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Reviews > Packs > Internal and External Framed Backpacks > Osprey Volt 75 or Viva 65 > Test Report by Ryan Lane Christensen

Osprey
courtesy of ospreypacks.com

OSPREY
Volt 75 backpack

Test Series by
Ryan Christensen

Last Update - September 22, 2013

Volt 75 Volt 75

images courtesy of ospreypacks.com

ACCESS MAIN REPORT SECTIONS VIA THESE LINKS:

INITIAL REPORT
May 20, 2013
FIELD REPORT
July 30, 2013
LONG-TERM REPORT
September 22, 2013

INITIAL REPORT
May 20, 2013

Reviewer Information Backpacking Background
Name:  Ryan L. Christensen
Age:  49
Gender:  Male
Height:  6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Weight:  235 lb (107 kg)
Email:  bigdawgryan(at)yahoo(dot)com
City, State, Country:   Idaho Falls, Idaho, USA

I began backpacking at twelve, continuing until 25. After an extended hiatus, due in part to a bad back, I resumed cycling, hiking, and backpacking several years ago. I also began snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. I share my love for backpacking and these sports with my children. I am a midweight backpacker, but carry a full array of necessary gear.
 

Product Information:

The information below came from Osprey's website and Volt 75 Owner's Manual.

Volt 75
Manufacturer: Osprey Packs, Inc
Manufacturer website: http://www.ospreypacks.com
Place of Manufacture: Vietnam
Year Manufactured: 2013
Materials: Pack - Key Fabrics: 410D nylon double ripstop and 600D poly
Framesheet: HDPE
Stays: LightWire™ alloy
Sizes Available:
(75L and 60L)
one size: 43 - 56 cm (17 - 22 in)
adjustable torso harness and hipbelt;
harness adjustable over a 5 in (13 cm) range
hipbelt adjustable over a 6 in (15 cm) range
Volt 75 Capacity: 4,577 cu in or 75L
Colors Available: Fern Green and Stellar Blue
Warranty:

OSPREY'S LIFETIME WARRANTY
The Osprey All Mighty Guarantee

"Osprey will repair for any reason, free of charge, any damage or defect in our product – whether it was purchased in 1974 or yesterday. If we are unable to perform a functional repair on your pack, we will happily replace it. We proudly stand behind this guarantee, so much so that it bears the signature of company founder and head designer, Mike Pfotenhauer."

MSRP:
N/A

Product Specifications
Manufacturer's Specifications  

Dimensions:

33 x 13 x 29 in (83 x 33 x 29 cm)

Weight:

3 lb 12 oz (1.7 kg)
Tester's Actual Measurements

Dimensions:

33 x 13 x 29 in (83 x 33 x 29 cm)

Weight:

3 lb 12 oz (1.7 kg)

Product Description:

The Osprey Volt 75 pack, hereafter referred to as the "Volt" or "pack," is a men's top-loading, internal frame backpack with a dual-zippered sleeping bag compartment. The Volt is recommended for loads ranging between 40 - 55 lb (18 - 25 kg). The Volt is a new series of men's packs; Viva is the corresponding new series of women's packs for Osprey. These lines of packs are intended for value-conscious shoppers; the packs have all the "essential features" but not all the "bells and whistles."

The Volt's features include the following:

Detachable Top Pocket: There is a floating, detachable top pocket. Inside, there is a red plastic key clip. There is a zippered mesh pocket on the underside of this top pocket.

Front Pocket: On the front of the main pack body is a large stretchy-mesh pocket. The top of this external pocket secures to the main pack body via a plastic side-release buckle.

Side Pockets: On the outside, at the bottom of the main pack body, there is a large stretchy-mesh pocket on each side for water bottles, etc. The top of each pocket has elastic in it to help secure each pockets contents.

Hip Belt Pockets: There is a zippered pocket on each side of the hip belt. They are sized large enough to hold such things as cell phone, GPS, MP3 player, camera, sunglasses, etc.

