Osprey has built a reputation for quality and that is certainly borne out by the Tempest, a female-specific version of the established Talon pack. It is well made, comfortable to carry and cleverly designed to incorporate all the features you could possibly need.
Although it's listed on Osprey's website in the hiking rather than biking range, it includes cycle-friendly features – the Lidlock helmet carrier, a bike light loop and hydration reservoir compartment. I wanted a multi-purpose pack for my commute, which is part cycling and part on foot, and this fitted the bill perfectly.
The first thing that struck me about the Tempest was its light weight, especially considering the number of straps and buckles dangling off it (neatly, I might add). Attention to detail is phenomenal – this pack has so many features that Osprey has a series of handy video clips on its website demonstrating how to use them!
The second thing was how well designed it is: you can easily access the many pockets and other features – plus it's comfortable, which isn't necessarily a given with backpacks.
The harness and hip belt are both gender specific and Osprey has done its homework well. The shoulder straps are very well shaped for a comfortable fit. With other packs I often find they feel too widely spaced and pull back on my shoulders so I need to use the sternum strap to bring them in, but I had no need to do this with the Tempest. The belt and straps are also nicely padded, with foam (and decent sized cutouts for ventilation) covered in soft mesh, and the straps sport two loops on each side for running the hose of your hydration bladder through.
There is a height-adjustable sternum strap for added stability, and a stretch mesh pocket on the left-hand strap for popping in a snack bar or keeping your sunnies to hand. A very nifty feature is that the buckle of the sternum strap has an emergency whistle incorporated into it. It's so small and subtle it took me a few weeks to even notice it, but it makes a pretty loud and piercing sound. Finally, there's a small reinforced adjustable bungee designed to loop around the handles of your trekking poles (the ends go through a plastic-reinforced loop at the bottom of the pack).
I tested the 20-litre model (it's also available in 9, 16, 30 and 40-litre sizes, and pink and black too), which is ideal for my commute. It swallows a change of shoes and clothes plus waterproofs with ease, and you can stuff extras in the large mesh pocket on the front, which has a clip strap to ensure the contents don't fall out. The outer fabric is a tough ripstop nylon that sheds water well – in a light shower, rain just beaded and ran off, although Osprey makes no claims for it being waterproof so use drybags to be sure. (At the time of writing Osprey is giving away a free drybag when you buy the pack from its website.)
Talking of water, the Tempest has an easy-access external compartment (with a little loop to keep it in place) that will hold a 3-litre reservoir. This fits behind the comfy back panel, which is made from three pieces of ridged foam with ventilation channels between, covered in mesh.
Other features include a bungee cord and loop for carrying an ice axe (taking versatility to the extreme!), carry handle and reflective logos.
As for pockets, the main compartment has a good-sized internal zipped pocket and there's an even larger handy zipped pocket with a key clip behind this. The hip belt has generous zippered mesh pockets on both sides, ideal for keys, snacks, money and more. Lastly, there are two stretch mesh side pockets, big enough for a drinks bottle. They have side compression straps, which you can choose to run either inside or outside the pocket.
It's an exhaustive feature list – the only omissions I can think of are keepers for excess strap length so they're not dangling around, and maybe a rain cover, although these are minor niggles and don't detract much from a superb pack.
A comfortable, solidly constructed and versatile pack with more features than you can shake a trekking pole/ice axe at!
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Osprey Tempest 20 Womens
Size tested: 20L
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Osprey says: "Tempest is the women's specific fit version of our iconic Talon series. When it comes to a perfect all-rounder the Tempest 20 won't disappoint, after all it's designed to cling to your back like a frightened monkey. The AirScape™ back panel and die-cut foam hipbelt and harness keeps your load under close control but allows ventilation to run free."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Designed for Women
AirScape™ backpanel with foam ridges for ventilation
Stretch mesh side pockets with InsideOut™ compression
Zippered panel access
LidLock™ bike helmet attachment
Twin zippered hip belt pockets
Adjustable torso length
Stretch pocket on shoulder strap
Large powermesh pocket
External hydration access
Internal key attachment clip
LED bike light attachment point
Side compression straps
Trekking poles loops
Ice axe loop
Maximum dimensions: 50 (l) x 25 (w) x 24cm (d)
Extremely well made, so no reason to suspect it won't last very well.
You can pay more than £80 for this kind of quality (although a quick web search found it for as low as £45).
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well in all respects.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Everything! Comfort, features and appearance.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
Osprey has thought of almost everything with this pack, and made it light and comfy to boot. It's near perfect and fully deserves to score 9.
About the tester
I usually ride: Marin Point Reyes 29er My best bike is: Giant Anthem X1
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, club rides, mountain biking, audax