Thursday, September 18, 2014

Backpack Review - Osprey Verve 9

Yesterday I did my 10-mile mid-week run - the longest Wednesday run. The weather was once again really nice, and I kept a pretty good pace the entire time. It was also the second time I ran with my new backpack.

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I bought a new backpack for my runs home. I had been using an old Camel Back without the bladder. The only things that fit were my phone, wallet, keys and glasses. I was leaving everything else (clothes, lunch box, coffee tumbler) at work and bringing it home the next day. It worked fine, but I started coveting something that could carry a little more and actually have room for the bladder.

So I searched and researched and talked myself out of getting anything and then wanted something and then finally, spur of the moment, I went by REI, they were having a sale, and I got this one: The Osprey Verve 9.

The first thing I like about it is that it's a women's backpack. I did try on a regular one thinking that if it felt OK it would be better because then Mr. H. could wear it. But the one that fit the best still didn't feel anywhere near as cozy as this one. I can cinch it pretty tight in three different areas - the shoulder straps, the chest strap and the waist strap. And the more I can minimize bounce and the more it feels like it's part of my back, the more comfortable it is. I will admit that it does start to hurt my shoulders after a while. It's not unbearable, and it pretty much goes away once I take it off, but it is a downside. However, this is probably an issue when running with just about anything on your back.

On the positive side, it has lots of cool pockets and features. I can carry Gu or Shot Blocks in the shoulder strap pouch for easy access. The water tube attaches with a magnet so it's not swinging around. The first time I ran with it I had a hard time re-attaching it without looking, but I have it down now. It also has a way to connect your bike helmet.

Of course, it is heavier than the minimal Camel Back and, since it's bigger, I'm tempted to carry more stuff. And while water isn't necessary on the Lakefront in summer since there are fountains everywhere, when they turn them off in winter, I can imagine this will be nice to have. And, even if it does add a little weight, now I can bring home my clothes and coffee tumbler.

Osprey markets it as a hiking/biking bag, so it's not technically a running backpack. I'm sure biking with this would be nice - not too big, but able to carry stuff. The most hiking I do is around the city - and for that it's great. The first time I used it was when Baby H. and I went to Navy Pier and spent the entire day downtown. I was able to carry my wallet and phone, plus snacks, a couple of toys, sunblock, a camera and water. But I think it also works well as a running backpack. I looked at a lot of bags that were smaller, but then I wouldn't be able to carry anything defeating the purpose.

So while there wasn't an actual "need" for this bag, I do love bags, and this one is now on my list of ones I love.

Note: I did get the purple color because that was the only one in stock at REI. Purple is not really a color I like very much. However, many things lately have been coming into my life that are purple so I've decided to embrace it rather than fight it.

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