Last Updated: February 14, 2020

Osprey Siskin/Salida Review: Great Hydration Packs?

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Osprey Siskin/Salida Review

The Osprey Siskin & Salida backpacks are the perfect companion for the avid mountain biker. With a dedicated water bladder, space for tools, gear, & helmet, you will be ready for anything on the trail. View Latest Deal

Need a new hydration pack? You’re in luck – Osprey’s dedicated mountain biking collection includes the Siskin and Salida – two small, lightweight hydration packs that come with a Hydraulics LT reservoir. And we reviewed them in detail right here!

The Siskin is the men’s backpack, and the Salida is the women’s pack. They are pretty much exactly the same – there’s just a few features that make the Salida a better fit for a women’s body.

You can read all about that, and all the other features of these two Osprey backpacks right here in our detailed review!

Osprey Siskin/Salida Overall Rating

First thing’s first – let’s rate these Osprey hydration backpacks. Bear in mind that our rating takes into consideration how these two backpacks compare against similar backpacks by other brands.

Overall Rating

92/100

Materials And Weight

4.5/5

Hydration System

5/5

Comfort

4.5/5

Gear Capacity And Accessibility

5/5

Value For Money

4/5

Compartments

One main compartment with internal tool organizer

Hydration System

Osprey Hydraulics LT 2.5-liter reservoir with Bite Valve included

Backpanel And Harness

AirScape backpanel with foam ridges; Biostretch harness  

Pockets

2 on Siskin/Salida 8 (shove-it pocket + scratch-free pocket); 4 on Siskin/Salida 12 (2 additional hipbelt pockets)

Compression Straps

2 external compression straps on the upper part of the backpacks, one on each side

Not bad at all. In general, they are pretty much standard hydration backpacks – no features of the Siskin and Salida were too surprising or disappointing.

You can read more about all the rating criteria in the rest of our review, and see exactly why these Osprey backpacks are among the highest rated hydration packs on the market.

Materials And Weight

The Siskin and Salida are hydration backpacks for biking. They are small, lightweight and come equipped with Osprey's Hydraulics LT reservoir. You can take a look at their basic specs the table below, and you can read about all of the features of these packs in the later sections. 

Dimensions

19” x 9” x 7”

19” x 9” x 9”

17” x 9” x 7”

17” x 9” x 9”

 Weight

1.16 lbs

1.44 lbs

1.08 lbs

1.32 lbs

Gear Capacity

8 liters

12 liters

8 liters

12 liters

As you can see, all four backpacks are very lightweight. Which is one of the crucial features of a good hydration pack – it should not slow you down one bit.

Of course, when you fill up those reservoirs and fill the packs with gear, they will get much heavier than this. So, if you are looking for the absolute lightest backpack, go for the 8-liter versions. You won’t be giving up much at all (just some padding on the hipbelt), and you will actually save some $10.

But if you tend to carry more gear with you, then you’re better off with a larger backpack. Better safe than sorry, right.

The Siskin and Salida backpacks are made from two materials. Their main body is made from 210D Poly Honeycomb – a sturdy and durable material with great tear resistance. And the accents and the bottom of these backpacks are made from 420HD Packcloth, which is equally durable.

Overall, you shouldn’t expect anything less than premium materials from Osprey, and that’s exactly what you get. All of these backpacks are very durable, and you should be able to use them for years – provided they don’t wind up strewn across the road too many times.  

Men’s Vs. Women’s

There are some design features that are not exactly the same on the Siskin and Salida.

The Salida backpack is narrower and has a shorter torso than the men’s version. Also, the harness on the Salida is narrower, and with curves that are designed to fit women’s neck, shoulder and chest better than the ones on the Siskin. The hipbelt is also designed to wrap around women’s hips more naturally, in order to provide the ladies with better load support and stabilization.

And that’s it, in terms of the differences between the men’s and women’s versions. All the other features are exactly the same, and so is the price. So ladies, feel free to pick up the Salida pack – you are not compromising on any important features. You’re just getting a backpack that is specifically designed to hug your curves and fit your body perfectly.

SISKIN 8 
SISKIN 12 
SALIDA 8 
SALIDA 12 

Hydration System

Hydraulics Bite Valve

Hydraulics Bite Valve

Hose Magnet Kit

Hydraulics Hose Magnet Kit

The hydration system is the most important feature of these two backpacks. So, let’s check out what exactly Osprey has to offer, and whether or not it surpasses its competitors.

