Gear Review: Osprey Tempest Women’s Backpack

Osprey Tempest Womens Backpack in Tourmaline Green

Osprey Tempest 20 Women’s Backpack

Versatile, extremely lightweight, and the recent recipient of a Backpacker Magazine’s award (actually bestowed upon the men’s version,  the Osprey Talon) – the Osprey Tempest Women’s Backpack is one to love.

Now that I’m no longer toting my son in a backpack child carrier on the trails, I decided it was time to try out a new backpack for myself.

I’d seen many Osprey packs on the Colorado trails before.  So after my husband showed me the Osprey featured in his magazine, I decided I’d love to try one out.


Osprey Tempest ~ Features

Osprey Tempest in Magenta

Stretch woven fabric of front pocket allows you to view contents

This is a fantastic, extremely comfortable pack.  It comes in various sizes, but this review is of the Osprey Tempest 20.  It’s described as a multi-use pack that can be used for either backpacking or hiking.  I’ve found it to have the perfect capacity for my day hike needs, along with some awesome features.

At a glance, here are a few of my favorite Osprey Women’s Backpack features:

  • Extremely lightweight and comfortable
  • Excellent, flexible fit customized for a woman’s body
  • External hydration sleeve
  • Foam molded, ventilated backpanel
  • Stretch woven fabric used for front stash and side pockets
  • Bike helmet attachment
  • Top stash pocket, with special fabric for scratch free storage and easy retrieval
  • Harness system that can be adjusted to your torso size
  • Light, soft, foam and mesh shoulder harness straps – cool & comfortable
  • Trekking pole attachment
  • Gorgeous, vibrant color options

All this, and it weighs less than 1 1/2 pounds!

Osprey Tempest ~ Performance

Osprey Tempest on snowy trail

The Tempest features a hydration sleeve compartment, for you to slip in your favorite reservoir (sold separately).  It’s actually external to your main pack compartment, which helps protect your interior contents.   My 100 oz. water reservoir is long, but fits nicely in this slot and can be held in place at the top by a retention buckle (so the heavy, full reservoir doesn’t slide down).

Although a filled water reservoir fills/pushes out the backpanel a bit, slightly changing it’s shape from concave to more flat, it still allows for great ventilation because of the backpanel surface design itself.  If you’ve not seen a pack with this yet (I hadn’t)… it’s really, really cool.  You’re going to love it.

Osprey Tempest front view when hiking


Opsrey Tempest airscape backpanelWe live in a high mountain desert climate, and do a fair amount of hot weather hiking.  So pack features that help keep you cool are most welcome to me.

I absolutely love the Airscape™ ridge molded foam backpanel on the Osprey Tempest Women’s Backpack.  It’s extremely comfortable, and between that awesome ridged foam and the air chimney down the backpanel – it’s coolest, most comfortable pack that I have worn.


Each side of your hip belt has a handy pocket, which works nicely to hold your phone or an energy bar.  It’s made from some awesome stretch woven fabric, which is really nice quality and after being pulled, stretched, poked, and prodded – seems quite durable.

This same stretch woven fabric is used for the good sized front pocket, and the side water bottle pockets.  I love the front pocket, and how the fabric holds things in snugly and securely, yet can stretch and mold to accommodate surprisingly large or odd-shaped objects (such as my jacket, camera, and some not-squished bananas).

Osprey Tempest on trail

And I’m excited to have the side water bottle pockets made from such an innovative material, as shot elastic proved to be the death of my former (non-Osprey) backpack’s side pockets.  I wondered if the fit would be too snug to allow for easy removal and addition of a water bottle while hiking… but they slide in and out easily, even when wearing the pack and reaching behind you.

Osprey Tempest ~ Fit

I love that some brands feature packs made just for women.  This customizes the fit for added comfort, and includes adjustments made to the harness, hipbelt and torso size.  The result?  The Osprey Tempest fits just right.

The Osprey Tempest harness straps are made from BioStretch™, and are “adjustable gender specific mesh covered slotted foam”.  Translation?  Extremely soft, comfortable, and cool.  In this photo you can see how they are light and almost “airy”.  I believe wearing this harness is as close to the feeling of not wearing a backpack at all, that you can get.


Osprey Tempest breathable harness straps

Another amazing feature is the harness adjustment system, allowing you to lengthen or shorten the way your pack fits, according to your torso size.  Very rare in a non-frame day pack, and an awesome option to let you get your Osprey Tempest Women’s Backpack perfectly fitted to you.   The Tempest also features an adjustable sternum strap.

