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Osprey Eja 58 Women’s Backpack Review

The Osprey Eja 58 is an ultralight ventilated backpack made for women. Weighing 2 lbs 8 oz, the Eja 58 is a women’s specific version of the Osprey Exos 58, which is the most most popular backpack used by thru-hikers and lightweight backpackers because it combines the organizational layout of a top-lid backpack, lightweight materials, and a rigid internal frame capable of hauling heavy loads.

Osprey Eja 58 Women's Backpack

Comfort
Light Weight
Suspension
Features
Adjustability
Sizing
Durability

Awesome Fit and Carry

The Eja 58 ultralight ventilated backpack made for women with a narrower frame, and women's specific shoulder straps and hip belt padding.

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The Eja’s women’s specific features are threefold: it has a narrower frame that allows for greater freedom of movement and increases stabilization by lowering the position of the load to a more optimal center of gravity on the hips. The shoulder harness and sternum strap are designed with varying padding thicknesses to create an anatomical fit for a woman’s neck, shoulders, and chest. Finally, the hip belt is narrower in height for better comfort and angled because women’s hips are conically shaped with a larger difference between the waist and hip measurements.

Specs at a Glance

  • Volume: 58L, also available in 48L and 38L
  • Weight: 2 lbs 8 oz. (size women’s small, tested)
    • Optional removable top lid: 5.4 ounces
  • Ventilated: Yes
  • Top lid: Yes
  • Type: Internal frame
  • Pockets: 5, plus the main compartment
  • Torso sizes available: XS (14″-17″). S (16″-19″), M (18″-21″)
  • Hip belt sizes available: XS (24″-45″), S (24″-45″), M (27″-48″)
  • Bear canister compatible: yes
  • Maximum recommended load: 30-35 lbs
  • Materials: 100d and 210d high tenacity nylon

Backpack Frame and Suspension System

The Osprey Eja 58 is a ventilated backpack. Breathable mesh is suspended in front of the back panel creating a ventilated cavity behind your back that’s designed to evaporate sweat before it can soak your shirt. The mesh is tightly stretched across the aluminum frame which also serves to anchor the hip belt and load lifters. Fully loaded, I still have 2 or more inches of airflow between the back panel and the pack.

The Eja is a ventilated backpack with a mesh-covered cavity that provides excellent back insulation.

The aluminum frame on the Eja 58 is the secret sauce that “makes” this pack. It’s super lightweight and stiff, providing great load transfer to the hips, so you can really load up this pack and still get a very comfortable carry. The nice thing about an aluminum frame is that the torso won’t collapse, causing the torso length to shorten when you load the pack to capacity, which can be an issue with other lightweight and ultralight backpacks. I found the fully loaded Eja to be incredibly comfortable. The weight felt close to my body and the pack “moved with me.”  I’m able to transfer the load to my hips and off my shoulders.

The shoulder straps and hip belt are both covered with a stretchy mesh fabric that is soft and helps wick moisture to prevent rubbing and chafing. They’re super comfortable with enough cushioning to provide comfort without stiffness and conform well to the shape of your collarbone, shoulders, and hips. While the shoulder straps have more of a J-shape characteristic of men’s or unisex backpacks, the extra soft padding provides a good wrap around your breasts without any chafing or pinching. This is key on those hot and sweaty days.

The contoured hip belt provides great wrap around female hips

The Eja has what Osprey calls an ExoForm hip belt, with pull forward straps so you can get a secure fit. Unlike many packs, the Eja 58 does not have hip belt pockets. While this is less convenient, it makes for a more flexible hip belt that wraps around your hips more comfortably and won’t slip down over your hip bones. Osprey chose comfort over convenience, and I can see the logic in that even if it bucks the norm. It’s well worth not having hip belt pockets to have such a “form-fitting” hip belt!

Backpack Organization and Storage

The Osprey Eja 58 is different from most ultralight backpacks because it’s configured with a floating top lid instead of a dry-bag style roll top. With two zippered pockets (one pocket on top and one inside), the floating lid lets you sandwich extra gear between the lid and the top of the pack’s main compartment.

Backpack pocket storage
The top lid has a top pocket and a bottom mesh pocket good for storing personal items that also has a handy key fob.