Hydraulics LT Reservoir

Osprey Hydraulics LT Reservoir, 2.5L

All four backpacks come with a Hydraulics LT reservoir with a 2.5-liter capacity. Some people say that it is better than CamelBak’s Crux, and other say that it doesn’t even compare. That is definitely a matter of personal preference, and what you are already used to.

The Hydraulics LT is made from durable TPU material, and it is completely BPA free. It weighs only 6 ounces, so it is actually lighter than CamelBak’s 2-liter Crux. Osprey’s reservoir also features welded chevron baffles, which prevent sloshing and trim the reservoir profile.

The reservoir features a hook in the middle of the slider, which allows you to attach it to the webbing loop that you usually have in the hydration sleeve of an Osprey backpack. This ensures that the reservoir stays upright all the time, and prevents any leaks.

Additionally, the Hydraulics is safe to use with liquids that are 32-140 degrees Fahrenheit (0-60 degrees Celsius). So, if you have to cram all night for an exam, the reservoir could actually hold 2.5 liters of lukewarm coffee – and that doesn’t sound too bad at all. :>

Hose & Valve

Osprey Hydraulics Quick Connect Kit

The Osprey Hydraulics LT reservoir comes with a Bite Valve and a Hydraulics hose with QuickConnect functionality.

The Bite Valve offers smooth and fast water delivery, and it can be sealed to prevent any leaks. Turn it a quarter of an inch to the left for free-flowing hydration, and a quarter of an inch to the right to completely seal the valve. When it is in free-flowing mode you need to bite on the valve lightly, to get the water flowing.

The QuickConnect feature allows you to disconnect the hose from the reservoir in one move, so that you don’t have to reattach it to the harness every time you want to refill the bladder. It is a pretty useful feature but be careful – make sure that there’s no water left in the hose when you’re detaching it. Otherwise, you risk getting all your other gear wet.

Hands-Free Setup

Osprey allows you to set up your hydration hose so that you can have completely hands free hydration.

There are magnets on the sternum strap and on the hose of the reservoir. You just attach the two, and the hose is positioned so that you can access it with your mouth. This is a very useful feature, since it means you never have to stop to rehydrate. Instead, you can focus on the trail in front of you.

Maintenance

Osprey Hydraulics Reservoir Cleaning Kit

If you want your reservoir to live a long life, you will need to maintain it properly. Which means that you need to wash it after every use.

Osprey has a Hydraulics cleaning kit, but you would need to purchase it separately. But at least it is not too expensive – the price varies significantly, but you can get it for as low as some $13.

The kit includes two brushes – one for the hose and one for the reservoir. Also, you get a drying rack, which holds the reservoir open until it fully dries. This is very useful as it prevents any mould from forming, and keeps your reservoir in top-notch shape.

SISKIN 8 
SISKIN 12 
SALIDA 8 
SALIDA 12 

Comfort

AirScape Backpanel

AirScape Backpanel

Biostretch Harness

Biostretch Harness

Osprey usually does a really good job at ensuring your carrying comfort with all of their backpacks. The Siskin and the Salida are no different – they are properly ventilated, padded, adjustable and will feel very stable on your back. And that is all thanks to the following features.  

AirScape Backpanel And Biostretch Harness

AirScape Backpanel Illustration

The AirScape backpanel by Osprey is perfectly suited for this type of backpack. This backsystem is often used in Osprey’s lightweight backpacks for hiking, biking, backpack and even their everyday packs.

This particular backsystem is more stable than others, and so it is best suited for fast paced activities. Like biking. It keeps the weight of the pack close to you, but at the same time keeps you comfortable throughout the day. The AirScape also provides you with high levels of ventilation, thanks to its unique design.

The backpanel consists of foam ridges that are evenly spaced out, and which allow the air to flow between them. And the mesh material that covers the backpanel wicks moisture away from the body immediately, keeping you cool and dry at all times.

The harness of the Salida and Siskin backpacks is padded, adjustable and covered with mesh. It also allows for excellent ventilation, and ensures that you won’t sweat where the straps meet with your body.

On the larger two backpacks, the hipbelt is also padded and covered with mesh for good ventilation.

Sternum Strap With Magnet

Sternum Strap With Magnet

All four backpack feature a sternum strap with a magnet. It lies about 1-2” below the collarbone, and its width can be easily adjusted.

The sternum strap is important because it ensures the stability of the backpack while you are wearing it. It also helps distribute its load more evenly.

