I use a hydration pack for runs longer than 2 hours, preferring the Nathan HPL #020 for its capacity and comfort. I also use more than one pack, so that I can swap them at aid stations without having to get in and out of the pack or bladder. Osprey’s quick disconnect reservoir makes multiple packs unnecessary, and there’s a whole lot more about the new REV 1.5 to talk about.
I was told the new REV series trail running hydration packs from Osprey “fit like a shirt”, moving with your torso as you run. Osprey has long been an innovator in pack suspension systems, and I was eager to put the claim to the test. The REV is Osprey’s first backpack designed for trail running.
Key features include:
- A 1.5 liter reservoir
- A magnetic bite valve keeper
- Digiflip” media pocket provides weather-resistant access to your smart phone
My large frame (6’2″, 190 lbs) pushed the limits of the adjust-ability of the M/L pack. A S/M is also available. After a little tug here and there to get the straps headed in the right direction, the pack was comfortable. Once running, the pack felt compact and did move well with my torso. Despite the claim, it felt more like a vest than a shirt. The low profile kept the weight of the bladder close to my back, and after a mile I forgot it was there. As I drank, I was able to maintain a good fit using the straps to take up the slack.
The REV sports two removable sternum straps and I like this feature. Removing the lower strap may be necessary to accommodate a heart rate monitor. All straps are well-organized with keepers; no loose ends to flap about. The REV was comfortable for the long haul; I had zero issues with its fit over 2-4 hour runs.
The REV 1.5 has a zippered reservoir compartment and a smaller zippered stash pocket in the main body of the pack. The smaller pocket is adequate for extra gels or energy bars, a headlamp, gloves, and even a small windbreaker. An external shock cord system on the exterior will hold extra layers and an extra water bottle. Up front, the shoulder straps provide more storage. Two small stretch pockets on the right strap are suitable for 5-6 gels, a sleeve of bloks or supplements.
The small pocket appears to be made of a weather proof material, which is always helpful on the trails. Overall, the material is similar to other packs, but doesn’t have the rip-stop that Nathan does. That aside, it’s very well made, and the attention to detail is obvious.
The left strap contains the removable Digiflip media pocket and a small stretch pocket. The Digiflip pocket holds my iPhone 5 in its Lifeproof case, but it is snug. Some brands of phones, phablets, or Otter Box cases may not fit inside the media pocket. The entire pocket flips down, revealing a clear window providing access to the phone.
The 1.5 Liter reservoir sports innovations which I expect to see in other brands soon. The reservoir incorporates chevron baffles, which reduce sloshing and help maintain its shape and the compartment contains a stabilization band which locks the reservoir into place. A quick disconnect on the reservoir makes removal and replacement a non-issue. The magnetic bite valve keeper and rotating on/off valve were much easier to operate than other brands. A note on the magnetic keeper: it is strong enough to interfere with pacemakers.
The REV 1.5 lived up to the hype. Little details like locking strap keepers and the magnetic bite valve impressed me. The baffled reservoir retains its shape, keeping the center of gravity close to the torso. The quick connect on the reservoir makes refills feel like a Formula One pit-stop. The pack with its shock cord are capable of carrying enough gear to outlast the reservoir.
The pockets on the right strap were too slim for my liking. They held gels well enough, but Pocket Fuel or other products with screw-on caps were difficult to get in and out. The Digiflip pocket felt gimmicky as access to my phone was both improved and impaired. My phone remained secure while I accessed apps and music, but the pocket made it impossible to use the camera. On the trail, I don’t use ear buds often, but being able to pull out my phone to take a picture is paramount. I remedied this issue by removing my phone from its case, making it easier to get the phone in and out of the pocket. I found that the reservoir sloshed audibly, unless I took care to remove all the air before setting out. And the downside to the quick disconnect is that it makes the hose difficult to clean.
The REV 1.5 is a well-designed, comfortable, compact hydration pack perfect for training runs. The REV series includes sizes ranging up to 24 liters of storage and I intend to investigate the larger sizes for use in longer races. I want more capacity in the reservoir, so I would consider buying the REV 6. Until then, my Nathan remains my choice for runs over three-four hours.
340 g M/L
If you’re interested in purchasing this pack, please consider doing so through the URP Amazon page. It’ll put a few nickels into our bucket. Buy it here on our Amazon page.
Otherwise, please support your local privately owned running store. Thanks!
[ed: As I've been on the DL, I asked friend, blogger, and bearded mountain man Ken Neely to run the new Osprey Rev 1.5 through the courses and provide feedback on what he found. He's putting in some serious miles training for Western States and regularly runs with a pack in the Sierra Nevadas. This was provided to URP as a comp, with zero expectation of a positive review. The words are all Ken's.]