The Boreas Pull On is a bit of strange one at first glance. It falls into the ‘Windshell’ category, but it isn’t one of these Pertex shells that you seem to find everywhere. It is made from a Polymide/Spandex blend, known by Rab as Matrix SWS. It is a soft, comfortable and stretchy fabric, but also one that is light enough and compact enough to not cause any concerns when stashing it in your pack.
I’ve never really got on with the traditional windshells – whilst I understand their super lightweight and compactness is almost unparalleled in the outdoor world, I’ve never found them very comfortable. They often feel clammy against the skin, are noisy and never seem to hang particularly nicely when you where them. That’s why I was so surprised when I first tried the Boreas. It is completely different and as far as I have seen over the last 2 years of use, doesn’t fall down in any of those pitfalls found in those normal windshells.
It is UPF 50+ and is a brilliant wicking layer. Using this over the summer of 2013, in those boiling temperatures, it was very cooling and comfortable to wear. The flat lock seams do their job, and improve the feel of the fabric next to the skin.
It is a very slim fit, and being a pull on, can sometimes seem a bit tricky to work your way into, but once it’s one, it really does feel brilliant. The hood is a close fitting, under the helmet kind of hood, so would be ideal for those long summer pitches, where you want a little more protection than just a t-shirt.
So, as I finish this review off, I find myself wondering if it really is a windshell at all. It’s really a mix of windshell, softshell and base layer all in one, but however you categorise it – it is a brilliant little product, and for only £50.00 for the 2014 season, is extremely good value. It is often overshadowed by lots of exciting new technologies and products, but really, it works brilliantly and is one of the most versatile and well used products I own.
Take a look today at Rough Gear, along with a brilliant range of new Rab clothing!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…?