The Raven series is part of Osprey's new premium line of women's mountain biking hydration packs for spring. As the women's specific version of the Raptor, the Raven is sized and tailored specifically for a woman's body, using a more ergonomic harness and shorter torso for better fit.
The Raven's 6L zippered main compartment provides just enough room for all the essentials on my local mountain bike rides. I can fit my bike tools, enough water for a few hours on the trail, snacks, and even an extra layer for the ever changing weather conditions associated with NorCal riding.
The Raven mountain bike hydration packs come with their own roll up tool pouch to help keep all your gear organized. The pouch also comes in handy if you want to easily switch between packs without forgetting anything. Nothing is worse than flatting on the trail only to find out you left your cartridges in your other pack.
The top zippered pocket features a hidden internal mesh key pouch separated from the main compartment that is lined with a soft, easy-to-clean fabric, great for storing your sunglasses or cell phone that you don't want scratched. The two zippered hipbelt pockets with glove friendly pull tabs provide easy access to your snacks while you are riding.
The mesh and perforated EVA foam harness, as well as the mesh covered molded foam backpanel, help with ventilation and ensure sweat won't build up underneath your pack. As expected, the Raven incorporates the standard Osprey mountain bike hydration pack features you have come to know and love, such as the LidLock helmet and blinky light attachments.
For Spring 13, Osprey updated their reservoirs using a more anatomical shape that keeps the water closer to your body. A new HydroStatic stiff backer plate shapes the reservoir to keep it from ballooning out, while the wide, three-quarters turn cap is simpler to open and secure closed when filling. I like that the hydration compartment is separated from the rest of your gear, while using a full zip closure, even along the hose sleeve, to make loading and unloading your reservoir that much easier.
A big fan of multi-functional gear, I was happy to discover that the Raven 6 even makes a great hydration pack for skiing the resort all day. As you don't need your avy tools, the pack provides enough room to store your extra goggles lens, sunglasses, an extra layer, snacks, and 100 fl. ounces of hydration for the day. The Raven is low profile enough for the chairlift but the hose sleeve is not insulated, so maybe only useful on bluebird days.
Bottom Line: The ultra comfortable Raven 6 makes the perfect size hydration pack for your daily mountain bike rides. I personally think this size hydration pack even offers enough room for a full day's trail adventure but if you drink more than 3L in a day, just supplement with a water bottle or two.
The Osprey Raven comes in 6, 10, and 14 sizes and retails for $109-$129, available now.