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Osprey Packs Volt 75 Backpack Review

Osprey Packs Volt 75 Backpack
Osprey Packs Volt 75 Backpack

The Osprey Packs Volt 75 Backpack is a large multi-day backpack that features a highly adjustable torso and hip belt system. Also available in a smaller 60 liter version, the Volt 75 provides the standard features found on most Osprey Packs including a stretchy kangaroo pocket and top lid. Weighing under four pounds, the Volt 75 is good choice for backpackers who don’t like to skimp on comfort but are still consciously trying to lighten their loads.

Organization and Storage

The Volt 75 has the classic alpine-style top-loading backpack design used in most of Osprey’s other backpack with a stretchy front kangaroo pocket, a cavernous top lid, side stretch bottle pockets, an external hydration pocket behind the shoulder yoke, and integrated hip belt pockets. Interior organization is spartan with a very large main compartment that is primarily accessed through the top of the pack under the lid, although this high-capacity pack has a nice body hugging shape designed to bring the load closer to your body for better weight transfer.

Osprey Packs Volt 75 Sleeping Bag Compartment
Osprey Packs Volt 75 Sleeping Bag Compartment

There is a flap at the base of the main compartment that can be used to create a “shelf” separating the top of bottom of the main compartment in order to hold a large sleeping bag or a bear canister, but the interior webbing can also be un-threaded if your prefer having a continuous open space. The exterior zipper at the base of the pack is large enough to fit a Backpacker’s Cache bear canister, which easily fits through the zipper opening.

Large Top Lid Pocket
Large Top Lid Pocket

The top lid has two pockets, a very large one facing the back of the hiker’s head and another mesh pocket on the underside of the lid itself. The lid can float above the top of the main compartment by about 4 inches, providing the ability to stack gear on top of the pack like rope or sleeping pads, and held in place under the lid.

Peripheral Wire Frame System
Peripheral Wire Frame System

Backpack Frame and Suspension

The Volt 75 is  configured to be a high-capacity, heavy-duty gear hauler, which Osprey rates for 40 to 55 pound loads. The suspension system uses an HDPE framesheet with a peripheral wire frame that slots into the back wings of a sewn-in hip belt. A mesh covered lumbar back panel helps further improve load to hip weight transfer, although the ends of the wire frame terminate in the wings of the hip belt and not in the lumbar pad, which I’ve always found less effective than stays that terminate inside the lumbar pad or along its sides.

Shoulder Yoke slides up and down the frame and secures with Velcro
Shoulder Yoke slides up and down the frame and secures with Velcro

The shoulder yoke and torso length are fully adjustable sliding up and down the wire frame, and securing with velcro, which doesn’t slip no matter how heavy you load up the pack. This type of adjustability is desireable on a backpack this large because you want to dial in a perfect fit to carry heavier loads.

If you look at back panel above, you can see a the letter ‘m’, which stands for a medium torso length. Unfortunately, Osprey doesn’t provide any documentation about how long an ‘m’ torso length is in inches, so you’re left to figure out what size feels best on your own. Given Osprey’ s global reach, I guess they want to avoid printing “inches” on the pack itself, but it would be useful if they at least had a key in the Volt manual or online, that explains the correspondence between the “s”, “m”, and “l” letters on the Volt 75 and torso length measurements in inches and centimeters (see REI: Finding your Torso and Hip Size.)

Adjustable Fit on the Fly Hip Belt
Adjustable Fit on the Fly Hip Belt

The hip belt on the Osprey Volt 75 is also adjustable, fitting waist sizes from 28″ to 44″. This is a really nice feature for Osprey to include since most of their other packs only come is very small hip belt sizes that are too small for many people. Called the Fit on the Fly system, there are extra pads that can be pulled forward to extend the length of the fixed hip belt so they properly wrap around the sides of your iliac crest. They attach to the back pads on the hip belt using velcro, which does not slip under heavy loads. The only down side of using the Fit on the Fly system is that the hip belt pockets remain too far back on the hip belt and are still difficult to access if you have a more portly built.

If you are considering using the Volt 75 for carrying heavy loads over 40 pounds, which would be a desirable goal for a pack of this volume, think again. The hip belt on the Volt 75 is not wide enough or padded enough to go heavy. I’ve tested the Volt 75 extensively with a wide range of loads and the comfort level deteriorates significantly once you start to approach 40 pounds.

That’s not a reason to dismiss this pack out of hand because certain loads might include bulky synthetic sleeping bags, tents, or bear canisters that weigh less than that but are awkward to carry using a smaller volume pack. But if your goal is to go heavier than 40 pounds, my advice is to find a backpack with a much beefier hip belt system with more padding that won’t slip over your hip bones.

Compression and External Attachment System

Side Compression Straps
Side Compression Straps

The Volt 75 has a host of external attachment and compression options but is mostly designed for three season use. There are two tiers of side compression straps which help pull loads closer to the body, but the lower tier is configured in a z-style, making it difficult to attach snowshoes to the side of the pack. The lower tier compression webbing also runs over the side mesh pockets rather than through it, making it difficult to get extra compression if carrying water bottles in the side pockets.

