Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Gear Closet: Osprey Rev 6 Trail Running Pack

One of the best parts about my job is attending the Outdoor Retailer convention each year and checking out the latest and greatest products from my favorite gear companies months before they are available to purchase. As much fun as that sounds however, it can also be painful to have to wait for some really great product to actually go on sale. Such was the case with the Rev 6 pack from Osprey, which I first saw last August but had to wait weeks to get my hand on. The wait was worth it however, as it is hands down the best trail running pack that I've used.

The new Rev line comes in a variety of sizes, ranging from the diminutive 6 (as in 6 liter), all the way up to the 24. In between there is also a 12- and 18-liter version too. (Those who like to go ultralight will want to check out the Rev 1.5 and the Rev Solo water bottle holster as well.) All are lightweight, have a variety of great features, and are built to move with trail runners, no matter how demanding conditions get. Obviously you'll want the pack that most fits your needs in terms of capacity. If you're carrying a lot of gear, you'll want to go bigger, but for my needs, the Rev 6 was actually perfect.

The pack's main compartment, which shares double duty with the included 1.5 liter hydration bladder, is just large enough to stuff an extra jacket, and perhaps lunch for the trail. It is surprisingly roomy for such a small pack, but no one would ever use the word "cavernous" to describe it. A second, smaller, pocket is built into the top of the Rev 6, which provides room for a few small items, such as a headlamp and a wallet. A key clip is conveniently placed in that pocket as well, keeping all of your essentials in one place.


Additional storage can be found on the two straps, where stretch pockets allow access to an additional water bottle, a camera, or energy bars. The left strap even has a cleverly designed "DigiFlip" media pocket that is built for smartphones or touch enabled mp3 players. The pocket is securely fastened in place with its own clip, but it can be flipped open to grant access to the device inside. That device is encased in a plastic covering that keeps dirt and sweat away from the precious technology, but still allows the wearer to have full access to the screen. This is one of my favorite features of the Rev line, as I always run with an audio player of some type, but I have a tendency to sweat all over it. Additionally, wearing it on an armband isn't alway the easiest way to access music or apps while on the go. This solves both of those problems very nicely.

In terms of fit, the Rev 6 is fantastic. It uses lightweight materials and the belts and straps aren't particularly large, but they still do a great job of holding the pack in place when you run. Sizing is as simple as pulling the pack on, and adjusting a couple of bands to make it all fit. It took me just seconds to dial in exactly where I want the pack to ride, and it stayed in place throughout my runs.

Other nice touches include a bungee on the front of the pack to provide extra external storage, and a  soft, breathable back panel to aid in keeping runners cool. The Rev is small and light, so it doesn't have a frame that can provide true airflow across the back, but this specially designed panel does a good job none the less.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Osprey's excellent hydration bladder. It has a large mouth that makes it easy to fill, and includes built in markings to let you know just how much water is in the reservoir at all times. It's low-profile design keeps it from becoming too cumbersome, even when filled with liquid, and it's tough materials are very resistant to wear and tear. The bite valve even includes a magnetic backing to help keep it securely in place while running, and a quick release allows the entire hose to come off, which makes for easier filling and better access for cleaning.

All in all, it is difficult not to be impressed with the Rev 6. As I mentioned above, it is the best trail running pack that I've used, and it is clear that Osprey put a lot of thought into the design before releasing this product. It is compact, lightweight, and packed with features that trail runners will love. For me, the 6 is the perfect size for most runs, as its allows you to carry everything you need, and nothing you don't. I know there will be some runners who will want to take some extra gear with them when they hit the trail, and Osprey has options for those folks. But for me, the little Rev 6 is just about perfect for my needs.  Considering all that it delivers, its price tag of $100, also comes across as a real bargain.

If you're a trail runner, you owe it to yourself to check out this pack. I think you'll be very happy that you did.

Check out the video below to see what ultrarunner Ben Clark carries in his Rev 6.


No comments: