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Hands-on Gear Review

Osprey Xenith 75 Review

Xenith 70
Top Pick Award
Price:   $330 List | $261.31 at Amazon
Compare prices at 5 resellers
Pros:  Super comfortable, carries heavier loads among the best in the review, superb external twin zippered pockets, dual directional stretch mesh zippered pockets are super functional and easy to use
Cons:  Harder to search for items in lid pockets; the lid that can be used as a lumbar pack might seem cool, but rarely used feature
Editors' Rating:     
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Manufacturer:   Osprey

Our Verdict

The Osprey Xenith 75 is one of the best load-hauling packs we have ever tested. New winner of the OutdoorGearLab Top Pick Award for being the best pack for extended trips, this pack is high quality. This model has become tester Ian Nicholson's choice for remote expeditions and guiding on Denali, where pack weights of 60-70 lbs (or heavier) for up to three weeks are the norm. If that's not saying something, we don't know what is.

Need a Bigger Xenith Pack?
Xenith 70
If 75L just isn't going to cut it, Osprey also offers the Osprey Xenith 88. If that still isn't enough room for you the Osprey Xenith 105 is the largest pack in the Xenith family. Regardless of size, the Xenith pack series retains all the award winning qualities we tested for. If you're looking for a monster pack with great gear hauling capabilities, the Xenith line of packs should do it for you.


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Score Product Price Measured Weight Volume Access
94
$549
Editors' Choice Award
4.94 lbs. 65L/3966in Top & Front
92
$260
Top Pick Award
4.38 lbs. 65L/3966in Top & Front
90
$330
Top Pick Award
5.13 lbs. 75L/4577in Top & Sides
88
$300
Top Pick Award
5.19 lbs. 65L/3966in Top, Front & Bottom
87
$240
3.63 lbs. 65L/3967in Top & Bottom
85
$290
5 lbs. 70L/4200in Top & Front
85
$290
4.81 lbs. 60L/3700in Top & Front
82
$200
Best Buy Award
3.75 lbs. 75L/4577in Top & Bottom
80
$199
3.63 lbs. 65L/3966in Top
77
$220
Top Pick Award
2.5 lbs. 58L/3539in Top
76
$220
5.56 lbs. 78L/4750in Top & Front
76
$279
6.19 lbs. 65+20L Top & Bottom

Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results

Review by:
Ian Nicholson
Review Editor
OutdoorGearLab

Last Updated:
Thursday
May 12, 2016

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Performance Comparison


See the chart below to find out where the Xenith 75 ranked in our lineup of backpacks.


Comfort


The Xenith 75 features high-quality foam and is exceptionally well-designed. It comes equipped with articulated shoulder straps that we determined made this one of the most comfortable packs in our review. The face fabric (the outside fabric) used on the straps was our consensus tester favorite for feeling the best while next to our skin. The shoulder straps and waist belt felt even more luxurious than many of the other award winners, like the Top Pick winner, the Gregory Baltoro 65, or the Osprey Aether 60.


The foam padding used on this pack's hip-belt and shoulder straps is top notch and there are few packs on the market that are more comfortable when carrying moderate to heavy loads (>40lbs). When compared to the other packs that we tested, this model is a little stiffer; this is better for heavier loads, but may be slightly overkill for shorter, less heavily laden trips.

Weight


You don't buy the 5 pound 2 ounce Xenith 75 because it's the lightest pack, you buy it because it's a respectable weight and is MEGA comfortable. This model is similar in weight to the comparable Gregory Baltoro 65 (5 lbs 3 oz), but remains slightly heavier than most of the other options in our review. It is still lighter than the Deuter Air Contact 65 + 10 (6 lbs 3 oz) or the Kelty Coyote 80 (5 lbs 9 oz), but remains around 8-12 ounces heavier than most packs in our review.


Suspension


The Xenith has one of the more robust suspensions among packs we tested, which resulted in it having the ability to carry loads with ease.


It carried moderate to heavier loads (45+ pounds or more) significantly better than most options out there, including our Editors' Choice, the Osprey Atmos 65 AG. Compared with the higher scoring heavy load carriers, this contender performed very similarly to the Gregory Baltoro 65.

Showing one of two large external zippered pockets on the Osprey Xenith 75. We loved this pocket that could easily fit a Nalgene bottle  rain shell or just help us stay organized.
Showing one of two large external zippered pockets on the Osprey Xenith 75. We loved this pocket that could easily fit a Nalgene bottle, rain shell or just help us stay organized.

Features and Ease Of Use


The Xenith offers a pretty nice balance of features and functionality while maintaining a respectable weight. Check out the chart below to see where the Xenith landed in the Ease of Use category.


Our testers absolutely love the dual zippered pockets on the front of the pack; these are easy to access even when the pack is super full and were big enough to fit something bigger than a 1L Nalgene. On top of the pockets, the stretchy mesh beaver-tail pocket is great for flipflops, a jacket wanted close-at-hand, or any other oddly shaped items. A cool and unique feature of this pack (and other Osprey packs) is the stretchy mesh water bottle pockets featured on either side of the pack, which easily fit a 1 liter Nalgene in a very secure traditional vertical orientation. What's cool is that the pockets have a secondary hole, which allows the water bottle to also be oriented forward so the user can (fairly) easily access and stow their bottles without having to remove their pack. Not only were the mesh pockets big enough to fit a water bottle, but you could also stuff another item (like tent poles), which might be sharing the same pocket.

