Osprey Eja 58 Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Lightweight, nice large external pockets, good suspension
Cons: Lots of extra straps, narrow shoulder straps
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Osprey Eja 58 stood out when it came to suspension and overall design. The pack combines ultralight qualities with the suspension of a traditional backpack. Overall, it's simple, yet it has a few extra, straps, and loops that ended up getting caught on branches more than actually helping our organization on the trail. With only a few downsides, this pack is overall an excellent choice. The Osprey Eja 58 is designed for women who want to move fast and is an excellent choice for thru-hikers or any women looking to start trimming down their kit.
Comfort and Suspension
The main aspects of a pack that is under scrutiny in this metric are the shoulder straps, hip belt, and back panel. It is in these spots where chafing, hotspots, and general discomfort typically pops up. In the case of the Eja 58, we were surprised to find that the shoulder straps were our main source of discomfort during our testing period. The straps are skinny, only about an inch thick, which caused hot spots when carrying a heavy load. The back panel was very comfortable, though, as was the hip belt on the Eja, making it overall a decently comfortable pack.
Osprey's new AirSpeed suspension system is very similar to the manufacturer's ever-popular and revolutionary Anti-Gravity system. The Eja rocks the AirSpeed suspension by keeping the pack off your back and allowing for airflow between your skin and the pack itself. This detail is key to a capable suspension system, especially in hot weather. If the pack had wider shoulder straps, the overall comfort would be significantly improved, as the Eja has a sound suspension system as a foundation.
The Eja was a fairly straightforward pack to use. The Eja has more pockets without zippers than zip-closure pockets. We liked this style of pack, and it seems to be popular right now with modern lightweight packs. We felt like this makes the pack easy to use; most of your kit goes into the main body, while extra equipment is quick to stuff into the large outer pockets. These features made the Eja easy to organize overall.
When it comes to features, we were a bit confused on how to rate the Osprey Eja 58. On the one hand, the pack has many great bells and whistles, like the oversized mesh pockets we mentioned above. On the other hand, we found that this pack had some extra, seemingly unnecessary clip loops, storage straps, and attachment points on the shoulder straps, the bottom of the pack, and hip belt. For us, these were not useful.
The Eja is among the lightest packs in this review. Thinner fabrics and a slimmed-down feature set trim ounces and pounds off this model but like with most of the light packs, durability and comfort are sacrificed a bit.
Again, this pack sacrifices some adjustability in the name of weight. First, you can't adjust the torso height. The waist belt is also fully integrated and pretty trimmed down. The Eja uses thin, stretchy compression straps which are known for losing their stretch over time. However, there are quite a few attachment points for you to custom fit your gear to the pack. We didn't always find them necessary, but if you like playing with different exterior configurations, you'll appreciate the Eja's many attachment points.
The Eja comes with a price tag slightly towards the low end among tested models and for such a specialized, high tech pack is a fairly good price. If you have been backpacking for a while and are in search of a new, lightweight pack, the Eja 58 is certainly worth checking out.
Though there were a few flaws that we found during our testing period with the Eja, the pack still received relatively high scores in our metric ratings. The suspension system is a highlight because it combines comfort and breathability with a light, sleek design. The shoulder straps were problematic to us, but the hip belt provided enough support without chafe or discomfort. The primary features of the pack were useful and well-designed, but there was an excess of bells and whistles that we could do without for a more streamlined design.
— Jane Jackson