Hands-on Gear Review

Osprey Levity 45 Review

Osprey Levity 45
Price:  $250 List | $250.00 at REI
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Lightweight, simple design, back panel provides ventilation, comfortable
Cons:  Narrow, lacks padding, small volume, specific use
Bottom line:  The Levity is a pack that combines ultralight design with comfort and breathability.
Editors' Rating:   
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Total Weight (ounces):  28.8 oz
Stripped Weight (ounces):  28.8 oz
Claimed Volume (liters):  45 L
Manufacturer:   Osprey

Our Verdict

This new addition to the Osprey fleet places the company squarely in the midst of the ultralight backpacking scene. We tested the 45-liter version of the Levity and found it to be an incredibly comfortable, lightweight pack that has a full frame and suspension system. This is an impressive feat, considering the weight of Osprey's more traditional packs. But, stripping the Levity down to the essentials and cutting corners on fabric and materials, this pack is lightweight and comfortable. It does fall a tad short regarding durability, though, since it is made of very lightweight fabric.



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Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Jane Jackson

Last Updated:
Monday
May 14, 2018

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In most of our performance comparisons, the Osprey Levity held its own against longstanding ultralight winners, performing exceptionally well in the carrying comfort and adaptability metrics. Since it has a relatively small capacity and a full frame, the Levity does not get the highest score in the weight-to-volume comparison, but it still holds its own. Durability is where the Levity falls a bit short since it is made of very lightweight material that is typically used in tents, rather than packs. Overall, it held up to our abuses during our three-month test period.

The fully packed Levity in the Utah desert.
The fully packed Levity in the Utah desert.

Performance Comparison



Weight-to-Volume Ratio


In this metric, we were expecting the Levity to have a surprisingly high score, but the numbers don't lie, and this pack received a fairly average score regarding weight-to-volume.


Though the pack is extremely light, its overall volume is relatively low, which is why it receives a lower score in this metric overall. That said, it is a very, very light pack, and if you are planning on having a small amount of gear, it's a good bet. Other models that have similar scores in this category are the Ultimate Direction FastPack (which is also a small-capacity pack), the Exos and the Haglofs L.I.M. Strive 50.

Weight Bottom Line:
Total Weight with all modular components = 1 lb 12.8 oz
Pack stripped of components = 1 lb 12.8 oz

OGL Measured Volume Bottom Line:
Total Volume = 48L
Main Bag = 31L
Front Pocket = 5L
Side Pockets = 4L
Removable Lid = 8L

The mesh back panel on the Levity is what makes this pack a stand out  since it provides support while still remaining super light.
The mesh back panel on the Levity is what makes this pack a stand out, since it provides support while still remaining super light.

Load Carrying Comfort


It is the shape of the Levity 45 that makes it a contender in this metric. The pack is slender and has a low profile along the back; it's also wide at the bottom, which allows the load to sit low on the hips. The shape is reminiscent of the Gossamer Gear Gorilla in that it has a full bottom and narrow top. We like the way this sat on our hips, though the hip belt is considerably less padded than both the Gorilla and the Gossamer Gear Mariposa. We loaded this pack up with both a 15 and 30-pound load and found that it carried both reasonably well. The lightweight nature of the pack makes it fit ok when it is not very full, making it useful for day trips as well.

The Levity lacks padding in the hip belt  but it still manages to provide comfort and stability.
The Levity lacks padding in the hip belt, but it still manages to provide comfort and stability.

Features


The feature set on the Levity is much simpler overall than its more complex cousin, the Osprey Exos 48. The pack is basically made up of the main compartment, which is fairly roomy; three outer pockets that tighten by a small cord that passes through the top of all of them, and a lid that has ample storage space. We liked the simplicity of this pack and found it liberating to have such a streamlined Osprey model. It's not as simple as the ZPacks Arc Blast 52, and more in line with the Haglofs L.I.M. Strive, the Levity shines because it is a middle ground between a featureless pack and a complex one.

Adaptability


On one hand, the Levity gets high praise regarding adaptability, and in some ways, it falls short. The small drawstring compression mechanism on both sides of the pack make it easy to slim down for smaller, lighter loads. We found this useful for day trips when we were not carrying all of our gear. The Gossamer Gear Mariposa was similarly effective in this metric and carried light loads very well. Unlike some packs, like the Gossamer Gorilla, the Levity is difficult to strip down any more than it already is. The pack's frame is removable, but it is not advised to remove it. Also, if you want to remove the frame on this pack, perhaps it's worth checking out another option since the suspension and frame are the main features of the pack.

The large external pocket on the Levity is great but it lacks the stretchy  mesh that makes the pockets on the Osprey Exos.
The large external pocket on the Levity is great but it lacks the stretchy, mesh that makes the pockets on the Osprey Exos.

Durability


Here, the Levity falls a bit short but remains a contender overall. The main way that Osprey was able to cut weight when designing this pack was on the materials they chose to work with. The Levity is made of a combination of 100-denier NanoFly Cordura, 100-denier ripstop polyethylene, 300-denier ripstop Silnylon. These materials are much lighter and thus more delicate than most other packs on the market. Some tents are made of these materials, which can give you an idea of what the pack feels like. Packs like the ZPacks Arc Blast 52 are made of double reinforce cuben/polyester ripstop which makes them extremely durable in comparison to the Levity. If you are looking for a very light pack with a full, ventilated frame and are not concerned with compromising a bit concerning durability, then the Levity is a good choice. The Osprey Exos 48 is a bit more durable, but still has the same ventilated frame as the Levity and may be a good option as well.

These compression straps seem fairly delicate! They lasted our three-month test period but they do seem like they could break over time.
These compression straps seem fairly delicate! They lasted our three-month test period but they do seem like they could break over time.

Best Applications


This pack fills a small niche within an already niche category. The Levity, and its women's specific counterpart, the Lumina are designed for folks who want a ventilated, comfortable suspension system and an ultralight pack. No other pack combines these two attributes as well as the Levity, but it does mean that the pack falls short in other categories. It is also a good option if you are looking for an even lighter equivalent to the Gossamer Gear Mariposa since the Levity has a similar feature set.

The tiny buckles on the Levity save weight!
The tiny buckles on the Levity save weight!

Value


Sold for $250 online, the Levity 45 falls into the middle of the road regarding price among our ultralight contenders. The Gossamer Gear Mariposa is comparable in price at $270 as is the Gorilla which is a slightly cheaper $260. For a more reasonably priced pack, check out the Granite Gear Virga 2, which costs only $140 and is a super lightweight model, though it lacks the suspension of the Levity.

Conclusion


We were fairly pleased with this new model from Osprey. They did something new and different, combining features from their traditional backpacks with ultralight materials, and we appreciate the innovation. This pack certainly is not for everyone, and it is designed for a fairly specific use. We felt the suspension system was very comfortable and we were happy with the ventilation it provided. If you treat this pack well, it should last a fairly long time.

Jane Jackson

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Most recent review: May 14, 2018
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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 (4.0)
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