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Osprey Levity 45 Review

The Levity is a pack that combines ultralight design with comfort and breathability
Osprey Levity 45
Photo: Osprey
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Price:  $250 List | $249.95 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Lightweight, simple design, back panel provides ventilation, comfortable
Cons:  Narrow, lacks padding, small volume, specific use
Manufacturer:   Osprey
By Jane Jackson ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  May 14, 2018
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68
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#11 of 14
  • Weight-to-Volume Ratio - 35% 6
  • Comfort to Carry - 25% 8
  • Features - 20% 7
  • Adaptability - 10% 7
  • Durability - 10% 6

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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Osprey Levity 45
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Osprey Levity 45
Awards  Editors' Choice Award   Top Pick Award 
Price $249.95 at Backcountry
Compare at 3 sellers
$270 List$260 List$225 List$145 List
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Pros Lightweight, simple design, back panel provides ventilation, comfortableDurable, comfortable, well-designed pockets, carries light and heavy loads wellLightweight, carries light and medium loads well, adaptable, perfect feature set, more durable than mostCarries both light and heavier loads in comfort, large side pockets, very durable constructionSimple design, inexpensive, durable
Cons Narrow, lacks padding, small volume, specific useLarge capacity makes it less versatileA little small for a bear canisterRelatively heavy, delicate carbon frame rodsFoam pad falls out easily, shoulder straps lack support
Bottom Line For a pack that is lightweight, but still provides support and ventilation with a full suspension system, this is the ticketAs an all around great pack, it can carry large and light loads with ease, has plenty of external storage options, and is super comfortableOne of our top picks and scored highly in all metrics, it's comfortable, versatile, and has just enough featuresThis pack is a popular ultralight pack for good reason; it has plenty of outside storage, is made of durable fabrics, and carries both 15 and 30 pound loads with easeCombines simplicity, a reasonable price tag, and a good feature set
Rating Categories Osprey Levity 45 Gossamer Gear Mariposa Gossamer Gear Gorilla Ultralight Adventure Equipme... Ultralight Adventure Equipme...
Weight To Volume Ratio (35%)
6
7
8
7
8
Comfort To Carry (25%)
8
10
10
9
6
Features (20%)
7
10
7
8
8
Adaptability (10%)
7
8
8
7
8
Durability (10%)
6
9
9
7
9
Specs Osprey Levity 45 Gossamer Gear... Gossamer Gear... Ultralight... Ultralight...
Measured Weight 28.8 oz 30.5 oz 31.5 oz 31.4 oz 24 oz
Stripped Weight 28.8 oz 30.5 oz 27.5 oz 20.4 oz 23 oz
Claimed Volume 45 L 60 L 40 L 63 L 54 L
Measured Main Pack Volume 31 L 48 L 38 L 41 L 45 L
Measured Volume Total (minus hip belt and shoulder strap pockets) 48 L 64 L 53 L 48 L 53 L
Measured Volume Stripped (minus hip belt, shoulder pockets, and removable lids) 48 L 59 L 48 L 48 L 53 L
Average Weight-to-Volume Ratio (grams/Liter) 17.01 g/L 14 g/L 13.5 g/L 14.5 g/L 12.8 g/L
Carrying Comfort 15 pounds Good Great Great Great Great
Carrying Comfort 30 pounds Good Great Great Great Poor
Frame Type Internal Foam pad/ removable stay Foam pad/removable stay Simple Frame - 1.2 oz carbon fiber / Delrin active suspension hoop Removable foam pad
Fabric 100-denier NanoFly Cordura/100-denier ripstop polyethylene/300-denier ripstop Silnylon 70 & 100 denier Robic nylon 70 & 100 denier robic nylon ULA 210 Robic nylon 210 Robic nylon, 400d Robic Bottom Panel
Main Pack Pockets 3 4 3 3 3
Hip Belt Pockets None 2 2 Two 2
Single Hip Belt Pocket Capacity N/a 4 4 cliff bars 8 Clif Bars 2 cliff bars
Shoulder Strap Pockets No No No No No
Whistle on Sternum Strap Yes No Yes No No
Internal Hydration Sleeve Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Bag Sizes/Torso Lengths Available S, M, L S, M, L S, M, L S, M, L, XL S, M, L, XL
Mix and Match Hip Belt Sizes No S, M, L S, M, L S, M, L, XL S, M, L, XL
Can Easily Strip Off Frame and Hip Belt No Good Good Yes No
BearVault BV500 Compatibility Ok Good Ok Just OK Ok
Lid (aka Brain) Yes No Yes No No

Our Analysis and Test Results

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.
Photo: Jane Jackson

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

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

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. We had a similar experience with The North Face Hydra 38, which has a lightweight, tension frame as well. The Hydra's frame is very hard to remove, limiting the pack's adaptability.

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

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

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!
Photo: Jane Jackson

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