I hate running rucksacks – they always leave me bleeding. The last one I had chaffed a 50p size piece of skin from my shoulder. It looked at best like a cigar burn and at worst, like I had some weird scabby skin problem. And it hurt. I was hopeful, but not too hopeful that the Osprey Duro 15 running rucksack would be different.
Just to get it out there, let me start by confiding in you – I don’t like running much. I run for necessity, rather than enjoyment. I run during obstacle course races in order to get between obstacles (it’s usually a welcome break between ice baths and muddy ditches), I run because I never leave enough time to get anywhere between appointments and I run because if I didn’t, I’d be late for important events and very late for others. As someone who finds they live a lot of their life on the go, I also carry my ‘survival’ equipment around with me. Unlike my school and university days where I was openly mocked for being a ‘bag lady’ (I was a Brownie, ok, I like to be prepared. For every eventuality), I’ve radically pared down what I carry with him. But I still have enough stuff that I need a bag for it; resistance bands, lipbalm, my Kindle, sometimes an iPad, spare hairbands, some kind of snack, a water bottle and hand cream. Believe me, I’ve tried running with a tote bag and it’s akin to running with a child hanging off your leg – not at all fun and positively inelegant (not that I’ve ever been a pretty runner – a particularly mean boy dumped me at Sports Day after noticing I ran like a weirdo). So a rucksack is very much key to my day to day living.
I’ve tried out many rucksacks to run in. I used to jumble along with a standard backpack but it bounced too much against my back. I also tried running in the massive laptop backpack my husband bought me but it made me look like a tortoise and people kept asking me if I was going abroad for a week. The first time I ran with a proper running rucksack, it was such a revelation. I loved that it hugged my back – it made things SO MUCH EASIER. However, my love of running rucksacks has been a mixed bag – mainly because I’ve ended up with chaffing, especially in summer when I’m running in just a bra and top.
When the Osprey Duro 15 first landed at my door, I must admit, my first reaction was of alarm. This is a serious runner’s rucksack. How can I tell? From all the water pouches and spouts it has coming off it. There were THREE. THREE! Who needs three? Serious runners, that’s who! The first time, I ran with the Duro, I felt a little silly – I was totally the person with all the gear and no idea. I didn’t even bother filling up the water pouches as I really wasn’t going that far, and even if I did get a thirst on, city running means that I had a newsagents available every few minutes or so. I also didn’t appreciate the long water spout getting in the way – I couldn’t work out how to secure it away from me. We get along much better now that I’ve removed 2 of the pouches. With regards to comfort, the Duro scores top marks in my book – it has wide shoulder straps and a waist and sternum straps too. Even with a full load, it hugs your back and runs with you so you barely notice it’s there at all. Speaking of loads, it has a remarkable number of pockets – there’s two sections on the main bag (three if you’ve removed the 2.5l water pouch) – one shallow compartment which is perfect for storing your phone, money and lipbalm (ie anything you need to access easily), and a large compartment for everything else. At the base of the bag too, there’s 2 small compartments which I’ve used for holding keys and snacks.
What else do you need to know?
The Osprey Duro is a unisex bag and comes in two colours, grey and red, or black and neon green. It also comes in two sizes, S/M and M/L and there’s a guide for measure your back length to make sure you get the rucksack size most suited to you. It also has reflective strips so you’re easily seen and generously-sized stretchy mesh pockets on the front for keeping things like gloves or a light windbreaker.
I’ve been running with the Osprey Duro now for several months and it’s now a permanent fixture in my life. Lightweight and comfortable, it’s a pleasure to wear and even though I don’t take full advantage of the water features (I’m ashamed to admit I carry a water bottle around with me rather than use the pouches – as I mentioned, I just don’t need hydration on the go) it’s especially supportive on your back due to the waist and chest straps – I had to use my old running rucksack a few weeks ago for a run and the difference was significant, I could only feel how much my old rucksack had pulled on my back when I switched back over. It’s also great for those who need to access their stuff quickly – I like everything to have a place and with this, it’s pocket heaven! My only point to note is that the sternum straps can be a little fiddly – you have to line up the clip with a plastic rail edge in order to secure it. However, once you’ve got the hang of it, it’s easy enough but could be a little fumbly if you were wearing bulky gloves.
Who’s it for: Especially useful for trail and long-distance runners.
How much: £140
Where from: Osprey and many outdoor retailers