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Backpacker Magazine – April 2009

Editors' Choice 2009: Osprey Sprint Series Backpacks

Tell the kids–finally, real packs for them, too

by: The Backpacker Editors

Osprey Sprint Series (Courtesy Photo)
Osprey Sprint Series (Courtesy Photo)

MORE EDITORS' CHOICE WINNERS
See more gear that made the cut in our 2009 awards.

The problem with 11-year-old gear testers is they write comments like this: "The hipbelt pouches are the perfect size for almond M&Ms." Gee thanks, Austin. Really technical stuff there, buddy.

Of course, there were other ways we could tell that Osprey's new Ace, Jib (pictured), and Imp represent a sea change in comfort, features, and durability among youth backpacks. For one, the usual complaints–"Dad, my shoulders hurt"–virtually disappeared. Our kids actually volunteered to take more weight. And we were able to tackle more demanding terrain, including several rugged multiday routes in the Grand Canyon that would have been dangerous–even impossible–with less stable packs.

Credit a suspension and frame sized for narrower hips, shoulders, and backs, and a harness that wraps as snugly as grown-up Ospreys. Torso length adjusts on the fly to fit everyone from pint-size 8-year-olds to women with medium torsos. The clincher: features every bit as good as we expect on most adult packs. Kids get a hydration sleeve, water-bottle pockets, lashing/compression straps, an integrated raincover, rugged fabrics, and a pear-shaped packbag wide enough for a small 0°F sleeping bag. ospreypacks.com



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READERS COMMENTS

David
Sep 13, 2011

Bought one for my 8yo son. We did an 8 day high peaks Adirondack trip. Complaints faded away as we adjusted it to fit his body. He carried all his gear including his own bear can. Best part is I can adjust it as he grows. Its built sturdy enough to last him into high school.

Texas
Oct 18, 2009

Went on a short 9 mile overnight trip with my daughter. She had the jib 35. This was her first time ever...the total weight carried was 18 pounds. The only thing that hurt in her was her feet. Terrain was hills, tree roots, rocks, and some creek crossings. She carried her sleeping bag, 2.5L water, pants, shirt, socks, and snacks. She is ultra skinny, pack was at it's lowest setting, torso was barely 14", and the pack fit excellent. would reccomend to any kid.

Ryan
Aug 11, 2009

Actually picked up the Jib (35 liter pack) at a used gear sale. Girlfriend has been using it and loves it. It's pretty darn light and holds a remarkable amount of stuff. We've taken it on an overnighter and can definitely get it set up to handle a 2-4 nighter. Pretty impressive.

A great fit for her. She's 5'4", with a smaller torso. Only downside we noticed so far: the velcro on the inner side of the hip pad (used to affix it to the back of the pack, just sticking out from the back pad) can tear up clothing. No big deal for camping clothes, but we've used the pack around town and she's lost a few sweaters to it. Bummer.

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