REVIEW: Osprey Zealot Hydration Pack

After experiencing first hand how difficult it was to bring 2 helmets in one ride in Bataan, I started looking for a hydration pack that would 1) get the job done and  2) give us huge style points while doing it. Such is the curse for the can’t perform will japorm crew.

In a nutshell, I needed a pack that could snugly carry my full face helmet and pads while I pedaled up. Snugly would be key because most uphill climbs in the Philippines consist of rolling terrain, meaning for every 10 painful uphill moments, there would be that single, very short downhill moment. It would be too short to go through the hassle of switching helmets so you go on with your XC/AM helmet but if the full face helmet isn’t tightly tucked in, it could sway uncomfortably on a non-gravity oriented pack.

Worse, as it was on my Geigerrig Rig 500, there was no way to securely fasten the full face helmet on to the pack, so I had to hang the helmet from my handlebars, which could be a dangerous distraction but more importantly, an enduro faux pas. The damn thing kept swaying and on one occasion, actually fell off the bike.

I started a thread on Philmofo and actually got a few recommendations. In the end, I saw a good deal on eBay for an Osprey Zealot, which was actually my first choice so it was a no-brainer really.

Things to like about the Zealot:

  • AirScape™ Suspension
  • BioStretch™ Ventilated Harness
  • Padded Front Compression Pocket with room for body armor or other bulky items
  • Large, Stretch Mesh Side Pockets are integrated with main compression panel
  • Removable, roll-out tool pouch
  • LidLock™ helmet clip
  • Backpanel zip offers wide access to main compartment
  • Hydration sleeve with elastic cord compression
  • Heat embossed goggle/sunglass pocket
  • Blinker light attachment patch on front panel
  • Reflective details to improve night time visibility
  • Large grab handle
  • Ambidextrous hose routing

Overall, I like the workmanship and I like that it came with a hideable rain cover but at the end of the day, I really like  that it can carry my full face helmet snugly. That’s the single biggest reason I bought it for and it looks like it does a good job at it.

Hope to trail test it soon!