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Osprey Viva 50 Review

A straightforward, well-built pack at an affordable price.
Best Buy Award
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Price:  $200 List | $199.95 at Amazon
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Uncomplicated design, adjustable, rear stretch pockets, inexpensive
Cons:  Noisy frame, bulky padding, haeavy
Manufacturer:   Osprey
By Briana Valorosi ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Apr 13, 2019
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69
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#2 of 6
  • Comfort/Suspension - 45% 7
  • Organizational systems - 20% 6
  • Weight - 20% 5
  • Adjustability - 15% 10

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 4.38 lbs, the Viva is a bit heavy for its class of pack. 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.


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Our Analysis and Test Results

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

Performance Comparison



This pack is a comfortable  sleek  and affordable. We liked the simple but effective feature set and comfortable suspension.
This pack is a comfortable, sleek, and affordable. We liked the simple but effective feature set and comfortable suspension.

Suspension and 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.

The Viva features a great suspension system for the price  with comfortable padding and back panel.
The Viva features a great suspension system for the price, with comfortable padding and back panel.

Since this backpack is designed in one size, some may assume it 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 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.

Features and Ease of Use


The Viva is uncomplicated. We found the simplicity to be refreshing, but it still has enough features to be useful. There are 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 in the budget category, check out the North Face Terra 55.

The rear pocket is a great feature on this pack. It has stretchy mesh on either side and fastens with a buckle at the top
The rear pocket is a great feature on this pack. It has stretchy mesh on either side and fastens with a buckle at the top

The Osprey Viva has a single main compartment, a sleeping bag compartment, and two smaller enclosed top lid pockets. The sleeping bag compartment can be separated via an optional interior flap, but we generally find that it is easier to pack when this is not in use. There is also has a pocket on the back of the pack, which is not enclosed with a zipper but is awesome for storing layers on the go. While it used to be fully mesh, the new model of the pack features a more durable fabric with stretchy mesh on either side to make it elastic. It is no longer see through, but it can still hold gear for easy access.



Weight


Unfortunately, the pack is heavier than most women's packs that we have tested. While the previous model of this pack weighed only 3 pounds 9 ounces, the new design weighs in at four pounds 6 ounces. While we loved the old pack for its lightweight, that is no longer the case.


Among other budget backpacks that we tested, it has the smallest capacity but was right in the middle of the pack for weight. This is a bad ratio because it means that even when fully packed, the weight of the pack itself makes up a good portion of the total weight.

Adjustability


The Viva 50 is very adjustable. It is one-size-fits-all, and the torso length and waist size can both be adjusted by simply separating and shifting velcro flaps. It is easy to dial in a perfect fit, and the easy adjustment means that you can shift things after starting your hike and realizing something isn't right.

We loved Fit on the Fly technology in the waist belt. Simply separate the velcro  and you can adjust the size of the belt on both sides.
We loved Fit on the Fly technology in the waist belt. Simply separate the velcro, and you can adjust the size of the belt on both sides.

While most packs feature the adjustable torso length, the waist belt adjustment is more unique to this pack, as well as some other models from Osprey. While the reverse pull buckles are easy to cinch down, the velcro system allows for more adjustment and maximizes the amount of padding on the hips.

To help the pack fit a wider range of torso sizes  there are two attachment points for the old hauler straps.
To help the pack fit a wider range of torso sizes, there are two attachment points for the old hauler straps.

Value


The Viva is one of the best values as a women's introductory backpack. At $200, it is simple and comfortable as well as customizable in fit. With a sleek design and few pockets, the Viva is simple while still offering comfort and the trusted quality of an Osprey backpack. Thanks to its great value, it was our pick for the Best Women's Budget Backpack.

This fully featured budget pack will have on the trail for less money  without too many compromises.
This fully featured budget pack will have on the trail for less money, without too many compromises.

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 who is new to backpacking or wants an inexpensive but easy to use pack.


Briana Valorosi