Best Osprey Backpacks

Updated October 2020
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Buying guide for best osprey backpacks

If you’re heading off on an outdoor adventure and need a place to keep all your gear, supplies, and accessories, Osprey has an impressive lineup of backpacks available for all types of adventures. The company also sells backpacks designed for everyday commuting and leisure. From highly technical mountaineering packs to no-frills bags for daily living, Osprey is committed to creating and selling high-quality products that are designed to last a lifetime.

There’s a reason Osprey’s backpacks come with a generous warranty. The bags are made to withstand frequent, heavy use without coming undone. For experienced outdoor enthusiasts, Osprey offers packs ready to handle real-life situations. All the company’s backpacks are equipped with handy features from essential tech like quality metal zippers to specialized functions like holders for trekking poles.

Whether you intend to climb a mountain, ride your bike to work, or enjoy a day outside with your family, Osprey has a bag designed for your pursuit, and our buying guide and recommendations can help you find it.

Pay close attention to Osprey’s sizing charts to be sure you purchase a bag of the appropriate dimensions for your frame. The wrong size can lead to discomfort, especially during activities of longer duration.

Key considerations

Osprey sells a variety of backpack types, including the following:

  • Everyday
  • Backpacking
  • Hiking
  • Climbing
  • Winter sports
  • Cycling
  • Trail running
  • Kids’
  • Travel

Size and fit

Osprey backpacks come in extra-small, small, medium, large, and extra-large sizes. They have a convenient naming system that makes it easy to spot a bag’s capacity. The Osprey EXOS 48, for instance, has a volume of 48 liters (the sizes listed in the name are based on medium bags). Extra-small and small packs range from 10 to 35 liters. Extra-large packs are as big as 110 liters. Bags are available in different sizes to accommodate different torso lengths, too. Osprey also sells women-specific pack designs.

Construction

Depending on the type of bag in question, construction materials vary slightly, but all Osprey bags are built with high-quality materials, including the following:

Mesh: This promotes breathability and ventilation in areas where heat buildup is likely (such as the back panel).

Nylon: Most Osprey bags are primarily made of sturdy, high-denier nylon. Some bags are also composed of ripstop nylon.

Zippers: Bags feature metal zippers, which are expected to last much longer than plastic ones.

Comfort

Osprey bags feature highly technical components in order to deliver an incredibly comfortable wear experience.

Mesh: Bags feature mesh to cool users off in hot weather and reduce the chance of chafing.

Padding: Packs also feature strategically placed padding that enhances comfort without adding bulk.

Straps: Osprey strap systems ensure that weight is distributed uniformly even when the packs — including those intended for activities like mountain biking and skiing — are fully loaded.

Suspension: Osprey uses a number of trademarked suspension technologies in various high-capacity bags (particularly those intended for hiking, backpacking, and mountaineering). The suspension technologies are designed to distribute weight without compromising breathability. Osprey hip belts can be custom molded at authorized locations to achieve the perfect fit.

Osprey backpack features

Pockets

Osprey packs have plenty of pockets intended for storing small accessories. Pockets are intuitively placed so that it’s easy to reach for items on the go. Depending on the type of backpack you chose, you’ll have access to a different number of pockets; however, each bag features a large main compartment. When buying a pack, check that it has enough pockets to hold the items you intend to use while performing your desired activity, such as sunscreen, a change of clothes, or camping gear.

Water resistance

While your Osprey bag won’t become soaked through straight away if you’re accidentally caught in the rain on a run in the city or a trek in the woods, the bags are not waterproof. Osprey sells pack protection accessories like rain covers and liners.

"If you’re heading out in the rain for a bike ride or weekend hike, grab an Osprey rain cover to protect your backpack and gear."
STAFF
BestReviews

Hydration

Several Osprey bags are compatible with a hydration reservoir and have an extra pocket or sleeve for this purpose. The hydration reservoir must be purchased separately. If you prefer to carry a water bottle, most bags have an outer mesh pocket designed to hold standard water bottles. Before settling on a bag, be sure to check whether it has the storage you require for hydration accessories.

Extras

Osprey sells a variety of accessories designed to work with their various backpacks, including dry sacks, stuff sacks, and packing cubes.

Backpacks intended for different activities also have sport-specific features. Examples include an ice-axe loop on climbing backpacks and a helmet attachment on bike-specific backpacks. Opt for a bag that has helpful extras that will be most useful for your outdoor endeavors.

Osprey backpack prices

Osprey backpacks are high quality and come with a price tag to match. Pricing varies widely and depends on the type of backpack and its overall capacity.

Backpacking: These backpacks vary in price from $155 to $330. The least expensive bags are those with the smallest volume.

Hiking: These backpacks are slightly less expensive than those for backpacking because they’re designed for shorter trips. Prices range from $40 to $180. More expensive bags are designed for longer, more intense hikes and offer more storage capacity. Cycling, travel, everyday, and trail-running backpacks fall into about the same price range, and the cost increases according to capacity.

Climbing: Expect to pay between $100 and $375 for a backpack designed for climbing pursuits. A snow-sports backpack made by Osprey costs between $100 and $230. The higher the price, the more you’ll be able to stuff into the bag.

Tips

Osprey backpacks are designed to last several years. Osprey’s “All Mighty Guarantee” covers damage and defects at any point during the life of a pack, regardless of purchase date. That said, here are a few tips to help keep your pack in tip-top shape

  • Clean your backpack with mild soap and warm water each time it becomes soiled. Regularly clean the inside of your bag in addition to the outer fabric.
  • Once washed, hang the pack to air-dry.
  • Never wash an Osprey pack in the washing machine.
  • Scrub zippers with a small brush, such as a toothbrush, to remove grit and grime.
Osprey sells two types of packs for cycling: packs for mountain biking and lighter-weight packs designed for road and city biking.

FAQ

Q. I’m not sure how big a backpack I need. Which bag should I choose?
A.
The Osprey website has handy sizing charts for men and women. Also, did you know that some Osprey bags can be attached to larger packs to provide additional storage? Choose a pod-compatible bag to start with and then you can always add on if you find you need more room.
 

Q. What’s unique about Osprey’s women-specific designs?
A.
Women’s packs feature a narrower shape and changes in the chest harness and hip belt to increase comfort and fit and prevent discomfort in the neck, chest, and shoulder areas.
 

Q. My pack is super dirty. Can I get it replaced under Osprey’s All Mighty Warranty?
A.
While the warranty policy varies depending on your country, it doesn’t cover replacement of heavily soiled bags, which is why it’s vital to take good care of and maintain your Osprey backpack.

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