Gear Preview: Osprey Levity 45
The much anticipated Osprey Levity is not a pack for everyone, but for those it is, it could be a game changer. The pack comes in a 60 liter and 45 liter version, both weighing under 2 lbs. It is the lightest framed AND ventilated pack to date from Osprey. Blending lightweight fabrics and attention to design, the Levity is sure to peak the interest of the outdoor community and ultralight backpacker's this year. I've been eyeing this pack since it was shown at Outdoor Retailer last year. Once it became available, I excitedly made the purchase and have been testing it out on the trail since. I'll be going over the pack in detail in this blog post below.
Pack fit with the Levity is very similar to a lot of their other packs, but it reminds me most of the previous generation Exos with hints of the current 2018 version. For my 5'10" frame and 18" torso, the Medium fits perfectly. I also wear a medium in the current and previous generation Exos packs. According to my scale the empty Levity pack weighs 27.8 ounces.
The pack's 6065 aluminum frame and Osprey's patented Airspeed 3D breathable mesh panel provide a comfortable carry for a 25 lb or less load range that Osprey suggest (I haven't pushed it to the 25 lb limit yet as my base weight is under 9 lbs).
The mesh panel also allows for increased ventilation which can be beneficial in humid climates or on fast-paced pursuits. Personally, the feel of this panel reminds me more of the previous generation Exos. It isn't as soft and cushy as the current model, and feels a little more like a trampoline (see short video clip below).
Those who loved the feel of the older Exos will most likely find this to be an easy transition, while those who prefer the Anti-Gravity system on other Osprey packs may find it to be a little less supportive and comfortable.
With the Exos, Osprey utilized the z-style compression system with very narrow webbing. For this pack, 3 mm cordage (pictured above, blue and white striped) replaces the webbing straps yet the compression system and its design remain the same. This works well as it pulls the weight closer to the user's back adding to the comfort and overall stability.
The hipbelt on the Levity draws influence from it's more robust big brother, the current Exos, but it too lacks storage pockets which can be found on the previous generation Exos and other Osprey packs. I have found this newer belt to help reduce chafing or hotspots on long distance trips. The design also improves mobility. A tradeoff to normally carrying small essentials at your core for quick access.
The pack body uses a thin 30D Cordura® Silnylon Ripstop (see my hand in the pack). Its outer (along with two water bottle pockets, front shove-it pocket), bottom and top lid accents are made of a NanoFly™ 210D Nylon X 200D UHMWPE (grid fabric in frame below my hand). These reinforced areas do a great job of protecting what could otherwise quickly become a bottomless bag with straps. 15mm webbing and 5/8" buckles are used to close the pack lid.
The NanoFly™ 210D Nylon X 200D UHMWPE also does a great job of shedding the elements and dried relatively quick after I hiked with through an all day snowstorm in New Hampshire. The thinner 30D silnylon? Not so much, but that's to be expected. To add additional gear protection I simply used what I have for years, trash compactor bags as a pack liner. My gear remained completely dry.
Though I tend to personally prefer Osprey's Flapjacket feature, I am happy with their decision to not offer it with this pack. Instead, the top lid is sewn to the body and contains one deep storage pocket. The fact this is sewn on and not floating (or removable) helps keep the lid from sagging down the front of the pack when weighed down. With no hipbelt or snack strap pockets, this pocket is beneficial for stowing quick grab essential items and on-the-go nutrition.
The bottle pockets and front shove-it pocket on this pack are massive! A couple of sports drink bottles or a Gatorade bottle fit with no problem in each single pocket. If you prefer to carry a hydration reservoir this pack is compatible with an inner sleeve along the back of the main body of the pack.
The front pocket, large enough for all of your wet gear, layers, maps and more should you choose to stuff it that way. A feature I have always personally loved on my packs. Not enough space? Note the daisy chain along the outer pocket for additional attachment points.
The Osprey Levity is priced at $250 and is backed by Osprey's All Mighty Guarantee. Overall, I feel it carries very well, though I still have limited use with it. I am excited to see how this pack handles and tolerates further use throughout the year with multiple trips to areas in the White Mountains, Green Mountains and on the Allegheny 100 race which I am participating in this June. If you have the chance to try on this pack and are very well aware of the gear you are bringing, this pack can be a great option. If you're looking to simply go lighter than what you are currently using, but are tough on your gear and carry 25+ lbs, the Exos will most likely be a better option. Either way, Osprey continues to move steps in the right direction and it is refreshing to see more lighter commercial items making their way to the market.
Have you used this pack yet? Have any questions? Interested more in how it pairs up to the Exos? Feel free to get in touch or leave a comment below.