I went out and ran errands then came back and reread my report after I posted it. Frankly, I embarrassed myself with my previous posting. I must apologize for what struck me as a sloppy job on my previous attempt. I've gone back through and restructured some sentences, corrected a whole lot of rookie misspellings, and added a few things that I can't believe I didn't mention in my first attempt. Please consider this version for your editing!
OSPREY ATMOS 65 BACKPACK
TEST SERIES BY GREG MCDONALD
May 01, 2009
NAME: Greg McDonald
EMAIL: gdm320 AT yahoo DOT com
LOCATION: Boynton Beach, Florida
HEIGHT: 6' 0" (1.83 m)
WEIGHT: 225 lb (102.00 kg)
I have been camping for 17 years, 12 of them have been spent hiking in the backcountry. My hikes are almost exclusively in Florida and generally range between one and three nights. My all-time favorite hike was a 10 day expedition in the Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimarron, New Mexico. I consider myself a lightweight but comfortably equipped hiker, with a pack averaging between 25 and 30 lb (11 and 14 kg).
Product Information & Specifications
<<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "Osprey Packs">><<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "Osprey Atmos 65" IMAGE CAPTION = "Image Courtesy of Osprey">>Manufacturer: Osprey
Model: Atmos 65
MSRP: Not Listed
Initial Size Received: Large
Listed Capacity: 68L (4200 cu in)
Listed Weight: 3 lb 12 oz (1.7 kg)
Measured Weight: 3 lb 12.7 oz (1.72 kg)
Listed Dimensions: 30 x 14 x 12 in (77 x 36 x 30 cm)
Initial Color Received: Green Apple (Also available in Graphite Grey and Aspen Gold)
Product Design and Features
The Atmos 65 is a lightweight pack from Osprey's "Ventilated Backpacking" series. The basic design of the pack is pretty standard: a top-loading pack with a floating lid and a sleeping bag stuff compartment in the bottom. From this angle, it isn't all that different from the first internal frame pack I ever used about 10 years ago. Something that I've noticed over the years is that more often than not basic designs stay the same - the difference is in the details.
The details are where I find myself intrigued by the Atmos. The Osprey website mentions several of the Atmos' features including dual vertical front zippered pockets, InsideOut compression straps, Osprey's Stow-on-the-Go trekking pole attachment system, tool attachment loops, a removable floating lid, a waffle-foam harness, and dual hipbelt pockets. Aside from these things that Osprey has listed I've also found that the Atmos is hydration-system compatible with a sleeve for the bladder and outlet for the hose and has an emergency whistle integrated with the sternum strap. The photo below shows a number of the Atmos' features and design elements. The BioStretch mesh backpanel, Stow-on-the-Go attachment, waffle-foam shoulder straps, and the sternum strap system are all visible. <<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "Atmos Features">>
A big detail of the Atmos is the suspension system. The Atmos utilizes Osprey's AirSpeed suspension, which basically uses a curved backpanel on the pack's body with a tensioned mesh "trampoline" style backpanel to allow for airflow in the space between my back and the body of the pack. I've used a similar system, Gregory's JetStream suspension, with excellent results in warm weather and am very excited about the prospect of testing Osprey's take on the design. The image below probably explains the design far better than I ever could. <<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "IMAGE 4">> The primary concern that I have with designs like this is that the curved backpanel shifts the weight further from my body, therefore changing my center of gravity. Theoretically this could cause me problems by throwing off my balance while moving and scrambling, so I will be paying close attention to the shifting of my pack load. On the topic of a shifting pack load, I am a bit concerned and was initially a bit baffled by the fact that the Atmos does not have a lumbar pad. On most packs I have used in the past, the lumbar pad has been crucial for transferring the load from my back to my hips and also maintaining stability.
The Atmos seems plenty large to serve as a multi-day pack. The majority of my trips are simple overnighters, but I also have a handful of two and three night trips in store for the Atmos. During my test packing, I had no problem getting all my usual gear into the main compartment of the pack. As I mentioned before, the Atmos is a top loader so I have to pack and unpack everything through the top opening. There is no front or side access to the main compartment because Osprey instead opted to put two vertical zippered pockets on the front for items that might need quicker access. I packed things like my rain gear, pack cover, food, water filter, and other miscellaneous but important items in there so I can get to them easily.
