Osprey Volt 60
The Osprey Volt is a high value, well-built, extended…
Source: received for testing via the Trailspace Review Corps (Sample provided by Osprey for testing and review)
The Osprey Volt is a high value, well-built, extended weekend pack with flexible fit and configuration. It may be considered a lighter weight 60 liter pack, but the Volt’s efficient frame can handle rather heavy loads with ease. The novel waist belt adjustability is highly effective at finding your comfort zone for long treks through the mountains, or hours in the airport security line.
The Volt strikes an excellent balance between its weight and useable features. The Volt 60 doesn’t have the most breathable back panel, making it a better cold-weather pack, but it is supremely comfortable, and moves with your body motions to maintain impressive stability.
If you don’t mind sacrificing some very minor features in the interest of efficiency and a lower pack weight, at a good price, then this is your pack. I highly recommend it.
- Back panel design, wicking surface, adjustability, and suspension
- Simple “Fit-on-the-Fly” hip belt adjustability and features (zippered belt pockets)
- Excellent on-the-trail ergonomics and features
- “AddOns” attachment feature works well, even without an Osprey branded day pack
- Thoughtful features, like a color-coded rope strap just inside the collar
- Dual access stretch side pockets
- Stow-n-Go feature for trekking poles
- Separate hydration reservoir pocket keeps leaks out of the main compartment
- Back panel doesn’t ventilate as well as some other designs
- No included lashing for handles of climbing tools or mountain axes
- No side or front-access zippers into the main body
- Removable lid doesn’t double as a waist pack like other Osprey models
- Stow-n-Go attachment is at times awkward in use
- Water bottles sometimes fall out of the forward-facing openings in the pack’s side pockets
- Harness is not removable and lacks tool loops, which may be a deal breaker for the hard-core mountaineer
INITIAL REVIEW after three months, seven trips, both outdoor (4) and urban (3):
With its Torso Adjustment System (using a hook and loop fastener for simple size adjustment) this men's pack adjusts to fit 17-22" torsos, and for my 20.5" frame, fits very well, but will soon allow my growing son to use it (16.0" torso).
The “Fit-on-the-Fly” hip belt’s 6” of pad adjustments, plus a highly adjustable belt strap, ensure that this pack will fit both my waist (35") and my '’5" son’s 29". It will be a fantastic week-long pack for his growing frame.
As one would expect, load lifters and adjustable sternum strap rails make finding the sweet spot a breeze, and all straps are in the common locations for making "on the trail" adjustments to suit varied conditions. An HDPE frame sheet, with a silicon-tube protected “Lightwire” aluminum peripheral frame transfers load to the hip-belt and makes for a solid pack, even when loaded to the hilt (about 55-60 — weekend trip tested comfortable so far to 45 pounds).
Comfort & Ride:
With all of the adjustments in fit (more than I would’ve expected for what Osprey defines as a “basic” pack), the Volt 60 is supremely comfortable. I had no hot spots on my waist or shoulders during my hiking trips AND, more importantly, after standing static for two hours in airport security (wearing the entire time).
The adjustable waist belt padding is so simple yet effective. The best compliment I can pay this feature is that I don’t find myself aware of how the belt feels while I’m laboring away. This creates a comfortable, stable ride when tackling more technical trail sections (those that include some scrambling).
While I have not tested it climbing or mountaineering, the Volt 60 does have a narrow profile that I imagine could lend itself well to such endeavors.
High quality, supportive and dense foam on the pre-curved shoulder straps is very comfortable as long as pack weight is under 60 pounds, which is a lot. The only time I've had it packed with higher weight (40 pounds) was on a business trip to the Northwest (48 pounds).
Loads of 35 pounds or less are so well-distributed with this pack. I only had minimal soreness after each of my two multi-day backpacking trips with this pack. Both times, the pack was 30-35 pounds, excluding a full 3 liter water bladder.