The magnet is there so you can attach the hose for hands-free hydration. But more on that in a later section.

The Hipbelt

Padded Hipbelt

So the only difference between the smaller and larger backpacks is the hipbelt. On the Siskin and Salida 8, it is a removable webbing hipbelt. It does a decent job at transferring the load of the pack away from your shoulders, but it’s not really noteworthy.

On the larger two backpacks, the hipbelt is bigger. It is padded and ventilated, and features pockets on each side. This hipbelt is much more comfortable than the webbing one, because of the padding.

Now, I don’t think that this is really an issue – it’s not like you need a really sturdy hipbelt on a backpack that weighs some 10 lbs. The larger hipbelt is better suited for the larger capacity of the 12-liter backpacks, and I think you can expect the same level of comfort from all four of these Ospreys.

Gear Capacity And Accessibility

Internal Tool Organizer

Internal Tool Organizer

LidLock Helmet Attachment

LidLock Helmet Attachment Point

Main Compartment U-Zip

Main Compartment With Reverse U-Zip Opening

Even though these are primarily hydration backpacks, they can also hold quite a lot of gear. So, let’s take a look at the features Osprey put in these backpacks, to ensure all of your gear stays organized and easily accessible.

Main Compartment With Tool Organizer

Siskin Main Compartment

The main compartment features reverse U-zip opening, and it is actually pretty deep. It can hold a lot of gear, including some spare clothes, snacks, additional water bottles, camera etc.

The front lid of the backpack features an internal tool organizer with several mesh pockets. Some of the pockets are zippered and others are simple slip pockets. That could be an issue – because of the opening style of the main compartment, there’s a possibility the tools could fall out of the slip pockets. So just be a bit more careful when opening the main compartment of your backpack.

So, how does Osprey’s internal organizer compare to CamelBak’s tool roll? I think this is a matter of personal preference – if you like to switch backpacks, then you will definitely miss a portable tool roll. But if this is going to be your one and only biking hydration pack, then I think you will like the internal organizer just fine.

Anyway, you can always buy an Osprey Tool Roll for $25-30, if you really think you will need one. But just keep in mind that you won’t have a dedicated compartment for it on the Siskin and Salida backpacks.

Front Shove-It Pocket

Front Shove It Pocket

All four backpacks feature a front shove-it pocket. It is great for quickly stashing away a spare layer of clothing, because it is very easily accessible.

This pocket can hold a pretty big jacket, and it adds to the capacity of your backpack without adding any weight to it. Its size is adjustable, thanks to the two side compression straps. 

You can also use this pocket for any items that are bulky, or which can’t fit in the main compartment. Just tighten the compression straps enough to ensure that nothing can fall out of the pocket.

Scratch-Free Pocket

Siskin Scratch Free Pocket

You will get a scratch-free zippered pocket on all four of these Osprey backpacks.

It is a very small pocket - just large enough to fit your sunglasses or smartphone. The items that you do not want to accidentally scratch. 

The scratch-free pocket is heat embossed, and is actually located in the main compartment of the backpack. It is just above the tool organizer, so it's very easily accessible. 

Reservoir Sleeve

Reservoir Sleeve

Obviously, these backpacks feature a reservoir sleeve. It is an internal one, and it features an internal hanging loops that attaches to the reservoir, to ensure it stays upright.

The sleeve perfectly fits the Hydraulics LT 2.5-liter reservoir, but it can also fit Osprey’s 3-liter reservoirs. Good to know in case you don’t plan on using the hydration bladder that comes with this pack.

Compression Straps

Compression Straps Helmet

All of the Siskin and Salida backpacks have two compression straps. They are fairly versatile – you can use them to tighten the load of the backpack when it is not completely full, to expand/tighten the front shove-it pocket, or to carry a full face helmet.

That last one is perhaps the most interesting features. To attach a full face helmet to the backpack, you need to place it face opening up on the front panel. Then thread the two compression straps through that opening and re-clip the buckles. Adjust the straps until you’re confident that the helmet is securely attached to the backpack, and then just clip the helmet’s chinstrap through the LED light attachment point at the bottom of the backpack.

This will interfere with the accessibility of the front shove-it pocket though, and you obviously won’t be able to attach an LED light to the pack – something to keep in mind.

