Backpack Review: Osprey Atmos AG 65 - Explore! Backpack Review: Osprey Atmos AG 65 - Explore!

Backpack Review: Osprey Atmos AG 65

Atmos AG 65 Backpack with the gear it will hold.

Introduction

The Chief Scout and I recently got new backpacks. The Chief Scout is quite small, so even the women’s version of this pack, the Osprey Aura AG™ 65, would not fit her properly.  The owner of our local outdoor store, The Ledge (Klamath Falls, OR), helped us with choosing and fitting our packs and special ordered this pack for me.  The Chief Scout got a Vaude Brenta 40 as it is adjustable to the smallest of people.  If you happen to be in Klamath Falls, be sure to stop at The Ledge and check out their offerings.  If you can’t get to Klamath Falls, there is an advertisement at the bottom right that will lead you to your choice of our online sponsors.

You will see and hear me refer to this as the “Atmos AG 65” or “Atmos 65 AG” backpack. Which is correct? Well, the owners manual calls it “Atmos AG 65” while the pack itself has “Atmos 65 AG” embroidered on it. I’d say either is correct.

This pack costs around $265.  A pack needs  to be comfortable, this one came highly recommended for that, and durable.  Osprey packs come with what they call their “All Mighty Guarantee.” It  allows you to return a damaged pack for repair or exchange for any reason at any time.  While the pack seems extremely durable it may take a few years of regular use to prove otherwise.  The guarantee takes the risk out of this investment.  If you decide you don’t like the color or fit, the guarantee won’t cover that.  If you think that might be an issue, be sure to order your pack through a store like REI that will allow returns for those kinds of reasons.

The Fit

Osprey Atmos AG 65 Adjustments

I have a long torso and got the large version of the pack. It is available in Small (16-19 inch torso), Medium (18-2 inch torso) and Large (20-23 inch torso).  The hip belt is about five inches wide and designed to fit directly over the hips, half above the hip bone and half below.  The hip pads can be extended outward five inches to fit very large people.   Without that extension, the pad, from one end to the other across the back, is about 24 inches long on the large version of the pack.  The connecting belt is 13 inches long on each side and fully adjustable.  The pack should fit your hips if they are more than about 29 inches and less than about 55 inches (24 +13+13+5 =55 inches) around.

Within those ranges,  the pack is adjustable for fit.  The process is this:

  • Load the pack with 10 to 20 pounds of gear,
  • Loosen the hip belt, harness and load lifter straps
    • The harness tensioning is at the bottom of the shoulder straps
    • The “load lifter” straps are at the top of the shoulder straps.
  • Put the pack on
  • Place the hip belt so it covers the hip bone, buckle it  then tighten the belt evenly on each side to center the pack
  • Pull down on the harness straps to tighten them
  • Buckle the sternum strap and tighten it.  Be sure it is a couple of inches below the collar bone.  The sternum strap can slide up and down over a four inch range to accommodate this.
  • Tighten the load lift straps until there is no weight pushing down on your shoulders.
  • The final step requires some assistance.  Locate the bump on the back of your neck and have your assistant check to see that the band that connects the shoulder straps across your back is about 2 inches below the bump.  Find the band across the pack that says “Anti-Gravity”  you want to find the bottom of the U-shaped fabric that is right above the letter ‘R’ in Gravity.  That’s the point that needs to be a couple of inches below the bump on your neck.  If it’s not,  the band that says “Anti-Gravity” on it can slide up and down until you get it just right.  To slide the band, you must find the fabric cutouts on each side of the mesh that rests on your back.  There, under the mesh,  you will find a strap on each side.  To pull the band upward for a longer torso, push down on the the strap clip with your thumb while pulling upward on the band.  To go downward, just push the band downward. You will need to take the pack off to make this adjustment.

Once you successfully get through these steps, the pack will be ready to use.  You will notice that, when properly adjusted, there is no pressure on the top of your shoulders.  The shoulder straps keep the pack from tilting backwards while your back against the mesh, trampoline-like fabric keeps the pack from tipping forward.  All the weight is carried by your hips.  As you are hiking,  you can further adjust any of the straps to get comfortable.

One note:  I normally carry my cell phone in a holster attached to my belt.  Sometimes I also carry my Letterman tool in a holster on my belt.  That won’t work with the pack because it prevents the hip belt from sitting properly over the hip bone.  When backpacking,  I’ll simply carry my phone, the separate battery pack and my Leatherman in one of the pockets included in the hip belt.

