Osprey Eclipse 26+5

An older model by Osprey which is still in very good condition
An older model by Osprey which is still in very good condition

I got this incomplete, used but in almost new condition Osprey Eclipse 26+5 pack as a hand me down from a friend. Osprey packs have always fascinated me with their design and functionality. I used to own several Osprey packs in the past and this Eclipse model is certainly one of the older generation models.  The material, build and design of the pack certainly brings back memory.

The two sides of the Eclipse is padded and functions like two halves of a clam...closing inwards to keep everything snug
The two sides of the Eclipse is padded and functions like two halves of a clam…closing inwards to keep everything snug

 

There are several attributes of this pack that I like very much. First of all, it is the padded sides of the pack. Both the right and left sides of the pack is padded with some sort of stiff foam. This is great for a protecting whatever gear inside the pack as well as to work as a more effective pack content compression system.

Next thing I love about this pack is the generous waist belt system. For such a small capacity pack, many pack manufacturer will not be bothered to include such padded waist belt. The waist belt on this Osprey Eclipse 26+5 is almost as good as waist belts from bigger packs (I may even say better than some of the larger packs I have seen).

Generous well padded waist belt
Generous well padded waist belt

 

The compression pulls on the top and bottom edge of the padded waist belt
The compression pulls on the top and bottom edge of the padded waist belt

 

The padded waist belt on the pack intrigues me. The way it is designed with the two outer straps located on the top and bottom of the waist belt allow the wearer to cinch tight (see picture above), enabling the middle of the waist belt to wrap around the hip bone of the wearer. The entire ‘padded’ waist belt is not stiff but feels more like a thicker version of neoprene. It wraps around the waist snugly. I tried this on myself with some weight in the pack and I find it really good. The waist belt really do wrap around my hips.

The back panel of the back is of some mesh material. It is contoured and stiff which makes me start to wonder whether Osprey has over engineered this great looking pack. It seems to have characteristics of a larger carrying capacity pack. The waist belts wraps firmly around the waist and the stiff back panel transfers the load onto the hips. I would not be surprised is this pack is designed also to carry heavier loads. Even perhaps to carry snowboards or other heavier snow gear.  The pack’s slimline shape really do look like a mountaineering pack.

The front panel loading design makes access and organizing of gear inside easy
The front panel loading design makes access and organizing of gear inside easy. Pack on the right in Coyote is a custom made by Malaysia’s Garrison Packs

 

The pack is a front loader. Like the Kifaru Marauder, TAD Fast Pack Litespeed and even the London Bridge Trading Geronimo packs, a front loading pack makes access and organizing of internal storage

The custom made Garrison Pack pouch sits and folds nicely at the bottom of the Osprey pack
The custom made Garrison Pack pouch sits and folds nicely at the bottom of the Osprey pack

so much easier. Its like a suitcase and being able to see the contents and not having to grope blindly looking for items like what you would have to do on a top loading pack is a big relief.

One other think that is great about this pack is the zipper pulls. I really love it when pack makes can add value to their packs by simply paying attention to small things. The zipper pulls of this Osprey Eclipse 26+5 are made to make it easy for the user to operate. The generous length of the cord plus they are wrapped in tubes makes them so easy to locate and pull. This is an important feature when you are wearing gloves, it makes the zipper pulls easier to get hold of. ZCome to think of it, perhaps they are even better thought off than the ones on the Mountainsmith World Cup.

What I don’t like about this pack? Probably the size. I wish it was a 35 to 40 liters pack. Oh well, for a ‘hand me down’ Osprey pack, I cannot be asking for too much.

Will I be keeping the pack? For a while. I really love the harness system (oh…the shoulder straps can be adjusted too) and the compression system. The pack really hugs your bag and it rides well on the hips even with heavier loads.

The Osprey Eclipse 26+5, though an older model is a testament of how well designed and thought off kind of pack it is. I don’t think one could expect any less from an American company who’s been at it since 1974. The brand has evolved over the years and I found a video (below) that captures what they represent at present day. Osprey…just fantastic!

 

Other packs I have written about: