The included 2.5-liter reservoir unclips at a coupling halfway up the hose, so we never had to rethread the hose through the port after refills. The reservoir also has a rigid backing, which makes it easy to slide into a full pack. And it has one of the best bite valves we’ve seen. “I love the valve’s 360 degrees of rotation,” said one tester after more than a dozen hikes in California’s Sierra Nevada. “Sipping is easy, with no awkward fumbling with the valve or tube or having to crimp my neck for a drink.”
Few packs this size have so many storage options. The main compartment is big enough for lunch and layers. Testers loved the two exterior pockets (one for goggles or sunglasses), two mesh side pockets, and twin zippered hipbelt pockets. “It felt like I hiked more since I spent so much less time fumbling for gear,” one says.
The Manta uses Osprey’s AG (anti-gravity) suspension, which earned the larger Atmos AG pack a 2015 Editors’ Choice Award. Perforated mesh—with pencil eraser-size holes that enhance breathability—in the lumbar area and hipbelt provides a firm, comfortable wrap. “I carried 25 pounds of water and fishing gear,” says one tester. “I hopped from slick boulder to slick boulder and the load felt light and stable.”
The pack is heavy for its size.