The Osprey Atmos 65 AG is both revolutionary and stalwart. It fits every requirement of an excellent wilderness backpack, like well-designed storage, durable materials, and an array of customization, yet takes the suspension of weight to an entirely new level.
If there were an angel carrying our pack for every long mile, hovering inches above, we would still take the Atmos. Those angels are way too chatty. It’s made for (and excels at) weekend and week-long trips while hauling 30-50 pounds.
The sheer comfort and usability make it our Classic Pick for the Wilderness Backpacker, the standard by which all others are measured.
Explore the world of backpacks (kind of our obsession) with our comprehensive backpack guide, and see why we recommend the Osprey Atmos 65 AG below.
|Feature Type||Feature Specs||What This Means|
|Frame Type||Internal||Form fitting, internal frame is the standard in backpacking today.|
|Adjustable Torso||Yes||Can dial in your torso fit up to three inches (see Pack Sizes).|
|Number of Exterior Pockets||9||That’s a lot of pockets!|
|Sleeping Bag Compartment||Yes||Separate section accessible via zipper at bottom of pack.|
|Hydration Sleeve||Yes||Sip sip. Bladder not included, don’t forget one.|
|Main Pack Access||Top and Bottom||Accessible via drawstring top closure or Sleeping Bag Compartment.|
|Detachable Top Lid||Yes, 5.6 oz||Comes with secondary lid as well.|
|Trekking Pole/Ice Axe Loops||Yes||Specific slots for both.|
|Sternum Strap||Yes, adjustable||Complete with whistle.|
Main Pack: 100 x 630 Denier Nylon Dobby
Accent: 210 Denier High Tenacity Nylon
Bottom of Pack: 420 Denier Nylon Packcloth
|Fancy nylon materials. Very tough. Lots of tenacity.|
|Load Range||30-50 LBS||Wide range for variety of trips.|
|Warranty||Lifetime, Osprey All Mighty Guarantee||One of the best in the business.|
|Pack Size Ranges||Small||Medium||Large|
|Capacity||62 L, 3783 in3||65 L, 3967 in3||68 L, 4150 in3|
|Dimensions||31H x 15W x 15D in.||31H x 15W x 15D in.||35H x 15W x 15D in.|
|Weight||4.39 LBS, 1.92 KG||4.58 lbs, 1.98 KG||4.92 lbs, 2.04 KG|
|Torso Fit||16-19 in.||18-21 in.||20-23 in.|
|Waist/Hip Belt Fit||24-45 in.||27-48 in.||29-55 in.|
|Retail Cost||$260.00||A solid price for a solid backpack.|
Origins: Easing You In
A backpacking trip typically starts in the predawn hours, double checking the contents of your pack, throwing everything in the car, hitting the road before the sun has crested over whatever mountain, plain or sea you live near. In my case it was a foggy morning up the Pacific Coast Highway. I was headed to Big Sur for three days of uphill hiking, waterfall hunting, and generally basking in low elevation backpacking.
Yeah, the brand-spankin’-new pack — the Osprey Atmos 65 AG — lay like a beached whale in the back of my car, ready to get some dirt on it.
I met my brother and dad at the trailhead by 9 a.m., consolidated food, took out redundant items, and cinched the Atmos 65 AG all the way down.
The first thing you’ll notice when this pack is fully loaded is how good it looks. That’s a point for Osprey, a company that knows design, but it’s more than looks. There’s something to be said for a backpack that invites you to store items correctly on the first try, and doing so makes the pack stand up right and look great.
I did this by moving around my gear from their usual spots — placing the sleeping bag and tent in the main tunnel chute, my rolled up clothes in the bottom compartment, and odds and ends in the two huge exterior pockets.
I lifted it onto my back, wrenched the hip-hugging belt around to my front, buckled in, and adjusted my shoulder straps. Ready, set — where’s the weight?
Like a viral mountain goat I led the way through a smattering of tall oaks and poison oak, up the rigorous slope of Big Sur’s epic coast and into the Silver Peak Wilderness.
Revelation: The Moment I Knew
The singular moment would have to be at the top of the 1,200 foot climb, the peak of our hike, at the camp that was supposed to abut a stunning waterfall. Said torrent of water was, instead, a small trickle. Coupled with that was the dry, noon heat and a haze of smoke in the air from fires much farther north.
