Hands-on Gear Review

Osprey Viva 50 Review

Osprey Viva 50
By: Briana Valorosi ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 11, 2016
Price:  $180 List  |  $180.00 at REI
Pros:  Uncomplicated design, well-built, durable Stretch Mesh pockets, inexpensive
Cons:  Noisy frame, bulky padding
Manufacturer:   Osprey

Our Verdict

The Viva 50 is simple and uncomplicated, perfect for women just delving into backpacking. While Osprey recommends this backpack for both mountaineering and backpacking, the one size fits all design and minimal features are ideal for shorter length trips into the backcountry. This backpack has significantly thicker padding on the shoulder straps and back frame than the streamlined padding of the Osprey Aura; the extra padding is comfortable but creates heat against the body in higher temperatures. At 3.5 lbs, the Viva is relatively lightweight. The backpack comes in a single adjustable size that, if initially fitted well, can serve as an uncomplicated, introductory backpack. We enjoyed the simplicity of this pack- sparing excessive features for an easy to use, easy to adjust backpacking backpack that carries comfortably.

Osprey updated the Viva 50 since we tested it.


Our Analysis and Test Results

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Hands-On Review


The Osprey Viva is the perfect introductory backpack! It spares excessive features for the sake of an uncomplicated design, yet offers plenty of space and organization for a range of backpacking trips. With a lightweight plus comfortable padding, the Viva is well built and handles the outdoors with grace, not tearing or bending under pressure.

We took the Osprey Viva into the Winds  and it endured rain and granite with grace. The exterior has very few straps and three stretch mesh pockets. In a single size  it is adjustable to comfortably fit most women.
We took the Osprey Viva into the Winds, and it endured rain and granite with grace. The exterior has very few straps and three stretch mesh pockets. In a single size, it is adjustable to comfortably fit most women.

Comfort


The Viva is a very comfortable backpack. The padding is a bit bulky in comparison to backpacks like the Osprey Aura AG 65, but the back frame is well padded as well as the shoulder straps and waist belt, lending to the incredible cushion. It is suitable for lightweight loads yet remains comfortable with weight loads ranging from 20-30+ pounds. The adjustment options lend to extended comfort that is customizable to your body and your pack weight.

Weight


Luckily, the bulkiness of the padding does not equal higher weight. At 3 lbs 9 ounces, the Viva is one of the lightest women's backpacking packs we have ever reviewed.

Suspension


This backpack is designed in one size, which some may assume would compromise the suspension. We found that with the ability to adjust the torso length and with an extendable waist belt option, this backpack holds loads between 20-35 pounds quite well! According to the Osprey website, it is ideal for weight loads up to 40 pounds and suitable for slightly more. The pack has a load distribution design that runs on the outer sides of the back frame and is great at equalizing the load weight into the hips. While comfortable, and with a decent suspension, this backpack did not feel as comfortable after 8 or so miles…Unlike the Osprey Aura or Osprey Ariel, the comfort diminishes with the length of use, and for that, we recommend this pack for shorter daily distances.

Ease of Use and Organization


The Viva is uncomplicated. We found the simplicity to be refreshing after using backpacks like the Arc'teryx Bora. There are few adjustment points and straps around the pack, few pockets, and a streamlined design that allows you to worry more about the hiking and camping and less about loose straps and complicated design features. For other simple pack options, check out the Best Buy awarded North Face Terra 55.

A stretch mesh kangaroo pocket on the front of the Osprey Viva secures closed with a buckle  but is still accessible.
A stretch mesh kangaroo pocket on the front of the Osprey Viva secures closed with a buckle, but is still accessible.
The Osprey Viva has a single main compartment, sleeping bag compartments, and two smaller enclosed top lid pockets. It also has a stretch mesh fabric pocket on the front of the backpack, which is not enclosed with a zipper but an awesome pocket for storing layers on the go.

Adjustability


The Viva is offered in a single size with an adjustable torso length that secures with Velcro. The size can be adjusted for extra small  small  or medium.
The Viva is offered in a single size with an adjustable torso length that secures with Velcro. The size can be adjusted for extra small, small, or medium.
While the adjustability options on this one-size backpack are great, they are limited. Backpacks like the Osprey Aura and Osprey Ariel 65 come in multiple sizes that can better obtain an exact fit. The flexibility in sizing with the Osprey Viva is both good and bad. The good is that it is comprehensive and adjustable for most fits; the bad is that it doesn't come in multiple sizes, so if you can't get a tailored fit with the included adjustments, you may find yourself fussing with adjustments, toward comfort. That being said, the adjustability on the Osprey Viva has plenty of options, particularly for the simple or entry-level backpacker. The single adjustable size can lengthen or shorten the torso length, and unique to Osprey is an extendable waist belt called Fit on the Fly. Overall, we found the adjustability to be adequate.
Fit on the Fly is an extendable waist belt option that allows the belt to be adjusted. It can be securely attached with Velcro to suit most waist sizes and also to account for extra layers.
Fit on the Fly is an extendable waist belt option that allows the belt to be adjusted. It can be securely attached with Velcro to suit most waist sizes and also to account for extra layers.

Best Application


The Osprey Viva is an excellent option for women new to backpacking or for those not as concerned with technical features and adjustments. The Viva is best suited for trips ranging from 2-6 nights and low daily mileage objectives since shorter distances lend to better comfort under the padding and suspension of this backpack.

Value


The Viva is one of the best values as a women's introductory backpack. At $179, it is simple and comfortable as well as customizable in fit. With a lighter weight and few pockets, the Viva is simple while still offering comfort and the sleek design of an Osprey backpack like the Aura or Ariel.

Conclusion


The Osprey Viva is inexpensive and comfortable while remaining simple and sturdy. Available in a single size, the Viva is adjustable to many body types and sizes. We appreciate the sleek exterior, typical of most Osprey backpacks, and highly recommend the Viva for any woman new to backpacking!

Briana Valorosi

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