Follow Amy from the Exeter Shop as she embarks on a jolly ramble with the newly updated lightweight pack from Osprey.
The updated Eja family of packs has arrived at Taunton Leisure and I have been lucky enough to put one through its paces on my latest Dartmoor adventure!
In my experience, when gear claims to be ‘ultra-light’ it’s often at the expense of comfort, but in the case of the Eja, I was more than happy to be proven wrong. Despite weighing in at less than 1.3kg, it felt strong and secure throughout. The injection moulded ladder on the AirSpeed suspension back system was easy to adjust to my size (the Eja range is specifically designed for women, but would suit anyone with narrower shoulders) and although the pack curved away from me to leave a breathable space between my back and the load I was carrying, I didn’t feel as though I was being tipped over backward by the weight. This was greatly appreciated in 29-degree midday sunshine as I shuffled my way to the top of Sheeps Tor!
The pack is available in 38 and 48 ltr capacities, both of which offer a range of fully adjustable back lengths and all include an adjustable chest strap with built in safety whistle. It’s also made with 100% recycled material, which has become far more important to me when selecting my outdoor gear in recent years.
The inclusion of zipped hip-pockets is a welcome addition from the previous version of this pack, though they aren’t very generous and don’t stretch. I only just managed to shoe horn my phone into one and a bag of Haribo in the other. Though only a minor inconvenience, the pack would also benefit from a couple of small velcro/elastic strap tidies for the surplus waist belt as there was nowhere to stow these.
Despite the heat, staying hydrated was easy as the pack includes a large dual-entry stretch side pocket on either side and also includes an internal storage sleeve for my hydration bladder. I used a 1.5 ltr model, but the pack would easily accommodate 2-3 ltr bladders.
The ‘stow-on-the-go’ trekking pole attachment made it much easier to go ‘hands-free’ when jumping over stiles and stopping for the occasional Dartmoor selfie!
Side compression straps helped secure the load evenly down the length of the pack and can be removed to further reduce weight and snagging. The sleeping matt straps at the base of the pack are also removable, though I’d keep these attached to stow my matt on multiday treks as there is no base-entry to the main body of the Eja, where I’d normally stash my sleep gear.
Though certainly not needed during my sunny hike on the moors this time around, the Eja range of packs are treated with a durable water repellent coating, but I’d definitely consider packing a proper water-proof cover for more inclement weather; the Eja packs do not include an integrated waterproof cover.
Even after 8-10 miles across rough terrain the Eja still felt comfortable and almost weightless, despite the load. The generous front stretch pocket easily stowed a few spare layers and my guide book which was easy to access. The floating lid comfortably housed my stove and a couple of pouch meals, though this can be removed entirely to shed further weight and the integrated flap-jacket used for a more compact carry.
All in all, my experience of using the Eja range so far has been a very positive one and I’d definitely recommend it to anyone looking for an ultra-light, yet comfortable and functional pack. I know I’ll be loading it up for plenty more adventures over the summer.
I’ll let you know how I get on!
Shop our range of Osprey Eja packs HERE