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Reviews > Packs > Internal and External Framed Backpacks > Osprey Tempest 40 > Test Report by Amanda Tikkanen
Osprey Tempest 40
I have been hiking and backpacking since 2000. Always with a dog by my side, my current trail companions Ranger and Halo (both Louisiana Catahoulas) are helping me cover ground in southeast Indiana, southwest Ohio, and northern Kentucky. I've previously tramped around the upper Midwest, mostly in lower Michigan and northern Indiana. I document our adventures and misadventures on my website, UberPest's Journal. My base pack weight runs around 16 lbs (7.3 kg). My goal is to carry as little weight as possible without sacrificing comfort. My trips are typically 10-15 miles (16-24 km) per day, be it day hike, overnight, weekenders, or week-long treks. Lately I've been doing mostly day hikes, squeezing in longer trips as possible.
Product Information and Specifications
The pack, like most internal frame packs, consists of one large compartment for the majority of the user's gear. The pack is a top-loader and the main compartment opens and closes using one draw cord. The pack has a top lid, which is removable. The removable lid is held in place with a ladder lock as well as two side-release buckles and straps. The lid has two zippered areas, one under the lid for small items such as a wallet or ID, and a larger one that's accessible from just above the grab loop. The larger zippered compartment is large enough to store items such as navigation tools or snacks.
The pack's harness consists of a frame sheet, shoulder straps, and a hip belt.
The frame sheet is a piece of stiff but flexible corrugated foam. The foam has a channel in the middle to allow air flow between the pack and the user's back. The foam is further covered with mesh fabric to prevent the user's back from coming in contact with the foam back panel. This is referred to by the manufacturer as an Airscape back panel. The suspension system also has a bent aluminum tube around the periphery of the pack. This is reminiscent of external frame packs, even more so when combined with the mesh back panel. The harness allows for fine tuning torso lengths using hook and loop panels.
The two shoulder straps are made of a lightweight foam similar to the foam in the frame sheet. The foam in the shoulder straps has holes cut into it instead of being corrugated. The straps are covered with a lightweight mesh. My guess is this is to reduce the weight of the pack while keeping the pack breathable and cool for the wearer. The left strap has a stretch mesh pocket that is in a spot that could be useful for snacks or the end of a hydration hose. My Samsung Galaxy S3 phone fits in this pocket, but just barely. The sternum strap buckles with a side-release buckle with a built-in safety whistle.
The hip belt is made from the same material as the shoulder straps and has one zippered stretch pocket per side. My small Olympus digital camera fits in either of these pockets. The belt buckles with a side-release buckle.
There is a gear loop on the left side of the pack that is part of the "stow on the go" trekking pole carrying system. The other attachment point for this is at the base of the mesh pocket on the left shoulder strap.
Each side of the pack has a mesh pocket for items such as water bottles or tent poles. The pockets have compression straps that can be routed on top of the pocket or inside the pocket.
The back of the pack features a large mesh pocket for quick access items. This pocket buckles closed under the pack lid. The bottom of this pocket has a thicker material, somewhat like vinyl, that has two slashes in it. This is to attach a safety light.
The pack has what's referred to by the manufacturer as a sleeping bag compartment. There is no real compartment‒the pack has a zipper here that allows access to the bottom of the pack. The bottom of the pack, on the outside of the sleeping bag access panel, is a pair of straps for attaching a sleeping pad. Near these straps there are two pairs of gear loops that allow for tools to be secured to the outside of the pack. The bottom of each pair of gear loops is webbing and the top is elastic.
All of the zippers on the pack except the zipper on the pocket under the lid are rigid plastic loops about the size of one of my fingers.
The pack is hydration compatible. Most packs seem to put the bladder inside the pack. The Tempest 40 has the bladder between the frame and the pack bag.
At a glance the pack appears to be a large technical day pack despite the manufacturer's claim that its niche is for thru-hiking and lightweight backpacking. It seems to me to be at the small end of an overnight/weekend pack, but that may be because I'm used to carrying my tent and sleeping pad inside my pack. This pack is designed for pads to be secured to the outside. During the test cycle I'll have to see how this works out. I use primarily lightweight equipment, but since I do take a few comfort items I may have to be creative with my packing if I want to take the luxury items on the trail with me. My main luxury item is an Exped Synmat Basic inflatable mattress that compacts down to about the size of a 35 oz (1 L) Nalgene bottle.
I was able to do a quick walk with this pack while in South Carolina's Low Country to get an idea of its performance.
The Osprey Tempest is a lightweight backpack that appears to span the gap of a long-haul day pack as well as a lightweight summer fastpacking pack.
Field Locations and Conditions
I used the Osprey Tempest on three trips, as follows:
Since this was the first real outing with the pack I made sure the harness was adjusted to the correct length. This was quick and easy due to the rip-and-stick material. I like this much better than the sliders, bolts, pins, and similar methods employed on other packs I've used.
I carried gear for a warm weather overnight. I was pleasantly surprised that everything fit well. On the second day of the trip my boyfriend wrenched his knee so the dogs and I had to take on some of his gear. The various stash pockets and lash points made this easy and quick to do.
When I started the day I had in the pack: 2 days of my food, 2 days of food for my dogs, a full 2.1 qt (2 L) Camelbak hydration reservoir, clothes, my summer weight sleeping bag, Exped Synmat Basic sleeping pad, emergency blanket, first aid kit, toilet kit, Primus Eta Lite cook system, and various sundries. My tent and a half-length closed cell foam pad for the dogs were attached to the outside. I used the sleeping pad straps at the bottom of the pack to secure the closed cell foam and the pack's lid secured the tent. I also had two dog bowls and a pair of camp shoes clipped to the vertical webbing straps using a carabiner.
