Cross the UK: Osprey Duro 6 Review
Overall Rating: 5/5
I have used the Duro 6 extensively on runs over the past few months and I love it. I have been increasing the distances I have traditionally run in training for some upcoming ultra and multiday races. I have always been a minimalist runner, never taking anything more than what I’m wearing. I have never run with an iPod, spare layers, food or even drinks as I’ve never needed to so making the change to having to carry ‘stuff’ was a big deal. I have access to a number of brands and have tried other brands bags (who specialise in ultra running gear) and have not been hugely convinced by many of them. Some were more comfortable than others, some I wouldn’t wish on my enemies.
The Duro 6L is a great pack for a long day. It is big enough to hold a decent amount of liquids, with two 500ml soft flasks and space for you to add a bottle or bladder in the bag where there is a full pouch with a clip and the ability to run the hydration pipe down through either shoulder strap. It will also accommodate you snacks/food, waterproofs and some spare layers. This is not big enough for multi day events and you will struggle if you plan to have an overnight stop. However, if you are after a day pack to support you in those long runs this is one you should seriously consider. People will naturally look at the ultra/endurance running brands first but Osprey specialise in packs so it would be silly to think that they don’t know what they’re doing. The build quality and materials of the Duro are top notch and this is something I’ve found lacking in other running packs in the past.
The Duro is without doubt the most comfortable bag I’ve worn for running. The pack is designed like a vest so it has a close fit and unless fully loaded you will barely notice that it’s there. The wide shoulder straps come further around your chest and don’t extend meaning that the pack stays high up on your back and avoid it sagging. These shoulder straps are the difference in my opinion, at first I thought they looked a little thin, in terms of padding but the mesh used is soft and comfortable. Most importantly, the mesh is highly breathable and seems to wick well so it doesn’t allow the build up of sweat and the chaffing that comes with it. There are some compression straps so that you can alter the pack according to how much is in it and keep it stable. This avoids the bounce which normally makes other packs uncomfortable as the weight doesn’t feel well distributed, leading to that bouncy feel. There are two elasticated straps that go across the chest which are adjustable and can be clipped from either side or moved (and even removed completely) to suit you. Despite me stressing the close fit design of the pack I have never found that it has restricted my movement or breathing on even the hardest or runs.
The pack is well designed in terms of performance and practicalities but it also looks pretty good too. As with any kit you use for long periods of time you will find some issues but it is whether these remain small and insignificant or stop you using the item. Thankfully, with the Duro they are just a little annoying to me personally. Firstly, I love the soft flasks and how easy they can be accessed but I find that once they start to empty the more rigid top part of the flask digs into my chest a little. In fairness this not enough to cause me any real problems but enough that I notice each time. Secondly, the ‘Stow-on-the-Go’ system for your trail running poles isn’t great for me. I find it impossible to put my folding trail running poles in ‘on-the-Go’ and they never seem to sit well once in. I feel that the balance of the bag changes or that they are going to fall out. I have recently used a Raidlight Ultra Olmo pack where the poles can be attached across the chest and although it looks weird and very unconventional to start with it is the most comfortable, stable and accessible way of carrying folding trail running poles I’ve come across.
As with most trail running packs there are pockets and pouches (5 with 1 zipped on the shoulder straps alone – not including the space for the soft flasks) galore with the Duro so you can squirrel away snacks, gels, phones, hats, gloves or whatever you can think of with ease. There is a good mix of stretchy mesh pockets and secure zip pockets on this pack so you can get organised and keep this safe and handy depending on how much you will need to access them. There is a large mesh stow pocket on the front to keep your waterproofs handy for the ever changing British conditions.
Overall I would certainly recommend the Osprey Duro 6. I’m looking for another larger pack to get me through some multiday events coming up in 2018 and I’m hoping that the larger Duro 15 will be big enough as it will be the first option I look at now.