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Reviews > Packs > Internal and External Framed Backpacks > Osprey Tempest 40 > Test Report by Gail Staisil

Osprey Tempest 40 Women's Backpack
Test Series by: Gail Staisil, Marquette, Michigan

Page Contents:

Initial Report - August 23, 2014
Field Report - October 24, 2014
Long Term Report - January 3, 2015
Initial Report:Author on Lake Superior
August 23, 2014

 Tester Information

 Name: Gail Staisil
Age: 62
Gender: Female

 Height: 5' 9" (1.75 m)
Weight: 152 lb (69 kg)
Location: Marquette, Michigan USA
Email: woodswoman 2001 AT yahoo DOT com

For over two decades, backpacking has become a passion. I am a four-season backpacker and an off-trail navigator. Although I do take yearly trips to the American West or Southwest, the majority of my trips are in Michigan and Canada. My pack weight varies considerably but my base weight is below 18 lb (8 kg). I am primarily a tarp camper who averages more than 50 nights a year backpacking in a huge variety of weather conditions including relentless rain, wet snow and sub-zero temps.

Product Information

Tempest 40

Tourmaline Green (also available in Stormcloud Grey)

Women's (WS/WM)-Medium; also available in Women's XS/S)-Small
Manufacturer Weight (on tag)
2 lb 1 oz (0.95 kg)
Tested Weight 
2 lb 3 oz (0.99 kg)
Model Year

Initial Impressions and Product Description 

The Osprey Tempest 40 arrived in the color of Tourmaline Green (a very neat teal green) and the requested size of Women's Medium (WS/WM). My torso length of 19 in (48 cm) works perfectly. The workmanship on the pack is topnotch!

The Osprey Tempest 40 (2441 cu in) is a women's specific backpack. It is the largest of the Tempest series which includes six
packs ranging from 9 L (549 cu in) to 40 L (2441 cu in). Many of these smaller packs would be more suitable for day hiking or adventure racing. A comparable pack is called the Talon for men.

The Tempest is rated as a multi-use pack in that it can be used for short/light backpacking trips and or other adventures where more gear is needed. Osprey refers to these as "Active Light Pursuits". The pack is rated to up to 40 lb (18 kg). The body of the pack is fabricated with 700 X 1000 mini shadow nylon and 2100 dobby nylon. The pack is a top loader with a removable lid.

Design and Technical Features
Osprey Tempest 40 Backpack
Osprey does an amazing job with describing the features of the pack with down loadable manuals on the website. There are a huge amount of features on this smallish pack. The main features of the backpack are as follows:

The AirScape backpanel is a mesh-covered backpanel made of molded foam. The foam is applied or sectioned in three pieces (one is low and the others are on each side) on the rigid backpanel. It creates channels in it to likely make it more comfortable. The backpanel is reportedly lightweight and supportive with an aluminum frame. There is a hang loop just above the backpanel.

Behind the backpanel but opening on the exterior rather than interior is a hydration bag compartment that lies between the inside and outside of the pack. This provides quick access to a hydration bag without disturbing the actual contents of the pack. The hydration bag is not provided but there is a clip inside the pocket to secure it (bags up to 3 L would work with it).

The gender-specific BioStretch Harness adjustable harness is fabricated with mesh-covered die cut foam (eighteen holes per side). It also has an emergency whistle in the closure clip on the sternum strap. One shoulder strap of the harness has a narrow mesh pocket on it that might be handy for a small item such as sunscreen, etc.
The harness can be adjusted by loosening the load lifter straps and sliding my hand between the pack and harness to release the hook-and-loop closure. Re-position and press firmly to hold.

The Stow-On-The-Go feature allows me to secure my hiking poles when they are not needed without taking the pack off. The top part of the loop with cordlock is located on the left shoulder strap and the bottom holder is an integrated elasticized loop covering by plastic tubing located on the side stretch pocket on the left side of pack.
The basket end of the poles can be inserted into this by pulling the loop away from the pocket.
Backpanel, harness of Tempest 40
A BioShield hipbelt features a foam core with twelve cut-outs on each side and has zippered mesh pockets, one on each side of the center closure. The zippers end with a simple half-ring shaped rubber closure. The ErgoPull belt closure is easy to use while allowing a mechanical advantage and sports a very light plastic-like buckle.

Besides the hip belt pockets, there are several more pockets on the pack including dual-entry stretch side pockets on the body of the pack (can be accessed from both side or top). Incorporated are the InsideOut Compression straps which allow me to compress the contents of the pack without hindering access to the stretch pockets.
There is a hole located on each lower side of each pocket so that the webbing can be used either over or underneath the pocket. To change the location I needed to un-thread the webbing from the buckle and reposition the buckle and webbing on the side preferred. The stretch pockets are nice and deep at 9.5 in (24.13 cm). There is a convenient web tab on the top and side of each pocket that can be pulled out to place or remove gear.

