08 Jul Renn 65 Women’s Specific Rucksack By Osprey – Review
(*links to Amazon UK)
Go The Distance With The Renn 65, Osprey’s Women’s Specific Trekking Rucksack
The 120 Mile Review
I've got well over 120 miles of real backpacking experience to share with you!
This not a paid-for review and all opinions are based on my experience of using the rucksack over 120 miles of varied terrain, wild-camping all the way.
My Backpack Criteria
My criteria are simple:
- A comfortable fit, which means a women’s specific fit with individual adjustments
- As lightweight as possible, I have to be able to lift it before I pack it!
- Durable, this baby has to last without bits falling off after a few hundred miles
- Good value for money, the best rucksack within my budget
With this in mind I went to my local Cotswold Outdoor store for a good look around and a professional fitting. In the end it came down to a choice of two rucksacks and the Osprey Renn 65 (Amazon UK) obviously won the day. Here’s Why.
The Renn 65 Fit And Comfort
10/10 Fits Like A Dream – And No Blisters!
I carried this rucksack for over 120 miles and I didn’t get a single blister or raw patch of skin, which is practically unheard of! There was some soreness on my clavicles from the shoulder straps, but that had completely gone after a few days. Thankfully I had no rubbing on the hips either, but I’ve learnt through bitter experience to minimise the bulk of clothing under the hip belt (ie smooth waistbands and no belts). The shoulder straps and hip belt on the Renn 65 are both very comfortably padded though, with holes in the foam for breathability.
One of the absolute best things about the Renn 65 is the mesh 'air gap' down the back of the rucksack. The gap between the mesh and the rucksack meant I kept relatively cool and dry, which is bliss when you're walking in 20 degree heat.
I felt so much more comfortable because my clothes weren’t continually stuck to my back. The mesh is fairly rigid and shaped though, so I imagine you’d have to ensure it fitted well for your individual shape.
The pack’s available in 3 sizes and the back length of each individual size is adjustable too. You can adjust it in a matter of seconds, with increments of about 2 centimetres or so to choose from, so you should get a pretty good fit.
This is one of the most comfortable backpacking sacks I've ever had, without a doubt.
You can make the usual adjustments around the hip belt, the shoulder and chest straps and there are a number of compression straps too. The compression straps obviously stop everything inside from moving about, but they also mean you can bring the weight of the sack closer to your back. And the closer it is, the more comfortable and balanced you feel.
Renn 65 Rucksack Fabrics and Construction
10/10 Robust And Lightweight
The main rucksack fabric is 600D (denier) polyester, which is relatively lightweight (the Renn 65 weighs in at 1.5kg), strong, flexible and very abrasion resistant. Polyester fabrics aren’t as inherently strong as nylon (which you might choose if you’re doing a through-hike), but they are half the price, so robustness is remarkable for the price. I frequently put the pack down on rocks, sandy beaches, grass, even gorse (by mistake!) and there’s just one barely visible abrasion. I was impressed!
The fittings (clips, zips, cord loops, etc) all held up well and I imagine they will for years to come. The stitching is sound too, with no loose ends or broken stitches to fret about. All good stuff.
Osprey’s Renn 65 Features
7/10 This is where the Renn 65 could definitely do with some improvements
The features the Renn 65 provides are great, but to save weight (or, more cynically, manufacturing costs) there are some significant omissions that you may have come to expect on a rucksack of this size…
The Main Compartment
It’s In Great Shape
One of the best things about the main compartment is how easy it is to get my bulky sleeping bag and tent inside – without a major fight. It’s the shape that makes the difference, rather than just the capacity. And, as well as stuffing those inside, I packed a simple bivi bag, sleeping bag liner, Mini Trangia, food, spare clothes, a wash bag, electronics, torch, etc, etc. And if you like to organise your stuff there’s a handy draw cord section at the bottom, so you can easily separate things out. The rucksack isn’t waterproof though, so I highly recommend you organise your kit in dry bags.
The Good And The Bad
The Renn 65 is best described as a ‘no frills’, bare essentials design. And while this keeps the weight down it does mean there are a lack of the features most of us have come to expect.