I experienced no slippage or issues with any of the adjustment straps or closure systems.  I don’t personally use them, but there also is a trekking pole attachment available on the Tempest.

As if all that weren’t enough… when your toddler gets tired of riding his balance bike during your hike, and sheds his little bike helmet for mom to carry, there’s a nifty helmet attachment clip.  The LidLock™ helmet attachment system works likka champ, and is very slick indeed.

Osprey Tempest bike helmet

In summary, the Osprey Tempest Women’s Backpack ($99) is the lightest, most capable and comfortable backpack I have ever worn, and I highly recommend it.   I’m very impressed with my first introduction to the Opsrey brand, and look forward to many outdoor adventures wearing my Tempest.

*o*    *o*    *o*

I received the Osprey Tempest womens backpack described here at no cost, for the purposed of performing this gear review.  All opinions are my own.

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About COMtnMom

Hi, I'm Tami! Writer, Influencer, and mom of two who loves travel, the outdoors, staying active, photography, reading books, and eating desserts. We are pretty much always planning our next trip to Disney World.


  1. Hey there – thank you so much for your review! I’m looking for a new, light, pack for day hikes and a hut-to-hut hike this summer and this one is at the top of my list. I’m a little worried that it may be too small for my hut-to-hut hike as I’ll need to carry 2 days of clothes (shorts + tank, so at least it’s small clothes!), gear for coldy/rain/wind, a sleeping bag liner, and lunches/snacks/water for 3 days. Any thoughts on if that’s feasible?
    Thanks so much!!

    • COMtnMom says:

      Hi Sarah,

      Love, love, love this pack… but it really is compact and minimalistic in capacity. I’m not sure about the 3 day hike – the cold weather gear and food/water may put you over the top on what you can fit in the Tempest 20. It’s pretty narrow, however the side pockets and ‘external’ compartment for a water reservoir do buy you some extra space for water. One thing to possibly consider… in Opsrey’s Tempest series, you can get similar features/fit and move up in size to a 30 or 40 (becomes top loading, instead of panel loading, though):

      Do you have an REI nearby? They carry this exact Tempest 20 I reviewed, maybe it would give you a chance to load it and see what you think?

      Sounds like an amazing trip – have fun, and I hope you find the perfect Osprey to use! 😉


      • Thanks for the info! It’s wishful thinking that I could get away with such a small pack for 3 days (both for ease of carrying a smaller pack and because then I could buy it with an LL Bean gift card that I have, haha), but I think I’ll have to go up to the 30. I guess I need to find them in a store and go do some trying on. 🙂

  2. Hi, I know this review is kind of old, but I have a question I hope you can answer. I’m looking for a larger pack for run commuting and I think this is the one I’m going to go with, but I recently learned it comes in two sizes. It looks like the difference between the XS/S and the S/M is two inches in length. Are you wearing the smaller or the larger size? I think I’m leaning toward the smaller.

    • COMtnMom says:

      Hi Norma,

      I’m so sorry for the delay, I didn’t see your comment until just now. The pack I’m wearing is S/M, and I’m 5’10”. I think their sizing has to do with your torso length, so it fits properly. Osprey has guidelines on your “neck to waist” measurements, and what pack would fit you best. They measured me (for free) at my local REI, if something like that is an option for you.

      Hope the pack works well for you, and you love it! It’s so lightweight, I think you’ll really like it for run commuting.


  3. Thanks! I think I am going to go with the S/M. You helped me decide. 🙂

  4. Virginia Santo Domingo says:

    Hello do you know the difference between the Talon an Tempest series? Thanks

    • COMtnMom says:

      I think they are almost the same pack – but the Talon is unisex sizing, and the Tempest is Osprey’s women specific sizing. Personally, I think a womens-specific fitting backpack is definitely noticeable in increased comfort!

      Here’s what Osprey says about what makes their women’s fit unique:

      “Our women’s packs come in torso lengths that best fit women’s bodies. All packs come standard with women’s-specific harness and hipbelt. The women’s harness is narrow at its entry point in the backpanel, and tapers slightly outward below the collarbone to offer more comfort and freedom for the chest area. The women’s hipbelt is canted slightly upward to best cup the hips and is patterned with a narrower profile. Our women’s packs also come in women’s specific colors. ”

      Hope that helps! Happy hiking 🙂


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