Osprey Tempest 30 Review (2021 Model)

Osprey Tempest 30 Backpack Review

The Osprey Tempest 30 is a super comfortable, women’s specific lightweight pack with an adjustable torso length that is good for a variety of adventures from day hiking to ultralight backpacking trips. It has all of the typical features and useful pockets found in backpacks, combined with a female-friendly body-hugging fit that flexes with your body as you hike, hop rocks, and scramble. Updated for 2021, this latest model has a new injection molded back panel that resists barreling when used with a hydration reservoir and uses sustainable fabrics that have a lower manufacturing footprint on the environment.

Specs at a Glance

  • Frame type: Internal
  • Volume: 30L
  • Weight: 2 lb 5 oz
  • Gender: Women’s
  • Adjustable: Yes
  • Raincover: Not included
  • Sizing:
    • XS/S (13″-17″ torso)
    • S/M (16″-20″ torso)
  • Exterior pockets: 9
  •  Fabric:
    • Main: 70D x 100D Nylon Mini
    • Bottom: 420HD Nylon Packcloth
  • Max Recommended Load: 20 lbs.
  • See Osprey for sizing and complete specifications

Internal Storage and Organization

The Osprey Tempest 30 is a top-loading backpack with an attached, large top lid pocket and includes a second hidden/flat mesh pocket under the lid with a key fob. On this size pack, I like that the top lid is sewn onto the pack because it never sags, shifts about, needs adjusting when I hike with the pack partially loaded or fully loaded.

This pack comes with a full array of stuff pockets, which is a nice feature to see on such a lightweight pack. It has a front mesh stretchy stuff pocket with reinforced anti-scuffing fabric and a drain hole on the bottom, good for keeping rain gear or an extra fleece you want to keep handy.

The Osprey Tempest 30 has a stretch front pocket for stuffing spare layers
The Osprey Tempest 30 has a stretch front pocket for stuffing spare layers

Two side pockets with stretchy mesh on the top and reinforced fabric on the bottom are perfect for water bottles or other gear. The pockets are only accessible from the top however and I can’t reach the water bottles while wearing the pack. This slight inconvenience was countered by the fact that I could keep my gear snug in the side pockets, which contributed to the overall great fit when I was on the move.

The side mesh pockets are reinforced on the bottom for better durability
The side mesh pockets are reinforced on the bottom for better durability

If you prefer using a hydration reservoir, this pack has an exterior hydration pocket and hook located between the pack and the back panel. I really prefer this design as it makes the reservoir much more efficient to remove and fill without my having to unload the contents of my pack while also preventing accidental leakage on your gear.

The Osprey Tempest 30 has two large, zippered, hip belt pockets which are large enough for power bars, cell phones, glove liners, or a small camera. Solid fabric ensures that small objects in the pockets won’t poke holes. There is also a small, snap closure mesh pocket on one of the shoulder strips that is the right size for goo or gels. It was too small to hold my GPS handheld or sunglasses, but as I am hiking with Covid precautions in mind, I kept my hand sanitizer in this pocket.

External Attachment and Compression System

The Tempest 3o comes with two tiers of adjustable side compression straps: top straps, and bottom compression straps that can be routed under or over the side pockets. This flexibility is a great feature as it allows you to adapt or adjust to the type of gear carry or activity you’re engaged in. Threading the straps under the pocket allows you to compress the load for stability, but still keeps the pockets free for stuffing and retrieving items on the go.

It’s rare to find a pack of this size with two tiers of compression straps to carry snowshoes
It’s rare to find a pack of this size with two tiers of compression straps to carry snowshoes

Having both an upper and lower compression strap allows you to attach items externally to the side of your pack like a tent, climbing rope, or a foam pad. Similar to the men’s version of this pack (Talon 33), I was able to attach my snowshoes to the side of my pack, which I wasn’t expecting on such a lightweight pack!

Moving to the top entry of the pack, there is a top compression strap that runs over the drawstring, allowing you to compress the load from the front to the back, keeping the load from leaning away from your frame. The drawstring cinches and releases from the side, not the front, which I really liked, because it’s ergonomically an easier action.