Top lids are a great feature, especially when you need to carry bulky gear, an Ursack, or extra dry bags that won’t fit into the main compartment of your pack. The extra top pockets also provide handy access to hats, gloves, snacks, and navigation gear.

The top lid is easy to remove to save weight.

If you don’t need the top lid on the Eja, you can remove it to save gear weight. This reduces the weight of a medium-sized Eja by 5.4 ounces bringing it down to a very respectable and ultralight 2 pounds 2.6 ounces. There’s a nylon flap under the top lid that is permanently attached to the pack, what Osprey calls a FlapJacket, that covers the drawstring opening of the main compartment. When you remove the top lid, the FlapJacket is used to protect the main compartment from the rain in its stead. The rear of the FlapJacket also clips into the same rear straps and buckles used by the top lid so you’re not left with any extra straps or buckles to get in the way.

The FlapJacket prevents rain from entering the main compartment when you remove the top lid

While the Eja also has good open storage in the form of side and front mesh pockets, the main compartment is where the bulk of this pack’s capacity is. With close to 3500 cubic inches of room, you can put a ton of gear and food inside. Being a mainstream manufacturer, Osprey computes the volume of their packs using industry norms and only counts covered and zippered storage when they calculate backpack volume. If you are comparing the volume of the Eja 58 with a pack from a cottage backpack maker, be aware that they often add in open and closed pocket volumes so the Eja 58 may feel quite a bit larger. You may even find that downsizing to the smaller and nimbler 48L Osprey Eja will work for your needs.

The Eja 58 main compartment is huge and can hold a ton of gear

While the main compartment curves inward to accommodate the shape of the ventilated frame, the top opening is nice and wide and I can easily see items and access them. Still, when packing the Eja 58, you’ll want to place that the heaviest items as close to your back as possible to retain good balance.

With the exception of a hydration pocket, hang loop, and top compression strap, there’s nothing inside the Eja 58 main compartment like a sleeping bag compartment or interior pockets to break up the seemingly cavernous space. Still, it’s easy to see inside the main compartment because lightly colored fabric panels help channel light to the pack’s interior.

Side backpack pockets
Side water bottle pockets are huge and can store tall SmartWater bottles or squat Nalgenes (or both at the same time).

In addition to the main compartment, the Eja 58 has two stretch side mesh pockets that are large enough to store two, 1-liter water bottles, or a water bottle and a water filter. Each pocket is reinforced with solid fabric for better durability and has a holster-style opening cut in front, which lets you position bottles sideways so you can pull them out and replace them when on the move. This design was quite good and keeps the water bottles snug so that they don’t fall out when I bend over;  as an extra security measure, there is a sewn-in loop by the side access which would allow someone to secure a safety cord to their water bottle. 

The Eja 58 when worn
The body-hugging fit wraps around your torso and rides comfortably on your hips

The Eja 58 is also a front mesh shovel pocket on the back of the pack which is useful for carrying items that you want easy access to, without requiring that you stop and open your backpack. I can’t live without a mesh pocket like this and use it to stuff light layers, rain gear, my crocs, and snacks that I want easily accessible during the day.

External Attachment Points and Compression System

The Osprey Eja 58 has one Z-style side compression strap on each side of the pack. The strap can be threaded in front of or through the side water bottle pocket, which is handy because they won’t get in the way if you run them outside the pocket. I prefer to thread the straps inside the pocket which keeps pack contents snug and pockets nice and loose.  But in a pinch, threading the straps to the outside would allow someone to secure items (such as a wet tent) to the side of your pack.

The Eja has additional gear loops around the perimeter of the front mesh pocket so you can attach bulky items like snowshoes to the back of the pack with webbing straps or cord

You can also rig up two horizontal compression straps instead if you prefer that strap geometry over the built-in Z-pattern. One of the great things about the Osprey Eja is the distribution of gear loops around the perimeter pockets, the pack bag seams, and even the top lid, making it easy to rig up your own custom compression system with an extra cord lock and some guyline or a piece of webbing.

Sleeping pad straps in use
The Eja includes sleeping pad straps at the base of pack. The straps can be detached if not needed to reduce pack clutter.

The other key attachment point on the Eja 58 is the sleeping pad strap on the bottom of the pack, a feature which has largely disappeared from the lightweight backpacking market. While the strap is optional and can be removed, it’s super handy to have if you’re a thru-hiker, hammock camper, or winter camper and carry a bulky foam pad to sleep on at night.

