Osprey Rook review

Osprey Rook 65L Backpack

Two trips out, a very wet and windy day, on the Quantocks and a more amenable day on Dartmoor. This gave contrasting conditions to test out the new ‘Rook’ rucksack from Osprey.

The features

First impressions, with a fairly straightforward ‘top loader’ style of design, was a sack with enough key features to cope with traditional backpacking in a no fuss way.  The pack reminded me of sacks from a few years back when things were simpler.  However, that’s not to say the Rook (and its female Renn version) lacks innovative features and capability – it is an Osprey after all!

The first thing that struck me was how light it is – 1.6kg in 65L form. Immediately this felt good. Also, the Sprung back system, Osprey’s Airspeed ventilated ‘Trampoline’ mesh back, is excellent. Easy to adjust thanks to a new ‘ladder – lock’ system, which I found ergonomic to use and providing plenty of adjustment (the sack comes in only one back length size thanks to this new design) – just pull out the pins and move up or down to pop into the lock loops.

A lightweight peripheral frame that is stiff yet sprung enough to help adapt to your movement, supports the back system.

The hip harness, while not overly padded was more than comfortable with the load I was carrying – approx. 12KG.  Like all Osprey back-backing sacks the foam used in all the contact areas seems to adapt well to your body contours.  After 1 hour of walking I hardly noticed the sack.

Complete with 2 main compartments, plus a top pocket, 2 side ‘power mesh’ pockets and 2 smaller hip belt pockets, there was more than enough flexibility with storage.  The lower main sack compartment, ideal for a sleeping bag or bag of spare clothes had its own divider and zip – useful when wanting that extra fleece without opening up the top.

The top lid pocket is plenty large enough to store a day’s food, spare gloves, hat etc, with a small key clip just inside the zip.

I particularly liked the two large mesh side pockets, which could easily take a litre drinks bottle - my preferred drinking arrangement – as the pockets could be tensioned up and prevent anything falling out.

So, all good with this Rook so far!  If anything, I missed a front ‘shove it’ pocket for putting in your wet over trousers or similar, though I used the other mesh pocket as a stow away - a minor inconvenience.

So, what other things could make this sack appeal. It has loops to be able to attached Osprey’s Daylite and Daylite plus day sacks – ideal if you intend sight seeing for a day, plus you get the addition kit storage.  Not sure I would bother with it, but its there all the same.

My wet day out highlighted how effective a rain cover is, as I forgot to use it! Hence a wet lower compartment - Hey Ho!

Addition bits and bobs include:

  • Hydration sleeve.
  • Tension straps
  • Two level load lifters to accommodate large or smaller users.
  • Various attachments loops
  • Rain cover in its own storage pocket.

What it doesn’t have:

  • ‘Stow on the go’ walking pole loops
  • Ice axe loops

Overview

Compared to the top of the range load carriers featuring Osprey’s Antigravity back systems, the Rook is remarkably functional and comfortable, and as an introduction to back packing sacks in general. An Ideal sack for Ten Tors or DofE use.

Key likes:

  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable harness/ ventilated back system
  • Adjustability.
  • Cost

Dislikes:

  • None really – does what it does really well, especially for the price!

Overall, I liked the more ‘basic’ concept and I would certainly consider this sack as my go to pack for short lightweight camping trips.

Keith is a Dof E assessor and runs training expeditions for Ten Tors and DofE. When he is not hiking and wild camping he also enjoys cycle touring and climbing.

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