Compartments

Overall, the pack is claimed to hold 62 to 68 liters or 3,783 to 4,150 cubic inches  (small to large) and up to 50 pounds of gear.  It includes a lot of compartments to help you stow your gear.  Here they are:

  • A reservoir sleeve.  This is inside the pack and against your back.  Or, it would be against your back except that the suspension system keeps a couple of inches of airspace between  the pack and your back.  I just took the bladder out of my CamelBak Mule, filled it with water and slid it into the sleeve with plenty of room to spare.  The water tube goes out of the pack through a hole in the back.  The hole is labeled H2O on the outside back of the pack.  It can then run over either shoulder and through retaining straps on the shoulder harness.
  • A Sleeping Bag Compartment.  This compartment is at the bottom of the pack and opens from the outside with a zipper so you can get to your bag without getting into the main compartment. It is separated from the main compartment by a flap that is attached with adjustable straps.  It will easily fit most down bags, but my Peregrine Saker 0 synthetic bag is pretty bulky.  By loosening the straps on the compartment divider,  I was able to make enough space to get the bag in.  I use the the straps that are intended to hold a sleeping pad on the outside of the pack to compress the sleeping bag enough to close the zippers.
  • The main compartment.  This is the largest area, of course, and runs from the top of the sleeping bag compartment to a drawstring closure at the top.  Access is through the top.  My tent poles are two feet long and they fit easily inside the bag because the flap between the main compartment and the sleeping bag compartment allows them to reach to the very bottom of the pack.  It’s just a matter of reaching into the top of the pack and pushing the sleeping bag aside so the poles can get to the bottom of the pack without resting on the sleeping bag.
  • A removable top lid.  The lid has two compartments atop each other.  I stashed my water filter system in the top pocket and my rain gear in the bottom pocket.  If you choose to leave this lid at home,  the main compartment has a cover
  • Front side pockets.  There are two large pockets with zippers on either side of the front of the pack.  There were almost, but not quite deep enough to hold the poles for my ancient REI Trail Dome tent.  Instead I put the poles in the main compartment and my tent, fly, stakes and emergency kit in these pockets.
  • Stretch mesh front pocket.  This pocket is on the outside of the pack over the front side pockets. It’s  a good place to keep your map or other items you might need to get to easily.
  • Lower side stretch mesh pockets.  These two pockets, one on either side of the pack, have a top and side entry and can hold a small diameter water bottle.  This makes the bottle easy to grab while you are hiking.
  • Hip belt pockets.  There is a small pocket on each side of the hip belt.  Each will hold a cell phone and separate battery pack, or a couple trail bars or whatever snack you like to eat along the way.  I keep my phone and battery pack on one side and my sunscreen and bug spray on the other.
  • Hidden Pockets.  Behind the hip belt pocket is a compression strap that goes upward.  Right behind the attachment point of that strap and directly behind the hip belt pocket is a small, thin pocket that is about 3-1/2 inches deep and closed very tightly with velcro.  This is a handy pace to stash something small, like cash or spare AA batteries.

Special Features

The pack has special attachment points for two things.  On the left side are two bands designed to be used to hold an ice ax or similar implement.  On the right is a loop and strap designed to hold trekking poles. The idea with trekking poles is to shorten them as much as possible then hold open the bottom elastic loop and insert the bottom of the poles.  The tops are then held by an elastic band and the side compression straps.

There are a couple of surprise bonuses.  The clip on the left side of the sternum strap has a whistle incorporated into it.  Great for scaring bears away or calling for help.  The inside of the pack has the seven principles of leave no trace camping printed on it if you need some reminders while on the trail.

Accessories

There is really only one accessory you might want, a waterproof pack cover.  I got the large Osprey cover for $35.00.  It’s designed to fit packs from 50 to 75 liters in size and works with all the Atmos packs.

The Video

In the video you’ll see exactly how I have my pack packed.  I start by removing everything that’s in it and then putting it back in.  Along the way you’ll see most of the features discussed above and how they work.  If you want to see a larger size of the video,  check it out on our YouTube Channel.

 

More Information:

 

Credits

This words, photos and video were captured by Jerry Haugen, Pathfinder, and are ©2015 Global Creations LLC, All Rights Reserved.

 

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