By Seth Grotzke
Finding the right pack is like trying to find the perfect porridge… except there are no bears threatening to show up. If you are looking for a pack in the 10-20 litre range, the Osprey Duro 15 is a great option for all-day treks in the mountains or multi-day running excursions. The bladder and flask hydration integration and the variable adjustments between the shoulder and hip straps make sure this pack can adapt with you as each day unfolds. You may find it is just right.
- 2.5L Hydraulics™ LT Reservoir (quick release for easy refilling)
- Soft, breathable mesh for back and straps
- Front zippered pocket (behind left flask pocket)
- Multiple zip pockets (one designated for optional internal hydration sleeve)
- Multiple PowerMesh™ pockets
- Pack-vest style fit with dual adjustable/removable sternum straps (not traditional clips)
- Reflective graphics
- Soft Flask stabilising pouch
- Straps for Trekking poles
- Stretch mesh side pockets
- Twin Hydraulics™ 500ml Soft Flasks with extension hose and bite valve
- Twin zipped side pockets on hip strap and also two zipped side pockets connecting the hip strap and pack
- Retail price: £140
Pros: What’s good about the Osprey Duro 15?
The Duro 15 is the pack equivalent to well-worn cargo pants. There are so many pocket options you can pack everything you need – but at the risk of overdoing it. There is a zippered compartment for the integrated hydration reservoir, followed by a zippered key pocket with divided mesh organisation, and then a large zippered compartment for extra layers, snacks or emergency kit. Everything is then held tight by a mesh outer pocket with buckles, ideal for keeping a wind shell or any soggy clothes in the open air so as to facilitate drying. Note that none of these compartments or pockets are completely waterproof.
On the shoulder straps there are dual flask pockets each with an additional stuff pocket, and a zippered phone pocket beneath the left flask (although I prefer to use a different pocket for my larger phone – just call me a Millennial. Then on the hip belt there are two large mesh zippered pockets and two more mesh zippered pockets bridging the belt and pack. The only way I can imagine you would need more zippered options is if you are one of those people who won’t let their food touch on their plate, or you have to keep your socks and underwear from fraternizing in your dresser drawer.
For its multitude of options, this pack is not nearly as heavy as one would expect (510g according to product website) and rides very well. Because it can handle so much, the design features straps and buckles as the weight load is redistributed throughout use. This means that no matter how much you are carrying, you can tighten or loosen where needed.
The Hydraulics™ hydration system gives you the option of a reservoir, flasks, or both reservoir and flasks. I tried out the vest on long runs with just front flasks, just back bladder, and then all together. I would probably only ever use both at the same time if I were to be heading to the mountains for an all day run with no water access. It gets heavy with over 3.5 liters of water, although the sloshing was nowhere near the seasick level I get when running with multiple hard bottles.
The soft flasks with bite valves are nice because you don’t have to juggle bottles or pull anything out while running. It also means you don’t have to stuff anything back into pockets, using your very valuable, and limited, keep-my-face-from-hitting-the-trail appendages.
The reservoir has a quick release system which allows you to pull out, fill, clean, etc. the bladder without messing with the hose. It then has a magnetic clip for the hydration hose on the chest strap to facilitate easy access and fastening while on the run. The only issue is that the hose can be a bit long and may require some trimming to make it your optimal length dependent on chest size.
Fit and Ride:
With so many options, this pack can be customised to whatever body shape you have or load you might be carrying. Also, due to the hip belt, the weight can be distributed fairly easily. The mesh fabric on the shoulder straps and fabric touching your back helps increase airflow, making the warmer days a little more bearable.
The poles fit OK on the back as long as they are extended partially. I used the Dynafit tri-fold poles and it kept them snug, but you definitely can’t pull them out or put them back on the fly.
Bits and pieces:
The fasteners to keep the chest straps and waist belt together are two different kinds, two quick latches for the straps and a traditional buckle for the belt. They are easy to use and don’t pose any significant difficulties while running.
As is with the other elements of this pack, the zippers are good quality. They include plastic loops for easy gripping even with cold fingers or gloves.
There are a couple elastic bands on the shoulders for various uses, and function for running pole fasteners.
It has a small strap to hang it up after use. It is a pet peeve of mine when designers attempt to shave weight by eliminating this small feature. Thank you Osprey for leaving some good in this world.
Cons: What’s not so good about the Osprey Duro 15?
I have only a few small quibbles with this pack.
Fitting the hydration flasks in their sleeves can be a bit of a trick because of the tight fit. The positive is that it keeps them snug, but forces you to bend the hose if you want to use the straps to keep the straws from flopping around.
The smaller openings for the hydration flasks allow it to collapse tightly, however their size makes it difficult to add any powders to your flasks, especially while moving.
With all the options for pockets, there is not a dedicated watertight pocket or sleeve.
The pole integration is not easily accessible. Perhaps if there were elastic straps running across the bottom or waistband it would be easier to access them on the run.
Overall, I was pleased with this pack and would recommend it for someone:
- Planning a self-supported multi-day run.
- Needing to pack extra layers and fuel for long days out in the elements.
- Wanting an adjustable pack made of quality materials.
Who should look elsewhere?
- Someone looking for a light race pack needed only for carrying essentials.
- Someone needing the next size up in order to accommodate a tent, etc. (If that is you, consider these packs)
This solidly built pack is the one I would carry if I were doing a couple weeks on the Camino De Santiago, a weekend point to point run in the mountains, or an all-day run in cold weather.
Other packs you may want to consider:
About the writer: You can read more of Seth’s musings on his website. His goal is to keep some “real” in the ultra scene and help provide a stabilising influence for the world through sarcasm.
All images except where stated Seth Grotzke.
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