’t always find the thin waist belt very comfortable. So, I took it off. The pack stayed in place fairly well without the waist belt, except on the most abrupt turns.
I really like the magnet on the bit valve and sternum strap that keeps the water hose from flopping around while riding. Even though this is a separate issue from the pack, after about ten rides, the bite valve on my hydration bladder started leaking and has leaked for every ride since. I’ve heard of this same problem from other riders.
If you’re a weight junky, there is a plastic stiffener in the pack that you can take out to save a couple of ounces. With it in, but without the bladder, the pack weighs in at 1 pound, 3 ounces – fairly light for the quality built.
The water bladder goes in a sleeve accessible quickly on the top of the pack. A big Velcro flap secures it. I do wonder if the Velcro will hold up after a couple of years of use.
Like all other Osprey packs I’ve used, this pack is built really well. After 20 rides, it still looks virtually new and I think women will literally get years of use from the pack. Osprey is a great Colorado company, with a lifetime warranty on their packs so it’s a safe bet.
Finally, the Verve 10 is marketed primarily as a bike pack, but it would work equally well for hiking or trail running. For tall women, I recommend also trying on the men’s packs to make sure you get the correct torso length before you buy. If the women’s Verve torso length fits your body, you can’t really go wrong and a big shout out to Osprey Packs for making women-specific cycling gear.
by Andrea Schulz
Check it out here: Women's Osprey Bike Packs
Update! Osprey has just come out with their new line of Verve packs for 2013. Upgraded features include:
- Front Shove-it pocket on all Viper/Verve models
- Generation 2 Hydraulics™ Reservoir
- AirScape™ backpanel with perforated foam to provide cushion and ventilation
- Unique new hydration sleeve with direct access zip for fast loading
- Fresh vibrant colors and styling