Osprey Packs Volt 75 Backpack Review
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 a 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 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.
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 you 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.
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.
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 wireframe 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 wireframe 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.
The shoulder yoke and torso length are fully adjustable sliding up and down the wireframe and securing with velcro, which doesn’t slip no matter how heavy you load up the pack. This type of adjustability is desirable on a backpack this large because you want to dial in a perfect fit to carry heavier loads.
If you look at the back panel above, you can see the letter ‘m’, which stands for a medium torso length. Unfortunately, Osprey doesn’t provide any documentation about how long a ‘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.)
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 in 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 downside 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
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 that 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 the use of the front stretch mesh kangaroo-style pocket.
One 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.
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 the 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.
- 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
- 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.
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