Compartment Divider: There is a fabric divider that can be attached inside the main pack body, via buckles, to create a division for a sleeping bag or other gear at the bottom of the main pack body.

Hydration Pocket: Outside the pack, between the main pack body and the mesh backpanel, there is a sleeve to accommodate a hydration bladder. Access is via the top and a side-release buckle, which secures the top of the sleeve to the main pack body. Inside the sleeve there is nylon webbing and a side-release buckle to secure a hydration bladder within the sleeve. With this external hydration sleeve, hydration ports are not needed in the main pack body.

AddOns™ Attachment: There are four cord loops, which can serve as attachment points for use with Osprey's Daylite simple daypack.

Stow-on-the-Go Trekking Pole Attachment: On the left shoulder strap is a stretch cord with a cord lock; the stretch cord has a clear hard plastic tubing over part of it. There is a corresponding stretch cord with clear hard plastic tubing over part of it at the bottom of the left exterior stretchy-mesh pocket. These are intended to enable the wearer to secure trekking poles to the pack without having to remove the pack.

Ice Axe Loops: Above the sleeping bag compartment zipper, there are two nylon-webbing loops; one on each side. These are intended to provide tool stow/carry options.

Adjustable/Removable Sleeping Pad Straps: Near the bottom of the sleeping bag compartment, are two adjustable webbing straps with side-release buckles for use with a sleeping pad, etc.

Compression Straps: There are two webbing compression straps with side-release buckles on each side of the main compartment.

Main Pack Body Closure: The top of the main pack body can be secured via side-release buckle and nylon strap.

Drawcord: The top of the main pack body is closed via a drawcord and cord lock.

Adjustable Sternum Strap: The adjustable sternum strap has a side-release buckle.

A major component of any backpack is the suspension. The Volt series suspension includes the following key features:

  • Torso Adjustable Harness easily adjusts over a 5 in (13 cm) range, enabling a customized fit.
  • Fit-on-the-Fly hipbelt easily adjusts over a 3 in (7.5 cm) range on each side, enabling a customized fit.
  • HDPE framesheet
  • LightWire™ alloy stays/rails stabilize load and transfer weight close to the body
  • Backpanel provides cushioning and ventilation
torso hipbelt Lightwire

Osprey recommends the following pack care:

  • After each trip be sure to clean out your pack thoroughly – get all your gear out, shake the dirt out, wipe and scrub out nasty stains with a mild detergent.
  • If it’s wet hang it to dry, out of direct sunlight.
  • Loosen all the straps, in particular, the load lifter straps on the harness.
  • Store your pack in a cool, dry location.
  • Wash your pack every now and then.
    1. If your pack has a removable harness and hipbelt remove them from the pack body.
    2. Clean your pack and components in a bathtub or large sink using a mild detergent and warm water.
    3. Agitate the pack gently and then rinse thoroughly.
    4. Hang dry outdoors or in a well ventilated area out of direct sunlight.

    Additionally, Osprey recommends the following Nikwax products for pack care:
    • Tech Wash - Use this with warm water for washing and cleaning your pack.
    • Tent & Gear Solar Proof - Use this spray-on product to protect your pack from UV exposure and to improve water repellency.

    Initial Impression:

    Albeit intended for value-conscious shoppers, which I take to mean entry-level or no frills, I was immediately impressed with the number of features as well as the overall quality and attention to detail evident in this backpack. I like the Volt's detachable top pocket. I really like the external hydration sleeve. The adjustable backpanel and hipbelt along with the Stow-on-the-GO trekking pole attachments are noteworthy details. The add on attachments and tool carry loops are other quality details.

    Initial Testing:

    My initial testing included thoroughly inspecting the pack. I found everything to be in order; there were no noticeable flaws in the material and all seams appeared tight and even. It was upon my inspection of the pack that I found the seven points of Leave No Trace silkscreened on the inside of the top flap of the main compartment. These principles are listed in both English and French. This is evidence of Osprey's commitment to Environmental Integrity. On its website, Osprey says:

    "For fifteen years we have been sewing labels listing the Principles of Leave No Trace into our larger packs. We look at it as a friendly reminder, from us to you, of your responsibility to the environment you enjoy with our packs on your back. Do your part by learning more about these principles and teaching them to others. Participate in the harmony of nature and leave no trace of your passage."