The back of the pack features a large shovel pocket. A clip with adjustable webbing allows the contents to be secured as well as adapted for different amounts of gear. A removable top lid is featured on the top of the pack. Inside there is a clip to secure a key or other item such as a travel wallet. The underside of the pocket features a large zippered pocket as well.

There are reflective graphics screened on the back of the pack. This likely would be handy for night hiking as I doubt I would be using it anywhere that vehicle lights would bounce off of it.

Inside of hood features zippered pocketAt the bottom of the pack are sleeping pad straps. Although I don't normally carry gear on the outside of the pack, this might be handy as the inside of the pack likely won't fit all of my gear for a backpacking trip. Time will tell. A sleeping bag compartment is located at the bottom of the pack. It isn't so much a compartment in that there is no partition, but it allows access to the bottom of the pack. Since I usually keep my first aid supplies at the bottom of the pack, this might insure quick accessibility if ever needed.

As is standard on many packs there are ice axe loops with tie-offs. Each of the latter features a clove hitch-style bungee with a Y-Clip allowing an ice tool to be fastened with a cordlock. The cords fit neatly into notches in the Y-Clip to secure. 

The manufacturer suggests emptying out the pack as well as hanging it to dry after a trip. Nikwax products are recommended to clean the pack "now and then".

I really hope to try backpacking with this pack before I need to pack bulky cold weather gear. It will be fun to see if I can squeeze my normal three-season gear in it. Otherwise it will be welcomed for day activities including upcoming winter backcountry skiing and more. (Winter comes early here!)

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Field Report:
October 24, 2014

USA Locations and Conditions

During the field test period I have used the Osprey Tempest Backpack for six nights of backpacking, several dayhikes and I also used it for my carry-on luggage to transport my gear to Wyoming and back. Locations of most activities were in the states of Michigan and Wyoming and ranged from lakeshore to boreal forest to mountainous terrain. Elevation ranged from above 600 ft (183 m) to 11,560 ft (3523 m).

Location of Trip #1: Hogsback Mountain (Sept 8-9)
Type of Trip: Trail
Distance: 6 mi (10 km) round trip
Length of Trip: 2 days, 1 night
Pack Weight: 14 lb + 6 lb water/6.35 kg +2.72 kg (no water on mountain)
Sky and Air Conditions: Cloudy, partly sunny
Precipitation: None
Temperature Range: 52 F to 75 F (11 C to 24 C)
Porcupine Mountains in color
Location of Trip #2: Porcupine Mountains Wilderness (Sept 25-28)
Type of Trip: Trail
Distance: 30 + mi (48.3 + km)
Length of Trip: 4 days, 3 nights
Pack Weight: 25 lb including 2 lb water (11.34 kg/.0.91 kg)
Sky and Air Conditions: Sunny
Precipitation: None
Temperature Range: 50 F to 81 F (10 C to 27 C) 
Location of Trip #3: Porcupine Mountains Wilderness (October 9-11)
Type of Trip: Trail/rustic cabin stay (cabin located several miles from trailhead)
Distance: 7.5 mi (12 km) with fully loaded backpack, 4 mi (6.5 km) dayhike, rowboat/unknown mileage
Length of Trip: 3 days, 2 nights
Pack Weight: 28 lb (12.7 kg)
Sky and Air Conditions: Cloudy, some rain and sun
Precipitation: Small amount of rain
Temperature Range: 37 F to 48 F (3 C to 9 C)

Trip Talk The "packed" Tempest 40

Firstly, I must admit that I was skeptical that the Osprey would be more than an overnight pack. I was so wrong! During my four-day Porcupine Mountains Wilderness backpacking trip I loaded everything I normally do in a pack without exception. That includes insulated down jacket and pants, full rain gear, safety gear, extra cooking equipment and more. The stretch pockets are remarkable. I never felt that I had to squeeze in gear in every micro-corner as everything fell into place nicely day after day. As normal, I placed most of my gear in stuff sacks primarily because it is both easy to pack and also because it is added protection to the gear when packing and unpacking in rain (a frequent occurrence here).All of my gear except trail shoes (4-day trip)

One of my trips was a quick overnighter on a nearby mountain. The pack was barely full as I had just brought a bivy and sleeping bag for sleeping gear. I packed some warm layers plus emergency gear. I brought fresh food for dinner and breakfast since there was no need to lighten the load for an overnight. I also had to carry 3 qt (3 L) of water due to no water on the mountain.

I didn't list my backpacking trip to Wyoming in the statistics above, as I forewent the pack on the actual trip there, as I had to use a bear canister that takes up too much space. I however did use the pack for my carry-on luggage and it was packed with a lot of my gear. It fit in the overhead bin on the airplane and it was easy to carry the pack around the airport. Since my return flights (3) ended up passing the 36 hr mark, I spent a lot of time in airports including spending an unexpected night in one. I was glad to have my sleeping bag which was in the pack. The pack was also used on this trip for day hikes and car camping after the backpacking trip.
Author on the Mirror Lake Trail, Porcupine Mts Wilderness
A second trip to the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness was backpacking to a rustic cabin for two nights. The cabin was located several miles (6 km) from the parking area. I still brought all the usual backpacking gear except a tent. Since this wasn't a typical backpacking trip, I brought all fresh food so the pack was full and heavier than normal. I also brought a ton of warm clothes for the cool conditions as some of my time was spent rowing a boat. The pack was also used for a dayhike during the time I was there.

