Osprey Manta 20 pack review (in liquid blue!)

Hydration Pro Reviews




Review, photos and videos by Lee Lau




The Osprey Manta is by far the most comfortable pack I have had the privilege of using for biking. In particular the Manta’s suspension system is superior to the primitive offerings held out by many bike-specific manufacturers. It is well-thought out for cross-country/all-mountain applications, barring some nitpicks. However, it might not be the best pack for anyone who has to carry a lot of armour as it lacks external attachment straps.

Rear of the Osprey Manta showcases its crowning glory and a reason for other bike pack manufacturers to play catch-up; Osprey’s remarkable suspension system.

About the author: Lee Lau

Lee Lau calls North Vancouver and Whistler BC home. He's had over 15 years experience riding bikes mainly in western North America and in Europe. Unlike many people who learned to ride bikes on North Shore trails, he actually enjoys riding (and sometimes bushwhacking) uphill.

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  • francois says:

    Another gem of a review by LeeL. Comfort is key even for a pack as I’m finding out now. I had an innovative, Ergon pack before and I ended up never using it since it just wasn’t that comfortable and kept getting in the way of the ride.


  • JohnS says:

    Lee, Good review. I agree; great packs. All other makers are now in catch-up mode, especially with respect suspension and how to do the bladder right. One thing; it looks from your photo that the sternum strap set-up is the same as on my Raptor. Look that over carefully, as I think you might be able to reverse those straps. However, I hereby waive responsibility for any breakage that might occur during this procedure.

  • Todd says:

    Great review, thanks. I was wondering if you have ever tested any Deuter packs and how you think they compare? The Deuter Race EXP Air has the same type of mesh suspension system (I think they invented it), built in rain-fly, a built in/stow-away helmet carrier and is expandable. The packs are quite comparable and in the same price point. I own the Race X Air and was thinking about getting the EXP. Just wondering if you had any experience with these packs and could offer your opinion.

  • KG says:

    Not to mention the lifetime warranty. I have the Raptor and managed to shred through a shoulder strap. Less than two weeks passed and Osprey had the pack back to me good as new!

  • LeeL says:

    JohnS, I admit defeat. Were you sucessful in reversing the straps? I wasn’t and admit defeat. I did pull the straps off but have had limited luck in putting them back on.

    Todd – no experience with the Deuter myself.

    KG – I’ve had superior Osprey CS myself with respect to skiing gear so its good to confirm that.

    Thanks all!

  • Grant says:

    I have just received my Raptor 14 and compared to my Deuter Compact EXP 8 the manufacturing quality appears far superior. It took a while fo rme to get used to the Deuter so I’m hoping it won’t take long for the Raptor to settle on me. The Deuter always had to be loaded up pretty carefully to make sure it stayed straight on my back. The Raptor seems to fit comfortably straight away. Ths should straps on the Raptor are more substantial and comfortable. There are a lot of straps on the bag but it looks so cool! I’ll post back some ride impressions after I get a few in.

  • Peter says:

    I bought this pack recently and in general I like it. I needed to do some compass work on one outing though and I think the magnet for the bitevalve was causing significant interference. Anyone else notice this?

  • Pete (ArmySlowRdr) says:

    Wow Lee another terrific review. I just returned from the
    Round Rock (Austin area) REI and procured this mighty fine pack.
    Wifey noted as I was about to check out I had the small/large instead of medium/large. I am glad she noticed as I went to switch it out and noted there is much more strap to adjust over my big gut with this larger size.
    I can hardly wait to get it out on the trail for a trial spin.

    Your review was very timely too as it seems from now through
    labor day practically everything in the store seems 20-25% off.

    Thumbs up.

  • Peter says:

    Peter – I tried it and yes – the compass is affected by the magnet so beware!

    Pete – Thanks. FYI – I cut off a lot of the excessive loops and straps and did some pruning as I really disliked all those little loops. I like the pack ever more now

  • Mike says:

    On sale now at Altrec: $103.
    Getting mine now. Great review.

  • Booker Bense says:

    I have both the Larger Manta 30 and smaller Deuter Race X Air. Both are excellent packs w/respect to the suspension, but the Manta is a much better thought out pack wrt all the small details.

    I think the Race X Air suspension ventilates better than the Osprey, but it’s not nearly as useful as a day pack for carrying stuff. The internal water bladder just takes up too much volume. However, if I’m just carrying water and a few other things, the Deuter works really well and is a lot cheaper. If I need to carry more than just water and snacks, the Manta wins hands down.

  • Keih says:

    I have had the Raptor 14 for a couple of years now and just took it on a 6 day trip in variable weather. I have no significant issues with the 14 and overall, love the design and features. I am now looking at the Manta 20 to have something I can put a bit more foul weather gear and clothing in plus a nice lunch, which I have a weakness for. Thanks to all for the reviews and comments on the Manta 20. I’ll be ordering it next week.

  • Keith says:

    2/6/13 on sale at rei-outlet.com today as the “deal of the day” for $59.93!!!

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