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Reviews > Packs > Internal and External Framed Backpacks > Osprey Atmos AG and Aura AG 2016 > Test Report by Michael Pearl

OSPREY ATMOS AG 65
TEST SERIES BY MIKE PEARL
LONG-TERM REPORT

INITIAL REPORT - June 19, 2016
FIELD REPORT - September 03, 2016
LONG TERM REPORT - November 02, 2016

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Mike Pearl
EMAIL: mikepearl36ATyahooDOTcom
AGE: 42
LOCATION: Hanover, New Hampshire, USA
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 5' 9" (1.75 m)
WEIGHT: 155 lb (70.30 kg)

I have a great appreciation for the outdoors and get out at every opportunity. I am a three-season, learning to be a four-season backpacker and year round hiker. Currently, my trips are two to three days long as well as an annual week-long trip. I utilize the abundant trail shelters in my locale and pack a backup tarp-tent. I like to cover big distances while still taking in the views. I have lightweight leanings but function and reliability are the priority. I mostly travel woodland mountain terrain but enjoy hiking beautiful trails anywhere.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: Osprey Packs IMAGE 1
Year of Manufacture: 2016

Manufacturer's Website: www.ospreypacks.com
MSRP: US$260.00

Listed Weight: 4.37 lb (1.98 kg)
Measured Weight: 4.3 lb (1.95 kg)

Listed Volume: 3967 cu in (65 L)
Load Range: 30 - 50 lb (14 - 23 kg)

Colors Available: Absinthe Green, Cinnabar Red and Graphite Grey
Color Tested: Graphite Grey

Sizes Available: Small, Medium, Large
Size Tested: Medium

Volume Dimensions (h x w x d) Weight
Small - 3783 cu in (62 L) 31 x 15 x 15 in (79 x 38 x 39 cm) 4.39 lb (1.92 kg)
Medium - 3967 cu in (65 L) 33 x 15 x 15 in (84 x 38 x 39 cm) 4.58 lb (1.98 kg)
Large - 4150 cu in (68 L) 35 x 15 x 15 in (89 x 38 x 39 cm) 4.92 lb (2.04 kg)

Tester Torso Size: 18 in (46 cm)
Tester Hipbelt Size: 35 in (89 cm)
IMAGE 2
Fabric: Main 100D x 630D Nylon Dobby, Accent 210D High Tenacity Nylon, Bottom 420D Nylon Packcloth

The Osprey website listed eleven features found on the Atmos AG. I will summarize them here and provide more detail as I gain more experience later. Instead of pictures of each feature and probably not capturing them all very well please reference the link below. The number order matches that of Ospreys' website

Atmos AG Features

1. Removable Floating Top Lid - adjustable/removable
2. Flapjacket - Osprey trademark feature, covers top of main compartment when top lid is removed
3. Tool Attachment - dual ice tool/ax loops and clove hitch style bungee clip
4. Removable Sleeping Pad Straps - external attachment straps with side release buckles
5. Dual Zippered Front Panel Pockets - easy access extra storage pockets
6. Compression Straps - load stabilizing and external gear attachment upper and lower straps on left
and right side of pack
7. Internal Compression - stabilizes load
8. Stow-on-the-go Trekking Pole Attachment - Osprey trademark feature, for quick attachment of poles to
pack while wearing it
9. Fit-on-the-fly Hipbelt - Osprey trademark feature, extends belt to accommodate different hip sizes
10. Adjustable Harness - cams behind the harness yoke allow for torso length adjustment
11. Anti-Gravity Suspension - Opsrey trademark feature, mesh covering that extends from the top of the
backpanel to the hipbelt provides comfort and ventilation

Manufacturer's Guarantee: AMG (All Mighty Guarantee)

"Osprey will repair for any reason, free of charge, any damage or defect in our product - whether it was purchased in 1974 or yesterday. If we are unable to perform a quality repair on your pack, we will happily replace it. We proudly stand behind this guarantee, so much so that it bears the signature of company founder and head designer, Mike Pfotenhuaer."

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

The Atmos arrived with minimal packaging sealed inside a plastic bag. Removing the Atmos from the bag revealed three hang tags. The first provides pack model and company contact information. The second provides the Osprey AMG. The third provides information for locating the owner's manual.

