Looking at Rook and Renn, Osprey's new backpacking packs for this spring? Well you're just in the right place if you want to know more about them - we broke down all of their features, and we can tell you everything worth knowing about these packs.
We'll start with a rating - with so many different backpacks on the market, how exactly do these compare? The grade these packs get reflects how good the packs are both individually, and compared to other, similar bags.
So, what are you waiting for? Scroll down to find out everything about these awesome new Osprey backpacks!
Osprey Rook And Renn Overall Rating
There are a lot of things you should consider before buying any backpack. Does it have everything you need? What is it made of? Will it fit you? Can you afford it? And so on and so forth. So, before I try to answer all of those questions, here's a quick overview of just how good the Rook/Renn is for backpacking.
That's a pretty high score. The Rook and Renn backpacks are not perfect in any aspect, but they do come close. My critical eye always find something that isn't 100% up to my standards, so I'm being extra tough on these. Especially because they are very fresh backpacks - designed by Osprey for Spring 2019.
If you're interested to see why the grades are so high (or low, depending on how you look at it), you can read about all of the features of these packs in the rest of this detailed review. And I really mean all of them!
Materials And Weight
The Rook is the men’s version of the backpack and the Renn is the women’s version. There are some size differences between the two, so I’ll tell you about that before I get to the details about all the other features. Take a look at the main specs of these Ospreys:
74 (L) x 42 (W) x 35 (D) cm
74 (L) x 42 (W) x 36 (D) cm
67 (L) x 37 (W) x 34 (D) cm
67 (L) x 37 (W) x 36 (D) cm
These Osprey backpacks are designed for backpacking. So, they are naturally pretty large packs with very high capacities. There are two capacity options for both of them – a 50 and a 65-liter version. Due to their large sizes, they are not the most versatile backpacks. But, you could use them for extended hiking or camping trips – they can hold all your gear, and are really comfortable to wear.
All four backpacks are made from the same material – 600D Polyester. It is a tough and sturdy fabric, which can endure a lot. There’s no need to worry about one of these packs tearing or their general durability. Osprey uses premium materials, so the backpacks really are designed to be your backpacking companion for the next several years.
One thing to worry about is water resistance – Polyester is not a waterproof material. But, you will get a raincover with this pack, which takes care of that issue. You just need to remember to put it on the Rook or Renn whenever you get caught in the rain. And as long as you never fully submerge the backpack underwater, the things inside should stay dry and safe.
As for the differences – the Renn backpacks are shorter and more narrow than their Rook counterparts. They have the same capacities, so you should be able to fit as much stuff inside them.
The Renns are smaller because they are designed to fit a female body better. And that is pretty much the only difference; all the technologies are the same and all the other features are exactly the same. So ladies, you won’t sacrifice any features if you get the women’s version of the pack. You will just have a backpack that is slightly smaller and lighter and that fits more comfortably on your body.
The AirSpeed Backpanel
With packs for backpacking, comfort is the single most important feature. These are backpacks that travel with you everywhere, and that you wear for hours on end. And when they weigh more than 50 lbs, it is crucial that they feel comfortable on your back, and that you don’t really feel the pressure of that weight.
So, how do the Rook and Renn perform in that area, and what earned them the rating they got? Read all about that in this section.
Light Wire Peripheral Frame
A backpack with a frame stands upright all the times – both when full and when empty. This makes packing a little bit easier, and allows for better organization, in my experience. A frameless backpack can't do that - it will collapse completely when empty, which makes it more packable and easier to store when not in use.
On the other hand, packs with frames are always heavier than the frameless ones. But I don’t really consider that a huge disadvantage. The way I see it, your backpack is going to weigh over 50 lbs when it’s full. And if it weighs 1 lb more just because it keeps its shape and nothing is poking out of the sides, I really think that’s worth it.
Ventilation Of Backpanel And Harness
The backpanel is the key component of any backpack. It has to be properly padded and ventilated, in order for you to stay comfortable when you are backpacking. With the Rook and Renn packs you get Osprey’s backsystem with the best ventilation – the AirSpeed.
The mesh backpanel is suspended, meaning that it is not fully sewn onto the padding of the backpanel. That’s why it is also called trampoline backpanel – there is always a tiny bit of space between your back and the backpanel, which allows for airflow. This does a good job at keeping you cool, especially in warm weather. And that’s the reason why Osprey puts this technology in all of their packs that are designed for spring and summer adventures.
It also helps that the harness is highly ventilated as well – that increases airflow, and allows you to stay completely cool. Especially because the harness and shoulder straps feature some really thick padding – without the increased ventilation, they would you’d get hot and sweaty in just a few minutes.
