Backpacks Bike Outdoors

Osprey Syncro 12 Review: Versatility for Your Outdoor Adventures

The Osprey Syncro 12 is a backpack designed to accompany you on your thrilling outdoor adventures. With its innovative design and a 12-liter capacity, this reliable companion allows you to carry everything you need comfortably and securely.

In this article, we will explore the features and benefits of this backpack, which has become the preferred choice for cycling, hiking, and other outdoor enthusiasts.

Key features

We will discuss them later, but you should keep in mind that the Syncro 12 has the following key factors:

  • Integrated Hydration System: The Syncro 12 comes with a built-in hydration reservoir, making it easy to stay hydrated during your outdoor activities without the need for external water bottles.
  • Ergonomic Design: With adjustable and padded shoulder and waist straps, this backpack offers a comfortable and secure fit for various body types, reducing strain during long hikes or rides.
  • AirSpeed Ventilation: Its innovative AirSpeed back panel promotes airflow and keeps your back cool, preventing discomfort and sweat buildup during hot weather.
  • Rain Cover: The Syncro 12 includes a built-in rain cover, ensuring your gear stays dry even in unexpected rain, adding an extra layer of protection for your belongings.
  • Multiple Compartments: This backpack offers multiple compartments and pockets for efficient organization of your essentials, allowing you to access your gear quickly and easily.
  • Durable Materials: Crafted from high-quality materials, the Syncro 12 is built to withstand rugged outdoor conditions, ensuring longevity and reliability.
  • Versatility: Suitable for various outdoor activities, including biking, hiking, trail running, and more, making it a versatile choice for adventurers.
  • Compact Size: Its compact and lightweight design allows for easy maneuverability, making it ideal for active pursuits in different environments.

Ergonomic Design

One of the main advantages of the Osprey Syncro 12 is its ergonomic design. It features adjustable, padded straps that conform perfectly to your back, providing comfort during bike rides or long hikes. Additionally, its AirSpeed ventilation system ensures that your back stays cool and sweat-free, even on the hottest days.

AirSpeed panel
The backpack stays off your back thanks to the AirSpeed panel. It’s a mesh system tensioned by a metal structure, which contributes to air circulation.

Space and Organization

Despite its compact size, the Osprey Syncro 12 offers generous space for your belongings. With multiple compartments and pockets, you can efficiently organize your personal items. The main compartment is large enough to carry a jacket, food, a water bottle, and other essentials. Zippered pockets allow quick access to small items like keys or your mobile phone.

Osprey Syncro compartments
In the Osprey Syncro, we have a variety of pockets and spaces to organize. In the image, you can see (from above) the compartment for the water bag, the stash pocket, the main compartment, and the accessory compartment.
Osprey Syncro outside view
On the outside, It has side mesh pockets (useful for gloves, energy bars, or snacks) and a front mesh pocket for a windbreaker or other accessory. It also has compression straps and even a helmet holder.
Accessories pocket
Pocket (with J-zip) for accessories such as spare tires, inflators, tools, keys, and sunscreen. In the top mesh pocket, you can carry your keys, wallet, and phone.

Important: In the Syncro 12 updated in 2023, the stash pocket is not made of anti-scratch material and, its size is adjusted for mobile phones larger than 6 inches.

Stash pocket seen from the main compartment
The stash pocket seen from the main compartment. Please note that this pocket (for 2023 updated models) is not made of anti-scratch material and is very tight in size to hold cell phones larger than 6 inches.

Hydration on the Go

For outdoor enthusiasts, staying hydrated is crucial. The Osprey Syncro 12 includes an integrated hydration system that allows you to carry a 2.5-liter water bladder. This means you can conveniently drink water while on the move, without the need to interrupt your adventure.

Important: The hydration bladder is included in Osprey Syncro backpacks sold in the US.

Integrated Hydration System
Integrated Hydration System (Only on Osprey Syncro backpacks sold in the US).

