Why Is Osprey UNLTD so Expensive?

Osprey packs from its UNLTD series are currently the most expensive on the market. So why is Osprey UNLTD so expensive? There are some justified reasons, keep reading.

There are two different reasons that are behind the high prices of Osprey UNLTD backpacks:

  • New technologies that are used for the first time in these backpacks.
  • A plethora of unique features.

However, so many features make the packs heavy. 

Why Is Osprey UNLTD so Expensive top picture.
Osprey UNLTD packs – AirScape right and AntiGravity left.

First thing first, what are Osprey UNLTD backpacks?

This is about two series with the letters UNLTD in the name, and this means ‘unlimited’. There are currently four packs that include gender specific versions:

  • Osprey AirScape 68 pack for men.
  • Osprey AirScape 68 pack for women.
  • Osprey AntiGravity 64 pack for men.
  • Osprey AntiGravity 64 pack for women.

Each of the packs in these two series (AirScape and AntiGravity) is built in two sub-sizes. So there are 8 different sizes in both series.

More details about the first series you can read in my text Osprey UNLTD AirScape 68 Pack for Men & Women. The second series is described in detail in my text Osprey UNLTD AntiGravity 64 Pack for Men & Women.

Note that I am talking about both series here, but these packs are indeed very different. The reason for presenting them together is their common new technologies, more below.

What is new in these Osprey UNLTD packs? 

I guess it is best to start with this video from the founder of Osprey, so please have a look:


As you have seen, he explicitly says that this was their “pursuit of new processes, design concepts, and technologies, with less regard for costs involved.”

In addition, he adds that they were experimenting with materials and manufacturing processes that normally would be beyond their price points. The new things here are the following:

  1. The biggest news in these packs is the use of 3D printing for the lumbar pad. This part is very soft, rubbery, and very breathable, unlike anything on the market.
  2. They have also developed new high tenacity weaves by using ultra high molecular weight polyethylene. So this is about a super strong and tear-resistant fiber, the strongest they have used so far.
  3. The frame is also a unique combination of a 7075 aluminum alloy, a high carbon stainless steel, and injection molded hubs. The result is a supper strong support system that you have here.
  4. A new frame sheet technology is developed using a vacuum formed polycarbonate with air channels.
  5. In high wear areas they combined micro perforated EVA foam with spacer meshes for superior ventilation.
  6. They used silicone printing and 3D TPU polymer surfaces to provide better pack to body traction.
  7. There are several custom injection molded parts. This includes rod sleeves for wear protection on the end of the frame poles, and several other details.

The bottom line here is – they were experimenting with new technologies and these packs are here to open new avenues and new world of possibilities for outdoors adventurers.

He also says that these new technologies will trickle down into their new products. So you can expect to see them in their new packs series that will certainly follow.

Osprey UNLTD Packs common features

Some of the features have already mentioned. Here are a few more that are common for both series, they are given in no particular order:

  1. Transport sack. So this is something extra, you will not find anything similar on the market. With this, the pack is protected in transportation.
  2. External hydration sleeve.
  3. Fit-On-The-Fly harness adjustment for torso length. For this you have straps on the sides and you pull to position the pack at the optimal place, this all when the pack is on your back. With this you have the best feeling where exactly to position your pack.
  4. Industry-first 3D Printed Fitscape Lumbar with Carbon DLS Technology. This is already mentioned in the text above.
  5. Fit-On-The-Fly hip belt adjustment. This includes Velcro tabs, and this feature is not unique to these packs of course.
  6. Gender specific designs.
  7. Compression divider for a sleeping bag storage. This is a unique detail, I have not seen anything similar on the market.
  8. The number of pockets. These packs have them many.
  9. AutoLift design. This is yet another unique detail that you have in these packs only.
  10. Rain cover.

Important differences between AirScape and AntiGravity packs

There is a number of features that are different in these two series. Here are some of them, you can read details in my separate text where differences between Osprey UNLTD packs are discussed.

  • The lid design. So this is completely different in these two series. The AirScape UNLTD packs have a lid that transforms into a fully featured DayLid daypack. Osprey UNLTD AntiGravity packs have a lid that is also removable but it transforms into a lumbar pack. Both options are unique on the market.
  • Access points are different.
  • Ventilation is completely different. In Osprey UNLTD AntiGravity packs there is a tensioned trampoline style mesh, this is far better than in the AirScape UNLTD packs. Even the hip belt is ventilated in that pack, can you imagine this?
  • The weight is different. Both versions are heavy but AirScape UNLTD packs are heavier.

