Osprey Atmos AG 50 Review 2016/05/12

The Atmos AG 50 joins my Osprey collection. Bringing with it high levels of comfort and accessibility in a very flexible capacity. Its companions are the Mutant 38, Kestrel 48 and the Talon 33. So you could say that I am an avid Osprey user. Read our full review and field test of the Osprey Atmos AG 50.


The Osprey Atmos 50 AG is the first ‘breathable back’ style pack I have been able to use in earnest on the hill and actually enjoy the experience. In the past I have avoided these style of packs due to them being incredibly uncomfortable on the shoulders and hips.

On any trip a pack should be practical, accessible and comfortable for the user and it’s the blend of these three requirements that can make the pack come into its own.


Osprey has correctly decided not to cover the pack with straps and unneeded bells and whistles. Instead they have opted for a rather clean design. It's surprising for the amount of features that are actually contained within the pack itself. I will call out a few here that I think are the most important but feel free to check out the Osprey website for a full list of features.


Firstly the capacoty of 50 litres with a floating lid is one of my favourite sizes for a rucksack. In my opinion it is one of the most versatile of sizes. This size is not a multi week expedition rucksack or a depth of winter pack. Where you may be bringing specialist equipment with you such as a snow shovel. What the Atmos AG 50 does is enable a person to take wild camping equipment and operate very comfortable for around a week without having to re stock on supplies. Fabrics used are a very high denier nylon (420d) on the base and a lightweight but strong interwoven weave of 100d and 630d nylons for the main fabrics. The pack is not lightweight at 1.85kg but for the support offered I would not say its heavy for the features given to the user.


Accessibility of the Atmos AG 50 is what you would expect of a top loader. What Osprey has done is add another flap between the lid and the main compartment, called the Flapjacket this protects the drawstring opening underneath when you have removed the lid which along with being floating is also completely removable. This allows you to reduce the weight of the pack when you are packing slightly less on lighter weight adventures. Another great addition are pockets on the hipbelt. These are great when carrying insect repellent, snacks or just anything you may need to access when on the move. The pockets are big enough to also help out in carrying smaller dry bags which help free up the main compartment somewhat too. As with most Osprey rucksacks they presume the user will be using a hydration pack and that the best place to put this potentially heavy item is right against the back which is where you will find the dedicated pocket for the bladder.


Side mesh pockets can swallow a litre Nalgene perfectly well. However at one point on my most recent trip with this pack the bottle did fall out when I put the rucksack on. This has never happened before on any other pack I have used. The large mesh pocket on the front of pack can be used for drying an item of clothing or storing extra kit. It sits perfectly flat when not in use and has returned to its original shape after a prolonged time with kit stuffed into it.


However these features are found on other packs from Osprey. What is unique to the Atmos AG 50 and 65 is the integrated breathable mesh. It is continuous through the hipbelt itself. This important feature makes the Atmos 50 very comfortable to wear both on the short walks and longer hikes. Even with pretty substantial weights of close to 20kg. If packed correctly with the heaviest items closest to your own centre of gravity, then the Atmos 50 is very pleasant to wear whilst hiking. However all mesh design back panels are vulnerable to breakage. This would be a major issue on trips into more remote areas. As such I do not recommend this pack for trips where a broken rucksack would spell disaster.


The hipbelt and indeed whole back mesh is under slight tension. Resulting in the hip harness requiring you to literally pry them open each time you want to put the pack on. A minor complaint is you have to reach behind to open the hip belt. Once the pack it fitted it’s a pleasure to hike with. However getting it on I would say is the only time I notice the pack working against me as apposed to with me. The tensioned hip belt prevents you just slinging the pack on quickly. The hip belts are closed and feel uncomfortable before you pry them open. The Atmos AG 50 is certainly a pack that you put on and keep it on for a long while as apposed to start stopping all the time.


Overall it’s an excellent pack but I will not be using this pack again. I find the breathable mesh back design to be the best on the market. However it is too vulnerable to damage in my opinion. Once slightly torn I would fear that this tear would spread throughout the pack. Consequently making the pack slowly break completely. Recommended with a specific reservation.


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