Osprey Imp Youth Packs
By Raymond Estrella
August 12, 2008
Orange County, California, USA
6' 3" (1.91 m)
200 lb (90.70 kg)
I have been backpacking for over 30 years, all over California, and in many of the western states and Minnesota. I hike year-round, and average 500+ miles (800+ km) per year. I have made a move to lightweight gear, and smaller volume packs. I start early and hike hard so as to enjoy the afternoons exploring. I usually take a freestanding tent and enjoy hot meals at night. If not hiking solo I am usually with my wife Jenn or brother-in-law Dave.
Assistant Reviewers Data
Emma Estrella, female, 9 years of age, 72 lb (32 kg), 53 in (132 cm) tall.
Raymond Estrella, male, 9 years of age, 63 lb (29 kg), 53 in (132 cm) tall.
Web site: www.ospreypacks.com
Product: Imp 23
Year manufactured: 2008
Weight listed: 2 lb 11 oz (1.22 kg)
Actual weight 2 lb 9 oz (1.16 kg)
Volume: 1400 cu in (23 L)
Size: fits torso range of 13 to 18 in (33 to 46 cm)
Color reviewed: Blue Yonder (also available in Cherry Shake)
Warranty: (from company web site), "Our lifetime warranty covers defects in materials and craftsmanship for the lifetime of the backpack. Products found to be defective will be repaired or replaced at the discretion of our Warranty Department."
The Osprey Imp 23 pack (hereafter referred to as the Imp or pack) is a blue top-loading pack, the smallest of Osprey's Sprint youth line, that the manufacturer says, "is perfect for young, first time day hikers or backpackers." My twins Emma and Raymond fit the bill.
According to Osprey the blue sections of the pack are made of 420D nylon pack cloth. The grey areas are made from heavier 600D polyester. The dark grey bottom is also made of the 600D polyester.
The main pack consists of a single top-loading sack. There are no dividers or pockets inside of it. A strong braided nylon draw cord closes the top of the pack. The draw cord secures with a twin-hole push-button style cord lock. A side compression strap runs in a V-configuration on each side of the pack at the lower section of the Imp. A straight horizontal strap compresses the upper portion of the pack. On the front of the pack is a pocket made of "stretch woven material with Lycra". This pocket is open at the top and secures with a centered fast-disconnect buckle. The Osprey logo is printed across the front pocket. This same material is used for the side pockets, found under the compression straps.
The face of the pack has two daisy-chains, one to either side of the front pocket. Just below the pocket is a storm flap with a yellow textured plastic finger pull hanging from it. Pulling this will reveal a hidden pocket containing a red rain cover for the pack. It is tethered to the pack by a removable strap, but does not need to be removed to deploy, use or re-stow the cover. The pocket has a small drain to allow water to pass after stowing wet. Here is a picture of the pocket with the cover peeking out.
A fixed lid with the Osprey name and logo embroidered on it sits on top of the Imp. It has a good sized nylon stash pocket on the inside of it. A list of the "Ten Essentials" is printed on it. The lid has a large pocket accessed by a zipper with another textured yellow zipper-pull. It is very easy to grab. Inside of the lid storage is another small reinforced plastic pocket attached to the bottom of the lid, and a key-ring clip. At the back of the lid is a Dad-sized grab/hang loop.
The Imp has a rigid foam frame sheet for load support and a mesh covered, ridge molded foam AirScape backpanel to provide ventilation and comfort. A section devoid of the ridged channels runs up the center of the panel and splits off to either side near the belt. The company calls this feature the "AirScape". It can be seen as the whitish area inside the mesh in the picture above.
The main support for the Imp comes from a 6061 T6 aluminum peripheral frame. This round frame starts at the bottom of the pack and goes all the way around from one side to the other, bending out at the shoulders then across them and curving away from the back of the head.
The shoulder straps are made of mesh covered foam that has slots cut out of it to reduce weight and allow ventilation. On each shoulder strap are two small nylon loops that may act as hydration tube guides, but only if the bite valve is removed prior to threading the tube through. The left shoulder strap has a stretch material pocket sized to fit energy gel packets. Each shoulder strap has the normal adjustment straps at top going to the pack to pull it close to the back, and at the bottom going to the hip belt. An adjustable sliding sternum strap crosses the shoulder harness and closes with a quick-connect fastener.
The Imp boasts 5 in (3 cm) of adjustment. It adjusts for torso length by pulling the AirScape backpanel away from the hook and loop holding it in place. The harness may then be slid up or down the aluminum frame using the arrows (visible in the center of the pack in the picture) to guide placement. A quick press once it is in place does the trick. The hook and loop is very strong.
