There’s nothing like a great backpack when you’re out exploring this beautiful world of ours Besides a great pair of hiking shoes, it’s the most important piece of equipment you can invest in when wandering the outdoors.
Osprey backpacks are at the top of the field in this category. They make some of the best options available and you’re bound to see a wide selection of Osprey gear no matter where you go. When I first started exploring nature on foot, I thought the name was weird and didn’t look into them too much. Ah, to be young and foolish once again.
Osprey Packs, Inc. began way back in 1974 with founder Mike Pfotenhauer in Santa Cruz, California. The company initially started as a small shop where Pfotenhauer made custom-fitted backpacks for local clients. Over time, Osprey gained recognition and expanded its catalog to include a wide range of products.
Today, Osprey is a worldwide premier brand of outdoor gear, period. They are renowned for focusing on sustainability and crafting some of the top-notch travel packs known in the outdoor community. They even offer free shipping on most offers and will repair any damage guaranteed! Shop Osprey to see more!
Ok back to the question at hand. Which type of pack do you need? Are you looking for a simple daypack or maybe something that’ll hold enough gear to cross the Andes? Something in between? Either way, this guide should have you covered. Read up on How to Choose a Hiking Backpack if you don’t know where to start.
In this article, I’ll review the 8 best Osprey packs tailored for any exploratory need. The advantages and disadvantages of each, the price points, and even some valuable and insightful user reviews.
Hopefully, after you’ve finished my article, you’ll have enough info to make an informed and intelligent decision on which type of pack that will suit you the best. Happy Hiking!
Best Pack for Thru-Hiking
Thru-hiking is pretty intense. Usually, It’s an incredibly long and continuous trek spanning hundreds or even thousands of miles! Think the Appalachian Trail or Pacific Coast Trail. On these crazy long outings, thru-hikers need to lug all their gear and supplies with them. It’s not easy or for the faint of heart.
To complete such a heavy task (pun kind of intended), the proper tool is needed. It must be ergonomic and distribute weight evenly across the entire body. It should have enough space inside to hold everything you’ll need for weeks or even months at a time including camping supplies, a wide range of clothing, and lots and lots of food! Talk about living on the road!
Osprey Atmos/Aura AG 65:
Intended Use: The AG 65 is a great choice if you’re going for a lengthy trip, but still want to keep things manageable. This pack won’t let you down and can survive anything you put it through. Ideal for loads upwards of 40 pounds (18 kg).
Pros: The Anti-Gravity suspension system is key to keeping the weight “feel” lighter and allowing you to venture farther. It boasts a very comfortable fit, has an adjustable harness, and enough spacious compartments to live out of for as long as you’d like.
Cons: It’s more expensive than the others on this list but you get what you pay for. It’s quite large as well so if you don’t want to schlep around a 1st grader on your back, aim for something smaller and lighter.
Price: ~ $300 USD
User Review: “Exceptional comfort and ample space make it my go-to for long hikes.”
On the opposite end of the spectrum are daypacks. They need to be easily portable without unnecessary bulk, allowing you to move freely and comfortably while bringing everything you’ll need for the day. Efficiency is priority number 1!
A good daypack should include padded shoulder straps and a padded back panel, a simple layout that provides ample storage for essentials like water bottles, snacks, and extra layers, all while ensuring easy access on the go. Nothing more, nothing less!
Osprey Talon 22/Tempest 20:
Intended Use: This mid-sized daypack is great for any single-day outing or fast-paced trekking you have planned that doesn’t require too much gear. It’s perfect for a pair of gloves, a rain jacket, camera a, some food, and a few other items.
Pros: Extremely lightweight and form fitting. It hugs your body when on the go and is hardly noticeable as you do. Contains a “Stow-on-the-go” trekking pole attachment, lid-lock helmet attachment (for bike helmets) multiple useful smaller pockets and is hydration reservoir compatible.
Cons: Limited capacity for extended trips so only use this for short treks or a single day hike at most. If you need something a bit bigger, look into the Hikelite 26. The opening for the water bladder is on the smaller side as well so you may have to remove a few items before re-inserting it.
Price: ~ $110 – $150 USD
User Review: “Perfect for day hikes, strikes an excellent balance between comfort and functionality.”
