Review: Osprey Sylva 12

Crystal’s review of the Osprey Sylva 12

This review first appeared over at FionaOutdoors

After using the Osprey Sylva 12 backpack for a full year, I have found that it can hold up well in a variety of different environments. I regularly use it to carry the necessary items for a walk around my city. I took it biking on the Camino De Santiago in Northwest Spain. It was perfect on a boat trip on the ocean to watch dolphins. It’s what I grab for carrying snacks, water and diapers as we enjoy family hikes in the mountains.


– Weight: 0.7 kg

– Dimensions (CM): 46L / 27W / 23D

– Internal organiser for bike specific tools and spares

– Stretch mesh side pockets and front stretch compression pocket

– Sternum strap buckle with magnet

– Side compression straps

– Reflective graphics and LED light attachment point

– Light weight peripheral frame

– Hydration: Compatible with HydraulicsTM and HydraulicsTM LT Reservoir

– AirSpeedTM trampoline suspended mesh backsystem to increase airflow

– Integrated & detachable raincover

– Internal hydration sleeve

– LidLockTM bike helmet attachment

– Designed for Women

Pros: What’s good about the Osprey Sylva 12?

The Sylva 12 is full of great features. The variety of pockets is very helpful and keeps me from having to dig around, taking everything out to find that one granola bar that I want. The range of mesh pockets inside are great for organizing essentials, tools, or even daily necessities like a coin purse, hand sanitizer, keys, etc.

The chest straps are magnetic and easy to use. The shoulders straps are very comfortable and can hold up under a lot of weight. I find that I can carry the same amount of weight in my Sylva 12 as in another backpack I have and it feels much lighter.

The suspended mesh backsystem makes it very comfortable. The increased airflow on my back is perfect and keeps the sweating to a minimum. It also protects against tools, books, or other sharp objects poking into my back from the main compartments.

I feel like I can carry this pack with a full load and for long distances. Even then it doesn’t strain my neck and shoulder like other packs that I have used.

Bits and pieces: The zippers are smooth and easy to use. The holder for the bike helmet is very convenient. Having a rain cover for emergencies is great!

My husband has other Osprey packs, but this one fits me really well as it is specifically made for women. At 5’9” and around 135 pounds, I find it is a much better fit for me than a pack made for men. It is also convenient that the bladder compartment pairs well with other Osprey bladders so that we can share if we need to do so.

Cons: What’s not so good about the Osprey Sylva 12?

I have just a couple of minor complaints about the pack. As I use it often for family outings with my husband and three young children, I wish it has an easy access pocket to my phone for those times that I want to snap a quick picture.

Also, I find that the side pockets are slightly difficult to use. I can carry my children’s camelback waterbottles in there (see review here) or my own waterbottle, but it is a bit of a struggle to actually get them in there. Once in, they are fine. This is a non issue if you are using this as a hydration pack with a bladder.


I would highly recommend this pack to women with a wide variety of interests. Whether you are someone who likes to go on long (or short) hikes with family and friends, a cyclist taking day trips, or someone who just wants a durable backpack for traveling and exploring a new city, this is a great and versatile pack. This is the pack I reach for as I go out on a day adventure with the family. The Sylva 12 is a great addition to those who love adventure and who also love comfort. Give it a try, it will be worth it!