Its been long debated what the best pack on the market it. Internal vs. External, Lightweight (Go fast) vs. medium weight (average), and so on. With technology, much has changed in the pack game, especially in the hiking world. One of the leaders is Osprey Packs. Many know this, but I was lucky enough to be apart of the product release for one such pack, the Osprey Atmos 65. Now many have their favorites like Ford and Chevy but allow me to tell you why this pack by far is the best out there today.
Personal History with the Osprey Atmos
I began my hiking experience in 2006 at 16. I used an old Kelty. It got the job done but was rough that transitioned into 2007 when I used it again on a 21-day trip in Northern New Mexico. At the 14-day mark, it blew out the zippers and had to be tapped for the rest of the long journey.
In 2008, I took a petition as a Ranger at the same place and transitioned to a ULA. It was a great pack, but I was too rough on it so it tore out the bottom, and the staves began to slide around. At the end of the season, I used my Pro Deal to get the first Osprey Atmos 65. In 2009 I returned and guided that same 21-day trip. We passed 500 miles, and the pack just hit its stride. Fast forward many trips to 2019, that 2009 backpack finally kicked the bucket, and I upgraded to the new Osprey Atmos 65 AG (Anti-gravity) model. No bag ever makes it ten years, but this did.
Osprey Atmos Break down
Real fast, the Osprey Atmos is the men’s version, and the Osprey Aura is the female. The design is slightly different but overall the same.
Let’s start with the waist belt and harness system since that is the meat of any pack. The new waist is nice a padded, which lets the Atmos ride comfortably and not dig, which its original did after breaking down. Combined with the award-winning Anti-gravity (AG) system, it makes the pack feel like its floating even at 30-50 lbs. This allows for more miles at a more comfortable rate. The same side pockets for bottles, the Stow-on-the-Go system for trekking poles returns, and an added feature to getting rid of the top (Brain) and use the FlapJacket to seal the pack. As standard with any bags today, a hydration sleeve and ports are available up to 3L (beats many packs)—the tri-pocket front returns with a nice stretch mesh for jackets and shoes.
There are plenty of compression straps to tighten everything down in all ways, along with added straps for external attachment of bulk items. The interior is also brightly colored so you can see inside in dim (headlamp or tent lamp) light.
Obviously, with everything, there are some negatives. It’s a nylon-based pack, so we need to be aware of heat sources around it. It has a limited range of 30-50 lbs, so while it dips into standard weights, you do need to be a semi-skilled backpacker or have lightweight items to offset. Finally, it is 4.5 lbs empty weight, which some wouldn’t like for a pack.
Osprey offers a wide range of accessories for their packs. The most recommended would be their rain covers. They have also recently created dry stuff sacks and padded, which would make the organization of your pack much better. One accessory that gets overlooked is a transport bag. While the bag is larger, you need something to put is in if you fly. NEVER just turn your pack over as it will get destroyed in multiple different ways
In the end, any pack that can survive ten years of use (1000s of miles), that company and model is doing something right. Osprey has been around since 1974 and hit its stride in the last 20 years. The Atmos/Aura make perfect gifts for anyone looking to take hiking/backpacking seriously.
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