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Osprey Raptor 10 – Our Review

Osprey Raptor 10 – Our Review

I’ve been using an Osprey Raptor 10 for the last 3 years or so now and it has become my go-to bag for a whole host of activities. The raptor bags (available in three sizes; 6, 10 and 14) are the core of Osprey’s Biking range.

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The Osprey Raptor 10 – our new go-to MTBing bag?

They have been around for 3 or 4 years now – I have actually used and abused both versions of the rucksack – the first one has travelled the world and has since been adopted by my girlfriend. The latest version is currently hanging up and drying from our latest mountain bike excursion and it is this latest incarnation that I will be reviewing today.

The Osprey Raptor 10 is a fully featured mountain biking bag, complete with a 3 litre Osprey Hydraulic Reservoir. This means that you’ll have ample space for all of your inner tubes, pumps, tools, all of your emergency layers, the odd energy bar as well as 3 litres of your favourite tipple! I have to admit, I have never been a fan of hydration reservoirs – yes, they make sense, but I just never really seem to use them.

That being said, the Osprey Hydraulic Reservoir is by far the best that I have ever come across and the way that it integrates itself into the bag is very effective. The reservoir hose that usually follows the shoulder harness has in this case been enclosed by a thin mesh. This feature has been lifted and adapted from the Osprey Kode ski bag and does a very good job at keeping everything secure and in place.

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The improved an updated Airscape back system and resevoir are very welcome changes.

The fact that the reservoir sits in a separate compartment also means that it won’t interfere with any of the other bits and bobs you might be carrying, whilst the magnetic bite valve will neatly keep the hose secure on the sternum strap. As a result, I have used the reservoir on a few routes across the Purbeck hills and whilst I’m far from converted, it did its job very well.

Another of the major tweaks that the new Raptor has undergone in comparison to the older version is the back system. Both use the Osprey AirScape backsystem – a vented foam, however the most recent version of the Raptor is far more ventilated, with large, open channels keeping your back cool. I have used both versions on long, hot rides around Dorset and Hampshire and let’s face it, the first version was good, but it has been subtly refined to improve the all-day comfort of the bag.

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Neat zippered pockets on both sides of the hip belt.

An additional feature that has been added on the latest version is the roll out ToolWrap – a convenient, secure pouch, specially designed for bike tools and spares. If you’re the kind of person who will take the entire workshop with you, you may struggle for room, but otherwise, for those of us who might be able to change an inner tube, change the saddle height or perhaps, at a push, adjust the gears and brakes, we should be ok! The zipped pocket on each side of the hip belt is a useful area to store small snacks, phones – a very useful addition!

Whilst the Raptor 10 has been designed exclusively for mountain biking, I have found that it is equally as good for using when hiking or as a small daypack when exploring cities. You may argue, that an Osprey Talon 11 may be more suitable for this – I also asked myself the same question. The Raptor just feels a little bit more stable, a bit sturdier and well, just a bit more up to the job. Because of this, it carries heavier weights much more effectively regardless of if you are walking, cycling, skiing or just mooching around Milan.

The Raptor is available in three different sizes; 6, 10 and 14 litres, as well as a women’s specific version, also in 10 and 14 litres, known as the Raven. This results in a range of bags which are suitable for a huge range of cyclists – so if you’re off down your local trailway, or heading out for a 50 mile epic, you’ll be able to rely on the Osprey Raptor range to help you get there.

Without a doubt, our favourite MTB bag!
Without a doubt, our favourite MTB bag!

The Verdict

I love this little rucksack – I’ve owned the very first version for years now and quite frankly, it’s still going strong. This more recent version seems to be heading the same way and will last me for years to come. Whenever I head out to the trails on my MTB, this is the one bit of kit I will always grab and take along with me. However, this 10 litre rucksack falls into a very competitive group, with offerings from all of the big rucksack manufacturers, as well as other alternatives from Camelbak, Haglöfs and Norrøna. However, Osprey’s distinctive design and look make this stand out from the crowd. A bunch of innovative, yet truly useful features ensure you get the most from the bag, and keep on riding.

+        Very well laid out – it’s clear that there has been a lot of thought going into the bag.

+        Lots of useable, decently sized pockets.

+        Excellent hydration reservoir – even if you’re not a fan, it does work very well.

+        Very versatile design, suitable for skiing, walking, general use as well MTBing.

+        Zips pockets on the hip belt, ideal for trail side snacks.

+        The Lid Lock system, carries your bike helmet securely, perfect for those pub stops!

