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Osprey Renn 50 Women’s Backpack Review

Osprey Renn 50 Backpack Review

Osprey Renn 50 Backpack

Comfort
Weight
Suspension
Features
Adjustability
Sizing
Durability

Great Value

The Renn 50 is a ventilated and adjustable backpack designed for women. It has great organizational features, is well balanced, comfortable, and affordably priced.

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The Osprey Renn 50 is a women’s-specific multi-day backpack with an adjustable and ventilated frame. Weighing just 3.31 pounds (53 oz), it’s lightweight, comfortable, and easy-to-use with plenty of pockets to stay organized. Priced at $155, it’s also surprisingly affordable considering how fully featured it is. If you’re on the market for an inexpensive backpack or you’re new to backpacking, the Osprey Renn 50 is a great value that will let you hit the ground running.

Specs at a Glance

  • Price: $155
  • Volume: 50L
  • Gender: Women’s (the men’s version is called the Osprey Rook)
  • Weight: 3.31 lbs (53 oz)
  • Ventilated: Yes
  • Adjustable: Yes
  • Frame type: Internal
  • Torso length: 14″-19″ (one size)
  • Max recommended load: 30-35 lbs
  • Material: 600d and 1000d pack cloth

Backpack Storage and Organization

In addition to the main storage compartment, the Osprey Renn 50 has a top lid pocket, side water bottle pockets, hip belt pockets, and a bottom compartment that holds an included rain cover.

The Renn 50 has a top lid pocket sewn to the back
The Renn 50 has a top lid pocket sewn to the back

The top lid is sewn to the pack and not removable. It has a single pocket, which has plenty of room for a map, key ring (a key fob is provided), basic first aid, hat, and gloves, etc. The top lid has some elasticity around the edges, which gives it a nice fit around the top of the pack.

The main compartment closes with a draw-string that is easy to cinch tight and pull open.  The shape of the pack also makes it easy to see all the way down inside the pack, so you can locate gear quickly.  There is an internal buckle/compression strap that cinches the gear (not an external strap that cinches across the top… but an internal one.)  It is bright red, easy to find, and use.

It's easy to find your gear inside the Renn Backpack
It’s easy to find your gear inside the Renn Backpack

The Renn has side stretch mesh water bottle pockets, in addition to an internal hydration pocket, if you prefer to use a reservoir and hose. My bottles fit easily into them and stay secure when I put it them from the top (vertically.) But when I put the bottle in the diagonal opening, the water bottles slip out when I lean forward.  I find this true of many packs. 

Diagonal bottle holsters make it easy to grab your water bottle on the go.
Diagonal bottle holsters make it easy to grab your water bottle on the go.

There’s also a sleeping bag hatch on the front of the pack so you can access gear at the bottom of the pack without unpacking the entire thing. There’s a shelf-like flap on the interior that folds down to create a sleeping bag compartment, but you can also fold it up if you want to treat the main compartment of the pack as a long continuous space. This “virtual pocket” is roomy enough to fit my sleeping bag and lightweight air mattress.

The hip belt pockets are large and easy to reach
The hip belt pockets are large and easy to reach

The hip belt pockets are surprisingly roomy with plenty of room for several snack bars, most smartphones, small cameras, etc.  They have an interesting design where only part of the pocket is sewn to the hip belt, and the other end of the pocket is attached to the hip compression strap.  This results in a larger, roomier, and easier to access hip belt pocket. (Get’s a happy face from me.)

The Renn does not have a front stretch mesh pocket, however, a feature that many backpackers like because it provides a place to store damp gear or dirty camp shoes to keep them away from the dry and clean gear inside your backpack. On the flip side, this does improve the pack’s durability because these pockets get ripped up on Osprey packs. The pack does not have a stow n’go trekking pole carry system either, although you can use the side water bottle pockets to carry your poles instead. I suspect that Osprey left these features, which are standard on its other backpacks,  off the pack to keep the price low.

Backpack Frame and Suspension

The Osprey Renn 50 is a women’s backpack, which means that it’s available in a shorter range of torso lengths (14″-19″) with shoulder straps and a hip belt that are specifically designed to fit a female body. What’s that mean?

Elements of Women's Fit
Elements of Women’s Fit: S-shaped shoulder straps, shorter sternum strap, flared hip belt wings

The shoulder straps are S-shaped so that they curve around women’s breasts rather than smashing them flat like J-shaped men’s or so-called unisex backpack straps. There’s more width at the collarbone and a shorter sternum strap that doesn’t pinch. The hip belt wings are also more flared on the tops and ends to wrap around curvy women’s hips and hip bones. In addition to the availability of shorter torso lengths (down to 14″), these simple changes go a long way to making the Renn fully female friendly.

To sweeten the deal, the Renn is also an adjustable length backpack, so you can dial in your exact torso length. This is doubly important because the pack comes in one size, fitting torsos from 14″ to 19″, which is a big torso range spread.

You raise or lower the shoulder pads by moving the side toggles to different loops
You raise or lower the shoulder pads by moving the side toggles to different loops

The adjustment system is designed to raise or lower the shoulder pads, relative to the fixed hip belt, which is how you adjust for torso length. The shoulder pads are attached to metal rods that slot into loops set along the frame in a kind-of wishbone formation, which is how you adjust their height. This is a new Osprey adjustment system.

