Best Backpacking Backpack: Osprey Atmos and Aura - Gear Hacker

Table Of Contents

Best All-Around Backpack

  • Comfort 100% 100%
  • Storage 90% 90%
  • Accessories 100% 100%
  • Weight 70% 70%

Price: $270

What We Like: Anti-Gravity systems throughout harness and back panel.

What We Don’t: The color options… I guess. 

Atmos 65

Small 62 L

32.28 x 15.35 x 16.14 in

82 x 39 x 41 cm

4.48 lbs
Medium 65 L

34.25 x 15.35 x 16.14 in

87 x 39 x 41 cm

4.56 lbs
Large 68 L

36.22 x 15.35 x 16.14 in

92 x 39 x 41 cm

4.64 lbs

 Aura 65

WXS 60 L

26.53 x 14.96 x 15.75 in

67.39 x 38 x 40 cm

4.26 lbs
WS 62 L

31.5×14.96×15.75 in

80 x 38 x 40 cm

4.34 lbs
WM 65 L

33.46×14.96.15.75 in

85 x 38 x 40 cm

4.42 lbs

 

The Atmos and Aura lines created by Osprey have been the go-to backpack for campers for years. This season should be no change. The Anti-Gravity back panel and harness system is the most comfortable and breathable option on the market. The backpack itself is well organized with a variety of pockets and storage options. Other than the weight, which is countered by the excellent harness system, this backpack family is almost perfect. It was an easy decision to name it our Best All-Around Backpack of the season. 

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Best Backpacking Backpack: Osprey Atmos and Aura - Gear Hacker

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  • Comfort 100% 100%
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Pros

Anti-Gravity Systems Throughout Harness

Back Panel

Cons

The Color Options

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Osprey has become a leader in backpack technology and development. They are well known for high-quality packs, and their “All Mighty Guarantee” warranty is tough to beat. Available in 50 L and 65 L models, the Osprey Atmos and the female-specific Aura are a testament to Osprey’s pursuit of backpack perfection. 

If the Osprey Atmos was a car, it would be a minivan. Is it the lightest or fastest car on the planet? No. Will it hold everything you need and comfortably get you where you need to go? Absolutely, 100% of the time. So if you are looking for the best overall backpack when it comes to comfort and function, the Osprey Atmos should check all of those boxes. For these reasons, we choose the Atmos and Aura as our Best All-Around Backpack of 2020. 

Best Backpacking Backpack: Osprey Atmos and Aura - Gear Hacker

Comfort and Suspension

Osprey has developed what can be argued is the most comfortable harness system on the backpack market. The Anti-Gravity back panel, hipbelt, and shoulder straps combine to create unrivaled comfort. The seamless flow of lightweight stretch mesh from the back panel onto the hipbelt contours to the user’s body provides unrestricted movement and unmatched ventilation. The magic of the Anti-Gravity stretch mesh is the separation it places between your back and the backpack itself. The space created allows for maximum airflow and limits contact points, not only improving comfort but essentially eliminating hotspots. 

The Osprey Atmos comes in three sizes, so, as always, ensure that you are aware of what size you need depending on your torso size. The Atmos’s adjustable harness and Fit-on-the-Fly hipbelt will then dial in the fit after finding the correct size. 

Features and Convenience

In terms of overall bells and whistles, the Atmos does not overwhelm. There is a large main compartment that has a 3 L hydration sleeve as well as a removable divider between the main compartment and sleeping bag pocket. The top lid has zippered storage and is removable; it also has gear attachment points for solar panels or other gear. If the lid is removed, the integrated FlapJacket will cover the drawstring main compartment opening to protect the cargo inside. 

Best Backpacking Backpack: Osprey Atmos and Aura - Gear Hacker

The Atmos includes Osprey’s Stow-on-the-Go trekking pole attachment system to keep hiking poles accessible without having to remove the pack. The system struggles to work with folding trekking poles, but it works well with collapsible trekking poles. 

For quick access, the Atmos features a large stretch mesh pocket on the front, for extra layers or shoes. Along both sides of the backpack, there are dual access stretch mesh pockets, which are perfect for water bottles, and with the dual access, you don’t need to have contortionist-like flexibility in your shoulders to reach your bottles. 

Best Backpacking Backpack: Osprey Atmos and Aura - Gear Hacker

The backpack also includes dual zippered hipbelt pockets, dual ice axe loops, and removable sleeping pad straps. Upper and lower side compression straps help to keep all of your gear just the way you packed it. The compression straps do not cross the water bottle pockets, which has been a problem in other Osprey packs.

The only difference between the 65 L and 50 L versions of the Atmos and Aura are two dual-zippered front pockets included with the 65 L models. The pockets are a nice addition to keep certain equipment separate from the main compartment, like a cooking stove. 

Best Backpacking Backpack: Osprey Atmos and Aura - Gear Hacker

Weight and Material

One of the few negatives about the Atmos and Aura is the weight. The Atmos 65 Medium weighs in at 4.56 lbs, while the Aura 65 Small is 4.34 lbs. The pack is heavier than most on our list, but the weight is brought about by the Anti-Gravity harness system. This harness system is what makes the backpack so comfortable and makes it feel like you are carrying less weight, hence “Anti-Gravity.” 

For most backcountry enthusiasts, comfort is paramount when carrying a load for 8-10 hours a day. The additional base weight caused by the harness will⁠—without question⁠—be worth the improved carrying comfort that it provides. 

The materials used by the Atmos and Aura are also slightly heavier than others, but this improves its durability. The 100D Nylon used throughout the body and 420D Nylon on the bottom are there to last and will keep the pack going for years to come. 

Best Backpacking Backpack: Osprey Atmos and Aura - Gear Hacker

The Bottom Line

Though heavier than many of its peers in the backpacking market, the Atmos knows that it is built for comfort and not speed. The Anti-Gravity system used throughout the harness system is one of⁠—if not the most⁠—comfortable systems on the market.

The Osprey Atmos includes excellent features to reduce the amount of time the pack needs to be taken off of your back⁠—including the dual access stretch mesh side water bottle pockets as well as the Stow-on-the-Go trekking pole attachment system, a very convenient way of accessing your trekking poles while on the move. 

At $270 for the 65 L and $240 for the 50 L, the Atmos and Aura cost the same as the highly minimalistic Granite Gear Blaze and are without question much more comfortable, in my opinion, even with the added weight. With backpacking backpacks, it really is a personal decision and may even come down to the activity that the pack will be used for. Take everything into consideration.

That being said, from the material used to create the backpack and the harness that Osprey has built to promote comfort and durability, the Atmos and Aura are the Best All-Around Backpacking Backpacks of 2020. 

 

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