The pack rode very well and, since it wasn't very hot or humid, didn't heat up my back. When I did get sweaty I did notice a breeze on my back since there is a gap between the mesh back panel and the pack body.
One nitpick I discovered on this trip was the water bladder pocket. I like that I can put a full hydration bladder in from the outside of the pack instead of the inside where I'd have to fuss with the pack contents to insert the bladder. The problem I encountered was that when my hydration bladder and the pack are both full the bladder bulges as I try to insert it into the pocket. I have to wiggle the bladder back and forth to get it to fit in the pocket.
When I hike with the dogs I use only one trekking pole so that I have the other hand free for leashes. I still need to carry both poles since they double as my tent poles. For this reason one of the features I was interested to try was the Stow-On-The-Go storage for a trekking pole. This holds a trekking pole or two with the tip on the lower back of the pack, the pole under my left arm, and the handle in a loop on the shoulder strap. In some ways this works better than I expected as it's convenient to carry my poles in an easy to access area. On the other hand, when carrying the poles this way I found the handles of my poles rub at the inside of my bicep. I flipped the pole around so that the handle is at the bottom of my pack and the tip is facing forward. I did this because the tip end of my pole is thinner than the handle end. The problem with carrying the poles like this is that the tip is close to my eye. Given that I'm incredibly clumsy and fall often while hiking, this doesn't work for me. Instead I now carry my spare pole (or poles when I'm not using either) using the tool loops on the back of the pack and they stay secure there.
Eagle Rock Loop
On my trip in Arkansas I packed for a 3-day trip as the trail I hiked is considered a 3-day hike due to its 27-mile (43.4 km) length combined with rough terrain. When I started the day I had in the pack: 3 days of my food, 3 days of food for my dogs, a full 2.1 qt (2 L) Camelbak hydration reservoir, clothes, my summer weight sleeping bag, Exped Synmat Basic sleeping pad, emergency blanket, first aid kit, toilet kit, Primus Eta Lite cook system, and various sundries. My tent and a half-length closed cell foam pad were attached to the outside. I used the sleeping pad straps at the bottom of the pack to secure my tent and the pack's lid secured the closed cell foam. I also had two dog bowls clipped to the vertical webbing straps using a carabiner. I carried my small waterproof camera in one of the hip pockets and snacks in the other. I used the outside stash pocket to carry my emergency blanket and a knee brace so I had easy access to them.
I had several stream crossings where I needed to maintain my balance. The pack didn't sway side to side or hinder my movement. It was easy to unbuckle and loosen before starting the crossing, then buckle and tighten when I reached the opposite side.
I went through several short sections of trail where I encountered brush and downed trees. While navigating these I didn't snag any straps on brush or branches, nor did the fabric of the pack become damaged.
On this trip I had the pack loaded to the top of the manufacturer's rated capacity. I could definitely tell since the aluminum frame poked into the back of my hips if I cinched the hip belt too tightly. However, on both steep ascents and descents I had no noticeable shifting of weight. For me this is a normal starting weight for a 3-day trip in warm weather. If I was going out when the night time temps were expected to be lower I would have to pack a bulkier bag and additional clothing. I'm not sure I'd be able to load much more in or on the pack.
Unfortunately this trip was cut short as on the end of the first day on the Eagle Rock Loop I had an encounter with a Copperhead snake that was basking in the middle of the trail. My dogs were on their leashes in front of me and ran over top of the snake before I saw it. One of my dogs, Halo, was bitten in the face and we had to evacuate. During the evacuation I strapped Halo's pack to the top of mine, adding about 8 lb (3.6 kg) to the already topped out suspension. Given that the pack was now well over its rated weight capacity, and the dog pack was hastily secured, the pack performed well. The center of gravity was off due to where I put the dog pack, so the weight pulled back. Had I not also been carry my 50 lb (23 kb) dog in my arms this would probably have pulled me off balance.
Also during the evacuation I used the emergency whistle. While the whistle wasn't what got the attention of the people who helped me get back to my dog and get medical attention for my dog, I have full confidence that it could get someone's attention since I had to plug my ears to use it.
While hiking the Buckeye Trail I didn't use either of my trekking poles due to the mostly level terrain. I secured both using the tool loops. Other gear carried on this day trip: emergency blanket, rain gear, 2.1 qt (2 L) Camelbak hydration reservoir, soft shell jacket, cell phone, map, lunch, a knee brace, and a few small other items.
This day had moderate temperatures. For the first time I felt some friction between the mesh harness and my synthetic t-shirt. After about 20 minutes of walking the load settled in and the rubbing stopped. As the day stretched on I had no issues with rubbing, pressure points, or weight shifting. I also discovered that when I cinch the hip belt too tight the frame's tubes dig into the back of my hips. All I have to do is loosen the straps slightly and the pressure from the frame goes away.
I'm notorious for my obsession of knowing exactly where I am when I'm on the trail. This is mostly due to being a solo hiker for the majority of my trail time. The mishap on my Arkansas trip only made this habit worse. While on the BT I wanted to check my map on a frequent basis and found there was no good place to stash it. The hip pockets and the pocket on the shoulder strap were all too small. The the side and lid pockets were difficult to reach while wearing the pack. I felt out of sorts not having easy access to my map. I like to have everything I need on the fly within easy reach and I couldn't do that with this pack. I would very much like to see future versions of the pack address this.
So far I really like this pack. I feel comfortable saying it will hold enough gear for a warm weather weekend trip, provided you know how to pack exactly what you need and nothing else.
Since the weather is getting colder I'm going to be using the pack primarily as a cold weather day pack as I continue my Buckeye Trail section hike. There are a few options still with the mild fall temperatures to test its volume as a cool weather overnight pack.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2014. All rights reserved.
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