Comparable Lightweight Women’s Backpacks

Women's Make / ModelFrame: Torso RangeWeightColorsPrice
Osprey Eja 58Fixed: 14-21"42 ozGrey, Blue$220
Osprey Eja 48Fixed: 14-21"41 ozGrey, Blue$200
Osprey Tempest 40Adjustable: 13-20"38.1 ozMagenta, Black$160
Osprey Lumina 60Fixed: 15-21"31.2 ozGrey$270
Osprey Lumina 45Fixed: 15-21"28 ozGrey$250
REI Flash 55Fixed: 16-18"43 ozGrey, Olive Oil$199
REI Flash 45Fixed: 16-18"41.5 ozGrey, Pumpkin$159
Granite Gear Crown2Fixed: 15-21"34 ozGrey, Black$200
Gregory Octal 58Fixed: 14-20"41 ozGrey, Blue$210
Gregory Octal 45Fixed: 14-20"40 ozGrey, Blue$190
Gregory Amber 44Adjustable: 14-20"44 ozRed, Teal$160
Exped Lightning 60Adjustable: 14.2-20.9"40 ozBlack, Terracotta$229
Exped Lightning 45Adjustable: 14.2-20.9"38.8 ozBlack, Terracotta$199
Kelty Redwing 40Fixed: 14.5-18.5"42 ozBlack, Teal$125
Mountainsmith Scream 55Fixed: 14-17"42 ozGrey$160

Recommendation

The Osprey Packs Eja 58 Backpack is a top-loading ventilated backpack that’s easy to configure for many different kinds of hiking and backpacking trips. Weighing just 2 pounds 8 ounces, it boasts a stiff aluminum frame and ventilated suspension that provides excellent comfort and control for loads up to 30-35 pounds. Fully loaded, the Eja 58 is incredibly comfortable.  The weight rides close to the body and the pack moves with you.  The hip belt, the key to adjusting weight, is excellent and transfers the load to the hips and off my shoulders, all while maintaining a snug fit. If you want a lightweight, women’s backpack with a real frame and a top lid, I recommend the Osprey Eja 58 without reservation. It’s a great women’s backpack. Osprey hit a home run with the Eja 58.

For complete specs, I suggest you visit the Eja 58 product page at REI since the Osprey Packs Sizing Guide at OspreyPacks.com can be difficult to understand.

Disclosure: The author owns this product.

About the author

Beth Zimmer is an expert backpacker who's backpacked all over New England and Eastern Canada, with a long list of hiking accomplishments to her name. She's section hiked the New Hampshire Appalachian Trail, climbed the New England Hundred Highest and the New Hampshire 200 highest (mostly bushwhacks), redlined the White Mountain Guide (1440 miles), and climbed the White Mountain 4000 footers several times over. Beth also teaches GPS and off-trail navigation classes as a volunteer for the Appalachian Mountain Club and is co-chair of the New Hampshire Excursions Committee, which oversees all volunteer hiking and leadership training activities. When she's not hiking and backpacking, Beth resides in New Hampshire where she can usually be found sipping coffee and planning her next adventure.
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2 comments

  1. As a guy, i’ve used the Atmos 50 (which I liked), the Exos 48 (which I really liked), and the Levity 45 ( which I love.) I’ve always felt these were highly-refined external frame packs (the perimeter frame and trampoline bacband were the essential components of the external frame packs back in the ‘70s.) Having said that, I also am not sure it really matters whether we classify them as internal or external, or a hybrid – I’m just blown away at how well they carry and manage a load.

  2. I own the Osprey Eja 48 in the blue, size M and find it extremely comfortable. Although it did take me a little while of adjusting to get it to sit comfortable. I find if I pull my shoulder straps snug the bottom of the bag where the frame is digs into my back (I’m quite thin) but if I leave them looser then I would with other bags I use it doesn’t rub as it hangs down my back just that little bit further. The only thing I don’t like is the lack of hip belt pockets for my snacks as I like to eat on the move but it’s easy enough to buy or make some and add them on – which I plan to do soon. I went to the Eja after owning the Aura AG 65. While I loved my Aura I found it too big & bulky for the warmer weather and type of trips I do and downsized to the Eja & boy am I glad I did! It really handles the weight well.

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