+        Reflective detailing and light attachment point make sure you stay safe on the roads.

+        The W’s version (Raven) features a female fit and slightly more feminine colours!

–        £85.00 is a lot of money for those who don’t want to be using a hydration reservoir.

–        It seems to be constantly muddy but perhaps that might be my fault…?

http://www.roughgear.co.uk/p-955-osprey-raptor-10-ltr-rucksack.aspx

Rab Infinity Endurance Jacket – Our Review

Rab Infinity Endurance Jacket – Our Review

Handy chest pockets on the outside and the inside.

Following on from our Hydrophobic Down post a few days ago, we thought we should review our favourite down jacket this winter – the Rab Inifinity Endurance Jacket! We haven’t got many left, so don’t miss out!

Christmas day started as it does every year, with a mad dash to the Christmas tree. A large, but very light parcel, addressed to me appeared beneath the other pressies. A familiar looking Rab logo emerged, followed by a bright green inner lining and at this point I realised what I was looking at – the new and updated Infinity Endurance Jacket from Rab (thank you Racheal!).

A few years ago, Rab released a very lightweight down jacket called the Infinity jacket (still available today). The following year, the Infinity Endurance jacket appeared in Rab’s winter workbook – a beefed up, more durable and probably for most people, more practical jacket. The down filling remains the same as the standard Infinity Jacket, with 210g of 850 fill power European goose down. This year, the down has had an extra special treatment – a Hydrophobic coating, which has been applied to the down at the washing/cleaning stage. This has been rolled out across all Rab down jackets this winter, with sleeping bags following suit next summer.

The differences to the standard Infinity Jacket appear on the outside. The standard jacket uses a Pertex Quantum GL – the lightest fabric Pertex make. The Infinity Endurance uses the same fabric, but, as the name suggests, one that has a Pertex Endurance coating. In reality, the standard fabric was strong and tough – but it never felt that way – I was always very conscious about using the jacket. The new endurance fabric is only 20% heavier at 30 g/m2, but it inspires a lot more confidence when you are wearing it. It comes with a hydrostatic head rating of 1000 mm, so can take a decent beating from the usual British weather. It still packs up very small into the stuff sac (included).

A very good pack size for such a warm jacket.
A very good pack size for such a warm jacket.

Being the middle of January, I had hoped that I would have been try it out in much colder, snowier conditions – but seeing that half of the UK is under water, I have had limited chances to test the jacket. However, the last couple of days have been cold and clear and it has been great to slip this jacket on in the morning. But, this is a warm jacket – and although I feel the cold, I have had to leave it in the wardrobe most of the winter. It is a shorter cut than other Rab jackets, meaning it is as nice to wear around town as it is to wear out in the mountains.  One of my favourite features is the soft fleece chin guard – a really decent size. So many brands offer this, but to have one of this size is really great. The other massive improvement is the hood. Now this is a big thing for me, as a bad hood can wreck a jacket. Many have fallen at this hurdle, but Rab have pretty much got it spot on. A reassuringly thick wire peak top it off and had the hood had a little more in the way of volume adjustment, it would have been perfect.

My only major gripe about this jacket is the pockets. They are all present and correct, and where they should be, but the hand warmer pockets just aren’t big enough! Now, I don’t know if it is just me, but I cannot seem to fit my hands comfortably inside. They appear to taper off, meaning that whatever I have got inside my pockets (phone etc) cannot be comfortably removed – a minor flaw when you look at the jacket as a whole, but a really annoying one.

Verdict

On the whole, this jacket is one of my all-time favourites.  The cut is brilliant, the down is very high quality and has now been improved to be even more resistant than before. Fix those pockets and its perfect! If we ever get a ‘normal’ winter, this is the first jacket I’ll grab.

http://www.roughgear.co.uk/p-470-rab-infinity-endurance-jacket.aspx

OS Mapping – A Brief History

Did you know? 

The Ordnance Survey has its origins firmly entrenched in British Military History

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Yep! – you can thank your luck compass bearings that through fear of invasion during the 1800’s the British Military decided that it would jump on the booming survey bandwagon to record the lay of the land – so they could  accurately blast the bad guys.

It was the artillery types who were given this onerous task – hence the name, ‘ordnance’ derived naturally enough from the Royal Ordnance, i.e. the military department that dealt with exploding cannon shells for the big guns.

Funny how they ended up in Southampton, though Woolwich Arsenal would have been more appropriate perhaps?.