The hip belt is constructed of foam covered with spacer mesh. It has a standard quick connect buckle with a single strap instead of the Osprey ErgoPull that I am accustomed to with all my packs. As part of the total adjustability of the Imp, the hipbelt can be increased in circumference as a child grows. It has a section at the back that when opened will allow the belt to increase in size by four in (10 cm). I have never seen this on any other pack before.
If needed the Imp can be attached to any Osprey adult pack model that accepts their line of Side Order add-on packs. Side clips mimicking the ones found on the Add-ons allow it to be securely fastened to the face of the larger pack. I have two of their packs that will do this.
My twins, Emma and Raymond, have used the Imps on the following trips.
We started by carrying them around Buffalo River State Park, Minnesota for a practice hike as seen above. (In the summer we can only hike on the trails, all camping must be done in the "campground".) After a couple miles of "packing" along three of the closer hiking trails we took the packs back to our camp spot. (Yes, Dad had to carry everybody's drinks and a pack also to set a good example. I let my sleeping bag take most of the space though…)
I took Emma and Ray to Itasca State Park , the birthplace of the Mississippi River where we got a permit for one of three sites at Myrtle Lake. (Backpacking sites are issued just like camp sites in a campground, a new one for me.) This four mile (6 km) round trip hike was on easy terrain as it is almost all grass, at the worst dirt. Temps were from 64 to 80 F (18 to 27 C) at an elevation of 1500 ft (460 m). My pack weight was around 42 lb (19 kg).
We went with Uncle Dave and their cousin Kendall to Round Valley in San Jacinto State Park (California) for an over-night trip with lots of boulder climbing. The temperatures ranged from a low of 55 F to a high of 80 F (13 to 27 C). A picture crossing Long Creek is below.
And last we went on a three-day backpacking trip to Maplewood State Park in Minnesota. We stayed at the Beers Lake Backpacker site the first day and at the Grass Backpacker site the second. The weather was great for two days then rained the last. The temperatures were from 79 down to 61 F (44 to 34 C). The elevation was 1340 ft (408 m) above sea level.
I first saw the Osprey Sprint packs at the winter 2008 Outdoors Retailer show. I loved them and was disappointed to find that they were not available at the time. But I was told that they would be in stores at the end of April. Perfect! Emma and Ray have always wanted a real backpack and their birthday was in May so I got two as soon as they became available. They loved them and had to model them right away.
One thing that I have never cared for on kid's packs is the lack of true suspension. But I understood that the expense involved in making a pack with a good suspension would be a waste when the children out-grow it in a year. Seeing the claim that it would fit kids from 8 to 12 years of age was welcome.
I waited to adjust the packs until June when we were taking our first trip of the summer. The adjustment process is very simple for the torso as it is the same as my Osprey packs (see many reviews of them here). The waist belt was cool and took a little figuring out. My son is so thin that he did not need it let out, but Em needed a bit more.
By the time July rolled around and the kids came to California for two weeks Emma needed a little more length in the torso. Then by the time I saw them again in August Ray had a major growth spurt and needed his adjusted for our hike to Maplewood State Park. It was a snap to do, and we still have plenty of adjustment left for at least the next two years I think.
The children really like them. They say that they are very comfortable to carry. They both like the hipbelt higher than I think it should be, but that is OK as long as they feel all right with it.
They think the secret pocket is pretty cool. Ray keeps a little compass/thermometer that Jenn gave him in his all the time. Emma keeps hair bands in hers so they won't get lost.
They carry their sandals in the stretch side pockets. They do not hold water bottles all that well as once the side compression straps are tightened it makes it very difficult to remove or replace bottles. I have the same problem with the Talon series packs and just leave them loose to be able to use my pockets. I just carry the kid's water bottles attached to my Osprey Argon with AquaClips so that they can grab them any time they get thirsty.
The built-in rain cover is a great idea. On our last trip we had a storm come in. I had left my cover in California and was wondering what I was going to do with all the packs. Then I remembered the covers and pulled them out and showed Emma and Ray how they work. I covered and leaned the twin packs against twin trees as seen here.
While backpacking in Minnesota is like hiking in a park (all green, with grassy trails and pretty clean) the trip to California was in the mountains with lots of rocks to scrape against. So far there are no abrasions, or tears. He only dirty spots on the packs are at the side pockets from the sandals sitting there.
I started the kids off just carrying their sleeping bags in the packs just stuffed straight in them. Then I added their travel pillow too and the sandals. Now they carry their spare clothes and rain coats too. Next year as they can handle more weight I can put the sleeping bags into their stuff sacks to free up more space in the packs.
The packs have recieved positive comments from people we see on the trail. On the Palm Springs Airial Tramway the operator, who sees many packs every day exclaimed how cool they were. Then she looked at mine and said, "Whoa, that is big...
We really like the Imps and plan to get a lot more use from them. Then we will go up to the next size in the Sprint series. I will close with a picture hiking through the hardwood forest in Maplewood State Park.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.
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