LidLock Helmet Attachment

LidLock Helmet

And if you usually wear a traditional bike helmet, you’ll be glad to know that you get the LidLock attachment point. It is very easy to use – pull away the clip from the pack and turn it vertically. Then pass it through the helmet’s vent (from the bottom), and turn it horizontally.

This should hold your helmet firmly in place, without interfering with the accessibility of the front pocket.

If you find that the helmet is a bit too loose on the backpack, you can always tighten the LidLock cord from the inside of the front slash pocket.

Blinker Light Attachment

LED Light Attachment Point

All four of the Osprey backpacks feature a blinker light attachment point at the base of the backpack. The strap is covered with reflective material, so it helps you stay noticeable in the dark even without an LED light.

This is a very important feature for all of you that go on evening or late night rides. The light helps other bikers (and drivers) see you, and avoid you in the dark. 

Just know that you won't get a blinker with your backpack - it's an accessory you have to purchase separately.

Dual Hipbelt Pockets (Siskin/Salida 12 Only!)

Hipbelt Pockets

The Siskin and Salida 12 both have large, padded hipbelts. Which also means hipbelt pockets - one of my favorite inventions of all times. 

These are two small zippered pockets, one on each side of the hipbelt. They are the only two pockets that you have access to without taking off your backpack, so they are perfect for the items you want to have handy at all times. 

Maybe that's your phone or a GPS. Or maybe it's an energy bar and some change. As long as it can fit in the pocket, you will have it within reach. 

SISKIN 8 
SISKIN 12 

Value For Money

The Siskin and the Salida are not cheap backpacks. But, if you look at other Osprey hydration packs, and even their competitors, you won’t really find anything cheaper. If you want a high quality hydration backpack that comes with all the equipment you need, $100 is the standard price.

The reservoir is included in the purchase of the backpack, which is very common with hydration packs. The Hydraulics LT costs about $35, and you are getting it for free with all these backpacks. And when you deduct the cost of the hydration bladder, the price of the backpacks goes down to $65-70, which is a really good deal.

Bottom line, I personally think that these four backpacks are worth the money. If you want the same level of quality, durability and roughly the same gear capacity, you will have a hard time finding anything cheaper.

Osprey Siskin And Salida: Are They Worth It?

At $100 a pop, these are not cheap hydration backpacks. When you think about everything else you can get for that kind of money, it's natural to wonder whether or not these backpacks really are worth it. And I think that depends. 

If you don't already own a hydration backpack, then they are definitely a good option for you. Not only are you getting an awesome, lightweight backpack, but you will also an Osprey Hydraulics LT reservoir. Which can be pretty pricey on its own. Additionally, if you frequently go biking and you think you will use one of these packs really often, then there's no doubt you will get your money's worth. 

I recommend the Siskin/Salida 8 if your main priority is lightweight hydration, and don't really care about the amount of gear you can carry with you. 

Osprey Siskin 8 Men's Bike Hydration Backpack, Molten Red
  • Included Osprey Hydraulics LT 2.5L reservoir by Hydrapak with direct-zip access
  • Full front panel U-zip to main compartment and tool organization
Osprey Salida 8 Women's Bike Hydration Backpack, Black Cloud
  • Dedicated hydration compartment with included BPA-free Hydraulics LT 2.5L reservoir by Hydrapak
  • Full front panel U-zip to main compartment and tool organization

But if you like to have the extra capacity and the cushioning around the hips, then the Siskin/Salida 12 is the better fit for you. Those hipbelt pockets really are worth the extra $10, if you ask me. 

Osprey Siskin 12 Men's Bike Hydration Backpack, Slate Blue
  • Dedicated hydration compartment with included BPA-free Hydraulics LT 2.5L reservoir by Hydrapak
  • Full front panel U-zip to main compartment and tool organization
Osprey Salida 12 Women's Bike Hydration Backpack
  • Dedicated hydration compartment with included BPA-free Hydraulics LT 2.5L reservoir by Hydrapak
  • Full front panel U-zip to main compartment and tool organization

If you already own other hydration packs, or you don't think you will use these too often, then maybe they aren't the best option for you. There are plenty of other backpacks you can buy - ones which come with a hydration reservoir, but are much more versatile. You will still have lightweight hydration, but also a backpack that you can wear for everyday errands (like the Skarab/Skimmer). 

Head over to Amazon to check out the prices and color options of the Siskin and Salida backpacks. And if you don't think that these are right for you, check out our related posts - we reviewed plenty of other great hydration packs!

SISKIN 8 
SISKIN 12