Last week I had some Birthday money burning a hole in my pocket so I took a trip to REI in hopes of finding some kind of gear fix.
As per usual, I made a beeline to the "garage sale" section where they sell gently used and returned gear. (Thank God for that REI member policy).
I sifted through the usual junk; cruddy Fivefingers, shorts with worn out crotches, single socks, and there on a hanger was a beautiful Osprey Manta hydration pack.
I have been hesitant to buy an Osprey hydration pack though I have coveted one for quite, they usually don't fit into my student-sized budget. However when I found this gem for 75% off I snapped it up. The super bonus part is that it had a brand new Nalgene bladder inside. It was returned because it was shipped with a little dirty spot near the left shoulder strap... yeah... If this person really planned on using it they would not have been bothered by that dust spot. But nevertheless, bless them, bless you finicky person.
Sunday was my first chance to give the Manta a go on the trail. I used it for an XC ride at Torn Shirt and Murray Lake trails. Though not an all day epic, nor an extended test, I think it was a well-rounded trail to take it on. There are some flowy sections, a decent amount of climbs and enough time out of saddle to get a feel for how the bag will ride.
- It seems to offer decent airflow on the back panel and did not mat itself onto my back under the weight of the reservoir.
- Unlike most 1" web waist straps the waist strap on the Manta is wider, contours to my body, and really helps shift the weight evenly.
- The bite valve is has to be switched out. I like to drink while moving and I am afraid I will break my teeth if the hose gets caught on passing sticks.
- The attached rainfly is a great addition.
- waist pockets are always cool.
A real review will come in a month or two after I get some more time with this. I plan to hike and snowshoe with it as well.