The ventilation channels in the back panel work okay given their simple design, due in part to the good mesh on the surface. But if you sweat a lot and are going to use this in warmer/humid climates, then you will have to loosen the shoulder straps and sternum strap to let your back cool and dry off. This is one concession made as a result of the lower costs of this pack compared to my Lowe Alpine packs that feature specific ventilation channels in their back panel design.
This will swallow a lot of gear for its size — more than advertised 60 liters. With its stretch back pocket and attachment points, you can stretch this overnight pack to a week-long pack in the spring and summer. With its extension collar, I can stuff about 8 liters of extra gear over the published 60 liter capacity.
A standard top-panel access is augmented by an excellent, inverted U-shaped zipper on the mid-to lower panel, which has a removable shelf to create an isolated lower compartment for your sleeping bag (or other item of choice). It has easy to grab, four-season zipper pulls.
Accessing items in the lower section of the pack is much easier than my other packs of similar size that lack this feature. The mesh gear pouch can swallow a helmet, jacket and snowclaw shovel, and the items stay put no matter the activity.
The side pockets are very deep and have a flexible design, allowing me to stuff things inside through their front openings while on the trail.
Side pocket openings
Items dry quickly in that pouch because of the generous amounts of mesh. The top panel is cavernous. Dual compression straps and draw cord collars allow me to shrink this down to a small day pack.
Organization & Accessibility:
There are external straps for a sleeping pad or bag, with adjustable attachment loops on the bottom for rigging another one. There is a zipper pocket with a keying on the underside of the top pouch, and there are great pockets on the waist belt. I will say that there is a learning curve for opening and closing the generously sized hip belt pockets with one hand. You must open or close in an arched motion.
I do like the Stow-n-Go feature, which after a short learning curve proved very useful, and not just for trekking poles.
I also use the daisy chains on the back (pictured above) to attach different items.
Two minor organization gripes: The climbing tool loops are not on the outside edges of the pack, staying out of the way of the lower bag compartment, as compared to my Lowe Alpine packs (a great feature).
Also, this pack does not include lashings for the handles of the climbing tools when they’re stored in the tool-loops. But there are daisy chain loops for using separate accessory straps or cord to secure axes/tools.
Comparison of both packs. notice the loop location on the Osprey Volt (first picture), which blocks access to the bottom compartment, versus the Lowe Alpine Appalachian pack's loop location, leaving the lower compartment fully accessible. The Osprey's loop is larger, however, which is better suited to hold climbing tools/axes of varying head sizes.
All of my dromedary bags are 3 liter and still fit well despite their height. All of the requisite drink tube routing loops and ports are included, and I found that the shoulder-strap loop of the Stow-on-the-Go system functioned very well as a holder for the bite valve, allowing me to place it right by my mouth for easy, on the go hydration.
Bite Valve Stow
The side mesh pockets hold 1 liter Nalgenes and then some, with an easy front-access point that makes it easier to get to items without stopping the trip. But Nalgenes may slide out the front opening if inserted through them. Vertical placement of water bottles in the side pockets holds them securely. The compression straps function well and are adjustable enough to take tent pole bags and back-country tables in stride but hold them firm.
Features are listed below:
- Top access to main compartment via a draw-cord secured top.
- Hydration system compatible with external sleeve
- Mesh gear pouch on front with compression strap
- Adjustable, removable lid with interior and exterior body facing zip pocket and key holder
- Lower sleeping bag compartment with fold-away shelf
- Add-Ons attachment system for external mounting of a small daypack, Osprey or other brand.
- Side mesh water bottle holsters with dual access system
- Secure ice axe AND trekking pole (Stow-N-Go) attachment system -
- Fit-On-The Fly hip-belt padding adjustment design
- Torso-Adjust system fits to almost any adult male’s back
- Attachment Loops on the detachable lid
- Daisy chains on both sides of the pack
- Red colored compression strap on top of main compartment
- Exterior lashing straps for sleeping pad or tent body.