It’s easy to carry collapsible poles
It’s easy to carry collapsible poles

The Tempest 30 comes with dual, tuck away ax/tool loops and higher on the side of the pack, stretchy compression/adjustable straps. This makes the pack handy for a variety of winter and/or climbing sports, and for stowing ice axes, or trekking poles. My go-to 3-season trekking poles are Z-poles, which reduce down into three segments. I was pleased that I could fit my 3-segmented poles in these straps, as I have not found that to be true with most other day packs.

Osprey’s Stow-and-Go Trekking pole holder system also works really well
Osprey’s Stow-and-Go Trekking pole holder system also works really well

The pack included Osprey’s standard “stow and go” trekking pole system, which really works! There is a bottom stretchy band reinforced or covered with a rubber tube or sheath, and a second smaller stretchy cord, also with a reinforced sheath, on the shoulder strap. When, for example, terrain becomes flat and relaxed or if you need your hands free for a scramble, you can quickly and easily thread the poles through the bottom band and then loop the upper band over the handles. This is easily accomplished in mere seconds while you are moving. And when the scramble is done and you need your poles, the reverse is true; you can retrieve your poles quickly.

Backpack Frame and Suspension System

Now this is really where the Tempest 30 really excels. This pack features Osprey’s Airscape Suspension, which is an injection-molded, internal back panel, covered with die-cut foam. This combination creates a lightweight yet solid frame for carrying a 20 lb. load, that is both flexible and comfortable – moving and flexing slightly with your body. I used this pack on many hikes and have been super impressed with how it comfortably and securely carried a variety of loads.

The light foam harness is shaped to conform to female curves
The light foam harness is shaped to conform to female curves

The back panel and foam go all the way to the bottom of the pack and its shape eliminates the need for a bulky lumbar panel. In addition to being comfortable, the die-cut foam design and back panel, covered in mesh, is designed to help keep that pack off your back so that you don’t overheat.

Adjusting to your torso length is accomplished quickly and easily, by moving the velcro panel that holds the shoulder harness up or down to your like. Being able to adjust the pack to my torso size is essential to creating a really good fit. And having this feature in an ultralight pack is terrific. The markings on the pack are not noted with inches (for those of you who know your torso length), but I had my pack adjusted easily on the first pass.

The Tempest 30 has an adjustable torso length making it easy to dial in a perfect fit
The Tempest 30 has an adjustable torso length making it easy to dial in a perfect fit.

Osprey employs a women’s specific shoulder harness and hipbelt straps. Essentially, there is die-cut foam inside the shoulder harness and hipbelt straps which allows the straps to flexibly and securely wrap/hug your hips and body. The hipbelt straps are integrated and sewn into the pack, providing for an incredibly stable and comfortable experience. The lack of stiffness in both contributes to excellent comfort but may limit increasing the load. I prefer this thinner hipbelt, and found it conformed nicely over a different combination of fall and early winter layers.

The shoulder harness straps, also a nice balance of shape/form and flexibility, are comfortable and can be adjusted to a good fit utilizing a combination of load lifter straps (which keeps the pack close to your body) and the sternum strap.

Comparable Backpacks


The Osprey Tempest 30 is a full-featured, ultralight backpack suitable for a variety of activities such as day hiking, ice climbing, and ultralight backpacking. Weighing in at just over two pounds, it has an impressive amount of organizational and compression features for a lightweight pack. I have been enjoying this pack both loaded light and bit more heavy with some early winter safety gear. Overall… a delightful, well-designed, affordable pack!

Disclosure: Osprey provided the author with a pack for this review.

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Last updated: 2020-12-18 02:31:06

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About the author

Beth Zimmer is an expert backpacker who’s backpacked all over New England and Eastern Canada, with a long list of hiking accomplishments to her name. She’s section hiked the New Hampshire Appalachian Trail, climbed the New England Hundred Highest and the New Hampshire 500 highest (mostly bushwhacks), redlined the White Mountain Guide (1440 miles), and climbed the White Mountain 4000 footers several times over. Beth also teaches GPS and off-trail navigation classes as a volunteer for the Appalachian Mountain Club and is co-chair of the New Hampshire Excursions Committee, which oversees all volunteer hiking and leadership training activities. When she’s not hiking and backpacking, Beth resides in New Hampshire where she can usually be found sipping coffee and planning her next adventure.

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