At that precise moment I unbuckled the Osprey Atmos 65 AG, set it down, and began to rock hop. I’m an active person, sure, but no professional athlete. Usually after any amount of haul, whether it’s two miles or 10, I take a breather. Setting the pack down has typically been mandatory for me, but on this hike, with this pack, I was never compelled to stop completely. And once we did stop, I was ready to scramble around.
It could be the injection of horse steroids I took at the trailhead, or it could be the pack. It was the suspension of weight, of course. The very thing the new Atmos AG 65 is known for — the “Anti-Gravity” wonder of its trampoline-style suspension — is what induced this revelatory moment for me.
My pack was otherwise packed in a typical fashion for me — around 35 pounds with food and water for this two-night trip. I do have a lightweight sleeping pad, but my tent and sleeping bag were both engineered before any “ultralight” movement existed, and as such take up room and settle like a brick — usually. Not this time, though.
The Osprey Atmos 65 AG is more than the suspension, of course. That’s just what everyone raves about — tripping on the holes in the material, testing gravity, questioning what sort of space-age we’re in that part of a wilderness backpack looks like it came out Dr. Seuss. The one other thing I’ll say about the rave-worthy suspension: it kept the sweat off my back better than anything I’ve ever worn on the trail.
There are features that will make you wonder why every pack can’t be so simple. I mean, really, why can’t every pack be so simple?
The first is the massive external pockets. The genius of this seems simple, and something many packs lack. They are large enough to store food, any on-hand items you might need, and are always accessible. Osprey sewed them to have valuable space no matter how filled up your main chute is, too.
There’s the floating detachable lid, which you can take off if you’re worried about weight or want a slimmer pack.
The hip belt has two oversized pockets — I stored a gold bar in one (standard size), and the paperback edition of Harry Potter 7 in the other. No, really, they are decently sized.
Finally, there was the joy of zipping and unzipping the Osprey Atmos 65 AG. Each zipper has a circular hoop for easy pulling, they slid without getting snagged anywhere and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. But maybe I’m a nut who loves the feel of a well-made zipper.
Icy angel breath upon an otherwise sweaty back and a grip like the strong, supportive hands of a veteran wrestler, the Atmos 65 AG made mince-meat out of weight.
The bald eagle that swooped down to steal my salami sandwich tore through my shoulder, the ziplock bag, and the meat, but the pack didn’t have a scratch. Ok, it has a scratch, but the claws didn’t puncture. The fabric feels heavy, and the pack handles falls without an issue. I didn’t test long enough for a full on durability test, but the initial looks are solid.
Super-model status, especially when you forgo hanging a bulbous pad or tent with the external straps. I caught myself gazing at it through the firelight, wanting to know its favorite pastime.
For an unknown reason angels have come up in this narrative review, so I’ll stick with that theme. As legend goes, Satan was an angel who fell from heaven. Despite the glorious nature of the Osprey Atmos 65 AG, there were a couple of grievances.
This backpack features Osprey’s “Fit-on-the-Fly” hip belt system, which means it can extend or contract to fit multiple hip widths. This customization is coupled with a movable harness, also meant to dial in the fit for individuals.
I used the small version of the Osprey Atmos AG 65 — the hip belt was magic, fit like a glove, and, as you know, kept the weight off. I was, however, at the peak height of the toros harness, which wasn’t tall enough in the end. This meant some of the weight fell on my shoulders when it shouldn’t have.
What’s amazing is that even with this annoyance, the pack felt better than any I’ve tried. What would have happened if it fit perfectly? My point — make sure you fit in the Small, Medium, or Large version of this pack because you can’t swap out the hip belt for a mix and match party like some of Osprey’s other models.
Next grievance again takes the radiant light of this pack’s lid — the brainy buddy that can be detached — and seriously wonders why it can’t be converted to a day pack. An easy strap addition would make this even more excellent, and lord knows a backpacker loves a multi-functional tool.
There are tiny other things, ant-sized issues that any old complainer could complain about — a main compartment drawstring that isn’t standard; the awkward “FlapJacket” that just sort of stares at you, uselessly, when you’re using the main lid; the lack of an embedded speaker that plays you soothing nature sounds while you walk through nature…the usual.
The Osprey Atmos AG 65 is angelic, beastly, and carries the load better than Sam Gamgee would have if Frodo wasn’t so psychotically possessive of his little ring.
An Osprey Atmos 65 AG was used for this review. A women’s version of the pack, called the Osprey Aura 65 AG, is also available. All the features are the same, but the hip belt and shoulder straps are dialed in for the female figure. We’ve found both packs to be excellent.