    LNT
    courtesy of ospreypacks.com

    After my inspection, I wanted to adjust the pack for my torso length and waist size. The hook and loop adjustments were intuitive and very easy to use. I was able to get the proper torso adjustment on my first try. However, it took me two tries to get the hipbelt sized just right.

    Initial Pros:

    Initial Potential Cons:

    • number of pockets
    • stowable gear loops
    • detachable top pocket
    • adjustable torso length
    • adjustable hip belt
    • no waterproof zippers
    • no taped seams

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    FIELD REPORT
    July 30, 2013

    Broad Canyon

    Field Locations and Test Conditions:

    In mid July, I wore the Volt on a 4-day backpacking trip to Copper Basin, which is located in the Pioneer Mountains (Idaho's second highest mountain range) in the Sawtooth and Challis National Forests. The Pioneers stretch nearly 50 miles (80 KM) in length, trending generally East-West and reaching nearly 25 miles (40 KM) in width. The Broad Canyon campground and trailhead is approximately 150 miles (241 KM) northwest of Idaho Falls, or approximately 45 miles (72 KM) northeast of Sun Valley, Idaho. The trailhead begins about 7,800 feet (2,377 m) above sea level. We hiked about 5.2 miles (8.4 KM) to Baptie Lake where we base camped. Much of the 2,320 feet (707 m) elevation gain to Baptie Lake occurs in the last mile or so. The high temperature was 95 F (35 C) and the low was in the mid 30's F (2 C). Skies were clear, not a single cloud in the sky for two of the days. There were occasional breezes, which helped combat the heat during the day.

    Observations:

    Intended to be light on bells and whistles, the Volt adequately met my needs on a 4-day backpacking trip in Idaho's Copper Basin. I was very pleased with the pack. It was quick and easy to adjust the Volt adjustable torso and suspension: shoulder harness adjustment straps, shoulder stabilizer straps, sternum strap, and the hipbelt to get a proper and precise fit. The shoulder straps and hipbelt fit nicely, and they have been very comfortable, no pinching, etc. The suspension has done a great job transferring the bulk of the load to my hips, thereby minimizing strain on my lower back. Having had lower back problems for years and lumbar fusion surgery a couple of years ago, this is of great benefit for me. The effective transfer of weight to the hips has been even more evident due to a recent shoulder injury. I do not feel as much weight hanging from my shoulders as I have with other packs I have used. The suspension also kept the load close to my back, which prevented issues with balance, etc. I must say, the Osprey Volt suspension system has impressed me thus far.

    Performance to date has been great. The multiple pockets have enabled me to keep my gear well organized. On the Copper Basin trip, in addition to about 6 lbs (2.7 KG) of food and 3L of water in my hydration bladder, I carried the following (initial pack weight was about 48 lbs (21.8 KG): Volt_Side Volt_Front

    • 15 F (-9 C) down sleeping bag
    • 3-season, 2-person tent body and poles
    • lightweight inflatable sleeping pad
    • backpacking pillow
    • cookset
    • stove
    • water filter
    • plastic bowl, knife, fork, spoon
    • 21 oz (0.6 L) Hydro Flask
    • liquid fuel bottle
    • lightweight base layer top and bottom
    • extra technical top
    • extra merino wool socks
    • extra underwear
    • lightweight jacket
    • rain jacket and pants
    • beanie
    • gloves
    • headlamp
    • GPS unit
    • camera
    • toiletries bag
    • small multi-tool
    • two 40-ft (12 m) lengths of 4mm braided nylon cord
    • car keys
    • wallet
    • pistol
    • bear spray

    My 3L bladder fit nicely in the external bladder envelope. I like how easy it is to access the bladder in the external envelope. In fact, I like this set up better than having the sleeve inside the main compartment. The front stretchy pocket worked well for carrying my rain jacket, rain pants, and pack cover. The stretchy mesh side pockets worked well for carrying my 21 oz (0.6 L) Hydro Flask and liquid fuel bottle in one pocket and a bottle of energy gel and snacks in the other. In the top pocket, I carried maps, toiletries/meds, headlamp, water filter, pistol, my car keys on the plastic hook, and my wallet.