The Xenith 75 mesh water bottle pockets allow a traditionally shaped one litter bottle to be carried either vertically or diagonally forward (seen here) to allow for easier access.
The Xenith 75 mesh water bottle pockets allow a traditionally shaped one litter bottle to be carried either vertically or diagonally forward (seen here) to allow for easier access.

The ice axe loops are above average for functionality among other more backpacking-oriented options. The lower straps that extend over the sleeping bag compartment fit most closed cell foam pads, tripods, or other oblong items. Our testing team liked the dual zippered lid pockets, as they helped keep us organized on extended trips. While we utilized these pockets on every trip, we didn't think they were quite as easy to hunt for items in versus packs with zippers on the top of the lid rather than the side (like the Arcteryx Bora AR 63 or the Gregory Baltoro 65). We liked the hip belt pockets on this particular competitor and found them big enough for a camera, smartphone, or snacks that we wanted to have quick access to while hiking.

The mesh zippered pocket featured on the Osprey Xenith 75 (shown here) is opposite a more water resistant nylon pocket on the other hip belt and is big enough for most smart phones  point-and-shoot cameras or other small items that you may want easily accessible like a chap stick or an energy bar.
The mesh zippered pocket featured on the Osprey Xenith 75 (shown here) is opposite a more water resistant nylon pocket on the other hip belt and is big enough for most smart phones, point-and-shoot cameras or other small items that you may want easily accessible like a chap stick or an energy bar.

Adjustability and Fit


Using shoulder straps that are attached to a large Velcro flap, sandwiched inside the primary back panel, this pack offers around 4" of torso length adjustment. This simple system has been imitated by several other manufacturers and with good reason. This design allows the pack to truly be fine-tuned to the user and we have never felt it slip or slide out of adjustment unexpectedly.


Fit
This is one of the few pack models we tested, along with the Osprey models: the Osprey Aether 60 & 70 and Osprey Atmos 65 AG, that for users with backs lengths of around 19.5-21", we found it was more comfortable to go up to the larger size rather than stay with the medium size. Osprey recommends going with either length for users with a 20" torso; in our experience, and after talking with several shops and users, we'd say that 80% of folks are happier with the longer length when in between sizes on Osprey's torso length chart. We didn't notice much of a difference with lighter loads (under 40 lbs), but when we weighed the pack down for extended trips, we felt the longer length helped the pack carry better and thus ultimately was more comfortable.

The Osprey Xenith 75 features roughly 4" of adjustment to accommodate different torso lengths. Another option that we love about Osprey packs is they will let you mix and match help belts and shoulder straps among different torso lengths.
The Osprey Xenith 75 features roughly 4" of adjustment to accommodate different torso lengths. Another option that we love about Osprey packs is they will let you mix and match help belts and shoulder straps among different torso lengths.

Best Applications


This pack has become our OutdoorGearLab Testers' Go To pack for extended trips and heavily laden excursions, including tester Ian Nicholson; this is his favorite Denali pack (a mountain he guides each year). This pack is best for folks who tend to gravitate toward more extended trips or just find themselves carrying a little extra equipment on backpacking or mountaineering endeavors. Because of its volume, it's not great for folks who primarily go on 1-2 night trips, as it will too easily let you overpack. You can easily find a pack that is a little lighter, but this model truly excels when you need to carry a lot of stuff.

A Note on Volume
This pack's 75 L volume isn't a huge 75 and actually feels like it's a little smaller in volume than the Arc'teryx Altra 75.

Value


At $330, this pack's cost runs in the middle of the road. It still costs around $220 less than the $549 Arc'teryx Bora AR 63 and $30 more than the comparable Gregory Baltoro 65 ($300), though the comparable volume, the Baltoro 75, is $320. While more expensive than most of the packs in our review, we think this one is completely worth it for extended trips where its more robust suspension, high-quality foam, and killer design are worth a little extra money.

Conclusion and the Bottom Line


The Osprey Xenith 75 is one of the most comfortable packs in our review; because of its robust design and larger volume, this competitor is best for folks who frequently go on extended trips or are the dedicated porter of their group.
Ian Nicholson

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: April 23, 2017
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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 (5.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
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 (4.0)

100% of 1 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
2 Total Ratings
5 star: 50%  (1)
4 star: 50%  (1)
3 star: 0%  (0)
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   Apr 23, 2017 - 05:17pm
· Oregon
I have the larger Xenith 88. I'm definitely an osprey loyalist because of their great warranty, and, in comparison to the competition the Xenith series is absolutely one of the best options for very heavy loads, however, I would really appreciate the option of more stripped down version. Personally, I only use the side and bottom main compartment access zips when I use it as a suitcase, and I could definitely live with a single rear compartment instead of three. These 'features' add weight and reduce durability. My dream pack would be something with the capacity, comfort, and durability of the Xenith series but the simple layout of the Exos series.

Edit: Additionally, pay attention to waist size when choosing a pack. I'm right on the threshold of medium/large pack sizing (19.5" torso), but if I had gone with a large pack I would have needed to swap to a medium belt (30.5" waist) which is available separately, but costs $50.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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