I'm also a fan of the divider in the bottom of the pack and separate access to the sleeping bag compartment. This was a feature that I had on my first internal frame pack that I lost with my most recently used pack that I truly missed. While exploring the pack I was able to get both my Big Agnes Lost Ranger into the compartment without a problem and more than easily fit my Mountain Hardwear Ultralamina 45, so there is plenty of room for both of my bags.
The floating lid up top is deceptively large on storage space as well. The stretch pocket on the front of the pack (between the two vertical zippered pockets) stows a fleece well, which I like because it should keep it nice and handy so I can slip it on and off as temperatures vary. The only pockets I wasn't too thrilled with are the hipbelt pockets, which weren't quite as big as I had hoped for. Still, I was able to comfortably store my GPS on one side and my compass, knife, and small flashlight on the other.
One feature that I've started to look at very carefully recently is compression straps that can be routed both inside and outside the stretch water bottle pockets on the side of a pack. Osprey calls their system "InsideOut" compression straps. The straps are easy to route and re-route as necessary, and the stretch-woven pockets are the perfect size for my 1L Nalgenes that I pretty much ALWAYS carry.
Fit and Comfort
I must admit that I made an error when ordering this pack that has affected my ability to report on the fit and comfort of the Atmos at this stage. I'm a bit of a sizing anomaly when it comes to packs, in that I tend to need a size medium in terms of torso length but a large in terms of harness and hipbelt size. Because I am a bit close to Osprey's maximum threshold for size medium on torso length, I opted for a size large for this test. Unfortunately, this turned out to be an error in judgment and I will need to request an exchange to move me down to a size medium.
After loading the pack up with about 25 lb (11 kg) of weight, I noticed the shoulder straps were putting pressure on the sides of my neck causing a fair bit of discomfort. I'm thinking that this is a problem caused by the angle of the shoulder straps. Because of the longer torso length, the shoulder straps attach to the pack pretty high up on my back and do not appear to be allowing the straps to take the proper angle over my shoulders. When I allow the pack to ride lower on my back to simulate a shorter torso length, I noticed an improvement. At this point I'm not so much concerned with a design issue, I'm operating under the assumption this is a sizing problem.
Since the fit of the pack is wrong for me, it is difficult for me to confidently comment on the overall comfort of the pack at this point. What I can say is that the harness itself feels good by itself. The foam is soft but still dense enough to offer sufficient padding. The hip belt, even without a lumbar pad, is quite comfortable and transfers the weight well to my hips. With the test weights I also did not notice being thrown off balance even though the curved backpanel moves the weight further away from my center of gravity.
One positive thing that happened while I was exploring possible solutions to my fit problem was that I discovered how easy it is to make adjustments to the Atmos. There aren't a whole lot of adjustments that can be made since the frame is pretty much fixed the way that it is, but all the harness straps, sternum straps, load lifters, and other minor adjustments are very easy to operate even with the pack on and loaded with weight. The only minor annoyance is that the load lifters sometimes get hung up under the floating lid if the Atmos is not packed up very much.
Down the Trail
The Atmos seems to be a very nice pack that is loaded with lots of cool and useful features. I'm excited about the prospect of getting the pack into the field and seeing how she handles... right after I get it exchanged and get the sizing all sorted out. Fortunately, my Field Report should feature a good look at Osprey's Customer Service as I'll get to see how they respond to my issues.
So far the thing I find myself liking the most is the AirSpeed suspension, but I have to say I'm impressed by all the little details that Osprey has included with the pack and am anxious to see whether or not they will make a difference for me in the field. My only disappointment at this point is my fit problem.
This concludes my Initial Report on the Osprey Atmos 65. Please check back in early July for my Field Report where I am confident I will have tons of new information to share. I'd like to thank Osprey and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test the Atmos 65!
This report was created with the BGT Report Generator.
Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.