    My 15 F (-9 C) down sleeping bag fit nicely in the Volt's sleeping bag compartment. The adjustable/removable sleeping pad straps worked well for carrying my share of the 3-season, 2-person tent.

    The only major issue I have to date with the Volt is that the hipbelt pockets are tough to close while on the go. My thought is that a zipper with slightly larger teeth and slide would resolve this issue. A minor issue for me is the fact that the top pocket does not convert into a daypack. On my trip to Copper Basin, I had to carry an additional daypack for our day hikes.

    The pack is still in great shape. There are no visable signs of weakening fabric or seams. The zippers, buckles, cordlocks, etc all operate as smoothly as the day it arrived. This concludes my Field Report on the Osprey Volt 75 backpack. Please check back in approximately two months for more test results.

    Pros Thus Far:

    Cons Thus Far:

    • great weight transfer to hips
    • roomy mesh front pocket
    • roomy mesh side pockets
    • external hydration pocket
    • comfortable hip belt
    • comfortable shoulder straps
    • hipbelt pocket zippers are hard to close one handed
    • wish the top pocket converted to a daypack

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    LONG TERM REPORT
    September 22, 2013

    Field Locations and Test Conditions:

    In August, I wore the Volt on an overnight backpacking trip to Lake Marie, which sits on the north side of Mount Jefferson, located in Idaho's Fremont County. Lake Marie is approximately 100 miles north of Idaho Falls, Idaho. The lake itself sits at 8,829 feet (2,691 M). The 6 mi (10 KM) hike to the lake is relatively easy.

    In early September, I wore the Volt on another overnight backpacking trip. This one was in Hawley Gulch, approximately 30 mi (48 KM) northeast of Idaho Falls, Idaho in the Caribou-Targhee National Forest. Starting at the Hawley Gulch trailhead, with an elevation of 5,738 feet (1,749 M), the Wolverine Creek-Hawley Gulch Loop circumnavigates Lookout Mountain; the loop is approximately 10.5 mi (17 KM) in length.

    Observations:

    At the end of this test series, the pack is in great shape. There are no loose seams, no fraying or worn material, and the zippers and buckles work like new. I must say that I really like this Osprey pack; my 22-yr old son is hoping to claim it for himself as well. The last two outings with the Volt reinforced the things I like about it. Although it has lightweight stays and suspension system, the pack does a great job of transferring load weight to my hips thereby reducing strain on my lower back. It fits well and is very comfortable to wear. It has plenty of pockets in which to store my gear. Likewise, the two minor drawbacks I noted in my earlier Field Report remain unchanged. I really wish the top pocket converted into a daypack. If it did, the Volt would be way more than a pack aimed at the "value-conscious user." I used a little bar soap on the hipbelt pockets to see if that helped them close easier one handed. I do not believe it helped much.

    Overall, I am very pleased with the Osprey Volt. In my opinion, it is an excellent pack for the money. The Volt is ideal for its intended "value-conscious" market as well as those who may have a bit more money in their pockets, but want a quality pack with all the essential features without wanting or needing lots of bells and whistles. If my son does not run off with it, I plan to use the Osprey Volt 75 backpack for years to come.

    Pros:

    Cons:

    • great weight transfer to hips
    • roomy mesh front pocket
    • roomy mesh side pockets
    • external hydration pocket
    • comfortable hip belt
    • comfortable shoulder straps
    • hipbelt pocket zippers are hard to close one handed
    • wish the top pocket converted to a daypack

    This concludes my Test Series on the Osprey Volt 75 backpack. Thanks to OSPREY and BackpackGearTest.org for allowing me to participate in this test series.

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