An ultralightweight, multi day pack that is comfortable and well featured.
Backpacking has come a long way since Marin Boysen’s famous quote “backpacking… a nasty name for a nasty business”. Modern materials and manufacturing have reduced the weight of even the most diligent packer and sub 10kg packs for multi day hikes are quite common.
The Osprey Levity range takes the ultralightweight ethic and sprinkles some Osprey magic in terms of features and comfort. I’ve owned and tested plenty of lightweight packs and there’s something about the addition of a frame that improves the comfort after several hours of carrying. Some people, I agree, are better at putting up with the discomfort (and indeed, wear it as a badge of honour) but I’m not one of them. I like to enjoy shorter fastpacking expeditions of three or four days but it’s been a while since I’ve needed a huge 60L pack for a two week trip.
The Osprey Levity 45 is a fully featured, lightweight pack that is suitable for shorter backpacking adventures when carrying camping kit or longer if you’re planning a hut to hut tour. The pack weights in at a featherweight 850g (size Medium) on the trusty CGR scales. The AirSpeed frame is super comfy and is well ventilated – as with all frames such as this it works best in breezy conditions and you will still find it sweaty in warm conditions but it is a great frame and one of the best I’ve used. It comes in three sizes and is super light as well as feeling great on the toughest of terrain. The whole pack is stabilised with a well fitting chest strap, easy to loosen shoulder straps and a meshed waistbelt that has a central pull to tighten it.
The shoulder straps are well cushioned and narrow enough to not interfere with clothing and feel comfortable even when the pack is fully loaded. The mesh covering is really good against thin clothing such as a t-shirt on a hot day or a vest as it feels fine next to skin. Mainly though the shoulder straps are easy to undo when you need to take the pack off – you’d be surprised how difficult that can be on some packs, some very expensive packs! They also have hydration tube retainers on each side. There are extra pack stabiliser straps on the top of the shoulders for puling the pack tight into your back.
So, the Osprey Levity has a great suspension frame and is a super comfortable carry, even when loaded up. And load it up you can, the 45L capacity is more than enough for solo backpacking with a tent/ bivvy/tarp, sleeping bag and mat, small cook set, food and all the extras you like to have on a fast packing trip. More capacity is available through the two side pockets (be careful here those as these side pockets are not fully enclosed) which have openings on the side for accessing kit on the move and the large, bellowed front pocket which is so useful for accessing kit you need through the day such as food, hardshells or wet tent fly. You can stuff kit in through the top opening and cinch down the lid with its two straps which gives the top of the pack stability and helps with an even distribution of weight through the shoulders. If all that capacity isn’t enough then there are two daisy chains to add shock cord through and lash extra kit as well as lash points on the lid. and base. And if that isn’t enough then there’s a 60L version which should see you through that gnarly PCT through hike. I’m a lightweight obsessive so I found the 45L Levity plenty big enough for the 3-5 day trips that I enjoy which is fairly big distances in less days.
The construction is a bit of a hybrid with the main body being made using the super thin and light NanoFly which is encased in the sturdier 100D Nylon which is much more abrasion resistant. This also makes the Levity shower proof but not rainproof. You will need a rain cover or a waterproof dry bags to keep kit dry on extended trips. Side compression is delivered through cord and not straps. Once I had mastered this I found it really good it gave a even distribution of compression and really pulled the pack tight which was great on the descents which is when I find pack wobble a problem – but I had no issues with this at all. It was a little fiddly with cold wet hands and does take some practice to get it work efficiently on the fly. It can be removed completely if you don’t get on with it but so far I’ve found it OK to use and I’ll carry on using it for a while yet I reckon.
The top lid is double strap fastening with two 10mm buckled straps – there is an advantage to two straps with pack stability and it also improves the water resistance. There is a large, zipped top pocket that is plenty big enough for everything you’re going to need through the day such as energy bars, portable battery, phone, wallet and camera – plus more. There is also a key clip for keeping your cars keys safe. On top of that there is a large hydration sleeve that is compatible with the Osprey Hydraulics bladder system or any other bladder you have.
So, in conclusion the Osprey Levity 45L is a great pack for short haul backpacking trips. It’s perfectly suited to hut to hut trips but will pack plenty for a few days camping out in the mountains or back country. It’s well made a has plenty of features; although it does feel a little engineered I have found the features useful. One addition I would add is trekking/running pole retainers so they can be accessed on the move – with the trend towards ultra light, foldable poles it makes sense to access them easily with having to take the pack off. A nice pack that I’ve enjoyed using and is very, very comfortable to use loaded up.
The Osprey Levity 45L comes in one colour and three back lengths S, M and L. There is a women’s specific version the Lumina 45. If you need more capacity then there is the Levity 60L.
SRP £220 and it is available direct from Osprey Europe.
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