I own a number of packs for a variety of pursuits and they all have hydration support. What this usually means is a compartment for a bladder and on the higher end packs, elastic bands for tube routing. That’s really the extent of the “advanced” features when it comes to hydration packs – until now. Osprey, a name synonymous with high-end technical packs, has recently introduced their Hydraulics line and their engineers have come up with some really unique features that make so much sense, it makes you wonder why nobody thought of them earlier. The Raptor is geared towards mountain bikers and comes in four sizes, all the way down to a minimalistic 6 liters. It touts a dedicated tool pocket, blinker light attachment, reflective graphics among its features. The Manta is their answer to a modern daypack and the one I am most excited about. Three sizes (20, 25, 30L) means anything from a full day outing to a light overnight. It boasts a built in raincover and trekking pole attachment among its lengthy feature list.
What really sets this series apart are the best-in-class innovations. First is the bladder, which was developed by Nalgene. The stiff back allows you to easily slide it into a pack even when loaded. It provides support that molds along your back and you can refill it even when the pack is full. It also is designed to prevent barreling while creating positive water pressure. Another feature I really like is the magnetic attachment for the bite-valve. Great innovations by Osprey, check it out.