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Osprey Tempest 20 Backpack Review

Osprey Tempest 20 Backpack Review

The Osprey Tempest 20 is a women’s multi-sport day pack that is well-sized for hiking, cycling, mountain biking, and travel. It’s a panel loader that has plenty of pockets and storage to carry essentials, with an adjustable length frame so you can dial in a custom-fit. On top of that, there’s an external hydration pocket behind the shoulder straps that lets you refill a hydration reservoir without having to unpack your entire pack to get it out. This is a very desirable feature on a backpack but fairly rare on a backpack of this size.

Specs at a Glance

  • Gender: Women’s
  • Volume: 20L
  • Weight: 1lb 8.5 oz
  • Adjustable Torso Length: Yes
  • External Pockets: 7
  • Hipbelt pockets: Yes
  • Max recommended load: 20 lbs.
  • Sizing: there are two sizes available, an XS/S and an S/M.
    • Torso range: (XS/S: 13 – 17 inches), (S/M: 16 – 20 inches)
    • Hip belt range: (XS/S: 27 – 42 inches), (S/M: 29 – 44 inches)

Backpack Storage and Pockets

The Osprey Tempest 20 is a panel loader, which means that the pack opens up like a clamshell with a zipper on top, that when opened, provides easy access to the main compartment. This makes it very easy to pack and find your gear without having to unpack and repack everything when you need something.

Osprey Tempest Main Zipper

With an internal volume of 20L, the Tempest 20 has plenty of room for clothing layers, hats, gloves, your lunch, and a few personal items like toiletries. There’s also a mesh security pocket inside the main compartment that has a key fob to secure your keys.

There are two ways to carry water with the Tempest 20. If you prefer to use a hydration reservoir, there’s an external pocket behind the shoulder straps where you can hang it, instead of an internal sleeve on the inside of the backpack. The nice thing about these external hydration pockets is that you can remove and refill your reservoir without having unpack your entire pack when you do so. It also means that if your reservoir springs a leak, it won’t make all of the clothing in the pack’s main compartment wet. There’s a drain at the bottom of the external hydration pocket that will release any leaks or drips that could occur.

Osprey Tempest 20 External Hydration pocket
There’s a convenient external hydration pocket behind the shoulder straps.

Accompanying the hydration capability is that you can thread the hydration tubes through stretchy loops on L or R shoulder straps. Super quick and easy, nothing to have to thread your bite valve through. Osprey has done a nice job trying to make this feature compatible for folks engaging in active, on-the-go, sports.

The Tempest 20 also has two side mesh water bottle pockets, each sized to hold a 1L Nalgene bottle, but snug enough to hold bicycle bottles too. There are two modestly size hip belt pockets with zipper closures and a top slash pocket that can hold sunglasses and other small essentials. The front of the pack also has a stretch mesh “stuff-it pocket” that’s handy for stuffing layers or damp items where they can dry.

Osprey Tempest Stuffit Pocket
A front stuff-it pocket is good for stashing layers. Note the bike helmet clip and the blinky light attachment point at the bottom of the pocket.

Backpack Frame

The Tempest 20 has an adjustable torso length, which means you can raise the shoulder straps or lower them to adjust the distance between them and your hips. Adjusting a pack to match your torso length is one of the most important factors in getting a backpack to fit and perform comfortably. Furthermore,  adjustment mechanism can be set to any torso length on the Tempest, not just a set of fixed predetermined sizes, so you can get a truly personalized fit even if you normally fall between sizes. That’s a real plus.

Temptest 20 Adjustable Torso Length
The Tempest 20 has an adjustable torso length which is unusual to find on a pack of this (small) volume.

The shoulder straps are attached to the back of the pack with velcro. To adjust the torso length, you “unstick” them to raise (lengthen) or lower (shorten) the torso length. Once “restuck”, they’ll be locked in place and won’t budge, no matter how much you pack in the backpack.

Osprey Temptest 20 Hip Belt
The flexible and ventilated hip belt wraps around your waist, where air channels in back keep you cooler.

The hip belt is a flexible padded and mesh wrap that fits snugly around your hips. It’s a single piece of mesh to eliminate any hotspots and looks a lot like the Anti-gravity frame system used on Osprey’s higher volume overnight backpacks. The back panel is also mesh-backed with big air channels cut into it to promote airflow and help keep you back dry when it’s hot or humid. While the back panel gives the pack some rigidity which is good for hiking, it also provides some flexibility, which I appreciated when trail running.

