Osprey Syncro 15 Hydration Pack - Review

Aug 23, 2015 at 9:59
by David Arthur  
Osprey Syncro 15

Hydration pack specialist Osprey has been gradually expanding their range over the years, and for 2015 they've updated the Syncro by putting it on a bit of a diet, with a claimed a 30% weight reduction compared to the previous model. As the name suggest, the Syncro 15 can carry 15 liters of cargo, and holds Osprey’s own 3 liter reservoir (sold separately) in a dedicated sleeve. The reservoir has an large cap that makes it easy to clean, and the whole thing holds it shape no matter how much water it’s carrying. The hose has an drip-free nozzle and a magnet clip attaches it to the shoulder straps. Biostretch ventilated harness straps at the waist and chest and Osprey’s AirSpeed suspension, a mesh panel stretched over a Lightwire frame, ensure the pack is elevated off your back and held securely in place.

As well as reducing the weight, Osprey has tweaked the harness and back panels on this updated pack to improve the fit and comfort. There are pockets aplenty, including side mesh pockets for easy-to-use food, and a front flap for a rain jacket. Inside, the main compartment is helpfully laid out with smaller pockets for storing tools, tubes and other ride essentials. There’s a soft lined pocket ideal for a smartphone or shades, and a hook for your house/car keys. On the outside there’s Osprey’s unique LidLock helmet attachment and below that, a loop to fix an LED light. There’s even an integrated raincover, a usual addition for riding through a British summer.

The Syncro 15 is available in two sizes and three colours (Blue Racer, Velocity Green, Meteorite Grey. Weight, without a reservoir, is 568g for the size medium/large tested here, and the pack measures 45x26x23cm. MSRP: $120 USD.


Osprey Syncro 15
Waist and chest straps secure the Syncro 15 into place.



Osprey Syncro 15
Osprey's smart reservoir goes into a special compartment at the back of the pack.



Osprey Syncro 15
The Airscape mesh back panel prevents a sweaty back.



Osprey Syncro 15
The LidLock is a handy place to secure your helmet when not riding.



Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotesI reckon the Syncro 15 is about the ideal size for most typical mountain bike rides, with enough storage for the gear needed for everything from a few hours around the woods to a long day in the mountains. The main compartment is adequately sized to house all the usual bits and bobs you need during a ride, and there's plenty of space to stash food and a lightweight jacket if you're expecting a turn in the weather. The layout of the pockets and compartments helps you keep things organized; everything has it own place, and there's no need to turn out the entire pack to find your multitool.

On the trail, the Syncro is extremely comfortable. The weight is evenly distributed across your back and it stays in place even over rough terrain. The mesh panel does work to keep you cooler; there's noticeably less sweat buildup on warmer days compared to packs that sit flat against the back. The Syncro 15 is very well made, and their haven't been any durability issues during the time I've been testing it (and previous Osprey packs have shown excellent longevity). The plethora of details give added value for money, as well as simply making it nicer to use. If you want a generously sized, yet lightweight pack, with good comfort and a stack of pockets and details - like the rain cover, LED light loop and helmet LidLock - the Syncro 15 is worth considering. - David Arthur


