The founding of Osprey could be considered the outdoor industry’s version of tech giants rising from humble beginnings in household garages. Osprey founder Mike Pfotenhauer grew up active in the outdoors but became fed up with ill-fitting packs. So at the age of 16, he began sewing his own custom packs, which over the years blossomed into a small retail shop in the front of his Santa Cruz home that crafted custom packs for travelers.
But with an ever-growing demand for Pfotenhauer’s amazing backpacks, he founded the company Osprey in 1974 with his wife and partner, Diane Wren. And in 1990, the two moved the Osprey factory to Dolores, Colorado and eventually to Vietnam. Today, Osprey is sold worldwide and has become a household name for many an outdoor enthusiast.
Catering to backpackers, hikers, mountaineers, cyclists, and more, Osprey’s line of packs have a reputation for durability and comfort. And an added bonus is the company’s All Mighty Guarantee: Osprey will repair any damage or defect in any of its products (dating all the way back to 1974 purchases) free of charge. If they can’t repair it, then the company will simply replace it for you.
Osprey has recently launched the new Viva line of women’s packs. The goal of this line is to provide adventurous ladies with a lightweight, affordable fitted pack. Although the line doesn’t contain all of the bells and whistles of, say, a $400 pack, the Viva products haven’t shaved off what counts—comfort, durability and plenty of room to stash all of the necessary food and gear to hit the backcountry, in style and comfort.
For its size and quality, the $180 price tag is a good deal for the Viva 50, which is available in plum purple and emerald green. The 50-liter pack (3,051 cubic inches) weighs in at 3 lbs., 9 oz.—may not be the lightest pack on the market but it’s still lightweight enough to help prevent your back from seizing up in pain during a trek into the backcountry.
The pack’s adjustable torso and hip belt ensure a custom fit, and six exterior pockets provide ample space to stash a cell phone, trail mix and other goodies in easy-to-reach spots. My go to pockets sit right on the hips and were perfect to put the items I grabbed most, like sunscreen and the camera! The Viva 50 is top loading, equipped with a bottom sleeping bag compartment and even ice axe loops for the hardcore gal. The pack is easily adjustable for height and distributes weight so evenly that carry 60 plus pounds on my back wasn’t even a bother at times. For longer adventures, check out the slightly larger Viva 65 backpack.