Who is Osprey owned by?

From the information I find on Wikipedia, Osprey Packs was purchased by Helen of Troy Limited in 2021 for $414.7 million. This came as a surprise to me as its original founder is in the recent video shown above.

Who founded Osprey Packs?

You have seen the video above, so this is Mike Pfotenhauer who, together with his wife Diane Wren, originally founded Osprey under the name Santa Cruz Recreational Packs in 1974.

Later they moved to Dolores, Colorado, and at that stage 90% of their workforce was made up of Navajos.

Is Osprey made in USA?

The answer is no. Their design and manufacturing facilities are in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, where they moved the production in 2002. The owners and founders lived there for four years to build relationships.

Summary

So you have seen it, there may be some good reasons for such high prices of Osprey UNLTD packs. This is all about new designs and new technologies, whatever the resulting price. .

But indeed, these packs are surely over the budget of most of interested users. They are by around 50% more expensive than the most expensive packs on the market.

Are they worth it? If you cannot afford them then the answer is no. Think in terms of luxury items in general. Will a luxurious car take you faster to your destination? You know the answer already. But these packs are incredibly comfortable. The suspension is fully adjustable, and this applies to both shoulder harness and the hip belt.

Note that they launched also a few day packs within this UNLTD series, for men and for women, and both in two sub-sizes. They are under the name Osprey UNLTD 32 AG packs.

Let me know what you think, there is a comment box below. You might want also to read my text about Osprey, Gregory and Deuter packs comparison, and about Deuter Aircontact X backpacks. Thank you for reading and have a nice day.

 
Me on Jalovec.Hi, I am Jovo, the founder of this OutdoorsFAQs site and several other outdoor sites. I have been mountaineering for almost 40 years already, and I have created this site to use as a reference for various questions that I receive in my sites. Being a theoretical physicist by profession, I tend to base my answers on facts and on my own personal experience.

2 thoughts on “Why Is Osprey UNLTD so Expensive?”

  1. Hello, I appreciate your posts comparing packs. I have read several of your comparisons.

    A couple of comments. First, you mentioned the blend of aluminum and steel for the frame above, that is only true for the Antigravity. The Airscape is all high carbon stainless steel, as I understand. Second, you mentioned the trampolene design on the Antigravity as being “much better”, I have the trampolene style on my Lumina and have enjoyed it, but when I tested both packs, I felt that the Airscape was more comfortable overall and only slightly less ventilated.

    One of the big differences is that the mesh in the trampolene pack leaves depressions in my skin that look like the mesh. After some miles, this can irritate my skin. The Airscape is completely smooth and feels more padded. It is also designed to carry heavier loads, so it makes sense.

    I think the Antigravity is a really good looking pack, but overall you have so much more flexibility and space than with the Airscape. The Airscape has a larger pocket on the hip belt and an additional access point on the same side to the stretchy side pocket. The stretchy side pockets feel slightly larger, you have a larger top lid, and you have more flexibility to adjust your pack as a top loader. With the clam shell design, you have no flexibility to add an item on top if you need more space.

    Additionally, the Airscape has an additional set of straps on the front of the pack to carry a pad or something across the top front in addition to the straps at the base of the pack.

    The only one true benefit the Antigravity has is that the hip pack is more comfortable (lumbar support) over the day pack which has zero support and only a small sternum strap.

    Reply
    • Hi Susi, thank you for such a detailed comment. You have pointed out many interesting details here and I am sure my readers will appreciate what you write. Interesting what you write about mesh in the trampoline design that leaves depressions on your skin. No doubt this is something people should consider, so this is a very valid point.

      As for general comfort feeling about these two different designs (one that keeps the pack closer to the body, and the other ventilated), I think this is quite individual. I know this also from some other packs from this brand and also from Deuter for example. This is why it is always important to actually try the pack with a full load, only then you get some idea of how it will work for you. This is so because we are all differently built. But yes I agree with you that the Airscape design will probably work better for heavier loads for most users.

      Once again, thank you for your insight into these great packs.

      Reply

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