All buckles and straps were fully cinched making the Atmos appear rather small, flat and rectangular. After unfurling the Atmos it looked much more backpack like. The first thing I noticed was the mesh like webbing of the ventilating suspension system. This material covers the back of the pack, inner surface of the hipbelt and shoulder straps, basically all areas that make contact with the body when worn. This is the heart of the AG (anti-gravity) suspension. The webbing creates a space between the backpanel and wearer's skin allowing air to pass through. I think the AG suspension is what makes this pack unique. The photos below are my attempt to show the space the AG suspension creates between the webbing and backpanel, webbing and hipbelt and wearer as well.
IMAGE 3 IMAGE 4 IMAGE 5
From the mesh back I moved to the top of the pack and worked my way down through each zipper, strap, lash and pocket. And there is a lot of them on the Atmos! I noticed a few features or details not listed on the Osprey website. The top lid has two zipped pockets. The zipper pulls are a solid formed plastic that have a great shape to hook a finger. Inside the top most pocket is a small clip, like for a key ring.

Under the Flapjacket, inside the main compartment is a hydration bladder pocket and a small strap with a side release buckle to secure a bladder. Just inside at the top of the collar is a cool surprise, the Leave No Trace Principles in English and French! At the bottom corners of the Flapjack are side release buckets. They are cleverly concealed in pockets and fold out to secure the Flapjack when the top lid is removed.

There's a large opening at the top stretch pocket covering most of the back of the pack. There are two stretch side pockets ideally placed for water bottles. These pockets have opens both toward the front and top. Toward the bottom of the pack there is a zipper for gaining access to the mail compartment. Inside there is a section of fabric that can be used to divide the pack between the lower quarter and upper three quarters of the pack. There are roomy zippered pockets on both sides of the hipbelt.

The Atmos AG is the most detailed and has, by far, the most features of any pack I have used before. While all the features are distinct and increase the packs utility this also increases its overall weight. The bounty of features, the materials and construction all display well thought out design and top quality.

READING THE INSTRUCTIONS

Information for the use and care of the Atmos is found on the company website. The online owner's manual is very through and understandable. It lists and describes all features, materials, pack sizes, use and maintenance. There are step by step instructions with pictures for proper sizing and fit of the Atmos. As well as making adjustments to the hipbelt, harness and other unique features. I found the manual very informative. It even showed some of the features not mentioned on the main page of the website.

Atmos AG Manual

TRYING IT OUT

As I worked my way over the Atmos I found all the zippers, buckles and straps worked well. The only two features I hadn't played with yet were the adjustable harness and hipbelt. I wanted to wear the pack before making any changes there.

Throwing the Atmos over one shoulder I immediately noticed just how shaped the hipbelt is. I had to pull apart both sides of the hipbelt to get the pack on my back. The hipbelt snapped right back into place and wrapped around my waist. With the pack on, and fully buckled and straps tightened, my next impression was how comfortable the padding is. The suspension system was like a hug around my back and waist. The hipbelt looks and feels in my hands big and beefy, but around my waist feels minimal. When the hipbelt is snug around my waist both ends almost meet. So I don't think I will need to use the extension offered by the Fit-on-the-fly. I did, however, make the adjustment just to see how it works. Pushing my fingertips into a groove on the front of the hipbelt and pulling forward separates the Velcro in the hipbelt. It is then very easy to pull up to 3.5 in (9 cm) of more hipbelt out. Decreasing the hipbelt length is just as easy. Again breaking the Velcro with my fingertips and pushing the belt back in. IMAGE 6

It was hard to determine if I needed to adjust the harness length with the pack being empty. So I loaded the Atmos up with about 30 lb (14 kg). Now putting the Atmos on I could really appreciate the AG suspension. This pack is super comfy on my back. The weight is very evenly distributed without any pressure points. With the weight in the pack the hipbelt now sat too low. The harness arrived set to maximum length. This is seen by the four lines where the adjustment is made. The release cam used to make the adjustment is not very visible. Based on the description in the manual I know where it is located. Looking through the AG webbing I am able to see it. After I see it, making the adjustment is very easy. Placing my thumbs behind the AG webbing at the level of the cam quickly locates it. A slight squeeze and a downward push moves the harness. I moved it to its minimum length and tried the pack on again. Now it felt too small. Moving the harness one level up in length made for a great fit. The photo to the right shows the harness cam tucked behind the AG webbing.

SUMMARY

I have only been out for a very short and flat 1 mile (2.2 km) walk with the Atmos carrying the mentioned weight. So it is way too early to know much. What I have thus far is I have to get used to, or come up with a technique for managing, the hipbelt's behavior while shouldering the Atmos. When on, the Atmos feels good and stays comfortably in place. The AG suspension is super comfy. The Atmos is an very well designed backpack. The quality of materials and construction are excellent. The Atmos is the most technical backpack I have used. I am eager to experience these many new to me features in the field.


FIELD REPORT

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

IMAGE 1
Two day hikes on the Appalachian Trail - Hanover, New Hampshire - 10 mi (33 km) from 500 to 1200 ft (150 to 365 m). Temperature range 55 to 80 F (13 to 27 C) with clouds giving way to clear sky. Pack weight 35 lbs (16 kg).

Overnight at Mt Moosilauke - Benton, New Hampshire - 7.5 mi (12 km) from 2400 to 4803 ft (730 to 1464 m). Temperature 60 F (15.5 C) cloudy with intermittent light rain. Pack weight 30 lbs (13.6 kg).

Day hike at Mont Tremblant - Quebec, Canada - 3.7 mi (6 km) from 918 to 2871 ft (280 to 875 m). Temperature 80 F (26 C) and sunny. Pack weight 25 lbs (11 kg)

Six days and nights on the Long Trail - Vermont - 107 mi (172 km) from 600 to 4000 ft (180 to 1219 m). Temperature range 45 to 85 F (7 to 29 C) with sun, clouds and light misting rain. Pack weight 35 lbs at heaviest to 20 lbs at lightest (16 to 9 kg).

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

All hikes during this phase of testing were leading to the last one. I added up my base and max weight that would be carried on the Long Trail. I then weighed out bags of mulch weighing 35 lbs (16 kg). I loaded the Atmos with the mulch and hiked to work via the Appalachian Trail on two different occasions. The Atmos made a fair amount of squeaking noise while hiking. I chalked this up to the back panel breaking in. The stow-on-the-go trekking pole attachment worked great for the two short road walks on these hikes. I was able to stow and remove my poles while on the move. The poles did not inhibit my walking while stowed.

Next outing the family and I stayed the night at the Ravine Lodge and hiked Mt Moosilauke the next morning. I carried an emergency shelter and provisions as well as everyone's food, water and extra clothing. We took many breaks along the way. So I had many on and off cycles with the pack. By the end of the day I developed a method to prevent the hip belt from folding behind my back.

My pack shouldering method begins before the Atmos is removed. I liberally loosen both shoulder straps and hip belt. Now with the pack off I pick it up by both shoulder straps with the back of the pack facing me. Then resting the pack on my thigh so the back of the pack is against my side, I spread the hip belt around my front and back. Then I slide my arm through the right shoulder and in one motion swing the pack onto my back. Most times I can also get my arm through the left shoulder strap as well. This might sound complicated but it makes shouldering the Atmos easy and fluid, without the hip belt getting stuck behind my back.

On vacation at Mont Tremblant someone suggested hiking the mountain. I used the Atmos to pack my vacation clothes. But immediately dumped it and volunteered to carry everyone's stuff up the mountain. The load still was not quite enough so I packed a bunch of old magazines to make it more acceptable. The Atmos helped me act as everyone's sherpa and all including me had an enjoyable hike.
IMAGE 2
On my last hike I finally got to pack all my backpacking gear. I tried to keep everything minimal and simple. But at the same time safe and comfortable. The Atmos gobbled up all my gear. I was even able to leave the top lid behind as everything fit without needing it. I didn't need to think about where things should go, things just seemed to organize themselves. In the photo to the left, items are laid out kinda' how they were in the pack. From the bottom, center starting at the BA stuff sack and down is my sleeping gear. All of this went into the bottom compartment of the Atmos. The small items grouped to the left and right went into the hip belt pockets. During the day I also stashed a snack bar or jerky in these pockets. The items directly above the hip belt pocket items went into the left and right front panel pockets. The items at top center went into the main compartment. The two items directly below went into the exterior stretch shovel pocket. Not in the image are my camp shoes. These I attached to the pack with the external sleeping pad strap at the bottom of the Atmos. I also had two convenience store bought plastic water bottles that lived in the side stretch pockets.

