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NationalParksTraveler.com – Featuring Variant 37 – December 28, 2014

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NationalParksTraveler.com – Featuring Variant 37 – December 28, 2014

December 28, 2014
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I had a chance to take this new Osprey pack for a test run this fall couple of times, and liked it very much. My old pack (which hasn’t been made for over 20 years) is a mish-mash of sewn-on patches, replaced zippers, and marks where an Alaskan mouse chewed its way. I guess it’s probably time for a gear upgrade before something important drops out.

On a long, autumn hike up the Wasatch Mountains in November, the Variant made a good catch-all bag for me and two other hikers as we scrambled up rocky slopes, wandered along rock outcroppings, and lunched at the top of Lookout Peak. It is very lightweight (a bit over 3 ½ pounds), and was really, really comfortable. My partners made fun of the bright orange color, but it was hunting season after all, and we didn’t get shot too much. I imagine the color will mellow with repeated use. The pack also comes in Galactic black, perfect for more of a stealth approach, or space exploration…

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NationalParksTraveler.com – Featuring Exos Series – November 30, 2014

November 30, 2014

packs_300Whether you exchange gifts for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Boxing Day, the Feast of St. Nicholas, Saint Lucia’s Day, or some other year-end holiday, we have some ideas for the national park lover on your list…

More and more these days, going into the backcountry of a national park means going light, and both Osprey Packs and Mountainsmith can help you get there. Osprey’s Exos Superlight line is a good example of the transformation to smaller, lighter packs. This line features three packs—the 38, 48, and 58—that weigh in between 2 pounds, 3 ounces, and 2 pounds, 12 ounces. Stretch mesh panels helps keep these packs streamlined, and there’s an integrated pocket for your hydration system, and any number of adjustments that can further reduce the weight based on your needs…

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NationalParksTraveler.com – Featuring Volt and Viva Series – May 23, 2013

May 23, 2013

Just in time for high school graduation, or maybe even Father’s Day, comes the Volt backpack from Osprey.

While this pack maker has really worked to push its designs (ie, custom-moldable hipbelts, gender-specific shoulder harnesses, top pockets that double as fanny packs), the Volt is basically slimmed-down, a minimalist backpack aimed at getting the job done without bells and whistles. That’s not to say that the Volt is a second-rate or even entry-level backpack. Rather, it’s a pack that’s well-engineered yet doesn’t push the price too far.

The Volt comes in two sizes, the Volt 75 (MSRP $199), which offers almost 4,600 cubic inches of storage capacity, and the Volt 60 (MSRP $179) which offers 3,661 cubic inches of capacity.

Despite their somewhat Spartan approach, these packs offer all the basics when it comes to carrying your gear into the backcountry. There’s a zippered sleeping bag compartment on the bottom, a top pocket for holding items such as maps, notepads, matches, etc., and a deep center compartment for storing most of your gear.

More and more packs in recent years have offered zippered openings for that main compartment, and the lack of one for the Volt is a slight drawback. And yet, the lack of a zipper saves a slight bit of weight and does away with a potential weak spot, or one conducive to leakage.

There are plenty of things to like about this backpack. On the inside of the top pocket you’ll find a zippered mesh pocket to hold things like you car keys, wallet, cellphone, or that MP3 player you don’t want to get wet. There also are stretch mesh side pockets for carrying things like water bottles or perhaps a first-aid kit, and you’ll also find a large capacity mesh pocket on the back of the pack for more stowage.

Of course, the Volt packs also come with external attachment points for carrying things such as ice axes or ski or trekking poles, and you can even add one of Osprey’s crampon pockets. The adjustable hip belt also has small hip pockets for more items, such as snacks or a GPS device or compass.

There is an external hydration sleeve so you don’t have to worry about any leaks soaking your gear. Unfortunately, the hydration bladder is extra (MSRP $34-$36). That might not be an issue if you have other daypacks, or even backpacks, with bladders you can use with the Volt. Also extra is a rain cover (MSRP $34).

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NationalParksTraveler.com – Featuring Ozone 22” – December 7, 2012

December 7, 2012

Traveling light when it comes to needing a jet-liner to get around isn’t just nice these days, it’s strategic. Not only will a carry-on help you avoid baggage fees, but a tough, well-designed carry-on will protect your stuff from all the other carry-ons people try to shove into the overhead.

And Osprey likely has a bag for you.

Planning a weekend getaway? Then the company’s line of Ozone Ultra-Light luggage is something to consider. These heavy duty, wheeled bags obviously were influenced by the company’s backpacks: There are ample pockets for stowing big and small items, a mix of tough ballistic and heavy duty nylon went into the bag’s construction, and a 6001 T6 aluminum frame supports it.

How big should you go?

The Ozone 22 offers 2,807 cubic inches of storage and weighs 4 pounds, 8 ounces, while the Ozone 28 offers nearly 5,000 cubic inches of space and weighs 5 pounds. There’s even an Ozone 18, which holds 2,197 cubic inches and weighs an even 4 pounds, a size great for youngsters.

While the Ozone 22 (MSRP $229) is perfect for two or three days on the road, going beyond that could be pushing things unless you will have laundry facilities. It also might be a bit small if you need to take extra shoes with you, unless you have another carry-on.

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