Now, the thing is that this makes you think – well, did you sacrifice the load bearing aspect of this backpack for improved ventilation? And I really don’t think they did. Through superb adjustability, you can really make the Rook and Renn packs mold around your body, so that it just sinks into the hipbelt and lumbar areas. Which feels not only comfortable, but also rather stable, even with really heavy loads.
Fit Of The Harness
You are most comfortable when something fits right. When you buy a new pair of shoes, you won’t feel comfortable in them if they are half a size two small, even if they have the softest footbeds.
And the same goes for backpacks – in order to ensure you stay comfortable throughout your adventures with this Osprey, it has to fit you perfectly. The good news is that everything about the harness is adjustable. So, it won’t fit just right out of the box, but you’ll get there easily if you know how to adjust the pack properly.
The harness should hug your shoulders, and there should be no space between the pack and your body. But at the same time, it shouldn’t feel too tight or cut into your skin. And that is really important – if the backpack does not feel 100% comfortable on your back when it’s empty, imagine how it’s going to feel when you fill it up with gear.
The best thing about the harness is that it is height adjustable, with dual load lifter points at the top. This is a crucial feature, and it is how Osprey ensures that their packs can fit travellers of all heights. Most recently I’ve been called ‘vertically challenged’ (not even joking there), so being able to adjust the position of the harness on my back is incredibly important to me. Especially with such a large pack.
The harness of this pack has a ‘ladder lock system’. You can see it in the photo actually – those little hooks that allow you to secure the harness into a particular height position.
In addition to that, you can also easily adjust the length of the shoulder straps and the width of the hipbelt.
Every high-capacity backpack needs a good hipbelt. Because it is the ones feature that ensures your shoulders don’t feel like you’ve put two bricks on them and walked around for five hours like that.
A hipbelt transfers most of the pack’s weight to your hips – the largest muscles in your body. That’s how you are able to wear 50lbs+ on your back, without getting sore and feeling like a tractor ran you over.
It needs to be padded and ventilated, just like the other important features. And the hipbelt of the Rook and Renn packs is – it has heavy padding, so that it feels comfortable around your hips.
It is also rather wide, and it hugs your body nicely. Plus, it’s super easy to adjust the width of the buckle, and you’ll get it to fit you perfectly in no time.
The ventilation of the hipbelt is almost the same as the ventilation of the harness. The holes on the mesh are just a tad smaller on the hipbelt, and that’s pretty much the only reason we deducted half a point. Because, in the dead of summer, this is the part of your body that will start to sweat first.
The Sternum Strap
These Osprey backpacks feature a very standard sternum strap – like you see on nearly all of their other backpacks. It is adjustable, so you can easily find the right width for your body.
A sternum strap is another important feature of your backpack, in terms of your comfort. It helps transfer the load of the pack away from shoulders, and eases the pressure on them. Also, it helps keep the pack more stable, and ensures that the shoulder straps stay in position at all times.
The one on these packs also doubles as an emergency whistle – it’s not just comfortable, but also very practical.
Organization & Accessibility
Zippered Pocket In Lid
It’s not easy to stay organized with really big backpacks. You’re carrying a lot of gear, and all of the smaller pieces can easily get lost inside.
No one likes having to take of their backpack and pretty much empty it just to find their GoPro. That’s why different pockets and compartments are important, and actually crucial for keeping all of your gear organized.
Top Loading Main Compartment
The main compartment of the Rook and Renn is spacious and secure. It features drawcord closure, with a top lid that covers it completely. The lid is secured to the backpack with external compression straps, and it is not removable.
With some other Osprey packs, you would get a floating top lid, which could double as a small daypack. But you won’t get that with these two backpacks. Not really a downside, but just something to keep in mind.
Since it is a top loading backpack, you have to think about the order in which you pack your gear. It’s going to take time to get to the stuff at the bottom, so pack the things that you use the most last. However, the sleeping bag compartment does have a removable divider. In case you decide not to use it for a sleeping bag, you can remove the divider and access the things that are at the bottom of the main compartment more easily.
Dual Access Water Bottle Pockets
The side pockets are made from mesh, and they are pretty large. The backpack was designed specifically so that the compression straps don’t interfere with these pockets, allowing you to access their contents easily.
And you can do so two ways. They feature top opening, which makes the most sense when you’re packing your gear. And then the pockets also have openings on the back sides, which gives you access to them even when you are wearing the pack. That’s a very useful feature – you no longer have to stop and ask for help just to get to your water bottle.
