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We automatically accept that, for certain kinds of things, there exists a premium tier of quality characterized by high-end design and high-grade materials. We accept that there are $700 mountain bikes and there are $7,000 mountain bikes, there are disposable cameras and professional DSLRs. Recently, Osprey, the Colorado-based backpack maker, asked a simple question: Why not hiking backpacks?
Not satisfied to let that question remain rhetorical, the company spent two years creating Osprey UNLTD, a limited collection of backpacking backpacks that utilizes materials and technologies that have never before made their way into outdoor bags.
Leading that ingredient list is a 3D-printed lumbar support created by a Silicon Valley unicorn called Carbon. The lumbar functions like foam to provide support, but fine-tunes and optimizes it while adding ventilation and a touch of grip. There's also the bags' ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene fabric, which is wildly durable for how lightweight it is. Features like a self-adjusting strap system (Osprey calls this Fit-On-The-Fly) and automatic load balancing (Autolift) emphasize comfort and the overall wear experience.
Osprey UNLTD includes two packs that come in men's and women's fits. The larger of the two is the 68-liter Osprey UNLTD AirScape 68. The bag has a polycarbonate framesheet back panel, a high-carbon stainless steel, and an eight-liter lid that's removable and turns into an 18-liter daypack for short jaunts.
The Osprey UNLTD Anti-Gravity 64 is the smaller of the pair with a 64-liter capacity. This pack features Osprey's super-comfy Ant-Gravity mesh back panel, which has appeared on previous models, as well as an anodized frame made of aluminum and stainless steel and a lid that converts into a small lumbar pack.
To bring Osprey UNLTD to life, the company unchained its design aspirations from the established notion about what the market could accept, i.e., how much hikers are willing to throw down for a bag with all the bells and whistles. As such, both the AirScape 68 and the Anti-Gravity 64 come in at $700. Expensive, yes, but creating a new echelon of outdoor backpacks doesn't come cheap.