On my dayhikes so far, the pack has way more room than I need. It however can be cinched down quite nicely. I anticipate that soon the weather will turn really cold and I will be packing far more gear for unanticipated emergencies.

During all of my trips I have been completely comfortable with the structure of the back panel and harness of the backpack despite various levels of weight carried (no sore spots). When it was rather warm during one of my trips I didn't feel a lot of airflow to my back so my shirt became soaked underneath. This is an issue with many packs. The ErgoPull Belt cinches nicely.

I do like the waistbelt pockets as they are handy for quick snacks and sunscreen, lip balm and the like. I normally don't use a hydration hose system as I prefer to drink from a bottle. The side pockets are hard for me to use to retrieve a soft-sided bottle so I placed a removable bottle holder on the front belt. I however do store an extra soft-sided bottle full of water in one of the side stretch pockets until I need it. I really like the zippered pocket underneath the hood to store car keys, ID, and safety equipment.

Care and Durability

The pack is a bit dirty but that is to be expected with the muddy conditions I encountered on several of my trips. Although I tried to not set it down in mud, it still picked up dirt. The bottom portion of the pack is light colored so I expect it will never really be clean. Durability is not an issue at this point for sure. 

The next few months will be interesting testing the pack as the cold weather has definitely arrived. I hope to do some overnighters/two-nighters with the pack to see if I can extend this pack into early winter for backpacking. It will be used for other winter activities as well.

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Long Term Report:
January 3, 2015

USA Locations and Conditions

During the long term period I have used the Osprey Tempest Backpack for a couple backpacking trips and also have used it many times weekly to transport my cross country ski or snowshoe gear to trailheads. Locations of activities were in the State of Michigan and ranged from lakeshore to boreal forest. Elevation ranged from above 600 ft (183 m) to 2,000 ft (610 m).

Location of Trip #4: Hiawatha National Forest - Alger County, Michigan
Type of Trip: Trail
Distance: 17 mi (27 km)
Length of Trip: 2 days, 1 night
Pack Weight: 26 lb (12.7 kg)
Sky and Air Conditions: Cloudy, partly sunny
Precipitation: None
Temperature Range: 14 F to 31 F (-10 C to -1 C)

Location of Trip #5: Hiawatha National Forest - Alger County, Michigan
Type of Trip: Trail; sledge and backpack trip to snowshoe-in rustic cabin
Length of Trip: 4 days, 3 nights (carried pack only two days)
Pack Weight: Approx 15 lbs (6.8 kg) for pack, as sledge contained heavy gear
Sky and Air Conditions: Cloudy, partly sunny, light snow
Precipitation: Light snow
Temperature Range: -8 F to 21 F ( -22 C to -6 C)

Trip Talk
Author wearing the Tempest 40 while pulling a sledge
Winter weather came early here this year and stayed. It arrived on November 11 and the ground has been covered with a lot of snow since then. In early November, I was able to take a short backpack trip to a nearby national forest. It was colder out than my previous trips with the pack, so I had more warm gear with me (warmer sleeping bag and more layers). That gear wasn't particularly heavy but bulky. The Tempest 40 had no problem swallowing up the extra bulk which was compressible in nature (down products).

My next trip involved pulling a sledge and carrying the backpack into a rustic cabin where I stayed for four days. I packed the backpack with all the lighter gear as my sledge could hold the heavier stuff (all food, cookware, lighting needs, ski gear and everything needed for life in a barren cabin). The backpack contained my down sleeping bag, down jacket and pants, ski boots and assorted wool clothing and accessories (extra gloves, socks, neck gaiters and more). The snowshoe-in cabin was reached by using a combination of non-groomed trails and groomed trails (as shown in the photo).

The Tempest 40 has also been incredibly handy to haul my gear to trailheads all winter for xc ski and snowshoe trips. It is plenty roomy for ski boots, extra clothing and emergency supplies.

Care and Durability

The pack is in great condition and durability is not an issue. The pack is only slightly dirty on the bottom side but not enough to really be concerned about. 

Overall, I am simply pleased that the pack has been so versatile. It even has handled four-day trips well so I will have no qualms using it for the majority of my backpack trips in the future. I have never felt uncomfortable wearing the pack although the loads have varied widely from 28 to 15 lb (12.7 to 6.8 kg).


  • Comfortable 
  • Stretch pockets hold a ton of equipment.
  • Roomy top pocket
  • Belt pockets are handy
  • ErgoPull Belt


  • Just a nitpick...wish the bottom of the pack wasn't such a light color as that is what usually gets dirty first!
Tester Remarks 

Thanks to Osprey and BackpackGearTest for this opportunity to test the Tempest 40 Backpack. This concludes my Long Term Report and the test series.

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