Outdoor Research Levitator ReviewSeptember 26, 2014
- Padded hipbelt added some capacity and organization
- Able to be grossly over-stuffed
- Plenty of pockets for a lightweight summit bag
- Climbers can clip shoulder harness on/off under slings
- Fabrics were too delicate for hauling or chimneying
- Minimal compression made running awkward unless pack was nearly full
The OR Levitator offers noticeable improvements over typical lightweight summit-sacks. I found it to be a nifty load-hauler for day trips that caters to the unique needs of harness-wearing mountain-climbers. Since so many of the features address the specific needs/desires of climbers it may not be ideal for casual hikers.
Though it boasts a unique padded hipbelt and excellent load positioning for the category, the Levitator offers mediocre venting at the back and middling support for loads over 15 lbs. Even so, its ability to switch between high-mount climbing-mode and hip-mount hiking-mode kept it on top of my pack-pile all summer long.
The Levitator sports a little extra support, a little extra padding, a couple more zippers—little extras that add up fast, especially on a smaller pack. That said, I felt that OR struck an intelligent balance between lightweight design and functionality with the Levitator.
The 16L/975 cubic inch volume is a well-established sweet spot for the activities OR aims to support with the Levitator, but I would have been extra stoked on some additional interior capacity via a taller expansion collar. The crashpad-style main compression strap was remarkably effective when it came to packing a coiled rope or wrangling an unexpectedly bulging load.
The Levitator’s superior organization and over-stuffability elevated its functionality beyond the realm of ultralight summit sacks. Waist belt pockets and honest hydration-compatibility kept this pack on my back in situations that usually had me removing other UL packs for on-the-go hydration/noshing.
Smart without being overbearing, the Levitator’s refined usefulness changed my expectations for a lightweight daypack. With intra-shoulder-strap hydration-hose routing, clip-on shoulder straps, and a removable back-pad, this bag has ruined me for simpler lightweight rucksacks.
The Outdoor Research Levitator is a solid and thoroughly well thought out pack at a reasonable price. And while it can’t quite compete with the low price of some bare-bones cinch-top rucksacks, it offers significant extra functionality that most active users will appreciate.