Osprey Rev 12 Trail Running Pack – $149.95
A dedicated trail running pack differs from your everyday hiking or commuting pack in several crucial respects, and the Rev 12 is a good example of one that has all the bases covered. I say trail running specifically because road runners don’t usually need the volume of a pack, either for mandatory equipment or for water, which is provided for them on conveniently-placed tables along their route. The trail runner, by definition, is moving through places where this is not often possible and must therefore carry everything required for an entire day’s run on his or her back.
Storage – The energy-conscious runner loves compartmentalisation and the Rev has a roomy main compartment, a hydration sleeve with reservoir included and a mini pocket for holding small items that would otherwise be lost when thrown in with the rest of the gear. That’s just the main body of the pack though; there is a bewildering variety of nooks and crannies on or within the shoulder straps which are accessible while running. At any given time you might want to reach your energy gels, snack food, sunglasses, hat, lubricant, etc, all without stopping or preferably even slowing down. I did lose a pair of sunglasses out of one of the stretch side pockets but to be fair that was not while running but using the pack as carry-on baggage on the way there. The most interesting of these is the DigiFlip – a phone-shaped weatherproof and touch screen sensitive sleeve on one shoulder strap which allows you to navigate, change music or even, I suppose, make a call on the go, should you have reception.
Fit – A running pack must neatly contour the body and hug the torso, and the Rev achieves this by using wide but thinly padded hip and shoulder straps – the Osprey BioStretch body wrap harness. The load should not bounce up and down while running so the tightening mechanisms need to be easily adjustable to compensate for changes in weight after drinking. Like most such modern packs, the Rev uses a dual chest strap system for maximum load stability. All of this works well, although be sure to get the correct size (s/m or l/xl) or you’ll run out of strap before they’re cinched tight enough. The 100D Nylon Dobby is lightweight but naturally not very abrasion resistant; this is not a pack you should take canyoning, a fact which I confirmed by, er, taking it canyoning (in an emergency). The few holes that appeared on that day were no more than I expected.
Hydration – The 2.5-litre reservoir is made by Hydrapak and uses a top opening, fold down system and low-profile baffling. Osprey previously used a bladder made by Nalgene, the wide mouth opening of which I preferred, but I did have one spring a leak on only its fourth use, soaking my back and legs and leaving me waterless in the middle of a half-marathon, so the change is probably for the best. Fortunately the Hydrapak model retains the magnetic bite valve clip – by far the easiest system I’ve found for stowing the drinking tube on the run.
I used the Rev 12 in training for, and on, a 70-kilometre race around Easter Island. After a couple of training runs I had my storage system down pat and on the day of the run everything went smoothly. There are a number of very good trail running packs around on the Australian market at the moment (e.g. Salomon, Camelbak, UltrAspire), and the Rev, which comes in a variety of volumes from 1.5 to 24-litre versions, more than holds its own in that field.