Visit the feature gallery for high resolution and additional images



www.ospreypacks.com


53 Comments

  • 33 2
 The osprey raptor 14 is the best pack I've ever seen.
  • 8 0
 I've been using a Raptor 14 for years. I have a couple of other packs that are physically smaller but they don't fit as well and the Raptor is lighter. The Raptor has been my go-to packs for ages. It's awesome.
  • 2 0
 huge 2nd
  • 3 0
 I have a Raptor 14 and Raptor 10. Having used Camelbak, Dakine and Fox packs before, the Osprey packs are streaks ahead.
  • 1 0
 I just ordered a raptor 14 to replace my 8y old camelbak mule. The mule is too small for whole day riding carrying tools, raincoat, food, water Looking forward to it... but this synchro also looks nice... too late
  • 1 0
 I have an old Syncro 15 and an Escapist 30, very well built pack with a lot of smart solutions. Also, it survived to everything
  • 2 0
 I've had one of these for a few years now, can attest to it being very durable, only thing I can find wrong with mine is where I broke the buckle by running over it, and it's a bit of a faff to clip a fullface too. The pockets are great, it's pretty splashproof without the cover, and the little magnet on the bladder is awesome. I will be buying osprey again if this one ever breaks.
  • 1 0
 i have a viper 13. what sets it apart for me is the ease with which the bladder zips out of the pack for filling and cleaning. 5 seconds or less and the bladder's in or out. and the bladder has never leaked, the pack is comfortable, dividers and pockets work and i've had it for years...still going strong. go osprey!
  • 1 0
 with my raptor 14 i can hold the water, the essentials (tools and food) and a 6 pack of cans for those extra long rides or the ones that demand a bit more courage. and the thing has a lifetime warranty
  • 1 0
 Own a Viper 9 and can't be more happy..Osprey reservoir is the best ever
  • 1 0
 I've had my raptor for 4 years and it freaking rocks. This thing is indestructible. I have had so many wipe outs and used it as a "cushion" that its not even funny. The waist strap buckle broke and osprey sent out a replacement within a week.

Thanks osprey for making a great product and standing by your warranty!
  • 1 0
 I have the previous gen raptor 14(before the tool pouch). I added the Osprey Hydraulics lite 2.5L reservoir w/ the quick release an its the best pack Ive ever owned. Even on 95 degree days I don't notice it, very cool. I came from a very old mule, no contest. The magnet on the sternum strap works very very well.
  • 4 1
 @davidsimons you cant go wrong with Osprey bags. Your still going to sweat but they are as light and ventilated as it gets on the back, straps and waist belt. One awesome factor is the bladders are shaped so you never havebthat feelig that you have a huge pop bottle in your bag and as such the back system keeps working.
My ride pack is a Talon 11. Ive had it a few years now and other than a smidge of mildew inside, its utterly bomb proof.
My 'school bag' is an Escapist 25 and I have had that four years and use it everyday to cycle to work, take the kids out, go on holiday etc. It has a very hard life. Other than a cracked (but still working) waist belt buckle, again its top notch.
Both bags are light.
Some times I think its a bit boring and that I would rather have an Evoc. Trouble is they dont wear out. Check ebay to see what they go for second hand! Think of it as the Volkswagen of bags. Solid, dependable kit that keeps on going.
  • 4 1
 Dear osprey, Your older, larger diameter hosed bladders are far superior. Mine got mold in it from leaving it in a car. Bought a new style as the old ones are discontinued. The new style cap likes to crossthread a lot and it doesnt fit as well as the old one. Needless to say, i bleached the ish out of my old bladder and still use it.
  • 1 0
 Yea, I do have to agree. I like that they made their reservoirs compatible with all the accessories you can buy for the smaller hose size(retrofitted a quick disconnect on my new one, for example) but the new caps do have threading issues, can be tough to tell if they're full closed or not, & are hard to get beer cans in & out of. That said, I won't be surprised if they're aware of these issues, & working on a better solution.
  • 2 0
 this is spot on. Old bladder were much better. Nothing is worse than getting to the trail and finding that your bladder leaked all over your trunk. Great packs and love the magnet
  • 1 0
 I love osprey, i have 3 of their packs, but Platypus makes better hydration - just spend the ~$37 on a Platypus Big zip 3.0 and be done with it. Mine has lasted like 5 years and is showing no signs of failing any time soon
  • 2 0
 I'd love a combination of the two: I really like the stiffener in the Osprey reservoirs that keeps them from slumping.
  • 1 0
 @groghunter apparently the newest model platypus big zips have some added reinforcement to keep them from slumping, but i haven't handled them in person yet
  • 2 0
 "new style cap likes to crossthread a lot" Yup. Had this happen a few times too. Resulting in "bladder leaked all over your trunk".