After dialing in the adjustable suspension during the Initial Report I have not felt a need to change it. The suspension has been comfortable on all hikes. The anti-gravity suspension has been great. I had only minor reddening of the skin at the front top of my shoulders and small spot on the front of my hips after full days of hiking. All spots faded shortly after removing the Atmos for the evening. The best part was the extra ventilation the suspension provides to the back. This greatly increased my comfort level on the trail. The water bottle pockets were spot on. I place one vertical and the other in the forward position. The forward positioned bottle was very easy to remove and replace even while walking. Once the forward bottle was empty I would stop and alter the bottles positions. IMAGE 3

SUMMARY


The Atmos AG 65 and I have developed a very good working relationship. I packed it, the Atmos held it and together we carried it up and over the hills. The Atmos performed exceptionally under all conditions. It really proved its abilities while on the Long Trail. The Atmos was quick and easy to pack when breaking camp. Throughout the day any item I needed was readily accessible. All materials and components remain in good working order and condition. The Atmos is a backpacking workhorse. The design and function is spot on for long distance backpacking. I meet three others thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail where it overlaps with the Long Trail that were carrying an Atmos. All three had nothing but positive things to says about the Atmos.


LONG-TERM REPORT

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

Overnight at Mt Moosilauke - Benton, New Hampshire - 10 mi (16 km) from 1600 to 4800 ft (488 to 1463 m). Temperature 45 to 65 F (7 to 18 C) and cloudy with steady wind and mist at the summit. Pack weight 30 to 40 lbs (14 to 18 kg).

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

IMAGE 1
I was able to get out one last time with the Atmos. This was a family overnight for my youngest daughter's birthday. She requested as a gift camping at the bottom of a mountain and climbing to the top in the morning. I was more than happy to make this birthday wish happen.

This being a family trip our large four person tent was called for, a bulky, heavy tent. When all was said and done I would be carrying everything other than my kids and wife's clothes and sleep gear. The Atmos was almost stuffed to capacity and weighed in at 40 lbs (18 kg). I had to reattach the floating top lid to accommodate the extended load.

The Atmos took on this bulky family style load without much difficulty. It also carried and distributed the load weight nicely. It was about 1.5 mi (2.4 km) in from the trailhead to our undesignated wilderness tent site. This was a first for my kids as they had only car camped or tented in designated areas before. Locating an ideal spot and setting up camp before nightfall was a big thrill for them. They were even more excited the next morning when the first step of making breakfast was collecting and filtering water from a nearby stream.

The morning discussion over breakfast was the 3.5 mi (5.6 km) and 3200 ft (975 m) gain we had ahead of us. We decided to leave the tent, one kid sleeping bag and pad stashed nearby. We shuffled our gear to lighten the kids loads. This decreased the bulk and weight of my load by about 10 lbs (4.5 kg). The Atmos easily adapted and the compression straps helped to secure the smaller load. On the way back down we repacked our stashed gear and headed to the trailhead. Again the Atmos quickly readjusted to the larger, heavier load again. The Atmos carried comfortably during all four stages of this trip.

SUMMARY

After four months and many miles with the Osprey Atmos AG 65 I say it's a great pack. It has held up well to all the miles on the trail. The pack remains in very good condition and all features function as original. There are only minor streaks and stains in areas that made regular contact with the ground. The squeak in the back panel experienced earlier in field testing has vanished. I have used all the features of the Atmos expect the tool attachment loops, sleeping bag straps and Fit-on-the-fly Hipbelt. I try to avoid hanging or strapping items to large packs when I can. And the hipbelt was way more belt than I needed. I used all the other features regularly. The one I like the most by far is the Anti-Gravity suspension. It is very comfortable on the back and provides great ventilation. While my shirt was still sweaty wearing the Atmos on hot days it was the least sweaty of any other pack I have used. The suspension is robust and consistent. Every load I packed stayed balanced and carried comfortably. The forward tilt side pockets are also high on my list of likes. It is very easy to access and stow a water bottle while wearing the Atmos. Last of my three favorite features is the shovel pocket. This is great for stuffing all kinds of stray items into.

So it turns out the loads of features aren't that useful to me. This brings me to the only negative I can put on the Atmos, its weight. In the warmer months with lighter loads I will reach for the Atmos. The ventilation of the AG suspension is just to cool to turn my back on. But in cooler seasons with heavier loads will I reach for a simpler, lighter pack.

This concludes my Long-Term Report. I would like to extend my appreciation to Osprey Packs and Backpackgeartest.org for making this test series possible.

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5 Copyright 2016. All rights reserved.

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