Best Ultralight Backpack
Ultralight backpacking is all about, you guessed it, minimal weight. This type of trailblazer is a minimalist who wants stability and comfort while porting the simplest load possible for journeys that can last for days at a time. They want a streamlined design to counter fatigue and increase their stamina during longer routes in the wild.
Such a pack still needs to provide plenty of room for all the necessary equipment without compromising accessibility to it. It should be durable enough to withstand the rigors of rugged terrain while simultaneously feeling pleasant on your back and shoulders.
Ultimately, the perfect ultralight strikes a delicate balance between weight reduction and functionality.
Osprey Exos/Eja 58:
Intended Use: Ultralight multi-day backpacking. This pack is perfect for those who are minimalists and only need to bring along the bare essentials, yet will be gone for multiple days at a time. It’s the Goldilocks version of not too big or too small, yet will get the job done. Great for loads between 25 – 35 lbs ( 11 – 16 kg).
Pros: The Exos/Eja 58 is an extremely comfortable and lightweight bag. The padding around the lower back and hip joints is easily felt and appreciated, especially for how light the backpack is. The mesh, ventilated design provides ample airflow and breathability.
Cons: There aren’t many sections to this variant. There’s only one main storage space and a few side pockets so if you like everything to have its place, this pack might not be for you.
Price: ~$250 – $270 USD
User Reviews: “Ideal for those seeking an ultralight option without sacrificing durability.”
Best Heavy Lifter for Outdoor Living
If you are somebody who loves to bring all the extras, you might want a high-capacity design. Something to accommodate heavy gear loads and preparation for anything nature can throw at you.
Large-capacity backpacks should integrate advanced compression systems that help users streamline their loads and maintain optimal weight distribution. They should be strong enough to hold and transport anything and everything you need. They are usually chosen for winter or cold weather backpacking since the added space is required for many layers of various clothing and added provisions.
Osprey Aether/Arial Plus 85:
Intended Use: This is what you get when you want to drag around everything you own. It even comes fitted with a smaller detachable day pack for when you want to leave its big brother behind. Great for Extended backpacking, mountaineering, and camping out in the woods for days, or even weeks at a time.
Osprey makes an even larger 100L version, but not many people need that much. The Aether/Arial Plus 85 will hold up to 70 lbs (31-32 kg), more than enough for most.
Pros: The Anti-Gravity suspension system transfers the weight above your center, providing stability and balance over any loose terrain. The internal locking sliders make customizing your load easy. It’s a very durable construction and of course, has a spacious layout.
Cons: Something you can expect but it’s heavier than some other competitors. It’s over 6 lbs (2.7 kg) empty so you’ll start to feel it after a while, no matter what you put inside of it. The price is another deterrent to some since you’ll be hard-pressed to find this under $400 USD anywhere.
Price: ~ $440 USD
User Reviews: “Unmatched comfort on long treks, with ample space for all essentials.”
Most Versatile Osprey Backpack
For those who only want to purchase 1 bag that can be used for a wide range of outdoor pursuits, versatility is going to be the main focus. Something that can withstand any type of weather or unpredictable environment while also incorporating customizable features and lots of extras.
These bags should offer plenty of room for organization and feature multiple pockets for easy access to whatever is needed. They should be adaptable and reliable for both short and long-term excursions.
Osprey Kestrel/Kyte 48:
Intended Use: Pick this if you don’t know what you’ll be doing from trek to trek. It’s great for any type of multi-day backpacking since you can carry just enough for a weekend getaway, or pack it full of any and everything for those long-distance walkabouts where you can replenish your goods at planned intervals.
Pros: This model is great for those who like a nice and custom fit since it includes an adjustable frame and moveable shoulder pads. The entire pack is made of durable nylon fabric and it comes with an integrated rain cover. Contains plenty of gear loops for all of your miscellaneous needs.
Cons: There are almost too many features on this thing so if you’re a minimalist, you might want to check out simpler models. The limited ventilation on the back panel can also be an issue if you are prone to sweating a lot. Not great for trips longer than a week.
Price: ~ $220 USD
User Reviews: “A reliable choice for multi-day hikes, with thoughtful features.”