I thought I solved it by cutting the tether off the cap, which does make it easier to thread on, but I still get the occasional cross thread where it feels like it cinched up tight. Now I automatically turn the bladder upside down after I fill it, just to check if the cap is on right.

Other than that, I love my Raptor 10!!!!!
  • 1 0
 The old ones were made by nalgene. So that is why they changed them.
  • 1 0
 So that's why they were awesome
  • 2 0
 I've had Camelbak and Dakine, and my Osprey Zealot is my favorite by a long shot. I think they have an edge because they were a backpack maker first, and hydration later. It fits really well, whether light or loaded, and having sizes is awesome for a tall guy like me because the waste strap actually sits on my hips instead of around my belly. Add to the fit solid construction, and permanantly shaped bladder and the sweet magnet spout feature, and you have a great pack. Only complaint is that bladder cap doesn't spin very freely in the plastic loop that connects it to the bladder. I just removed it. Also the bladder is a little hard to access, behind two buckles and a zipper. Otherwise, awesome stuff.
  • 2 0
 Those reservoirs with the plastic backing are awesome, whether you use them in an Osprey pack, or in something else. They are hardly any heavier than other large bladders - but so much more usable due to not crumpling up at the bottom, so you don't ever have to un-do the mess in the middle of a ride when your water starts flowing. Valves are well designed; the large opening is great. The packs (I'm on my second; passed the first on to my daughter and got a slightly larger one) are comfortable, well made, and have a lot of thoughtful little features that make them work really well.

And boy, do they support their customers. My first pack had a bladder with a larger diameter hose. That design phased out, and all their bladders went to smaller diameter hoses, and all the fittings changed. It had been a few years, and I needed a new bite valve when mine was destroyed by a truck tailgate. The stores didn't carry them anymore; I sent Osprey an email, got a friendly reply back that they still stock the old parts, and yes it would be a shame to throw out a good bladder. They then sent me two complete bite valves free of charge before I could even ask to buy some. Have heard a bunch of stories of similar above and beyond support from others, not warranties, mind you, but support for customers whose stuff got damaged or lost in mishaps.
  • 1 0
 FWIW, that design change was in people's best interests as well: I've had both styles. I liked the larger diameter hose, but it was incompatible with pretty much every hydration pack accessory on the market, because everyone else is standardized on the smaller size. So they completely revamped their reservoirs after only a year or so in order to make their stuff more compatible with other people's products.
  • 1 0
 After starting out on a 2L Camelback I bought a Syncro 10 about 6 months ago and am obviously impressed.
Just read all the comments looking for someone who also feels the Osprey hose & bite valve is inferior to Camlebak's but clearly I'm on my own.
After switching back & forth I think I prefer the shorter non magnetic bite valve to be just dangling rather than the effort required to detach and attach the magnet.
Part of me wishes the magnet was crazy strong so I could just toss it in the general direction.
I have resolved to replace the Osprey tube & bite valve with Camelbak.
If I'm on the edge exhausted, the effort required fiddling around with the magnet is too much.
Furthermore I often find the tube has twisted slightly causing the magnet to break break free during moments of body language.
When you're throwing the bike around, the last thing you want is a long armed needy squid flopping about.
I feel a little ridiculous with that pipe across my chest around town.
At least with the shorter non magnetic tubes you can tuck them under your strap rather than having to actually pull the bladder out when you don't need hydration.
Lastly as cool as the tap mechanism is on the Osprey bite valve, it does feel overly heavy & overly complex compared to the lighter Camelbak Valve.
Despite all this I am very happy with my purchase and the bladder is great.
  • 1 0
 Yep
  • 1 0
 Had the Syncro 20 for a few months and liked it very much. Very comfortable and cool during warm days.

The harness system will hold weight up to 5 kg well. Beyond that it starts to weigh down due to the minimal waist strap which can't accommodate any weight. Under heavy load the bottom part of the wire frame may pinch on the back a bit. No too bad though.

