ProView – Osprey Raptor 14
When I bought a used hardtail bike a couple of years back, I rekindled my love for mountain biking, which I got into as a teen. At first, I would just go out and ride with the bare minimum, doing short rides and usually not carrying a pack. After a while, I started going on bigger rides and would just use a typical daypack designed for hiking. I found the daypack to be a bit cumbersome, so I tried using a hydration vest designed for ultra-runners. The hydration vest worked great, but I barely had room to carry my toolkit let alone a first aid kit and other essentials. Along came the Osprey Raptor 14 specifically designed for mountain biking.
Osprey Raptor 14
Product Description: Made to haul all the gear you need—but flexible enough to slim down for shorter rides—the Raptor 14 is our premium pack for mountain bikers who demand top quality from their gear. Don’t like how hydration packs feel over gnarly terrain? Neither did we. So we designed shoulder straps in the shape of wings that curve the same way you do when you’re in riding position.
Offer price: MSRP: $150.00
The Osprey Raptor is the ideal backpack for all-day adventures or even shorter rides. The pack is well designed and loaded with mountain bike specific features. The direct-zip hose access for the 2.5L water bladder makes for easy loading and unloading of the reservoir, and the LidLock system is nice for attaching a helmet to the pack to keep all your mountain biking gear in one place.
- Rides really well
- Good ventilation
- Incredible features!
- The hydration hose could be a bit longer
The Osprey Raptor 14 is loaded with great features, so many that I could write a book on all of them. So, I’ll stick to discussing my favorite features of the pack starting with the contouring AirScape back-panel and “winged” shaped harness. The AirScape back-panel helps keep your back cool by providing ventilation while the harness wraps the upper shoulders keeping the pack stable and close to the body while riding rough terrain. This design makes for a very comfortable fit, so comfortable that I often forget I’m wearing the pack. To top it off, the hip belt sits fairly high which again makes for a comfy, unencumbering fit.
My first ride with the Osprey Raptor 14 was in the Pisgah National Forest here in North Carolina. The Pisgah is known for its unrelenting and brutally steep trails which force most to hike-a-bike. I decided to do a short 4-mile spin which was supposed to be easy but felt epic. I was glad I had plenty of water for this ride which brings me to the included 2.5-liter hydration reservoir, and specifically, the hydration compartment with direct-zip access. Over the years I have gone back and forth on using a hydration reservoir with any pack. I love the convenience of being able to drink water on the go, but often it’s a pain to remove or insert the reservoir into the pack. This is not the case with the Raptor 14. The direct-zip access makes it super easy to load and unload the hydration reservoir without having to deal with routing the hose. The only issue I found is the hydration hose is just a little too short. The hose is secured to the sternum strap with a magnet but sometimes detaches because the hose is short and the attachment is fixed to the buckle of the strap. I can fix the problem by synching the sternum strap a little tighter, but this may be an issue for some.
After doing some lung-busting in Pisgah, I decided to take the Raptor 14 out for a spin in Bent Creek on some mellower trails where I could log more mileage. Again, the pack rode very well and didn’t encumber my ability to move on the bike. I did a quick 8-mile loop hitting the best downhill sections just to see how the pack would do going over jumps and through rock gardens. It was no surprise that it did exceptionally well. I found that the two stash pockets on the hip belt are perfect for holding energy chews and gels. It was nice to grab some quick fuel without having to remove the pack.
The Raptor 14 has a built-in tool roll which is stored in a zippered pocket at the bottom of the pack. This feature is definitely at the top of the list for me. Previously, I would carry a small tool roll with the bare minimum, and just pray that everything held together but the tool storage in the Raptor 14 changes that. The tool roll itself has plenty of space for a multi-tool, tire levers, some chain links, a small pump, and more. It rolls up into a neat package and zips into the bottom of the pack. An added security feature is a zipper keeper to make sure the tool pocket can’t accidentally come un-zipped. The tool roll can be removed if you’re wanting to pare down on weight or wash if it gets greasy.
While the Raptor 14 is intended for mountain biking, I’m a devoted rock climber and couldn’t help but take this pack rock climbing. A friend and I came up with the idea to enchain a couple of the granite plutons in Pisgah via mountain bike. We started off at the fish hatchery and pedaled up to The Nose trailhead. Stashing our bikes in the woods, we sprinted up the trail and climbed the east coast classic The Nose on Looking Glass rock. We climbed to the summit, ate a quick snack before rappelling back to the trail, back to our bikes, and looped around to climb John Rock. I wore the pack while climbing and it felt just as good as any small multi-pitch pack I’ve used in the past, if not a little better. Since the shoulder straps and waistbelt are designed for optimal movement on a mountain bike, it actually works really well for climbing movement. Additionally, the side straps worked perfectly for carrying the rope in between climbs.
The Final Word
Overall, I’ve been loving the Osprey Raptor 14. It’s a great mountain biking pack for long rides but also works just as well on short rides. All the mountain bike-specific features are well designed and so far the pack seems to be fairly durable. So, if you’re looking for a good mountain bike specific pack, look no further than the Raptor 14. Remember, it can also be used for a day pack, or even a climbing pack as well, which removes it from the one-trick-pony category.
Cover photo by Petey Guillard