While there are external gear loops sewn into side seams on the front of the pack and short lengths of daisy chain, these have limited value because any item lashed to them would block use of the front stretch mesh kangaroo-style pocket.

Internal Red Compression Strap
Internal Red Compression Strap

On every nice compression feature is located on the inside of the pack in at the top of the main compartment and called a “Red Strap”, for obvious reasons. It’s designed to pull the load in the main compartment forward and closer to the top of your back, more in line with your hips, and is especially useful in a pack that can swallow such a large tower of gear.

Recommendation

The Osprey Packs Volt 75 is a high-capacity backpack featuring an adjustable torso and hip belt that makes it possible for a wide range of users with varying body shapes to get a well fitting pack. But the hip belts on the Volt 75 is not really beefy enough for loads in excess of 40 pounds, making it more appropriate for hiker who need a large backpack to carry bulky gear, rather than expedition loads. Priced under $200, the Volt 75 still gives you a lot of backpack for the money and is an exceptional value for three season backpacking trips requiring a lot of closed storage capacity.

Likes

  • Body hugging shape
  • Compression strap inside main compartment shifts load closer to back
  • Fit on the Fly hip belt extenders “fix” hip belts that are too short, a common problem on other Osprey Packs

Dislikes

  • Hip belts are under-sized for 55 pound loads: 40 pounds is more realistic max weight for pack
  • Exterior side pocket mesh is thin and prone to rip on branches
  • Side pocket webbing doesn’t run through pockets, only over
  • external attachment system is impractical for carrying snowshoes

Key Features and Specifications

  • Adjustable torso and hip belt
  • Solid hip belt pockets
  • Floating lid and spindrift collar
  • Top lid with key click and two pockets
  • Sleeping pad straps
  • Side mesh bottle pockets
  • Stretch front mesh pocket
  • Sleeping bag compartment
  • Sleeping pad straps
  • Stow-on-the-go hiking pole holders
  • Side compression straps
  • Internal compression strap
  • Hydration pocket
  • Sternum strap with integrated safety whistle
  • Capacity: 75L/4577 cubic inches
  • Weight: 3 pounds 13 ounces on the section hiker scale
  • Torso sizes: 17-22″
  • Waist sizes: 28-44″

Disclosure: Philip Werner purchased the Osprey Packs Volt 75 reviewed here with his own funds. This post contains affiliate links. 

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12 comments

  1. Philip – this is an uncharacteristically large and heavy backpack for you to review. Why the change?

    • Good question. I’m training up for a long unsupported backpacking trip where I’ll need to carry a 50+ pound load, so I’m using the opportunity to try out different expedition class packs. Unfortunately this one can’t go as heavy as I’d have liked. Otherwise, it’s a very nice pack for the money. A real value.

      • Is this for your White Mountain Challenge? Are you thinking of carrying food for the entire hike, with no resupply?

      • That’s what I am aiming for. No resupply. It’s an attempt to increase the feeling of wilderness I experience in what is not technically a wilderness anymore by cutting myself off from as many forms of aid as possible.

  2. I just love my Osprey Pack, I hung up my old Kelty 50th anniversary model which replace and old Jansport. So many features Osprey puts into it’s packs, like on my Kestrel 68 has a built in rain cover which I found I needed after moving from the much drier west to the Wet East. And on the belt it has zippered pockets big enough to put my Camera in on one side and needful things on the other and it rides very nicely. Great Company

  3. Phil, I agree with most of what you’ve said. I like my Volt 60, but it’s not the perfect pack. I find the hip pocket belts are hard to reach.

    I’ve successfully used the side compression straps to carry snowshoes, so that’s a tactic to try.

    I’ve successfully (and comfortably) carried loads of around 50 pounds in this, but was not going super-far – 15 miles with 2000ft of vertical (up+down) over 2 days with Boy Scouts. I am never packing that much food again (unless I’m going 5+days), and have dropped my base weight about 15 pounds. The niche I find this good for is when you may have to carry more weight than a Mariposa Plus, although it sounds you didn’t find much upside (you rate the MP+ at up to 35 pounds, and for you the Volt started sagging before 40).

  4. Hey Phil,

    I have this pack, and used it for two week-long trips last summer. From my experience your review was dead on. Up to 40 lb (the start of each trip) the carry was good. The one time I carried an extra 4 liters water, pushing the weight to near 50 lb – not so good. A very clever design, but carries more volume than weight.

    Have you looked at Cilogear?

    • Looked. I’ve been carrying 40 pounds comfortably with a Mariposa from Gossamer Gear, but recently bought a Mystery Ranch Trace XXX for much heavier loads. So far so good, but it’s hard to get the motivation up to train with a 50-60 pound pack!

  5. Your comments on the Osprey Volt 75 persuaded me to choose it as my new ” big ” backpack . At my age and abilities I shouldn’t be shooting for much over 40 pound loads and I’ve found internal “dimensional ” challenges with smaller volume packs . I’ve always been interested in Osprey products and this model seems to hit a sweet spot that just might work for me . Thanks for your thoughtful and thorough overview of this gear . I’m headin’ to R.E.I. tomorrow .

  6. A very informative, thoughtful review. Thanks.

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