The Osprey Volt 60 is a Best Buy Award winner, but even if you set its price point aside, it's a rad pack. It is big enough for most backpackers going on 2-5 day trips. It also has all the features that many backpackers are looking for without many unnecessary extras. It has a top-loading design with a sleeping bag compartment, an external stretchy beavertail pocket, a lid with a pair of zippered pockets, and a handful of smaller features. We feel that this pack has a respectable suspension, well-designed ergonomics, and comfortable shoulder straps. Overall, this pack is our favorite for the price, and it outperforms several more expensive models on the market.
Osprey Volt 60 Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Great value, solid features, ergonomic shoulder straps and back-panel, versatile
Cons: Narrow main compartment difficult to pack, weight rides high like external frame packs, tight water bottle pockets
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Our Analysis and Test Results
Once again, the Osprey Volt takes home our Best Buy award. No other pack in our test offers as much comfort or has as many convenient features at such a competitive price.
We were pleasantly surprised by how well this pack carries, and with a good set of usable features, this pack holds its own with more expensive options.
Suspension and Comfort
The Osprey Volt 60 has a simple yet functional suspension that does a great job of supporting moderate loads. A one-size-fits-all harness adjusts to fit torso sizes from 17" to 22", and with such a large fit range, one might think it would lose some overall comfort, but we didn't find that to be the case with this pack.
The "AirScape" foam back panel is a perfect density that has horizontal channels to allow heat to escape for better breathability and the "LightWire" frame helps transfer the weight of the load down to the hip belt. The shoulder straps and hip belts are made with a breathable mesh and foam that is dense enough to support the weight without feeling too hard on the hips and collarbone. The main compartment is quite narrow, and while this was sometimes bothersome to pack, it does keep the weight close to your back, which generally makes the load easier to carry. Dual load-lift attachment points keep them functioning correctly despite your torso size.
While this pack may not have the most high-tech suspension, it handles loads well up to the 40lb range. However, it starts to lose some carrying support when loaded up heavily. When used with moderate loads of about 30-40lbs, this pack carries just as well as many of the more expensive options.
Features and Ease of Use
The Volt 60 has a fairly basic design, while still boasting a majority of the features that most backpackers want. It sports things like stretchy one-liter water bottle pockets, a stretchy beavertail pocket, dual-zippered hip belt pockets, ice axe loops, lower sleeping pad straps, zipper pockets on either side of its lid, and a sleeping bag compartment with access zipper.
The Volt 60 has a pretty long list of usable features despite its simple design. Zippered hip belt pockets, a shove-it pocket, stow-on-the-go trekking pole attachments, ice-axe loops, zippered top lid (removable), integrated pack cover, front/top-load water bottle pockets, and a hydration bladder sleeve to name a few.
The dual-zippered hip belt pockets do a decent job of storing small items like a map and compass or a couple of snacks. The hip belt pockets are a welcome feature even if they were on the smaller size. we couldn't use them for a phone due to the small size so don't plan on using the pockets for all your on-the-go items as space is limited.
The shove-it pocket is a quick, easy place to stuff your rain jacket, pack cover or light layer. In previous models, an open mesh was used for this feature, but now more durable nylon is employed and a stretchy mesh runs up the sides to allow the pocket to stretch and fit different shaped items.
The removable, integrated pack cover is another useful feature that doesn't normally come standard with packs, and while basic it serves an important purpose and saves you a few bucks at checkout.
Sometimes the features hit the mark, other times we were left scratching our heads asking, "why are the water bottle pockets so tight?!" Top loading was extremely difficult without help and even front-loading was quite hard. We tested both narrow and wide bottles, and every kind made us think, "this should be easier than it is".
The floating top lid is removable for those who don't want or need it, and it has both an external pocket as well as a zippered mesh sleeve type pocket on the underside. The external pocket is adequate, but shorter zipper makes accessing the lid tough, especially when it is fully loaded.
The sleeping bag compartment uses a heavy gauge zipper for access and has a removable divider if you prefer to top load everything. The straps that cover the compartment are great for lashing a closed-cell foam sleeping pad, or, if you don't use them, they are removable.
At four pounds five ounces, this pack isn't overly heavy, but it's no featherweight either due to the fully adjustable suspension, heavyweight (i.e. durable) materials, and the plethora of standard features. This pack is one of the heavier models in our tests, but similar in weight to many popular "heavy-hitters" and, in many cases, does an equally good job of carrying a big load. To save weight, you can remove features you don't want like sleeping pad straps, rain cover, or top lid, but if the weight is much of a concern, we would recommend checking out lighter weight packs, some of which can still carry moderate loads quite well, and are feature-packed.
Adjustability and Fit
The one-size-fits-all design of the Osprey Volt 60 is extremely well executed. While this feature adds a bit of extra weight to the pack, it is easy to use, functions well, and is really comfortable.
The shoulder straps will adjust to fit torso sizes from 17" to 22". Because of the wide range of the shoulder strap adjustment, the pack has two pairs of load-lift attachments to ensure the load lifters are positioned correctly and functioning as intended regardless of torso size.
The hip belt is also adjustable, allowing the padding to extend three inches on each side to get a great fit around the waist. The waist-belt straps are easy to tension because of the redirected smooth gliding webbing. The shoulder straps have a good shape, and the sternum strap, while adjustable, doesn't glide as smoothly as we'd like.
This pack is of great value. While it certainly isn't the best pack on the market, at $200, it's tough to beat. If you're on a budget and looking for an exceptional pack to keep up with your adventures, this is the ticket. There are cheaper packs, but they are sure to be missing something that this pack doesn't.
The Volt 60 is an above-average backpacking pack at a below-average price. Despite its low price, this pack doesn't give a lot up in the way of features. It's also lighter than average among similar volume models on the market. It isn't the best pack for monster loads, but for more moderate pack weights, its design and fit make it a good choice for a wide range of uses. It is also an excellent option for mountaineering, multi-day ski touring, or travel.
— Adam Paashaus