Our Osprey Sportlite 15 Rucksack Review details a minimalist pack from the masters of rucksack manufacture. We hope you find it useful.
As part of their Spring 2022 range, Osprey have introduced a range of minimalist technical daypacks. They are targeted at active hikers and adventurers but also work well for anybody who wants a lightweight minimalist daypack. The Sportlite is available in sizes from 30l down to 15l. The size tested is the Sportlite 15l version.
The Sportlite 15 is designed to be a minimalist pack while still incorporating multi use features.
The harness uses Osprey’s Airscape back design. Airscape is designed to allow good ventilation whilst keeping the pack contoured to the body. The broad foam panel is rigid enough to allow the pack to remain secure against the back whilst giving enough flexibility to allow a full range of movement. The V-grooves in the panel allow increased ventilation. The whole system focuses on distributing the weight of the contents evenly across the back.
The shoulder straps are made from mesh covered contoured EVA foam. There is an adjustable sternum strap incorporating an emergency whistle and an unpadded removable waistbelt.
The main body of the pack comprises a single large compartment with an integrated hydration sleeve. The pack can be used with many hydration systems such as Osprey’s Hydraulics system (reviewed here).
The main compartment is closed at the top by a two way zipper that extends halfway down each side of the pack. This is designed for easy loading and it should also make it easy to search for items inside. For extra security there are two high level compression straps. These will help tighten loads or secure items like trekking poles or a camera tripod.
The front panel has a separate zip pocket for keeping small items handy. This pocket has a key clip inside. Each side of the pack has a large mesh pocket. The opening is angled to allow the main zip to work to its full range. This also makes it easier to place items in the pockets. The pockets are deep and can securely store a 500ml drink bottle with ease.
All the main body fabrics are Bluesign approved. This means they meet the highest ethical and environmental standards in production. The main body materials are also GRS (Global Recycling Standard). This standard verifies that all claims made about recycled materials are true. The pack is finished with a PFC / PFAS free DWR water repellent coating.
The pack packs an impressive punch with its features and construction, but what is it like in use? The pack was tested during hikes up to a full day in length and for longer hill runs.
For longer hikes I was able to carry a full waterproofs and a spare warm jacket in the main compartment. This compartment also fitted hat, gloves, map, compass and first aid kit. My phone, wallet and keys were kept secure in the zip pocket. My lunch drinks bottles could be stashed in the mesh sleeves. I never assume a pack is waterproof and so line them with a waterproof stuff sack. The curved top of the Sportlite 15 allowed space for the rolled top to clip easily into place.
With the drinks bottles added, there was a fair weight to the pack. I wondered how the minimalist pack would handle. Infact, the fit was secure and the weight well spread across my back. From experience I know my older 20 litre pack with a standard EVA foam back insert would have buckled and become uncomfortable. The Airscape back panel remained stiff enough to keep high levels of comfort.
Whilst crossing unstable ground there was no side to side movement to unbalance me. Moving over steep rock and in different directions I was confident my drinks would not slip out of the mesh pockets. In all circumstances it felt stable and secure.
When running with more lightweight kit only half of the pack was filled. I cinched down the compression straps and kept the waist belt secured. The back panel certainly prevented unnecessary jarring whilst allowing comfortable and unrestricted movement. Whilst not specifically a running pack, the Sportlite performed just as well as my usual one, in my opinion fulfilling the idea of a minimalist technical pack for a variety of lightweight adventures.
Summarising my Osprey Sportlite 15 Rucksack review is easy enough. If your adventures require less kit or you want a smaller and minimalist pack, the Sportlite will make a great choice. It has the build quality Osprey are renowned for and the features are perfect for a broad range of activities. It would also make a great multi-use option for anyone who undertakes different pursuits. Even then, it could also serve for everyday and about town use. This is a great addition to the Osprey range. The Sportlite 15 will be available from Spring 22 and details will be on the Osprey website here.