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The Inside Scoop on the Osprey Xenith & Xena

Backcountry Edge Gear Specialist Steven "Leon" Lutz and Osprey Product Line Manager Chris Horton discuss the Osprey Xenith and Xena series of backpacks.

The Inside Scoop on the Osprey Xenith & Xena

Steven: I am Steven Leon Lutz, gear specialist with Back Country Edge.


Chris: And I am Chris Horton, Osprey product guy.


Steven: Chris and I are talking about Osprey’s Xenith series of back packs. You have got large capacity packs, tons of organization, great load hauling capability and I am curious exactly who and what Osprey had in mind when they designed the Xenith series.


Chris: Yeah, I mean, obviously a back packing pack, multi nights, but, you know, we all kind of have our own personality and needs on the trail. And this is really designed for that user that likes lots of access to gear, likes lots of pocketing to organize their gear in their own way and in being supplied with the places to keep it. 


Steven: But you are still getting that custom fit and that carrying comfort that Osprey is known for?


Chris: Oh, yeah. I mean, the large volume you see here, all the access and all the pockets, it is basically encouraging people to bring everything you need. Don’t worry about putting anything at home. So obviously you may be carrying a larger load. So this is a Xenith. It is the men’s model. We also make the Xena, the women’s model. Both of them come in three different torso sizes. Huge adjustment range so it will fit any torso fit. And as far as body fit, the harness and the hip belt are actually interchangeable, so you will be able to unvelcro this, you can unsnap and take up the hip belt, because you want to make sure that the harness comes about two to three inches below your armpits to have good padding wrap. And then the hip belt should have full wrap all the way around the front side of your hips so that there is only three to six inches between the padding tips. And that means it is kind of grabbing the end of your body, hitting all the precious points correctly. And this also... the hip belt also custom molds to your body. Kind of like the most important hip belt you can. And to do that they have to be stiff.  The problem with a stiff hip belt is that you tend to get hot spots and they will wear on you as you walk through the day.  The nice thing about a custom molded hip belt is as your body temperature... as you use it, your body temp will actually mold it to your body.  You can also take it to a place have a special Osprey oven warm it up and do it before your trip. But if you are too antsy to get out, it is ok. You can walk it through. You will notice it probably a day or two in that the hip belt has actually formed to your body a lot more comfortable, kind of specific to you.


Steven: Whether you are baking it in the oven or you are letting it break in while you are wearing it, that eventual shaping will it hold in the exact same manner? 

Chris: Yeah. Exactly.  I mean, it is going to be... it is going to fit the angle and the contours of your own body and it will stay there. And the other nice thing is the actual contact points are extremely breathable and extremely padded with a kind of a reverse spacer mesh is what we call this, but we put a silicone print on that so it is a very smooth, very breathable and then also in the immediate space around that ... the hip belt and the harness, very breathable, very smooth. So it is kind of everything we can throw at this thing as far as comfort and support we would put it on this pack.  So... because especially with the load that you could potentially be carrying in this, we want to make sure that everybody is going to have a good day.

Steven:  Sure. And then, again, tons of organization on this pack. It seems like I everywhere I look there is another pocket.


Chris: Yeah, exactly. I mean, you have hip belt pockets on the front, said stretch mesh pockets that you can reach, dual lid pockets. I mean we have got, you know, a small pocket here to grab a couple of non essentials and then a big, big pocket below that.  And we turn this thing around and now we have got lower sleeping bag compartment, sleeping pad straps, ice axe and loops, two front main compartments here.’


Steven: I think these are actually separated pockets. 


Chris: Yeah. So separated pockets again. This is for the people who want to put things in their own specific pockets. You know, where is my water filter, where is my stove, where is my rain jacket? You know? The stretch mesh pockets are there for the quick access. You also have on both sides of the pack this zipper here which gives you access to the main compartment. So, again, if you have got ... you stuff this in the morning  and you are out for a hike and you realize that you left your gloves or a certain piece of gear that your need throughout the day, you will be able to unzip this and get to that piece of gear without taking everything out of the pack. 


Steven: It seems like it would be ideal for long, long trips in the back country of guiding, perhaps. What about mountaineering expeditions?


Chris: Definitely. One of the first things we did is when we got this off the line and we had a couple of protos we sent a buddy up and played with Denali in this. And so it is for everything and everybody, you know, big Alaska pack, but at the same time great if just going out on the weekend and you don’t want to forget or lose or leave anything at home and you want something that is extremely comfortable. So anything from the expedition to just the three day weekend or two day weekend.