We had hoped this pack would be a great budget-friendly option, but the Osprey Dyna 1.5 ultimately led to disappointment. Its price is right, but the Dyna's uncomfortable design and frustrating pockets are responsible for its low-scoring performance. Despite its lack of storage, this product's appealing price and useful hydration system could make it a decent choice for runners looking for a pack to put the very bare essentials in, like water and a snack, but our testers found it unfit for most remote adventures and ultra-marathon races.
Osprey Dyna 1.5 Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Inexpensive, great hydration system
Cons: Small storage capacity, not as comfortable
Our Analysis and Test Results
While this is certainly a decent hydration system, its lack of comfort and heftiness relegate it to the bottom of our review.
Comfort is paramount when you're on the trails for hours at a time. While we wouldn't describe the Dyna as overwhelmingly uncomfortable, it didn't stand a chance against the soft, form-fitting design of other higher-scoring models. The first thing we noticed was the stiff plastic at the sternum and collarbones. The vest protrudes from the body at the collar, which we found to be awkward — though we didn't notice it much when running. Similarly, where the sternum straps are attached is a stiff plastic rail. This led to a weird fit. It isn't exactly uncomfortable, but also isn't ideal. Where some vests formed to our bodies and let us forget they were even there, we were always aware of the Dyna.
The materials on the Dyna are soft and somewhat stretchy, and we appreciate the breathability of the back. One of our most important concerns with this pack, however, is the frustrating adjustability. There are two lateral straps, but the strap is elastic, making it very difficult to pull through the buckle or to release some pressure. And whereas other models have an infinitely adjustable sliding rail for the sternum straps, the Dyna has a clip system that gives the user six options. We find this system easy to use and as secure as any of the others we tested, but we docked points in this category for the more limited adjustability.
Additionally, the sternum straps are stiff, and without a way to secure them down, they stick out and flop around when running. This may sound like a small issue, but after a dozen miles, we were agonized by the bouncing of the straps and wished we had a way to secure them.
The Dyna is a trimmed-down pack without a lot of pizazz, and its 1.5-liters of storage leaves little room for layers. While other female-specific packs we tested have tons of options on the rear of the pack for jackets and bulky layers, this one has none. It has a whistle that sits nicely in a pocket, but there is no way to attach trekking poles or a jacket. We wish there were bungees on the outside to enable at least bring a layer along. The lack of some of these crucial features severely limits where we would take this vest and makes it more useful for training runs than races or backcountry missions.
This is the metric where the Dyna shines. With a simple, user-friendly rear bladder system, the Dyna makes itself a contender for short training runs or half marathon races. If you're looking for a hydration pack for running, and nothing more, this is a solid contender. The bladder sits in its own pockets and attaches to the vest with a small buckle.
The hose of the bladder is easy to push through to the front, and a magnetic clip is used to secure it to the sternum straps. There are additional elastic straps on the front of the pack for extra hose storage, and we like that the tube can be twisted and locked to keep it from accidentally leaking. Unfortunately, the pockets on the front of the Dyna are small, and we could not fit our soft flask bottles in them, making this pack only compatible with a bladder.
Volume to Weight Ratio
The Dyna has relatively small storage capacity with one of the highest weights: not a good combination. It should be noted that this vest is really just a hydration pack that has been adapted for running. Its lack of storage makes it useless for long races or adventures, and though it may be the right product for you, we wish it was a little more versatile in the storage department.
While you may be able to squeak by in an ultra with this vest, it is nearly impossible to carry any layers with you, so we'd recommend staying a little closer to home. There is no room for bulky items via a back pocket or bungee, and with only four small pockets on the front, we were unable to pack most of the items we'd normally want on a long run. Once again, this contender could be used as a way to get away from handheld water bottles, but its small storage capacity is going to make it difficult to travel very far.
At the end of the day, it isn't the storage volume that's the biggest problem — it's the volume to weight ratio. At 14 ounces, this pack is one of the heaviest we tested, and with such a small storage capacity, it's easy to deduce that the materials are heavier than those used in our preferred products.
We are obsessed with organization, and we awarded high marks in this metric for packs that let us sort our gear neatly and compactly. We appreciate vests with pockets in many sizes and shapes, as well as ones that keep our gear secure. The Dyna falls behind here, with only four front pockets and one small zippered pocket in the rear.
Our biggest problem was not with the number of pockets on the front of the Dyna but with their construction. The two outermost pockets are small and a decent size for gels or electrolytes. The pockets behind these are longer but slender, and we had a difficult time reaching the bottoms of them. Most importantly, we were concerned that none of these pockets close, whether via Velcro, bungee, or zipper, making us worried we'd lose some of our essential gear.
The rear zippered pocket is a good size for a phone and/or wallet, and we appreciated having this one secured area. To make the Dyna a more versatile product, we'd love to see an area to store layers or additional food.
The Dyna is less expensive than other options — by quite a bit — but it's also far less useful. In the running pack world, you get what you pay for, and with the Dyna, you get a basic pack with great hydration and a few good pockets. This is a training pack not intended for long runs or races, but a good choice for the sometimes-runner who is looking for a more sophisticated hydration system. However, depending on what your needs and goals are, we think you can spend a bit more and be happier in the long run. Literally.
Though it receives a low score, the Dyna could be a solid choice for the occasional user looking to upgrade their hydration system for longer training runs. With a less comfortable fit and frustratingly small storage capacity, however, use of the Dyna is limited despite its appealing price point.
— Lauren DeLaunay
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