The Crescent 90 has been discontinued. If you're looking for something new, check out the best expedition packs for 2020.
Historic Range: $200.00-$284.25
Reviewers Paid: $200.00-$279.00
What a great expedition pack! Although I have not tried comparable packs (except cheap and outdated 80 litre pack I used for nine years), it is hard to imagine that any pack could carry a big load more comfortably. The frame is great and combines excellently with the hipbelt to transfer weight to your hips.
The pockets are large and the main compartment can easily and effecitively be compressed for smaller loads. People who like to keep stuff separate and easily accessible might wish for more external pockets, but that would disturb the pack's great balance and clean lines.
Areas of improvement:
1. The clips are small and does not seem to be of the highest quality. None of them has broken yet, but I'm taking extra care with them since they seem a bit frail.
2. When the pack is fully extended a tall person would annoyingly not be able to look fully upwards since your head would bump against the pack. This is because of the arched shape that causes the top lid to be quite close to your head - the "head hollow" does not help much.
Size: 106 litres (including day pack)
Number of Pockets: 3
Max. Load Carried: 30kg
Height of Owner: 188cm
Price Paid: $279
This is for the Crescent 90 which was discontinued in 2005 for the Crescent 85. The Crescent 90 uses titanium struts and a detachable pocket (doubles as day pack) held on by straps; the Crescent 85 uses heat treated aluminum struts and does away with the detachable pocket pack, in favor of easier main compartment access, construction simplicity, lighter weight, and a new custom fit belt.
The Crescent 90 is my main pack when out with one of my boys, as I need the capacity to carry extra supplies such as extra 1st aid and water. Therefore the loads tend to be heavy. The Crescent 90 handles heavy loads well. The belt does not give out and the load is well distributed by the suspension. The pack is quite adjustable to make it fit and spread the load to the right places and holds it rigidly. I have no complaints about its performance. I have used lesser packs and would not go back from this level of performer. (If you ever loaded up a $130 pack and had it tugging your shoulders for 50 miles in mountains you'd feel the same about spending enough for a really good one).
The titanium struts are a good thing and seem indestructible. The detachable pocket pack is a fiddly sort of thing, and while I like the extra space, messing with the straps that hold it on is a nuisance. The model redesign that changed this feature in favor of a pack front access panel was likely a good move. (I thought I'd want the option to detach the pocket pack but then never used it that way.)
Osprey customer service is very helpful and replaced a lost strap promptly. They also offered good phone advice about fit and function when considering a purchase.
If you have a chance to pick up one of these used, you will get a top performer for probably much less than current models, and I recommend you go for it; it might outlast you. If you want a new one, I suspect the Crescent 85 is as good a performer as it is basically the same frame design with an improved (custom moldable) belt.
Design: internal frame, top loading
Size: 90L, 5500 cu in
Number of Pockets: 4
Max. Load Carried: 60 lbs
Height of Owner: 6' 3"
Price Paid: $200 eBay
The Crescent 90 has exceeded expectations in all areas. I contemplated which size to get and went with the 90 liter, leaving plenty of room for extra gear when needed. If however, you are traveling light its ability to compress down accommodating any size load is second to none. For summit/day hikes, a smaller 500 cu in detachable daypack comes with the Crescent 90. The top of the pack can also transform into a hip pack (although I have only used the daypack). This pack has served me well from an overnight trip to a week long with no complaints.
Max. Load Carried: 55
Height of Owner: 5'11''