The purpose of a rucksack is to carry essential items on your back – a vital part of your body – so it’s imperative that your choice of pack is as comfortable as it is practical. The fit is therefore of paramount importance; but sometimes, if you’re a woman and small-framed, it can be difficult to find a quality rucksack that fits properly. Now Osprey has taken the initiative to ensure women have the same opportunities as men, by recreating one of its most popular hillwalking packs with a female-specific fit. A women’s version of the iconic Talon, the Tempest maintains all of the award-winning design features and is every bit as impressive, but includes new components that create a snug and comfortable fit – just for girls.
Osprey say the Tempest 20 is designed to ‘cling to your back like a frightened monkey’, but I prefer the cliché ‘fits like a glove’. It hugs your back like an extra layer of skin, and at less than 1kg in weight you hardly notice you’re wearing it. The Tempest features an ‘AirScape’ back panel system that keeps you well-ventilated, and has a fully adjustable ‘BioStretch’ gender-specific harness. There’s also a built-in hipbelt, consisting of ‘body contact materials’, that keeps you cool, as well as contouring to the female shape perfectly.
I wore the Osprey Tempest 20 with a jacket that’s given me trouble in the past, with straps slipping off the shoulders; but the Tempest kept perfectly still thanks to the snug fit around the shoulders. On a recent walking and skiing trip to the French Alps – where I threw myself around the mountains – it still didn’t budge. No matter what the activity, it feels stable, secure and yet not at all restrictive. The support is so good that I had no issues with carrying a heavier load.
The practicalities of this pack easily complement the feel. The Tempest is bursting with nifty pockets and user-friendly features, such as an extra zipped compartment for those easy-to-reach items, while the hydration reservoir is located separately from the storage space – making it quick and easy to refill. Meanwhile, the large mesh pocket on the front is ideal for storing wet clothing.
A touch I really like, unique to this women’s design, is the opaque zipped pocket in the lid for discreet stowage, as opposed to the mesh used on the men’s Talon. These small aesthetic changes make the Osprey Tempest 20 a little bit special.
Capacity 20 litres
Fabrics nylon and power mesh
Size one size (women’s fit)
Whatever your adventure, the Osprey Tempest 20 is your new best friend. It’s practical, incredibly comfortable and – even better – feminine and stylish, while still looking like it belongs on the hills.
Review by Tara McGivern
First published in Trail magazine May 2014