Hey Folks - pictures did not work with this, and according to yahoo the email address BackpackGearTest@yahoogroups.com
does not exist...any pointers?
Osprey Atmos 65 Backpack
Name: Tyler Prince
Height: 5'10" (1.56 m)
Weight: 148 lbs (66 kg)
Location: Denver, CO, USA
Date: July 4, 2011
Backpacking Background: I have been backpacking most of my life with groups such as the BSA, small operation wilderness medicine groups, and friends. I have been a competitive distance runner for the past 8 years, alpine skier for 5, cyclist for 2, and 14er climber since moving to Denver a month ago. Speed is of the essence, and I favor gear that reflects this sentiment. I have been an EMT for 6 years and am a current Paramedic and future med student, and am highly interested in gear that has medical purposes, intentional or not.
3 lbs 9 oz (1.61 kg; size medium)
MSRP: $250 at time of purchase
I purchased this bag after searching for a high capacity, lightweight top-loading pack capable of wearing multiple hats. When purchased, the pack appeared very well crafted and durable, yet quite light despite its considerable payload potential. There were many attractive features including but not limited to hip strap pockets, a well ventilated back panel, and reverse-pull ergo compression straps on the hip belt, not to mention excellent organizational options. The bag has a lower pocket, which is fairly contiguous with the main compartment, for a sleeping bag or other large item. The main compartment is large although its size is slightly diminished by the presence of a gap between the mesh back panel and the actual compartment of the pack. The anterior-most portion of this pocket has a narrow but deep pocket that can accommodate a large water reservoir. On the front side of the pack are bilateral pockets great for storing smaller items such as food, clothes, and stoves/filters/miscellany. One of these pockets has a zipper that opens into the main compartment, facilitating access to larger items that might become unexpectedly needed. This eliminates the need to unfasten the top pocket, which fastens over the main compartment with two compression straps. These straps run along the front edges of the pack and allow a fair amount of gear to be stored between the top unit and the main compartment with virtually no chance of it falling out. This top lid pocket is sizeable, and a single zipper running along the top of the pack's back allows quick access to important items. Upon first glance, this compartment looks capable of carrying at least a shell, sunglasses, and some snacks. This pack also has three outer compartments: huge bilateral water bottle holders with compression straps, and a sizeable single buckle pocket on the front that I imagine would be ideal for food or dirty clothes. But the organizational options don't end there: the pack boasts trekking pole loops and quick release fobs. Features are well thought out there's even a whistle built into the sternum strap. Due to its low weight and high configurability, I was extremely curious how this pack would hold up in different settings (extended hiker, weekend hiker, day hiker).
Main compartment with hydration pocket.
Top of pack with hydration port. Ports are on both sides.
One of my favorite features main compartment access via a front gear compartment. Exterior buckled compartment (gray) also pictured.
After constant abuse, the bottom of the pack is still intact and in decent condition.
Comfortable sternum strap with built-in whistle.
The materials used in this pack's construction are a mix of cordura nylon and various synthetic stretch fabrics, all of which seem very durable. The harness system uses a unique mesh and neoprene-like combination of fabrics, which I imagined would be comfortable in hot weather. The pack's internal frame is minimalistic; essentially composed of lightweight metal rods in a rectangular configuration with braces extending medially. The wearer's back comes into contact with the actual frame only at the hips and shoulders (if the load-bearing straps are tightened), and upon first trying this pack on, I found that this made for an extremely comfortable fit.
In summary, this pack seemed like a great purchase due to its light weight, organizational options, and alleged versatility. The workmanship was impeccable, and my only initial qualm with the pack was a lack of a built in or included rain cover.
While I have used this pack extensively, I will focus on its use in several different settings to better highlight its versatility.
Backing through Europe
As a college student, I did the mandatory trek through Europe with some friends over the course of a month. The Atmos 65 survived the flight in a cargo hold without any lost items, despite my use of the space between the main compartment and lid to store a pair of shoes. For this trip, I did not pack light. As a runner, my running shoes come everywhere with me, and this was no exception I fit a large pair of Asics in the bottom pocket, along with a pair of light hikers. The main compartment fit a full complement of clothing (enough to run, hike, swim, and bar hop for a week), along with a fair amount of warm clothing (we ventured from southern Italy to the Swiss Alps). I also packed a sleeping bag, toiletry kit, rain shell, sunglasses, pocket knife, camera, and various miscellany, not to mention a smaller North Face Ion daypack for day trips. In retrospect, I didn't even need the Ion, although the point is simple: the Osprey carried a ton of gear, and did so comfortably.
While in college in Vermont, my school ran several outdoor orientation trips a semester, and staffed a medical evacuation team for this reason. I used this pack for both fall and winter excursions, and though I seldom went out for actual rescues, the pack accommodated a large amount of medical supplies (bandages, splints, blood pressure cuffs, IV supplies and medications) along with my sleeping bag, flashlights and warm clothing. Oh, and a tent too. The outer pockets and lid made organizing my supplies very easy, and everything was readily accessible.
Climbing 14ers: hiking in and day travel
My latest excursion with the Osprey involved hiking to South Colony Lake with a tent, bag, and everything one might think necessary to climb several of Colorado's 14ers in a weekend. After getting to camp in comfort (and dry, may I add, thanks to Osprey's mesh harness and backing) and dumping some of the larger ticket items, I packed up my Osprey with a shell, sunglasses, helmet, warm jacket, 4 liters of water, a water filter, camera, knife, light, and some food. While this is an obviously small payload for the Atmos 65, it did not feel awkward at any point, despite class 3 and 4 scrambling up Crestone Peak and Needle. After summiting Crestone Peak on our first day, my climbing partner and I tried to dash up Humboldt Peak before the weather hit. Despite our haste, the clouds came in strong and we backed off but the pack remained comfortable despite practically running halfway up and back down the mountain. And on the second day, despite scooting down the rocky Crestone Needle on my butt for most of the descent, the Atmos's fabric remained unscathed.
This is not to say I don't have some qualms with the pack after three years of use. As previously mentioned, the lack of an included rain cover seems negligent, although I believe Osprey may have remedied this error in newer versions of this pack. Additionally, when the compartment between the main and mesh backing is filled with clothing, the heat becomes a problem almost instantly, and I found myself sweating through any clothes I stored there and getting them too damp to wear without an overnight sleeping bag drying. Thus, this pack is really a 55 liter pack, with an additional 10 liters if you're willing to compromise dryness (this is not a huge deal if it's not hot out, or if the clothes you store there are quick drying). The other option is to free up some space in the main compartment by tossing your reservoir in this space the tube will easily run out the H2O port.
This is easily my favorite pack, and has held up extremely well despite considerable abuse. It's worth mentioning how great Osprey's customer service is I broke the zipper on the lid once (most likely due to my own overzealous packing), and Osprey fixed it for free and within two weeks of my sending it. It is comfortable (I would go so far as to say tailor-made) for a diverse range of outdoor functions, and is the first pack I reach for year-round. If you find yourself looking for an inexpensive pack at any point, pick up one of these used. Chances are it's almost as nice as it was when it was first purchased.