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(The Gear Loop) - The Duro and Dyna range from Californian stalwarts Osprey features packs designed for trail runners who want to cover great distances at speed, carrying everything they need and nothing they don’t. 

The Dynas are female-specific, while the Duro packs are marketed as unisex (apart from the LT, which is a men’s vest). There are four sizes: LT (0.5 litres), 1.5, 6 and 15. The LT and the 1.5 have limited storage and very much fall in the running vest category, while the 6 and the 15 give you to capacity to carry your waterproofs, spare layers and additional food and drink.

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We've been testing the 6, which we feel is a great middle ground between a speedy day-hiking pack and something that's a little more convenient, able to carry some additional items, such as pack-able waterproofs, snacks and other trail essentials.

Our quick take

The Duro is an excellent hydration pack that combines superb storage solutions with a comfortable and customisable fit. Thanks to its well-thought-out design, almost everything you could need is immediately to hand, meaning minimal stops and maximum speed on the trails. It’s also one of the most comfortable and well-balanced hydration packs around.

Osprey Duro 6 review: a lightweight hydration pack with multiple storage solutions

Osprey Duro 6

5 stars - The Gear Loop editors choice
For
  • Accessible on-the-move storage solutions
  • Lightweight
  • Easily adjustable and comfortable fit
Against
  • It’s not waterproof
  • It is more expensive than basic options

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In the Loop

A quick look at what you can expect from Osprey’s Duro 6 hydration pack:

  • Two large, zippered compartments and a zippered stash pocket for phone or other valuables
  • Nine open stretch mesh pockets of varying sizes for bars, gels, soft flasks and the rest
  • Snap-in, adjustable chest straps for customised fit
  • Trekking pole/ice axe attachment points
  • Two 500ml soft flasks included
  • Integrated safety whistle
  • 100 per cent recycled nylon stretch mesh fabric
  • Three sizes available: small, medium and large
Alex FoxfieldOsprey Duro 6 review photo 4

First impressions

There’s no getting away from it, this is a smart looking hydration pack and the inclusion of two 500ml soft flasks is also a very welcome one. Straight away, you can spot quality design features, such as ring pulls on the zips (handy when wearing gloves) and little fabric loops above each pocket that allow you to grab and open them quickly or secure items to them.

The Duro’s mesh fabric’s stretch was obvious as soon we picked it up. This elasticity means items inside its open pockets are held in place fairly securely. We could also see through the fabric, which highlights its breathable and featherlight qualities. Just what the trail running doctor ordered. It’s also 100 per cent recycled, by the way, so scores well in the sustainability stakes too.

OspreyOsprey Duro 6 review photo 9

One sign of good design is when everything is fairly intuitive, and this is definitely the case with the Duro. The customisable snap-in chest straps are so easy to manipulate and straight away the pack felt comfortable on the chest. There’s a symmetry to the pocket layout, which is obviously important for achieving a balanced pack.

All the pockets are where you’d want them to be, including a zippered, phone-sized stash pocket on the left strap. Neat touches include elasticated loops that wrap around the lid of the soft flasks to hold them in place and a tiny little integrated whistle in the zippered chest pocket for emergencies.

OspreyOsprey Duro 6 review photo 8

Features

As mentioned, all the pockets and larger compartments are where you’d want them. Not only this, but there’s twelve of them: two large zippered compartments for waterproofs and the like; a large mesh pocket on the very back; two large pockets designed specifically for holding the soft flasks; four smaller open pockets beneath these for protein bars, energy gels, Peperamis, or whatever else gets you through; the vertically zippered pocket sized with a phone in mind and two sizeable open side pockets to round things off.

The chest straps give you plenty of flexibility and enable you to find your own perfect fit. They can be made shorter or longer, moved up and down the vest as you please and are even fully removable. As well as all this, there’s still room for a trekking pole and/or ice axe attachment system on either side too.

Alex FoxfieldOsprey Duro 6 review photo 3

Performance

We found the Duro excels on long adventure runs. Its capacity was nigh on perfect for carrying the essential layers and enough food and drink to power us onward when the going got tough. The multiple storage options meant that we only had to take it off to access the main compartments a couple of times on a 30-mile+ mission.

First of all, it is remarkably comfortable, achieving the Holy Grail in the list of fast and light kit desirables: a "barely there" feel. As we bounded along the trails, the pack was very much at one with us, not bouncing around, not chafing and feeling beautifully balanced throughout. Comfort? Tick.

Alex FoxfieldOsprey Duro 6 review photo 1

The fact it has two main compartments meant we could use one for items we hoped not to need – such as our waterproofs – and the other for items we knew we’d need at some stage, but weren’t essential for the nitty gritty of the run. 

Another nice touch is the way the large stretch mesh pocket at the back is open, making it easy for our running buddies to grab its contents when we had need of them. When you need a hit of Haribo Starmix, you need it pronto!

The operational centre of the Duro is its chest section, which carried all of our hydration and nutrition vessels in ideal, easy-to-access pockets. Thanks to the location of the soft flasks, it was easy to drink on the move and when the time came to refuel with energy gels and the like, they were to hand too.

OspreyOsprey Duro 6 review photo 6

Is there anything wrong with it? Not that we can see. The only consideration you’d need to make on a miserable weather day is that everything inside it would obviously get wet, as it’s not waterproof. However, a couple of little dry bags should do the trick for keeping your valuables out of the drink.

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To recap

Osprey has excelled itself with this excellent pack, which has all the right storage solutions in all the right places and is supremely comfortable during long days on the trails. The only downside we can think of is that it’s not waterproof. Its 6-litre capacity is enough for your waterproofs and spare clothes, while all your gels and bars sit happily in the stretch mesh pockets.

Writing by Alex Foxfield. Editing by Leon Poultney.