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Review: Osprey Tempest 50 Backpack

Hiking carrying Osprey Tempest 50 Backpack
 

An eco-conscious, lightweight, female specific backpack for multi-day hiking trips

With a ton of really useful and usable design features, the Osprey Tempest 50 Backpack is the perfect pack for short overnighters and multi-day hiking trips alike. Boasting a close and stable fit, that is female specific, and some good eco-credentials, read on to see why this lightweight backpack is my go-to choice for almost all of my hiking trips.

Osprey Tempest 50 Backpack: The stats

Capacity:50 litres
Weight:1.4kg
Material:100D x 210D recycled robic nylon with PFC-free DWR coating
Fit:Female specific
Hydration compatible:Yes
Waterproof cover:No
Eco-conscious:Bluesign approved recycled nylon

Features of the Osprey Tempest 50 Backpack

Hip belt and pockets

Backpack Hip belt pocketsTwo zippered pockets on the hip belt make for easy access to things you might need on the go like snacks, sunscreen, compass etc. They fit a surprising amount in them. Additionally, the hip belt and harness has a continuous lumbar-to-hipbelt wrap that’s a little stretchy and moves with you as you hike.

Adjustable back panel

BAckpack back panelThe back panel is adjustable to fit different sized female torsos. It fits close to the body making it really stable when moving fast or dynamically. For comfort, the back panel features EVA padding with injection moulded Airscape HDPE. The panel has foam ridges to keep the weight close to the body without restricting airflow between the bag and your back.

Shoulder straps

Backpack strapThe padded shoulder straps are very comfortable with air holes to help you stay cool. The straps also feature a highly adjustable sternum strap with a whistle, a pocket with a popper button to hold sunglasses or a device, and rings to hold a hydration hose.

Floating lid

Backpack floating lidThe floating lid has adjustable straps at the back so that the whole thing can raise up when packed to capacity. The lid features two zippered pockets: one on the top and one on the underside of the lid. The internal mesh pocket has a key attachment clip and features a side zip. This is a really nice design as it prevents your stuff from falling out of the pocket when you open it.

Top access

Opening of backpackUnderneath the floating lid is top access to the main compartment. It’s a huge opening and is secured closed by an easy open drawstring that sits to the side rather than the front.

Side access

Side access of backpackAs well as access to the main compartment through the top, there’s also a full length vertical zip down the side of the backpack. This provides easier access to stuff stored near the bottom of the backpack. The zip doesn’t open up the whole of the side of the bag.

Sleeping bag compartment

Backpack sleeping bag compartmentThe sleeping bag compartment at the base of the backpack is accessed via a zip. This compartment has a section of fabric to divide the sleeping bag from the rest of your gear. This is secured in place with buckles which can be undone to open up the main compartment.

Hydration compatible

BAckpack water bladder holderThere are rubber loops on both shoulder straps to secure a hydration hose in place. And slightly unusually, the bladder sleeve is positioned externally on the backpack, between the back panel and the main compartment.

Front pocket

Woman packing backpackSecured at the top with a small buckle, the large front pocket is excellent for storing extras that you need easy access to. The stretchy mesh means you can really stuff things in there and they still remain secure. Rain jacket, gloves, hat, map etc are all easily stored here.

Side pockets

backpack Water bottle holderThe side pockets are up there with the best I’ve ever used. They’re really deep and have InsideOut compression straps so there’s very little chance of large bottles falling out. Additionally, the pockets combine a stretchy mesh panel with more dense polyester fabric at the base of the pockets for durability. You can also access the pockets when wearing the backpack via elasticated entry slots on the sides.

Trekking pole attachments

pole holder on backpackOn the left hand shoulder strap there is a Stow-on-the-Go trekking pole attachment with another elasticated loop below the side pocket to hold the lower end of the poles. This feature is great for convenient pole storage.

Compression straps

backpack compression strapsThe Tempest features a few compression straps to keep the bag streamlined and as compact as possible. These include side straps over the side pockets and side straps higher up on the bag. There are also removable sleeping pad straps at the base. When theses straps are removed, the buckles can be tucked away under a small flap.


Woman hiking with backpack

Osprey Tempest 50 Backpack review

Over the last few years I’ve been favouring lightweight backpacking. Taking as little as possible in a bag that is as small as will deal with my lightweight gear. And although I can fit everything I need for a solo overnighter in my 30 litre Deuter Trail Pro, I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a tight fit.

In summer conditions, when there’s no need for my extra warm puffy jacket and when waterproof pants aren’t needed, this setup works. However, add in a rainy forecast, a route where water refills are limited or even just the desire to pack a few luxuries (like a beer and some crisps!) and the versatility of a 30 litre pack goes out the window. And don’t even try it for more than one night or during the shoulder seasons when temperature fluctuations are all over the shop. Which brings me to my point: 30 litre backpacks are great, until they’re not!