The Renn has a suspended mesh back panel that provides excellent ventilation
The Renn has a suspended mesh back panel that provides excellent ventilation

In addition to being adjustable, the Renn is also ventilated, with a suspended mesh back panel that allows for superior airflow behind your back to help dry perspiration. The ventilation cavity is not as deep as it is on some of Osprey’s other packs, so it doesn’t interfere with internal storage, but still provides plenty of airflow.

The Renn has a lightweight wire frame which runs along the perimeter, with a reinforced center bar that adds rigidity to the pack. I found the load transfer to the hip belt quite exceptional, taking the pressure off my shoulders and placing it on my hips, even when I loaded the pack up with extra gear and water. The fully loaded pack is surprisingly very well-balanced.  Both on my body, and when I put it on the ground: it didn’t tip forward or backward. The weight “moves with me” when I hiked, stepped, or crossed a rocky stream bed. The Renn 50 really has a nice feel and fit. 

External Attachment Points and Compression

The Renn has one compression strap that runs above each side water bottle pocket and can be used to stabilize your load or help shrink the pack volume. These straps are also useful for securing longer items, like trekking poles or tent poles to the side of your pack so they don’t fall out of side pockets.

As an added bonus, the pack comes with a rain cover which is stashed in a small pocket under the sleeping bag hatch.
As an added bonus, the pack comes with a rain cover which is stashed in a small pocket under the sleeping bag hatch.

There are sleeping pad straps at the base of the pack, which is a nice feature for carrying bulky objects so they don’t take over the packs closed storage. Many pack makers have dropped such straps from their packs, but they’re really quite handy and an added bonus.

In addition, there are gear loops located around the front of the pack and on top of the lid, where you can attach additional items with webbing straps or cord. For example, since there’s no front stretch pocket, I carabiner Crocs to these loops to carry them more easily.

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 Renn 50 is a well designed, easy to use backpack with enough features and pockets to stay organized, but simple enough that you don’t need an owner’s manual to figure it out!  The pack is well suited for overnight and weekend trips and great for first-timers or those newer to backpacking because it is so user-friendly and affordable. My favorite features of the pack were the super easy torso adjustability and overall fit/feel/balance of the pack when loaded.  The only drawback was not having an outside stash pocket for rain gear.

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.

Disclosure: The author purchased this backpack.

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9 comments

  1. Thank you so much for this very thorough review. It is the best one I have come across. Because of this review I am now confident that purchasing this backpack was the right decision. Thank you, Beth!

  2. Thanks for the excellent review for a women’s specific pack. The link for the Mountainsmith Scream 55 lists this pack under the gender ‘men’s’ pack.

    You folks are always careful not to lump unisex packs into the very tiny female specific category, much appreciated. It is offensive when gear manufacturers fill their offerings for ‘women’ with gear designed for men, for example gloves. Articles like this really help to sift out the true choices available to women.

  3. One needs to remember that the only “true choices available to women” are not packs designated or designed to be female specific. My wife has tried multiple female specific packs and hasn’t found any of them comfortable for her body. She prefers a smaller sized “men’s” Osprey pack. I’m guessing she’s not the only woman with this preference.

  4. Just saying, check out kestrel 48. Female, big but short waist, section hiker, happy.

  5. I actually really like the look of this pack. I adore my Osprey Aura 65, but rarely use it with the lid on, as it really is too large for all but the 5+ day trips. I miss the organisation of being able to stash my car key safely in the lid when it is not on.
    I wish Osprey would stop doing the holster pockets, they are a pain. Things fall out of them all the time. I haven’t had my Aura altered to sew the holster access shut as there is way too much room in the pack to ever need to put anything in the side mesh pockets anyway, but if I were to get a Renn, it would the first thing I would do.
    The Renn just looks simple, non pretentious and tougher than some of Osprey’s other offerings for scrub bashing too. The pricing is great, even here in Australia.

  6. You have the main material on this pack listed as pack cloth. Osprey’s site doesn’t even name the material. However, on REI, it’s listed a 600 Denier Polyester. This is very surprising for a multi-daypack from Osprey. Do you consider 600 Denier polyester to be pack cloth?

    • I took the spec from ospreys hang tag that came with the pack, but yes 600d polyester is essentially equivalent to pack cloth. Tough as hell.

      • Polyester tests well lower than Nylons in every major durability test. Nylon has far better abrasion resistance, tear strength etc. 600 Denier Poly is the cheapest material out there for making packs. Very surprised that Osprey would downgrade their packs and brand by using such low quality/cost materials. However, this is how they can now sell a pack for $150. I would not recommend any multi-daypack using 600D Poly for anyone. Daypacks using 600D Poly that don’t take the kind of stress and abuse as multi-daypacks are marginally acceptable.

      • I wish there were absolutes truths when it comes to backpack fabrics, but you fail to mention the downsides of nylon, compared to 600 denier Polyester. Nylon is less UV resistant (which breaks down fabrics leading to rips and tears), it absorbs far more water, and stretches more. 600 denier Polyester is used widely on day packs, so it’s not like using it on the Rook is out of left field. I think it makes sense on a lower price backpack for people who want a lower cost option than a more expensive Osprey Pack. You’ve also failed to mention the Osprey Guarantee, which covers buyers in the event that you do damage or destroy the pack. There aren’t many manufacturers (in fact, none) who stand by their products in this way. Something to ponder, if you go for the Rook. You can pay a lot more and get a lot less.

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