Best Overnight Bag for Camping
The ideal overnight carryall needs to be just spacious enough for a tent, sleeping bag, clothing, cookware, and food, but small enough to be used as a carry-on for those quick weekend getaways to the mountains or deserts.
It should outfitted with multiple pockets and compartments, allow convenient access to gear while on the move, and sit nicely on your back and hips. Think of it as a daypack on steroids!
Osprey Stratos/Sirrus 36:
Intended Use: This pack is great if you like to be gone for 2 or 3 days at a time but need to bring enough with you to enjoy the relaxing nights under the stars. It has enough space to carry a small tent, sleeping mat or pad, food, rain protection, and more. Great for a 20-30 load.
Pros: A smaller pack than most on this list, yet able to carry a fairly decent sized load; camera gear, sporting equipment, camping, you name it, it can carry it. The AirSpeed back panel is great for ventilation, and the adjustable harness is extremely comfortable. Lots of features that you’d expect to find on bigger variations. Great carry-on choice if you travel a lot.
Cons: Since this is more of a working and active piece of equipment, the capacity is limited. Anything longer than a day, maybe two if you stretch out your resources, and it won’t be up to the task. Not great for colder climates since the carrying space won’t accommodate multiple pieces of warm-weather gear.
Price: ~ $190 – $220 USD
User Reviews: “Balances comfort and storage, perfect for overnight getaways.”
Best Shoulder Bag for the City
A good city bag blends style and function. It should look sleek and store the daily must-haves like laptops and water bottles. Big enough to tote small gadgets and snacks, yet compact and convenient. Perfect for urban environments, it’s both fashionable and practical, making it great for city living.
Osprey Daylite Plus:
Intended Use: This is a great carryall option for those who are focused on urban exploration. I dare say, “tourists” that need something they can throw just about anything you can think of inside for a stroll through town or a tour of an ancient relic. It’s lightweight and can hold most 14” laptops or tablets while also providing a hydration reservoir.
Pros: Lightweight and versatile for any day out exploring. The design features multiple compartments, dual water bottle side mesh pockets, and a large main “shove everything inside” area. Comes in a wide variety of color options/patterns.
Cons: It’s quite expensive if you just need something to hold a few things while you’re away from your hotel room. The design is straightforward, lacking high-end features you might expect for what you’re paying.
Price: ~ $75 USD
User Reviews: “My go-to for day hikes and city adventures, simple and functional.”
Best Backpack for Technical Climbs
These are the bad boys you get when you want to summit giants. They come loaded with advanced features like adjustable suspension systems and load-bearing hip belts. They are usually made from high-performance materials that offer water and abrasion resistance from sharp cliffs and compacted ice.
They are known for specialized compartments and attachment points used for hauling climbing ropes, ice axes, and helmets. For mountaineers who need something in demanding alpine conditions or spend long days conquering multi-pitch ascents. This is a bag that’s fine-tuned for vertical ice and steep terrain.
Osprey Mutant 38:
Intended Use: This is the rucksack you get when you are worried about steep accents and carrying a lot of gear. It’s best suited for mountaineering and summit climbing while maintaining durability and comfortability. The features allow for all types of extra pieces of equipment, from ropes, helmets, ice axes and so much more. Perfect for experienced adventurers!
Pros: The entire pack is made for the rugged landscapes of high-altitude climbing. It features a reinforced design specifically for technical use. The removable top lid allows weight reduction options and the multiple gear loops can handle anything you hang on them.
Cons: This thing is not for the everyday hiker. It’s specialized for specific technical climbs and activities so you won’t need it for a simple day hike in the woods. If you don’t need the features it provides, you’ll be wasting money.
Price: ~$160 – $200 USD
User Reviews: “A must-have for mountaineers, versatile and built to withstand challenging conditions.”
Well, that’s about it. I hope I broke down Osprey’s lineup well enough for you to make an informed decision. They offer such a great selection of products and will undoubtedly fit any need you may have.
Whether you’re an ultralight enthusiast, a day hiker, or an extended backpacker, Osprey offers a diverse range of options to suit your adventures. Always consider the intended use, pros and cons, price, and user reviews of each to find the perfect item that aligns with your hiking aspirations before you make a purchase. Happy trails and happy hiking!