The biggest disappointment is the omission of a large mesh pocket on the back.
Large mesh pockets are bloody wonderful on long distance hikes, because they’re perfect for storing wet clothes. I missed this feature a lot, but Osprey have provided lashing loops instead. However, the rucksack doesn’t include the cord! (And a few more loops wouldn’t go amiss either, especially on the brain closure.
The Renn 65 compensates for the lack of a back pocket with some huge mesh side pockets on the main sack. The side pockets include an opening that means you can store your water bottles at a 45 degree angle, which makes them easy to reach and get hold of. (It took me a while to work that out!) And, even with a bottle in the pocket there’s still ample room for more bits and pieces. The hip belt also has two large zipped pockets for the stuff you need easy access to, like your phone, snacks and so on.
Not Quite Loopy Enough
The brain on this rucksack is large enough for a fleece or waterproofs (if you store them dry!), as well as things like a guide book. I even stored food in it at one point and kept my waterproofs under the lid secured by the compression strap for the main compartment. Which isn’t that great if you don’t like things flapping about behind you, but at least it meant they were easily accessible. It could do with a couple more loops on the outside though, to make it easier and more versatile for lashing things.
The Bladder Compartment
No Leaks Please
This is a simple, large internal pocket with a clip to secure the bladder, and an elasticated top, with outlets for the tube. It’s a straightforward design that works well, so why change it! (Keep your bladder in a plastic bag just in case of a leak.) Osprey also provide plenty of elasticated loops along the shoulder straps to keep the tube in place. These loops were also useful to keep my phone cables tidy when I was charging up my battery, which was safely in the brain. And, if you prefer to use bottles rather than a bladder, you have a good size internal pocket to help organise your stuff.
Sleeping Mat Storage
Also A Rucksack Stand
You’ll find two adjustable loops towards the bottom on the outside of the pack, which are designed to carry your sleeping mat. They were perfect and kept my mat securely in place the whole time. Another thing I liked about this storage design is that it makes a stable base when you stand your rucksack on the ground. I guess that depends on the style of sleeping mat you have (mine packs to a roll shape), but it’s definitely a plus point for me.
Walking Pole Storage
Storage, What Storage?
There isn’t any! Well, nothing specifically for the purpose. The best place for them is in the side mesh pockets, but the compression strap isn’t enough to secure them. This might not be a problem with shorter poles that fit under the brain, but it wasn’t suitable for mine. So on this particular hike I ended up lashing them to the back, which meant they came up above the top of the rucksack. When I got home I fitted an adjustable cord through 2 tabs on the brain, which works really well. But it’s a compromise because it leaves you with fewer tabs for securing things on the top.
Osprey have finally included a rain cover so you don’t have to purchase a separate one (at an extortionate price). It chucked it down on the first day of my hike and everything inside was completely dry. (Unlike me – time for new waterproofs I think!) One of the other benefits of the rain cover is the colour. It’s a very visible apple green with a large reflective logo on the back, which means it’s great for road walking. I often wish other rucksacks include more reflective areas, because here in the UK you’re always likely to encounter the odd country lane or two.
Renn 65 Rucksack Value For Money
9/10 – So Far!
I love this rucksack and for the price I paid it represents excellent value for money.
I bought mine in Cotswold Outdoor, where it’s currently selling for £130 (I get a 20% discount as a Member of Mountain Training Association, but they offer discounts to members of other organisations too, such as the National Trust). And it’s currently available on Amazon UK* for around £100.
The Osprey Renn 65 Overall Score
8/10 The Final Verdict
I’d really love to give the Renn 65 an overall 10/10, but the lack of features we’ve come to expect on a rucksack like this means it’s difficult to justify that.
9/10? Maybe. But I reckon the omission of a large mesh pocket on the back is worth dropping a whole star, without the other considerations! However, despite this
The Osprey Renn 65 Women's Specific rucksack is a great rucksack and I have no hesitation recommending it to you!
Just make sure you buy plenty of cord for lashing stuff to the outside if you need to!