But it also reduces their functionality and versatility. You can’t put any smaller items in these, because there’s a chance that something will fall out and get lost.
So, the question is what do you prefer? Are you okay with sacrificing versatility for improves convenience and ease of access? Or do you think that this was a bad move, since you already have a sleeve for a hydration system and don’t plan to use water bottles?
All of these backpacks feature hipbelt pockets – one on each side. When you are wearing the hipbelt properly, the pockets should be easily accessible.
This really helps with organization – it allows you to have the smaller items you need handy easily accessible. They’re just the right size for some cash, a snack, your wallet or a backpacking knife – all the necessities would need during your travels.
The pockets are zippered, so they are pretty secure. And keep in mind that they look smaller than they actually are.
Zippered Pocket In Lid
There is a zippered pocket in the lid of the backpack, which is designed for your smaller gear. It even has a key attachment clip – a useful feature that saves you from rummaging through your pack in search of a very small item.
The lid of this backpack is actually pretty big, so you’ll be able to fit a fair amount of stuff in there. It is perfect for the stuff you want to have easily accessible during your adventures, and the things you will actually need sooner rather than later.
It is kind of difficult to access it while you are wearing the backpack, but it is not impossible. The zipper is actually on the back, so you can reach it. So, it’s also pretty convenient for things that you want to quickly put away, without actually taking off the backpack.
Internal Hydration Sleeve
There is an internal hydration sleeve in these backpacks. It is designed to hold an Osprey reservoir, but I think you’ll be able to fit pretty much any 3-liter hydration pack inside – it just needs to be the right shape.
There’s a couple things to note here – first, a reservoir is not included in the purchase. If you do want to set up a hydration system for your travels, you need to either own one or buy one. Also, keep in mind that Osprey sells a variety of accessories that allow you to set up hands free hydration, by placing magnets on the hydration hose and the sternum strap.
In addition to that, I would have actually preferred to have an external hydration compartment. Accidents happen, and the last thing you want is the bladder bursting and getting everything inside the pack wet. But the chances of that happening are extremely low – it’s just the pessimist in me talking.
The last thing to keep in mind is that this replaces the laptop sleeve. So, if you were planning on going away in the woods for a few days with this pack, you will probably appreciate the hydration sleeve. But if you wanted to go backpacking through Europe, you see the issue.
I mean, you can use this as a laptop sleeve if you don’t plan to bring a hydration bladder, but then there’s the issue of impact resistance and size of the sleeve.
Overall, it is a matter of personal preference and what you actually want to use the Rook and Renn for. But for me, this is a downside, and one reason for the lower score in the organization aspect.
Sleeping Bag Compartment
The Rook and Renn packs are equipped with a zippered bottom compartment that is designed to hold a sleeping bag. It is pretty spacious and it features a floating divider. In case you don’t want to use it for a sleeping bag, you can remove the divider and just make the main compartment bigger.
Or you can use it as a separate compartment completely, for any things you don’t want to keep in the main compartment. There is some versatility to this compartment, and I appreciate that. Especially because it allows for easier organization, which tends to be a challenge with packs of this size.
Also, keep in mind that you are able to get to the main compartment through this one. So, it also makes the stuff at the bottom a little more easily accessible.
At the bottom of the Rook and Renn packs there is a dedicated raincover compartment. It is just below the sleeping bag compartment, so it is pretty separate from the rest of the backpack.
That’s particularly useful if you want to put a wet raincover back in the compartment – it is far enough from the main compartment so that your clothes inside it shouldn’t get wet.
Also, because of where it is positioned, it is easily accessible. And that’s a big plus; you want to be able to get the raincover out quickly, before your belongings can get wet.
When you’re wearing the raincover on your pack, you have an extra compartment. But keep in mind that it is very small and that it can’t hold a lot of gear.
All The Compression Straps
There is a total of 8 compression straps on these packs. Four on the sides, and four on the front.
The two largest compression straps on the front are the ones that hold your backpack closed. They can compress your pack when it's not completely full, and make it a bit more stable on your back. The upper side straps also help with that, because of their position and width.
The lower side straps are connected to the large front straps. They help tighten up the bottom portion of your pack, and without going over the side bottle pockets. That's a great design feature in my opinion, since it allows you to cinch in your pack, but also keep stuff in the side pockets at the same time.
The bottom compression straps on the front of the pack double as sleeping pad straps, so they're not too useful. They can be used to tighten the sleeping bag compartment - useful during the night, when the compartment is empty and your backpack can't stand up straight because of that.
