Many outdoor activities are best paired with a good backpack.
It holds your water, your snacks, a first-aid kit, all kinds of gear, and just makes life easier and spending time outside more enjoyable.
For this edition of Reyce’s Rad Rec Reviews, join me in examining the pros and cons of Osprey backpacks.
The Initial Look
One I’d like to look at in particular is the Osprey Skarab 22, with it’s female Skimmer 20 counterpart. These packs are a part of the Skarab/Skimmer technical day pack series.
The Skarab is a 22-liter rucksack style pack with a wide bucket opening, which is convenient for accessibility when packing items.
Included with the pack is a 2.5L Osprey Hydrapak bladder — which will be getting a review of its own against some competitor reservoirs — that slides quite easily into a dedicated hydration compartment.
On the exterior of the pack we find dual mesh pockets are available for water bottles or other items and attachment loops for trekking poles and daisy chain webbing on the face panel.
The adjustable straps fit to a variety of body types, and includes a sternum strap with a magnetic bite valve attachment for the reservoir hose, and a removable webbing hip belt.
The back panel and harness straps are made of a breathable airscape mesh over foam backing designed for ventilation and comfort.
The Skimmer 20-liter backpack is the women’s version of the Skarab 22, with the same features listed above. Other pack sizes in the series include (in liters) the men’s 18, 24 and 30, and the women’s 16, 28 and 30
The Skarab 22/Skimmer 20 retails at $100 from Osprey.
Fortunately for me, I got my Skarab pack for free as a part of my summer job as an IIC intern with the Forest Service, and it accompanied me every day on a variety of projects.
I used the straps above the mesh pockets to clip in my hard hat, and the pack adequately stored the rest of my PPE (personal protective equipment).
I’ve also used it extensively for hiking and its dimensions make it an excellent fit as my personal bag for air travel.
I find I have quite liked this bag for my uses, however in keeping with the rucksack style, it has only the main zippered compartment other than a small under-lid zip pocket, which I use for my wallet, sunglasses or keys.
If you prefer bags with more compartments, this may not be the right one for you.
The magnetic valve attachment is a nice concept intended to keep the bladder hose from flailing about, but I’ve observed that magnet has weakened over time, making it harder for the hose to snap to the attachment.
The breathability has been excellent, and I typically get a pretty sweaty back when I’m hiking with a pack on, so this is a huge plus for me.
The size of the backpack in inches, 19.7 high by 10.4 wide by 9.6 deep, and its load capacity of 10-25 lbs makes it a medium sized bag, so you may want to go with something smaller on shorter excursions.
For my size at 6’4”, this pack fits me perfectly, and without a heavy load it still makes for a great companion on a short hike.
Overall, the pack has proven sturdy and reliable, and I find it’s worked well for my hiking, traveling and outdoor work.
Story by: Reyce Knutson
Photos by: Reyce Knutson and courtesy http://www.osprey.com