Osprey Xenon 70 Backpack Review

Osprey Xenon 70: High quality with high performance.

Osprey Xenon 70 Women's backpack. Click all images to enlarge.
Osprey Xenon 70 Women's backpack. Click all images to enlarge.

By Mary Webb

Osprey’s Xenon 70 backpack for women is ahead of the pack with its precise fit! Hiking through the back country, we discovered how capable the Xenon 70 backpack is in providing not only customization of comfort, but also in its compartmental design.  No need to purchase a day pack and overnight loader, Osprey used every opportunity to provide quality optimization in one design, just what the modern woman expects and deserves.

With the pack loaded up, our group hiked out to a secluded campsite tucked way into a cool pine covered valley where we would be staying several days.  My sleeping bag stuffed nicely inside the bottom sleeping bag compartment of pack along with my compact Big Agnes sleeping mat. Heavier gear like cooking items, food and water bottles filled up the lower part of the main pack compartment and lighter gear filled in towards the top.

Osprey’s water resistant Ultralight Nylon fabric allowed expansion of packing items, so we filled her up for several days!  Load straps give you flexibility to expand the pack for bulky items, and, more importantly, to cinch down the pack load so gear doesn’t jiggle around while on the trail. Extra straps at the base of the pack allow for additional gear, such as ice ax and crampons to be lashed away as well.

We really like how accessible the Xenon was for us to get to gear without sacrificing protection. You have a vertical zip access into main body that allows you to reach your cooking items without having to take out everything up top. There is a two-way zippered access to items stored at the base; we found this very useful when we were all packed up for the next glorious day of hiking, and needed only to retrieve the down bag and sleeping mat in the evening.

A quick zippered access is also available on the large side pocket where an elastic band inside keeps the water bottles secured.

Osprey Xenon 70 vertical side pocket.
Osprey Xenon 70 vertical side pocket.

Additional stretch woven front and side pockets accommodated us in allowing accessible items to be stored. Rubber-grip finger pulls, with generous room for gloved fingers, offer zip-quick readiness, especially in rainy weather.

A great backpack design begins with a proper frame, and the Xenon 70 sure has a solid foundation.  Made from 7075 T6 aluminum ReCurve rods, this lightweight metal, coupled with Xenon’s AirScape tri-section foam padding encased in breathable nylon fabric.  With a curved design, each pad nestles and protects the shoulder blades and ribs along the sides. A nice feature is the well padded shoulder straps that form to your body. We noticed a significant positive impact on perspiration management and reduced muscle fatigue due to these design characteristics at the end of the day.

While these premium design qualities are enough to get you through a day hike and a lighter load, the Osprey’s IsoForm hip belt works great for those times you really pack it on for multi-day trips!  This hip strap needs to be worn lower on your hips and once set in place, it ergonomically adjusts to your stance and distribution of the weighted pack.  Again, Opsrey ties in the BioForm custom molding to offer comfort and support to our female hips.

Xenon 70 accomdated the Camelbak Omega Hydrotarium nicely. Note pack top exit.
Xenon 70 accomdated the Camelbak Omega Hydrotarium nicely. Note pack top exit.

You won’t be strapped for straps!  Several one-inch-wide adjustable straps at the front of pack help to hold items securely in place via sturdy side-release clips, in addition to cinch straps with side-release clips off to the side to keep your cooking gear from jostling about. The various straps that are on the outside of the pack lend themselves to have additional items attach to the pack, such as an ice ax, crampons, trekking poles, etc.   Most importantly is the front strap that serves to reduce added stress and pressure on the back.  We like how Osprey provides a set of red straps inside the pack to delineate the main closure of the pack.

The Xenon 70 comes with a The AquaSource Recurve which clips into the pack to carry your hydration bladder vertically down the backpanel or across the top of your load for a steady water supply throughout the day.  The Aquasource is standardized so most bladders will fit inside. There is a standard size H2O tube opening at the top of pack which identifies the waters supply. We alternated between a two-liter Camelbak Hydrotanium reservoir and a Hydrapack two-liter bladder.

When packs are heavily weighted,  the hand-loops that are securely sewn in, assist in getting our pack on.  Strategically located, Osprey provides plenty of strong knit loops for those times you need an extra hand, or a firm grip to lift your heavy pack up and in to your Jeep.   While two of the heavy-gauge loops were at the base of the bag, there are two thinner loops towards the middle, although just as strong.

Laced up in a great pair of LOWA Abula boots and about 40-pounds of gear, the Xenon 70 felt steady as we climbed along uneven terrain to our camping site.

We must not forget the fabric; excellent choice for hiking on a 90° day or a 40° day.  The fabric is tough, pliable, and performs well

Bioform custom molding hipbelt manages pack load, and delivers on comfort.
Bioform custom molding hipbelt manages pack load, and delivers on comfort.

with temperature fluctuations.  There is enough protection from the elements, but still remains breathable; especially for the cooking gear which may contain quite a bit of metal.

The Xenon 70 shoulder straps are covered in a semi-reflective brown material, which could be more effective if additional reflective designs were implemented.  Variegated grey design gives a turtle-like natural design against the Terracotta Orange color of our pack.  The Xenon 70 is also available in a Pacific blue and retails around $349.00.

This pack works great for women.  Not only out in the back country, but also on short romps. The Osprey Xenon 70 is a sleek design with smart specifications and compatibility that all work together to make this a pack that will be around for many outdoor adventures.

Load Range: Seems best between 25 and 40 pounds for overnight trips or a few days on the trail. Xenon is a wonderful approach pack when loaded with gear for a day hike up to a peak bag.

Volumes and Weights:


XS –  3900 cu. in., 64 liter, 5 lbs, 2.27 kg.

S – 4100 cu. in., 67 liter, 5/3 lbs., 2.35 kg.

M- 4300 cu. in., 70 liter, 5/6 lbs., 2.44 kg.


Inches:  35 x 13 x 13

Centimeters:  90 x 34 x 34

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