A 50 litre pack, on the other hand, is just the right size for multi-day trips yet it’s also not too big for shorter overnight trips. Sure, you may struggle to fill it right up. Or you may just fill it right up with stuff you don’t really need! But neither of those are much of a disaster! What is a game-changer, for me at least, is struggling to fit stuff in that I’d really rather not leave behind.

And so the Tempest 50 has, taken centre stage on all but the shortest most summery overnighters. And I have to say, I rather like the luxury of the ‘extra’ space!

Of course, on the longer trips, extra space is minimal and every inch of that 50 litres is filled with essentials which mostly comprise food, water and spare socks!

But the best part, is that for the extra 20 litres of carrying capacity, the Tempest 50 weighs only 100g more that the 30 litre Trail Pro. That’s one lightweight backpack and you’ll most certainly notice its low weight as soon as you pick it up.

Woman adjusting backpack by the sea

Comfort and stability

Perhaps it’s the fact that the Tempest is filled with more stuff equating to a heavier load, or it could be that the padding is not as plush as I’m used to, but I’ve certainly carried more comfortable backpacks. In general, the Tempest is decently comfortable, which I feel is down to the fit. It is designed to fit close to the body and it feels the most comfortable when the straps and belt are cinched in tightly. This close fit also makes the fully loaded pack feel really secure and stable. There’s very little shifting or moving as I hike.

However, I find that after a day on the trail the bony bits of my lower back (around the sacroiliac joint) feel somewhat sore. And I do feel that this is down to a slight lack of padding in this area. Perhaps less bony-backed folk don’t have this issue?!

Woman packing backpack

Usability

There are a few ever-so-simple stand-out features that make the Tempest a joy to use. Firstly, the internal pocket on the top lidhas a zip that opens on the side, rather than at the back or front of the lid. This may sound small, but it means that your stuff doesn’t fall out when you unzip the pocket when the lid is open.

I also really like how huge and easy to tighten and loosen the main opening is. It allows you to see everything really easily and access most things too. As such, this makes the side access a little redundant, for me. I’ve actually not even used it yet. I feel like the bag is just a touch on the small side for it to be needed, especially when there’s also access to the main section of the bag through the sleeping bag compartment.

The zipper pulls are strong and big enough to use with gloves on. The compression straps tighten easily. The top lid can be adjusted to just the right position. And you don’t have to battle to access and use any of the pockets and compartments.

Overall, the usability of the Tempest is top notch and I feel that it is very well designed for multi-day hiking trips.

I do have one gripe, however: the hydration sleeve. You can read more about this further down.

Hiker looking out over the sea

What I love the most about the Osprey Tempest 50 Backpack

The usability and stability are both excellent. The backpack feels so secure to carry, even when I’m scrambling over challenging terrain. And I love how accessible all my gear feels, whether I’m setting up camp, packing up or taking a break on the trail.

Another big win for me is the fact that the Tempest is made from Bluesign approved recycled nylon.

What I don’t love so much about the Osprey Tempest 50 Backpack

The main downside to the Osprey Tempest is the hydration sleeve. As mentioned, this is accessed from outside the main compartment, behind the back panel. Water is usually the last thing I pack before I hit the trail. Not with this bag. It really needs to go in first otherwise you’ll seriously struggle to fit it through the opening of the sleeve.

Initially I thought it was because I tried to fit in a 3 litre bladder. But even a 2 litre bladder proved troublesome. The sleeve itself is plenty big enough for either size bladder. It’s just the opening that is too tight, even with an empty bag. Although it is, obviously, still possible!

What this means is that if you need to refill your bladder on the trail, or take it out of the backpack for cooking dinner, you really need to take gear out the main compartment first. This makes it somewhat easier to use.

Also, as mentioned, I feel there could be a little more padding in the lumbar area of the back panel.

And finally, there’s no rain cover, which is a bit of an essential when hiking in the UK (at any time of year!).


Osprey backpack on the ground

Verdict

If versatility and low weight are high on your list of priorities for your next hiking backpack, then the Osprey Tempest 50 Backpack will not fail to impress. It’s the perfect size for four season hiking trips of almost all lengths. Go lightweight and hike for days. Or pack it full of luxuries for shorter overnight trips. Either way it has lots of storage options to make these trips as easy and comfortable as possible.

It lacks a rain cover, could do with a little more padding in the lumbar area, and there are access issues with the hydration sleeve. However, the Tempest is a superbly stable, close fitting pack that’s adjustable to different sized female torsos.

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Disclaimer: Cool of the Wild received this product free in return for an honest review. We only recommend gear that we love from companies we trust and we are under no obligation to give a positive review. All thoughts and opinions are that of the reviewer and we are in no way influenced by the brand or company.

About the author

author-joey

Joey is based in Cornwall, UK, and runs Cool of the Wild. She can’t get enough of being outdoors – whether that’s lounging around the campfire cooking up a feast, hitting the trail in her running shoes, or attempting to conquer the waves on her surfboard – she lives for it. Camping is what she loves to do the most, but has also spent many hours clinging to the side of a rock face, cycling about the place, cruising the ski-slopes on her snowboard, and hiking small mountains and big hills.

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