[Editor’s Note: This review was composed by Alaskan trail runner and guest reviewer Kyle Emery.]
Who doesn’t like moving fast? I mean, it’s kind of the point of running! Osprey has decided to target us runners and hikers who are out to move quickly by creating a pack that is built for speed, but with enough capacity to sustain us for the long haul. The Osprey Rev 6 ($99.95) is obviously a pack built for just that. Osprey also tried to incorporate some new innovations with the pack. I’ve listed the positives and negatives below.
Osprey Rev 6 Pros
Fit: Grade A+
One of the most important attributes for a running pack is its fit, and the Rev 6 fits magnificently. When I first got the pack, I was suspicious of how well it would fit because it lacks a waist belt. But, once I got the pack on and snapped the two Biostretch BodyWraps (a fancy term for chest straps) into place, I was very happy to find that the pack fit close to my body and moved with me exceptionally well. I’ve completed a number of three-plus-hour trail runs with this pack without any chafing at all. The Hydraulics LT Reservoir has baffles inside the bladder that are excellently designed and greatly reduce water sloshing while running. One of the best innovations in this pack is a plastic support that crosses the reservoir pocket and allows the water bladder to securely slide into place.
Capacity: Grade A-
The Rev 6 features a 1.5-liter bladder, six liters worth of internal storage, and four mesh pockets. The main zippered chamber is large enough to hold some extra base layers, some extra food, and a small survival pack. There is a second zippered area that is supplemental to the main area and is large enough for a small first-aid kit and a wallet. There are two mesh pockets on each side of the pack which are large enough for two to three energy bars. The shoulder-strap mesh pockets have some interesting designs, but the bottom line is that they are only big enough for a couple of GU packets and are shaped awkwardly. Overall, this pack has plenty of space for a long trail run or day hike, which is exactly what this pack is designed for.
Hydration System: Grade B
The Osprey Rev 6 has a 1.5-liter Hydraulics LT Reservoir. This design is very well made and lives up to the hype. The reservoir material and hose is tasteless and flexible and will not rupture if it freezes. The QuickDisconnect system works as advertised; a simple push of the red button disconnects the hose, and it can easily be reconnected by pushing it back into the attachment. I only have two concerns with the hydration system: the fill cap and the magnetic bite valve. The fill cap is large and easy to fill, but it can be difficult to screw in correctly. I’ve had a few instances of accidental cross threading that ended with water leaking everywhere. The bite valve works well, but the magnetic clip has a bad habit of falling off the chest strap regularly.
Design: Grade A
Overall the pack is designed to be very durable. The back panel has a soft mesh that is comfortably lifted off of the main structural support of the pack. This design makes the back panel very breathable and provides a bit of a shock-absorption system. This pack seems to be built to last. Unless you went at it with an ice tool, I have a hard time seeing how you could damage the Osprey Rev 6. In the very unlikely event that you somehow managed to damage the pack, Osprey will give you a brand-new one with their lifetime guarantee.
Osprey Rev 6 Cons
Accessibility: Grade C
Unfortunately, accessibility is where the Rev 6 misses the mark. The shoulder straps on the pack are innovative, but not very practical. The left strap has what Osprey calls the Digiflip Media Pocket. The idea of the Digiflip is that you can un-clip the pocket and it will flip down and allow you to look at your phone inside of a plastic case. While this sounds like an appealing idea, the actuality of it leaves much to be desired. The size was designed with a smaller phone in mind, despite the current trend of larger-screened phones. My Samsung Galaxy S5 doesn’t fit inside the Digiflip, making this interesting innovation an unfortunate waste of valuable space.
The next oddity is the right shoulder strap. This bizarre compartment is a large mesh pocket with zipper access. The internal mesh pocket is useable after you unzip it, but it’s awkward to use while running, especially if you’re wearing running gloves.
My final complaint I have is that the side panel mesh pockets are awkwardly placed. They’re just far enough back to where you can reach the pocket while running, but you have to strain your shoulders to reach them. Because of their placement, I am able to take things out of these pockets, but I can’t put things back in unless I stop and take off my pack.
Overall Impressions: Grade A-
Overall this is a great pack for long-distance runs that fits exceptionally well. While I have complaints about some of the mesh pockets, I can still put a sufficient amount of bars and/or GUs to sustain me for a four-plus-hour run. The Osprey Rev 6 has become my favorite pack to run with. It’s perfect for my daily training runs, and I plan to use it in my upcoming 50-mile race.
Call for Comments (from Meghan)
- Have you run in the Osprey Rev 6? What is your overall impression of the pack?
- For those who have run with it, what specific pros and cons did you find?
- Does your phone fit in the Digiflip Media Pocket? If so, let us know what model you use.