I’ve been using the pack all summer and fall both for general cargo and as a hydration pack, and it kicks butt at both.
One of my favorite features on the pack is the substantial and roomy waist belt. As someone with chronic back trouble, I’ve found the importance over the years of having a belt that fits and offers enough support.
The Manta’s belt does both in spades. It also offers zippered pockets a la the dreaded “fanny pack” that are extremely handy and versatile.
My go-to hydration pack over the last few years has been a North Face Hammerhead pack, which I’m extremely fond of. I’d have to admit fairly readily, though, I think the Osprey Manta is overall more practical and easier to use.
That’s particularly the case with the hydration reservoir, which is a snap to remove from the pack by comparison. One of my favorite things to do with is when a little foresight kicks in and I fill and chill it ahead of time in the fridge. I could do that with the Hammerhead as well, just not as conveniently.
A built-in handle on the reservoir makes that even easier, and is a very thoughtful touch.
I’ve also filled the reservoir with ice cubes on a hot day, and had hours of chilled-water fun on hand, thanks to a very wide-mouthed design.
The pack is also very well-planned, if not outright cunning in its design. It has numerous pockets with handy egress to them, offering more than enough storage for a day-trip.
For an encore, the pack also offers a packing system for collapsible walking poles and a spot to hang a helmet.
I’m pretty much at a loss as to what else Osprey could have chucked into the design to make it better, and it’s unusual when I can’t think of something that I would have liked to see.
So is the Manta the ultimate pack? Maybe so, but if it isn’t I’ll settle for it quite contentedly.
To purchase the Osprey Manta 28 hydration pack, click here. For more information on the Osprey Manta 28 pack, visit http://www.ospreypacks.com/en/product/mens_1/manta_28.