Osprey Atmos AG 65
Weight: 4 lbs. 9 oz. (men's medium)
Fabric: Nylon (100D x 630D)
Capacities: 50, 65L
What we like: Fantastic ventilation, close and supportive fit, and durable build.
What we don’t: No zippered access to the main compartment; hipbelt can cause discomfort.
See the Osprey Atmos AG 65 See the Women's Osprey Aura AG 65
One of the few downsides of the industry-wide transition to internal-frame packs is ventilation. Enter the Atmos line from Osprey, and more recently, the Atmos AG pack. This bag was designed from the ground up to keep your back dry without sacrificing load capacity or comfort. After a number of backpacking trips, including multiday treks in hot weather in Utah and a late winter trip into the Grand Canyon, we’ve come away very impressed. Not only does the pack offer excellent ventilation, but it’s a standout performer in nearly every category. Below are our thoughts on the Atmos AG. To see how it stacks up to the competition, see our article on the best backpacking packs.
Table of Contents
- Carrying Comfort
- Build Quality and Durability
- Fit and Sizing
- What We Like/What We Don't
- Comparison Table
- The Competition
When I slid on the Osprey Atmos AG 65 for the first time, I was struck with how well it fit. The mesh backpanel and hipbelt naturally want to fold inwards, which means the pack practically hugs you. It makes a strong first impression, and we’ve found it to be very comfortable even after logging serious miles on a number of overnight and extended trips (loads varied from around 25 to 40+ pounds). Even though the sculpted backpanel does pull the load a little bit away from you, we never felt any disconnect, nor the sensation of the weight pulling us backwards (although it did take one of our testers some time to get used to).
But despite the Atmos’ overall comfort, the stiff hipbelt raised some concerns. During an extended trip along the Grand Canyon’s Escalante Route, one tester reported notable discomfort at the edges, which roll slightly inwards, after only a day wearing the pack. Compared to the shoulder straps and the rest of the belt, this area is relatively unpadded, creating pressure points that continued throughout the rest of the journey. Some might not experience the same issue depending on where the pack falls (and there’s plenty of room for adjustment), but it was noticeable enough for us to call out directly.
Finally, the Atmos AG is not our absolute favorite pack for carrying a heavy load (45-plus lbs.)—that honor is reserved for models like the Gregory Baltoro and Osprey’s own Aether collection (including the Aether Plus 70 and Aether 65). But the Atmos holds its own on multiday treks. Even on trips where we’ve brought along extra water, camera equipment, or items for gear testing, its sturdy frame has kept us quite comfortable. This is all despite using a suspended mesh hipbelt design rather than thick foam, a testament to the Anti-Gravity technology.
At 4 pounds 9 ounces in a medium frame, the Osprey Atmos AG is competitively lightweight for what we consider a luxury pack. Construction and features vary widely even among backpacks of similar capacities: on one end of the spectrum are ultralight models (around 2-3 lbs.) that only have a couple pockets and are made with very thin materials. At the other are traditionalist packs with premium features and thick, durable fabrics, but the weights often creep towards 5 pounds. The Atmos AG falls toward the premium side, although at 4 pounds 9 ounces, it’s not excessive. Others in this category, including the Gregory Baltoro 65 (4 lbs. 13.4 oz.) and Osprey’s own Aether 65 (4 lbs. 15.4 oz.), also outweigh the Atmos. In the end, considering how well it can carry a load exceeding 40 pounds, we feel the weight is reasonable for those who value carrying comfort. And backpackers looking to trim weight can leave behind the top lid and use the attached “FlapJacket” to cover the main compartment.
If organization is a priority, the Osprey Atmos AG 65 is well-appointed with plenty of pockets, lash points, and gear loops. To start, you get the standard array of two zippered pockets in the top lid, two mesh water bottle holders, a sleeve for a water reservoir, and a very large mesh stuff-it pocket along the front of the pack. There’s also a dedicated sleeping bag compartment with its own zipper at the base of the pack, which is really helpful for staying organized and often omitted in lighter designs. And when the terrain gets tricky, a trekking pole attachment point along the shoulder strap makes it easy to free up your hands.
The features we’ve found most convenient are the zippered pockets that flank the large mesh front pocket—they’re quite large and can swallow bulky items like a water filter, rain jacket, or extra fuel canisters—and the two hipbelt pockets. These too are on the big side and should easily accommodate a modern smartphone in a case (we were even able to fit a point-and-shoot camera in its case).
One area for improvement would be a zippered access into the main compartment. The Atmos has a standard top-loader design, which makes it a pain to dig through and find an item that’s hidden deep inside, although the zippered sleeping bag compartment at the bottom helps some. Adding another zipper would tack on some ounces to the total weight, but we’ve come to appreciate the quick and easy access to the main compartment you get with this feature.
The big news here is along the back—one large suspended mesh panel covers the entire backpanel and hipbelt of the Atmos AG. Dubbed Anti-Gravity (hence the AG in the name), even the shoulder straps have the same open webbing. Simply put, we haven’t worn a pack that encourages this much airflow. And expanding the concept to the hipbelt is seamless. If your number one consideration in buying a backpacking pack is ventilation, the Osprey Atmos AG is the one.
What takes the Atmos’ ventilating design from merely good to great is the fact that it doesn’t compromise the rest of the backpack. It’s simply another quality Osprey item: the pack can haul a multi-day load in comfort, has thoughtful organization, and is made with durable materials that haven’t shown any signs of excessive wear over extensive use. The curved backpanel, which creates the open space for air to reach your back, does cut into the main compartment a little, but it’s still easy to fit large items like a standard bear canister inside.
The Osprey Atmos AG 65 is offered in three different sizes (small, medium, and large), and we’ve found it very easy to dial in a nice fit. As mentioned above, the bag conforms nicely to your back, and adjusting the shoulder straps is as simple as sliding them up and down along the backpanel. Additionally, the light foam padding along the hipbelt can be moved in or out to increase comfort. We had no issues sharing our medium-sized pack between two testers with 18- and 21-inch torsos.
Other Capacity: Osprey Atmos AG 50
In addition to the 65-liter pack tested here, Osprey also makes the Atmos in a smaller 50-liter version. Compared to the 65, the Atmos AG 50 costs less at $240 and shaves off around 6 ounces of weight (in a size medium). However, it retains all the storage options as its larger sibling, as well as features like the Anti-Gravity mesh backpanel, removable lid, lower sleeping bag compartment, and well-padded hipbelt and shoulder straps. In the end, we think the 65 is the more versatile size and worth the extra $30, but for shorter trips and those used to packing light, the Atmos AG 50 is a nice way to save.
Women’s-Specific Osprey Aura
We tested the men’s Atmos AG, but Osprey also makes the pack in a women’s version, the Aura AG. Like the Atmos, the Aura comes in 50 and 65-liter capacities, but it offers a female-specific fit and different color options (for more, see our in-depth Aura AG review). Importantly, the two designs share the Anti-Gravity system and key features such as the pocket layout, high-quality fabrics, and attachment points for trekking poles and an ice axe.
- A thoughtfully designed and well-implemented ventilation system.
- Solid carrying comfort, despite not relying on thick foam padding for support.
- Good organization overall, with large pockets to divvy up gear.
- High-quality materials do a great job balancing weight and durability.
What We Don’t
- Zippered access to the main compartment would make it easy to grab items that aren’t at the top or in the bottom sleeping bag compartment.
- Hipbelt edges are relatively unpadded and roll slightly inward, which can cause discomfort during long days on the trail.
- The pack has developed a noise around the hipbelt that is occasionally noticeable when on the go—it resembles a low-pitched groan.
|Osprey Atmos AG 65||$270||4 lb. 9 oz.||Nylon (100D x 630D)||50, 65L||Top||8 exterior|
|Osprey Aether 65||$280||4 lb. 15.4 oz.||Nylon (210D & 420D)||55, 65L||Top, front||7 exterior|
|Gregory Baltoro 65||$300||4 lb. 13.4 oz.||Nylon (210D)||65, 75, 85L||Top, front||9 exterior|
|REI Co-op Traverse 60||$229||4 lb. 4 oz.||Nylon (300D)||32, 60L||Top||10 exterior|
|Granite Gear Blaze 60||$270||3 lb. 0 oz.||Nylon (100D & 210D)||60L||Top, front||6 exterior|
|Osprey Rook 65||$165||3 lb. 8.3 oz.||Nylon (600D & 100D)||50, 65L||Top||5 exterior|
The Atmos AG is Osprey’s leading backpacking pack, but their Aether is more of a heavy hauler that takes comfort and features to the next level. Updated last year, the Aether 65 no longer shares the Atmos’ Anti-Gravity backpanel, but its AirScape design still is decently breathable. You also get ample adjustability and attachment points, a J-shaped zipper for easy access to the main compartment, and an included rain cover. You pay the price in both weight (4 lbs. 15.4 oz.) and cost ($280), but the Aether has its place for those shouldering serious weight or who like the extra features. In most other cases, we’d go with the lighter Atmos.
For carrying a fully loaded pack, the venerable Gregory Baltoro 65 is another attractive option. With the Baltoro, you get zippered access to the main compartment (a notable omission with the Osprey), as well as generous padding, an integrated rainfly, and excellent organization. However, the feature-rich design does add some weight at 4 pounds 13.4 ounces. Both are capable choices for long days on the trail, but we’d break it down as follows: if you prioritize comfort above all else, get the Baltoro. But the Atmos gets the nod as the lighter and better all-around option for most overnight and multi-day trips.
REI Co-op's Traverse series has long been a favorite of ours, and the latest Traverse 60 features decent organization (we especially like the large hipbelt pockets) and solid durability—all for about $40 and 5 ounces less than the Atmos. That said, the Traverse’s backpanel and padding in general aren't as comfortable, and if you prioritize ventilation, the Traverse falls short of the Atmos in that regard. All in all, the Traverse is a good value, but the Atmos remains our top pick for comfort- and ventilation-focused backpackers.
Like the Atmos, Granite Gear’s Blaze 60 is another comfortable and fully featured design to have on your radar. However, the Blaze sets itself apart in one key area: weight. At 3 pounds even, it’s considerably lighter than the 4-pound-9-ounce Atmos, but unfortunately you do make some sacrifices by going that light. Specifically, the Atmos offers better padding around the shoulder straps and hipbelt, and its mesh-heavy backpanel is much more breathable than the Blaze’s simpler foam design. For the same price, we consider the Atmos the more well-rounded pack, but the Blaze is a viable option for those whose main priority is moving fast and light.
Finally, Osprey offers another in-house alternative to the Atmos in their budget-friendly Rook 65. On paper, there’s a lot to like about the Rook: it comes in at a reasonable $165 (over $100 cheaper than the Atmos), weighs over a pound less at 3 pounds 8.3 ounces, and is more robust with a 600/1000D polyester and nylon build. But after taking the Rook on the same early-season trip into the Grand Canyon, we came away unimpressed. Specifically, we found the pack to be noticeably lacking in comfort and overall organization—two areas where the Atmos excels. In the end, the Rook is a fine entry-level pack, but for those who plan on getting out a lot, we recommend spending up for the more comfortable and feature-rich Atmos.
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