Manta 20 hydration pack (13)
While the 20 litres of storage space makes it overkill for your average trail centre spin, if you’re preparing to head further off the beaten track then this multi-use pack is comfortable, versatile and adaptable.
We really love the Airspeed back, which uses a sprung mesh panel to evenly distribute weight without any hot spots, and allows plenty of airflow. The well-designed waistband also helps to keep weight on the hips, preventing back pain even when the pack is fully loaded.
Two wide and long zipped waist pockets give quick access and loads of storage, but people with particularly skinny waists might struggle to tighten it down sufficiently. The straps are a similarly light, comfortable and well-vented mix of mesh and foam; neat guides keep excess straps under control.
There’s a separate compartment for an up-to-3L bladder, though you don’t get one with the pack. Osprey’s own redesigned, rigid-backed Hydraulics 3L bladder is an excellent match, though, and resists the tendency some bladders have of turning into an unmanageable sausage at maximum capacity. The magnetic bite valve holder is a great party trick too.
The main compartment will happily swallow jackets and so forth, although the heavily curved shape can make getting bulky items in and out a struggle. On top there’s a small easy-access pocket with a waterproof zip for gadgets, but it’s unlined and, although the Ripstop nylon fabric beads water well, we’d be less than inclined to trust an expensive smartphone to it in a downpour. The front pocket has plenty of mesh organisers, making it ideal for pumps, tools and the like.
This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.