Versatility is an important factor, especially with pricey backpacks. You'll feel better spending your money if you know that you can use these backpacks for more than just backpacking.
So, are the Rook and Renn versatile backpacks? Check out these features and decide for yourself.
Compatible With Daylite And Daylite Plus
This is a major plus – the Rook and Renn backpacks are fully compatible with Osprey’s Daylite and Daylite Plus. In case you’re not familiar with those packs, they are two small daypacks. Compatibility means that you can attach either daypack to the body of one of the larger packs.
This instantly gives you more storage space, and you can carry an additional 15-20 liters of gear. And this is actually a great feature if you’re planning on going on an extended camping trip. The addition of a Daylite allows you to leave the base with a small daypack that holds only the items you need that day. Instead of having to drag around a 50lb+ backpack.
Just keep in mind that the Daylite backpacks are sold separately, and they are not included in the purchase. Additionally, neither the Rook or the Renn have a detachable compartment, that you could remove and use as a small backpack.
Sleeping Pad Straps
These packs are equipped with sleeping pad straps at their very bottom. This is very useful for outdoor adventures, since sleeping pads can get really bulky, especially the foam ones. With these packs, you don’t have to put them inside the main compartment, and you will have more space for your other gear.
But there is a catch – putting a raincover over your backpack with a sleeping pad attached is pretty difficult. If it comes to that, you will need to either remove the pad and find a different way to carry it, or just put the raincover over the top part of the pack, and risk getting your clothes wet.
If it’s a foam pad, it will soak up all the water that is pouring down from the top of the pack, so I definitely recommend removing it from the body of the backpack.
Not Great For Travel
The one thing the Rook and Renn backpacks are not good for are travelling. They are fairly large, and any airplane would treat them as a checked bag. Also, your belongings aren’t really protected when you’re away from the pack – anyone can undo those compression straps, and everything in the main compartment is immediately exposed.
But these were never advertised as travel backpacks, so I am completely fine with that.
And they are still pretty versatile – they are good for backpacking, camping and even longer hiking trips. But they don’t have loops, daily chains or attachment points for some other gear, and that’s why they didn’t get a higher score in this regard.
But overall, I’d say you are spending your money on a backpack that you would be able to use for more than just backpacking.
Value For Money
These are not cheap backpacks. Especially because they were released so recently – you can’t even find a really good deal yet. So, what exactly does make these Osprey packs worth the higher price tag?
If you’re an avid backpacker, then you already know the answer to that question. The level of comfort and ventilation alone is worth the money. Then there’s also the durability – the packs are made from sturdy materials, and with the Light Wire frame they will be able to withstand everything you put them through.
But in terms of versatility and how much you will be able to use them, they don’t score too highly. Yes, they are great for outdoor outings, but not really for much else. And since these have frames, they are not packable, so you can’t really carry them in your suitcase when you go away somewhere. Hence the lower score.
But there is one more thing to consider, and that’s the inclusion of the raincover. Osprey’s proprietary raincovers are not really cheap, and the bigger they are, the more expensive they get. You would need a size L raincover for these packs, which will set you back about $40-50. And that accounts for about a third of the backpack’s price, so I’d say you’re actually getting a really good deal.
I think that the people who actually go backpacking quite often can see the real value of these packs. But if you can’t see it, then maybe the Rook/Renn isn’t the right option for you. Check out some other Ospreys for backpacking – there’s lots of other more affordable options.
Osprey Rook/Renn Review: Should You Buy It?
The Rook and Renn are really good options for backpacking. But they are not exactly affordable, so you should ask yourself do you really need it?
I think the backpacks are worth the money, without a doubt. When you’re carrying 50lbs+ of gear on your back, it is crucial that you stay comfortable. And that’s something you’re guaranteed with these Osprey packs. No sore back or shoulders, thank the padding and adjustability of the harness and hipbelt.
Plus these have excellent ventilation, so they are really great backpacks for spring and summer. The backpanel is suspended, which allows for great airflow. And that should keep you pretty cool even in some really hot weather.
In the end, it comes down to you – can you afford these backpacks, and are you an avid backpacker? If the answer to both of those questions is yes, then the Rook/Renn was designed specifically for you.
- Highly ventilated and comfortable AirSpeed backpanel with adjustable shoulder harness to fit a wide range of torso lengths
- Integrated removable rain cover
- Highly ventilated and comfortable AirSpeed backpanel with adjustable shoulder harness to fit a wide range of torso lengths
- Integrated removable rain cover
But if the answer is no, then you should check out some other backpacks – maybe ones that are cheaper, or ones that are more versatile. Check out our related posts below to see some more options.