Female Backpack shoulder straps
The Tempest 20 has female shaped shoulder straps that curve around breasts, not smash them flat.

It’s important to understand that the Temptest 20 is a women’s backpack, designed specifically for a women’s build. That means that the shoulder straps are curved to wrap around female breasts without smashing them flat and without a sternum strap that will pinch when secured. The underside of the straps (against chest) has a fine mesh, which helps to wick away sweat and keep things more breathable. The foam thickness was ample to carry a 20L load but soft and flexible for sports that require movement and flexing.

The same is true about the hip belt. It’s designed to wrap around women’s curvy hip bones, not the square angular shape of male hips. While it is narrower and more flexible than hip belts on higher volume backpacks, it certainly has enough padding to be supportive and comfortable. If you want a pack for mountain biking, cycling, jogging, and day hiking, you can’t have too beefy a hip belt. Osprey found just the right mix between light yet supportive.

Temptest 20 Bike Features
The Tempest 20 backpack has bike helmet and light attachments points too.

External Attachment Points

The Tempest 20 also has lots of little pockets and gear attachments points that make it very convenient to use. Some of these are general purpose and some are more activity-specific. For example, there’s a small stretchy pocket on the left shoulder strap that can be used as a quick stow for sunglasses, a place to tuck your pen for geocaching or to store a snack, GPS or energy gel.

  • For hikers and trail runners, the pack comes with Osprey’s stow-on-the-go trekking pole loops, which are super helpful when you need your hands to scramble up a cliff or ledge while hiking, or when you don’t need your poles such as when hiking on level terrain.
  • For cyclists and mountain bikers, the pack has a helmet and blinking light attachments for safe riding.

Comparable Women’s Daypacks

Make / ModelAdjustable TorsoWeightPrice
Deuter Speed Lite 22 SLNo1 lb 9 oz$105
Gregory Maya 22No1 lb 12.2 oz$120
REI Trail 25No1 lb 15 oz$80
Osprey Sirrus 24No2 lb 9 oz$130
Osprey Tempest 20Yes1 lb 8.5 oz$110
Mystery Ranch Coulee 25No'2 lb 11.2 oz$169
Patagonia Nine Trails 26No2 lbs 0.6 oz$159
Ultimate Direction Fastpacker 20No1 lb 3.7 oz$150

Osprey Tempest 20 Women's Backpack

Comfort
Weight
Suspension
Features
Adjustability
Sizing
Durability

Versatile Multisport Backpack

The Osprey Tempest 20 is an adjustable multisport women's backpack that has lots of pockets so you can stay organized. Its slim profile makes it suitable for hiking, mountain biking, running and commuting.

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Recommendation

The Osprey Tempest 20 is a great, women’s specific daypack that is terrific for going light and versatile across lots of different sports where users want comfortable movement. If you want one pack that you can use for day hiking, light trail running, biking, commuting and traveling, the Tempest 20 has the fit and features you want. It’s super comfortable, with a slim profile that won’t jiggle annoyingly or slow you down on a bike, running, or hiking down a trail. Highly Recommended!

Disclosure: The author owns this product.

About the author

Beth Zimmer is an expert backpacker who's backpacked all over New England and Eastern Canada, with a long list of hiking accomplishments to her name. She's section hiked the New Hampshire Appalachian Trail, climbed the New England Hundred Highest and the New Hampshire 200 highest (mostly bushwhacks), redlined the White Mountain Guide (1440 miles), and climbed the White Mountain 4000 footers several times over. Beth also teaches GPS and off-trail navigation classes as a volunteer for the Appalachian Mountain Club and is co-chair of the New Hampshire Excursions Committee, which oversees all volunteer hiking and leadership training activities. When she's not hiking and backpacking, Beth resides in New Hampshire where she can usually be found sipping coffee and planning her next adventure.

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4 comments

  1. Great to see a day pack that incorporates the adjustability and comfort features of a backpack yet still keeps the weight down!

  2. Thanks for the review. Due to the decent-looking hip belt and adjustable torso length, this may be a useful addition to my pack collection if it can accommodate a padded camera case. I am currently using the REI Trail 25, which doesn’t have a good belt – fine for schlepping a laptop and camera gear around the airport, less lovely after a long hike.

  3. I just got this bag in late August and love it! It fits perfect and I can still fit quite a bit in it.

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