Osprey Atmos AG (Men's) / Aura AG (Women's) Review

Author: [ trailpeak ]   Contact Author: trailpeakThu May 07 15:21:45 UTC 2015

Atmos / Aura AG 50 Review - Spring 2015

This year, we have two top trail contributors reviewing the Atmos / Aura AG 50L trekking pack - the men's and women's versions. AG stands for Anti-Gravity, Osprey's latest design to improve your trekking experience. First up is Christian (click for profile and added trails / wishlist). He regularly hikes and scrambles the Alberta Rockies, and just completed a 2 week coastal BC hiking adventure. Erin, our Vancouver Island resident uber-submitter, has reviewed the Aura AG 50. She gets out most weekends for overnight trekking adventures and is also involved in rainforest conservation work on the Island.

Atmos 50 AG review - By Christian

The first thing that comes to mind when thinking about my experience with the Atmos AG 50 is comfort. This is for sure the most comfortable pack I’ve ever used, no matter the size. It offers incredible breathability with its anti-gravity Top-to-Bottom one-piece suspended mesh that nicely wraps your body from your waist to your shoulders. The Anti-Gravity suspended fit is a very important feature for me and I’ve used it in different conditions already to realize that I was not as wet and sweaty and it doesn’t trap moisture at all.

I really like the “double” lid of the main compartment with the top one being removable and adjustable with its two pockets where you can quickly access some of your gear. You can use this pack for day hikes also (the epic ones / scambles) if you take the first (top) lid off and then fasten the “flapjacket” lid only.

I didn’t read the owner’s manual but went back to it after my first hike with my Atmos AG 50 because there was some important features I didn’t even realize. Once adjusted, it had that added comfort and made it feel effortless to support that extra charge.

The adjustable harness and structural load lifters bars & straps are really important and help you personalize completely your pack to fit your body perfectly. The extra tension in the hip-belt also gives an incredible fit, something I’ve never experienced before with other packs. You almost don’t even need the hip and sternum straps even though these also help you maximize comfort and stability. Not to mention the upper and lower compression straps with an extra one in the main pocket to increase stability and make sure your gear stays organized. This is important on technical terrain and the long haul.

The internal water bag sleeve is very well integrated with the main compartment since it is angled back into the suspended mesh and allows you to really use the compartment’s full capacity without having to move the water bag in and out. And you don’t feel it on your back.

Some other interesting features to make it easy for you to keep going while you’re on a long hike are the Stow-on-the-go trekking poles attachments and mesh sides and front pockets. The pole attachments are another feature I really appreciate when there are some technical scrambling sections and I don’t want to use my poles for a few minutes. The side pockets have a top and side opening that allows you to reach out your water bottle or else easily without taking off your pack, simple but innovative.

Overall, comfort and stability makes this pack the best one I’ve ever used so far. Everything has been thought through to make it simple, efficient and comfortable.

Christian L’Archeveque

Aura 50L review - by Erin

Erin Flanagan is a regular trail contributor on trailpeak.com. She lives in Victoria and works as a Biochemist at the University. She used to race sailboats full time, and is pretty happy doing anything outdoorsy or science related. She goes rock climbing, hiking and backcountry camping with her husky and her 4WD truck all over Vancouver Island. Visit her trailleak profile here to see the trails she's added, done, and wants to do.

The Aura AG pack from Osprey is one of Osprey's most popular multi-day packs specifically designed for women. It is available in 50L and 65L and it's a great choice for overnight or weekend trips. I reviewed the 50L version. There is a corresponding men's version, the Atmos, that is reviewed above.

The Aura pack features Osprey's patented Anti-Gravity hipbelt and shoulder harness, as well as a mesh ventilated back panel. I was excited to test this out, as I've never owned a women's specific pack and I don't think anyone is a fan of how sweaty wearing a backpack for several hours can be. I did have to consult the online manual to figure out how to fit the shoulder harness, because the adjustment straps and clips are somewhat hidden, part of the sleek look. Once found, it took about 5 seconds to slide the harness to where I wanted it. Now, I am very very tall so I was unsure if the women's pack would even fit but it does!

The hip belt fits very nicely, and is very easy to adjust, they call it the "fit on the fly" system. The name anti-gravity is fitting, because when I tried on the pack empty it literally pushed itself up in the air. Once loaded up it rode very nicely on a steep rough trail on Vancouver Island. I have found with other packs where I've had to continuously adjust the hip belt but I did not have any problems with this one. The ventilated back panel works really nicely.

The hydration resevoir sleeve is internal to the pack, which is slightly concerning because I have a bad habit of not tightening the lid on mine properly and flooding my pack, but it's also way easier to load and unload quickly and the curvature of the mesh back panel doesn't allow for an external resevoir. 

The internal divider for the sleeping bag compartment is held in place by a strap which can be loosened or undone, which allows for some flexibility which is nice because the inside of the 50L isn't tall enough for a tent with the divider up.

The floating lid compartment has two pockets and can be removed, like most packs. There is also a "flapjacket" which is pulled over the main compartment and strapped down so the pack can be used without the top lid and still be protected from rain etc.

The 65L Aura has removable sleeping pad straps, while the 50L does not. Instead, there is a lower Sleeping bag compartment mentioned earlier. An alternative, if your pack is full (recommended limit about 40 pounds) is to use the side straps. These days, you can get a very lightweight and compressible down bag which won't take up room, if you are into lightweight, you won't have a problem putting an all star cast of gear together to match this pack.

The pack also has loops and bungee attachments for ice axes/tools which worked well for holding my tripod and a "stow on the go" system for stowing hiking poles without having to stop. I did not get a chance to test these but they sound useful and hiking season is upon us so check back.

Overall the pack is a really well designed pack. Osprey hasn't cheaped out on the harness and waist belt (or any other features) just because it's a faster pack, and it makes a huge difference. I prefer the simple design to other packs with a hundred tiny compartments because I'm forever trying to remember where I've put the thing. I only wish it came with it's own rain jacket and stow pocket, because I do love those - and I hike in a rainforest often.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention the top and front-panel access points, which let you quickly and easily find gear no matter how deeply it's stashed away.

In short, here is a summary of the features, and you can find all the details, videos, and manual here;

  • Anti-Gravity Suspension system
  • Heavy-duty nylon fabric
  • Top and front-panel access
  • Fit-on-the-Fly hip belt with pockets
  • Sleeping bag compartment
  • Removable top lid with pocket
  • FlapJacket back storage and compression panel
  • Reservoir sleeve

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