The Osprey Katari 7L is a hydration backpack designed for quick hikes or mountain biking. Osprey offers a male specific version, the Katari, and a female specific, Kitsuma, and three sizes: 1.5, 3, and 7 liter options. The one I purchased from backcountry.com for $75 is the Katari 7L which includes a 2.5L Osprey Hyrdaulics LT hydration bladder. I purchased the Katari to be a primary daypack for super light hikes or to be the secondary pack for my wife on our more normal outings.
Overview Size wise the Osprey Katari is solid when you want to go pretty light. It’ll hold our pretty beefy medical kit, one of my Hiking Survival Kits, a balled up light rain jacket, and the 2.5L water bladder. If I am planning to hike more than a couple of hours or in weather conditions that require more clothing options or gear I’m going to reach for something a little bigger. Usually for us it plays the role of a secondary pack where I carry an Osprey Daylite 13L pack and my wife carries the Osprey Katari 7L.
Working from the outside in, the Osprey Katari 7L has two mesh pouches, one on either side (the 1.5 and 3 liter versions don’t have mesh pouches). They will hold water small bottles or Clif bars without issue and haven’t stretched out. There really isn’t anything else on the outside of the pack which makes it a sleek setup but removes some flexibility. It would be really nice to have a lash point for trekking poles. The best option I’ve found is to stick trekking poles down the external water bladder, handles first and careful not to puncture the bladder. But it is really a less than ideal solution as they stick out pretty high overhead. There is a detachable hip belt but as it is just a webbing belt with no pockets we don’t use it. The Katari is pretty small and stable so I don’t ever feel the need for the hip-belt.
The main pouch of the Osprey Katari is accessed with a zipper that runs almost the length of the pack with a Velcro closure at the top. This actually works pretty well because it gives you access to the entire pack without having to remove things to get to the bottom. Which is useful because being a small and thin pack you will end up packing things the length of the Katari. Inside the main compartment are two small mesh pockets and two hook points. This gives you a place to store smaller items but we seldom use them. It isn’t an efficient place to put keys or your wallet because they are smack in the middle of the compartment as opposed to the top.
The water bladder compartment is actually an external one that is between the main storage compartment and the foam backing. It is accessed by two clips at the top of the pack. You then slide you water bladder down and clip it in. There is also a small zippered pocket accessed from the water bladder compartment. This is the place to store your keys, wallet, headlamp, etc. It is very easy to access although it needs a little clip for your keys which is a common feature on a lot of other Osprey packs. The water bladder tube exits right out of the top of the compartment. There are routing options for either shoulder strap and the sternum strap clasp has a magnet attachment point for the the included magnet on the water bladder tube. The magnet system is really nice for keeping the drinking tube of your water bladder in place. My issue is the attachment point on the sternum strap clasp. This is different from how Osprey usually does it where the attachment point is a slider that you can move back and forth across the sternum strap. To me this isn’t flexible and doesn’t work for everyone. It works perfectly for my wife but it makes the bite valve poke me in the side so I just don’t end up using the magnet attachment point.
The mesh backing of the Osprey Katari is solid. It does about the best job of breathing that it can, being a foam backing without any structure to keep it off of your back. I haven’t had any problems with the Katari riding uncomfortably or anything. You will definitely get a sweaty back but that is going to happen with any foam backed pack. The positive side is that without any structure the Osprey Katari can be rolled up decently small if you want to stuff it into a larger pack to use as a day pack on bigger trips.
Osprey Hyrdraulics LT 2.5L The included water bladder is the Osprey Hydraulics LT 2.5L bladder. The smaller Katari packs get a 1.5L. I like the Osprey Hydraulics but a lot of it will come down to personal preference. I also have Camelbaks and to me each has positives and negatives. The Osprey Hydraulics has a huge top opening that utilizes a slider closure similar to a CNOC bag which is awesome but for some reason it isn’t as wide as the top of the bag. They actually narrow the bag just a bit before the slider. So you can fit your hand in it for cleaning but it’s tight. Also Osprey put two stabilizing attachments that connect the inside of the bag to the sides which means you can’t fit your hand down to the bottom to dry the bladder out. The bladder hose can be set up to route over your right or left shoulder. But I really wish the hose had a quick release from the bladder similar to my Camelbak. A quick detach is super useful for cleaning and drying. The bite valve comparison is a wash to me and both the Osprey and Camelbak have a solid one with the ability to lock it out. Bite valve is pretty much all personal preference.
Summary Overall I would recommend the Osprey Katari 7L Pack and the size is solid for I wanted it for. But the overall design seems to be more geared at mountain biking than hiking. Feature wise the slick exterior and internal mesh pockets on are great for not snagging the pouch on trees or organizing your bike tools but the lack of trekking pole attachments is annoying. Size wise 7L doesn’t sound like a lot of room and it isn’t but it will do the job for shorter hikes. It does a great job if it is the second pack in a two person group which is how we commonly use it on day hikes. We only start to reach for other packs when you have to carry extra clothes or foresee taking off jackets and needing a place for them. It still performs great by itself if the hike is under four hours or so and on trail.
The build quality is solid and in general I am a big fan of Osprey packs and have like four of them. $75 is pretty reasonable in my book considering it includes the water bladder which usually runs for around $35 by itself.
The Osprey Katari 7L weighed in at 338g on my little kitchen scale and the Osprey Hydraulics LT 2.5L weighed in at 164g.
Review Background Just so that there is no confusion this was not in anyway shape or form a paid review and we don’t do paid reviews. I purchased this particular item with my own money for my own use.
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