The flimsy strap failed on mine after a crash and was completely ripped from its base. So, if you are planning to... crash a lot, look elsewhere! :p

BTW, Osprey wouldn't repair or replace the pack, but the CRC warranty is as certain as taxes.
  • 2 1
 It's hot and humid here, backpacks give a VERY sweaty back riding in this climate but we need to take on a lot of water; any suggestions for best pack to address the sweaty back issue?
  • 7 0
 Ummmm, the Syncro 15 sounds reviewed above sounds about right...
  • 2 2
 I am a sweaty dude and have no concept of what Thailand can be like, so this may be worthless, but I'd consider running a bladder in a frame bag (like a Revelate Designs Tangle) and carrying your tools in a toptube bag (like a Revelate Gas Tank) to get all the stuff off your back.

Another option would be to use a Specialized SWOT Vest or Race Face Stash Vest and putting ice in the bladder w/water so it pulls heat from your body, at least for a little while.

The Osprey stuff is top notch, but I don't think any pack can ever do away with sweaty backs.
  • 2 0
 Any of the Osprey stuff WITH the AIRSPEED suspension (not Airmesh or something similar) will be your best bet. The Airspeed setup is excellent for lifting the pack just off your back and allowing air to flow in.
  • 1 0
 @addatx Airspeed works pretty well (I have the last model Syncro 15), but if you put enough weight in the pack, it will compress it and eliminate the benefit. It doesn't even take all that much stuff. It's still better than most other packs, but if anyone knows of a pack with even more airspace on the back, i'm interested

That's not to say the syncro isn't a great pack, i use mine all the time and it works better than any other mtb pack i've used
  • 2 0
 My Vaude Cluster 10+3 (now called the Hyper, I think) has a nice frame/mesh thing that keeps it pretty well off my back (www.youtube.com/watch?v=IeQfaZV4YFg). Air movement is pretty good and I don't feel like I get too sweaty.

Never tried Osprey stuff, but I've been really happy with my two Vaude packs for mtb and ski touring/mountaineering (Challenger 45). Both of them are very well thought out.
  • 1 0
 Agreed. I have a Raptor. It's a sweat machine. The utility is brilliant, but man does it make me sweat.
  • 1 0
 Thanks, and I might take a closer look at the Airspeed.
  • 1 0
 I have been using the older Syncro for two years now without any issues whatsoever! They fit great and just work perfectly! Osprey makes amazing gear and you can't go wrong with their life time warranty!
  • 2 0
 Some of the best packs out there! I've had my syncro 10 for 3 years now and it has not disappointed.
  • 2 0
 So this or the raptor 14? What's better?
  • 1 0
 I was just about to post this question. It looks like the Raptor is a little heavier but has waist pack pockets. The Raptor's back also looks different. I've looked at and tried both on and can't decide. They are both a win but confusing to choose between.
  • 2 0
 The syncro has the airmesh back and a rain cover that comes out of the bottom. The raptor doesn't have the airmesh but it has a pretty cool tool compartment on the bottom, it also has pockets on the waist strap and the thicker straps give a little more support. I prefer the syncro because it's smaller but I think it depends on how much stuff you want to carry. (I work at rei so I have to give people the comparison all the time haha)
  • 1 0
 I have a Talon 11 + hydration pack and love it! Osprey products are top notch.
  • 1 0
 Can any bladder fit in it? For example, I have a 3 liter Camelback bladder. Could I swap that into a Osprey without issues?
  • 1 1
 I got a zee lot this year and the thing is amazing. Even better when I'm on my sess...Nm.
  • 3 2
 $130 and no bladder thought.......
  • 2 0
 Not much of a problem if your current pack is dying but the bladder still good.
  • 3 0
 Mine definitely came with a brand new bladder. Both my Syncro 15 and Syncro 10 did.
  • 2 0
 They come with a bladder bro
  • 1 0
 Love mine!
  • 3 5
 That bladder is a mistake. It's good to pour water in but try to clean it and dry it. It's better to get Source Widepac.
  • 3 2
 good commercial
  • 2 1
 Thank you. Don't forget to tell Source to pay me.
  • 1 0
 touché





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