Osprey Lumina 45 Litre Rucksack Review

3rd Jan 2019

Osprey Lumina 45 Litre Rucksack 2-1

Some time ago Paul received an Osprey Levity 45 rucksack for review and I was, I must admit, a little jealous.  The Levity is a superlight pack with all the features needed for multi-day backpacking and Paul loved it.  You can read his review here.  Luckily, Osprey have also released a female specific version called the Lumina and they very kindly sent me one to try.  Here is my review….

Features

The Osprey website explains that the Lumina was ‘designed with purely the essential features, in order to minimise weight and maximise performance’.  This sums up the pack well.  In a time where many rucksack manufacturers include every imaginable bell and whistle, the Lumina is all about stripping things back.

There is a single drawcord closed main compartment with internal top load compression strap and this is covered by a fixed lid housing a large zipped pocket with internal key clip.  There is an additional large bellowed external pocket which has a top closure strap and two dual access side pockets with compression cords.  A series of webbing loops and tabs on the front, top and base offer additional attachment options.  There is also a tape grab handle and the Lumina is hydration system compatible.

A lightweight frame offers support and rigidity and also allows the use of Osprey’s Ultralight AirSpeed ventilated trampoline suspended mesh back panel.  This is teamed with an ExoForm mesh hip belt and harness and there is a sternum strap with emergency whsitle.

Osprey use ultralight but abrasion resistant NanoFly Ripstop for the outer surfaces and non exposed surfaces feature 30D siliconised nylon.  

I asked for a 45 litre version because, although Osprey do also make a 60 litre version, for my typical 2/3 day trips the smaller size is perfect.  This size comes in at an amazing 770 grams total weight for a size medium (there are small and medium size options).

In Use

As described above, the Lumina 45 has minimal features and yet it doesn’t want for anything.  It also utilises ultralight materials all selected to give the magic balance between performance and weight saving - you will notice from the first moment you see this pack that every single detail has been considered.  It is a masterpiece of functional design.  Before trying it out I explored it for quite some time and still keep finding new things.

Next, I tried loading it up.  I have spent time over the last few years minimising my pack load and could easily fit equipment and food for 3/4 days into the main compartment and top pocket.  I also explored the external front and side pockets and found that they worked exactly as intended and that they again have a generous capacity.  

The side pockets lend themselves towards carrying water bottles and have a clever double entry system. This means that items can be removed from the top entry or, when you are wearing the pack, through side entry openings.  If you choose not to carry bottles in there they could just as easily be used for storing a tent, waterproofs or other spare layers.

The large front fabric pocket is again very generous in size.  You could easily store the components of a lightweight tent in there or waterproofs, food or just about anything else.  Basically, they all work exactly as intended and are extremely useful.  

The only thing I wondered was whether there is any scope for Osprey to make them removable.  On some trips it is definitely really useful to have the variable capacity but for many of the trips I will use the Lumina for I simply don’t need to extra capacity. Although they must weigh virtually nothing, I am always keen to streamline equipment as much as I can - a small point but worth a mention.

The external pockets do feature a clever compression cord system which allows users to pull the pockets snug to the pack when not in use.  I found this handy as the pockets do sit wide of the rucksack body and I guess this is the other alternative to being able to remove them.

Of course, the key to any trekking pack is how it carries and it only once loaded up that you get a proper feel for how efficient the Lumina back system is.  The whole carry system is based around the frame and so that’s where I’ll start.  The pack has a lightweight perimeter frame that runs around the outside edge and then a mesh panel is stretched across it.  This looks like it will be comfortable and it certainly is.  The frame and the shaping of the mesh pushes the load onto the lower back and hips for carrying efficiency and having some space behind the mesh panel is great for ventilation and ensuring nothing packed in the pack pokes through into your back.  It is a truly excellent system. 

The waist belt is the other key component of this carrying package and the stretchy mesh has allowed Osprey to create a curved structure that contours around the hips and again drives the pack into the optimum carrying position.  The waistbelt has broad padded ‘wings’ formed from ExoForm which grip around the hips and this leads to a narrow strap with quick release buckle in the front section.  Although the wings don’t spread around the waist as far as some trekking packs, this doesn’t seem to affect comfort or performance.  It works really well.  

The shoulder straps feature layered ExoMesh which makes a nicely padded load bearing area and offers plenty of comfort while also breathing really well.  It is cleverly designed so that the load comes through a central strap that is stitched into the broad shoulder strap in a way that spreads the load efficiently.  There is also a sternum strap with emergency whistle.

Osprey have really thought about women’s physiology and the fit reflects that in every way. The pack is offered in 2 sizes and the brilliant Osprey Pack Sizer 2.0 App can be downloaded for free to help find the perfect fit.

On first inspection I think anyone looking at the Lumina will wonder if the pack’s featherweight fabrics will be up to the inevitable outdoor wear and tear.  Of course, any extremely lightweight material can’t be as durable as a much heavier weight option, but fabric technology has moved on massively in recent years and much lighter materials can still offer durability and performance.

Osprey have selected a combination of fabrics designed to provide the best combination of lightness, weatherproofness and durability.  I haven’t been using the pack long enough to comment on the durability but I would say that the Lumina just needs to be handled with care in the same way as any outdoor gear.  If, for example, you keep dumping your loaded pack onto rough stony ground it is never going to last as long if you place it onto grass - simple steps like this are all that’s needed to ensure the pack keeps performing. 

In terms of water resistance it has proved that it can fend off rain for a while but, like any pack,  it certainly isn’t waterproof.  It will need users to pack thing into an interior drybag or with a waterproof cover.    

Summary

The Lumina is a great option for all the gram counting multi-day trekkers out there.  Osprey have brought their design expertise and typical attention to detail to the ultralight pack market and I think the Lumina is a great testament to their skills and creativity.  It is also brilliant that they are willing to produce a women’s specific pack into a fairly niche sector of the outdoor market.  I really like the Lumina and, although it is not going to be an everyday pack,  when it is the right tool for the job, it works superbly and that 770 gram weight is staggering.  The pack does come with a premium price tag of £220, but I do think you are getting a lot of pack for that (or not much pack…..and that’s really the point!).  Another great product from Osprey.  More details can be found on the Osprey website here and the video below from Backcountry Edge is a great run through of the Lumina’s key features.

Posted by Cal