Durability and Resilience

Durability is a key feature of the Osprey Syncro 12. It is crafted from high-quality materials that withstand wear and tear caused by the harshest conditions. Whether you face a rainy day or rugged terrain, this backpack will remain your faithful companion.

Rain cover included

One of the standout advantages of the Osprey Syncro 12 is its thoughtful design, which includes a built-in rain cover. This feature ensures that your gear and belongings remain dry and protected during unexpected rain showers or adverse weather conditions.

Rain Cover compartment
Rain Cover compartment

Versatility for All Activities

The Osprey Syncro 12 is not limited to just cycling or hiking. Its versatility makes it an ideal companion for a variety of outdoor activities, such as mountain biking or trail running. Its compact and lightweight design allows you to move easily and in any environment.


In summary, the Osprey Syncro 12 combines comfort, durability, and versatility to meet the needs of any adventurer. With its ergonomic design, clever storage, and integrated hydration system, it has become a popular choice among outdoor enthusiasts. If you’re looking for a reliable backpack to accompany you on all your adventures, the Osprey Syncro 12 is an excellent choice.

Considerations and Disadvantages

Osprey Syncro Considerations

  1. Limited Capacity: While the Osprey Syncro 12 is great for short outings, its 12-liter capacity may be insufficient for longer trips or heavy loads. Consider your specific needs before choosing this backpack.
  2. Specific Use: This backpack is primarily designed for outdoor activities such as cycling, hiking, and trail running. It’s not the best choice if you need a backpack for carrying heavy items or for daily use.
  3. Price: The quality and features of the Osprey Syncro 12 come with a relatively high price tag compared to lower-capacity backpacks. If you have a limited budget, it might be out of reach.
  4. Hydration System Maintenance: While the hydration system is a plus, it’s essential to clean and maintain it properly to avoid hygiene issues and unpleasant odors.

Osprey Syncro Disadvantages

  1. Limited Capacity: The 12-liter capacity may not be enough for carrying larger amounts of gear or extra clothing on longer journeys.
  2. No Laptop Support: It lacks a specific compartment for carrying a laptop, so it’s not the best option if you need to bring your electronic device with you.
  3. Specific Style: The design and style of the backpack are geared towards outdoor activities, so it may not be suitable for formal or urban settings.
  4. May Feel Small for Some: If you’re taller or have a larger physique, you may find this backpack a bit snug.

Alternatives to the Osprey Syncro 12

In summary, the Osprey Syncro 12 is an excellent backpack for outdoor activities, but it’s essential to consider its limitations, such as capacity and its focus on sports and adventures, before making a purchase decision. Ensure that it aligns with your specific needs and lifestyle.

Certainly, here’s a consolidated list of some of the main competitors to the Osprey Syncro 12 in the outdoor backpack market:

  1. Deuter Speed Lite 20: This backpack offers a larger capacity than the Syncro 12 and is known for its comfort and durability. It’s ideal for hiking and mountain activities.
  2. CamelBak M.U.L.E.: CamelBak is famous for its hydration systems, and the M.U.L.E. is no exception. This backpack is great for mountain bikers and provides a good balance between storage space and water capacity.
  3. The North Face Borealis: If you’re looking for a versatile backpack for outdoor activities and everyday use, the Borealis is an excellent choice. It offers plenty of space, organization, and comfort.
  4. Osprey Talon 22: If you prefer an Osprey backpack but need more space, the Talon 22 is an alternative. It’s ideal for longer hikes and also features a hydration system.
  5. Arc’teryx Aerios 30: This backpack is known for its minimalist design and weather resistance. It’s a great choice for hiking and activities in wet environments.
  6. Patagonia Black Hole 25L: If you’re looking for a waterproof backpack with an eco-friendly focus, Patagonia’s Black Hole 25L is an excellent option. It’s ideal for outdoor adventures in variable conditions.

These are just a few examples of popular competitors in the outdoor backpack market. Before choosing a backpack, consider your specific needs such as capacity, style, and the features that matter most to you to find the best option for your adventures.