- Dual Side compression straps can double as ski/snowshoe/crampon straps or carriers
- Sternum strap with safety whistle
- Large hip belt pockets
- Weight: 3 lb. 11.4 oz. (verified - mftr listed at 3-09)
Ease of Use:
All buckles and straps have held up and operated exactly as expected, with no slippage of belt or torso adjustments either (secured by hook and loop systems). The zipper pulls are all glove-friendly, the cord-lock cinch on the top loader opening is “a cinch” to use (the best on the market that I’ve tried) and the strap design for tightening the hip-belt is super easy to use.
The only minor difficulty in adjustment is occasionally on the bottom silicon tube-covered bungee on the Stow-on-the-Go system. It can be tough to pull and put the poles with baskets into it, and taking them out can also be difficult. A couple of times I found myself taking off the pack to get the poles back out for use, which defeats the design’s intended purpose.
Construction & Durability:
I have not had any wear problems with this pack to date. It is very well made for its price, with consistently straight stitching and alignment of materials.
Made of 210 Denier Nylon rip-stop and 600D poly, the Volt seems well suited to the rigors of the trail. I’ve not had any wear spots yet, but a long term evaluation will tell the tale. I did through the pack around during some airplane travels, and found that this pack can fit in the standardized carry-on spacing (meaning someone won’t make you check your pack for a plan trip).
What a great pack in the value-priced segment. Building this much quality and utility into a pack for less than $200 retail is a testament to Osprey’s design and engineering prowess. The Volt is a highly versatile pack, loaded with adjustments, and that can mean its use by more than one member of a family. The Volt is superbly comfortable under load, has some unique convenience features, and is well-suited to all but expedition and alpine mountaineering-style endeavors in the outdoors. This pack can even function for backcountry skiing and some light-duty alpine skiing/snowboarding adventures as well.
If you are looking for a value leader in a great all-around weekend or 4-5 day pack, the Osprey Volt should not be overlooked.
This pack provides superior comfort and will not break…
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $179.99 USD
This pack provides superior comfort and will not break the bank if you are looking for a well made product from a reputable company. This pack is so comfortable, I would recommend it to my grandmother if she was going to embark on a multi-day backpacking trip.
- Extremely comfortable
- Can fit to many different backs
- Zippers are somewhat hard to use
- Lots of straps
The pack fits me perfectly. Although I went into an Osprey authorized retailer, you could honestly fit this pack yourself and figure out all the bells and whistles. With Osprey's patented Fit-on-the-Fly hip belt and torso adjustment, a 12-year-old could fit this pack.
Like I said earlier, Osprey's Fit-on-the-Fly hip belt and torso adjusters allow for a seamless fit, no matter what shaped back and all straps supply adequate room to adjust and readjust all load-lifters, sternum straps, hip belt straps, and side straps. The ventilation on your back could be better, but I do tend to sweat a lot.
The advertised volume of 60L seems very accurate, although I haven't actually got around to testing to see how accurate that is. After my sleeping pad, bag, tent, clothes, fuel, miscellanious items, and food are packed in (for a 5-7 day trip), there is still a bit of room left at the top. You can even separate off the bottom part of the pack, say if you wanted to store just your food in the bottom or your entire cooking gear plus food to have things organized a bit better.
The gear is easily accessible although one problem I have with the pack is the zippers; they are hard to use!! Fortunately the only zippers on the pack that give me problems are the one on the lower compartment and on the hip belt. Overall, the pack is designed so an idiot could safely and effectively stow gear inside (although he might get so mad that he rips the zippers off).
The load is distributed PERFECTLY onto the hips; that is, if you have properly adjusted the pack. I could not ask for a better ride. It remains comfortable no matter if you have the pack completely loaded down or with equipment for a day hike. The load lifter make the pack seem like it's literally growing out of your back!
Because the pack uses mostly plastic clips and zippers, there's not really a lot that can go wrong (at least I haven't had any problems yet). Only problem I can see if the small 1/2'' clips used for attaching a sleeping pad to the pack could snap if put under too much stress, but that's with any plastic pieces.
Other than that, I have yet to see any problems with the pack since I bought it in June. The upcoming winter will give me a nice time to test some of the other features more extensively.