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Osprey Atmos 50

in Backpacks - Internal Frame

Average Rating
4.17 / 5 (6 reviews)

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Nathan Moody
( atomick )

San Francisco Bay Area
Osprey Atmos 50 on 09/06/2006 09:46:11 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

Overall very happy with this pack. I wanted an internal-frame lightweight pack that would support multi-day treks with a bear canister. Certainly not ultralight - clocks in around 2.8 pounds - but the features mostly make up for it: High extension collar, exterior storm-sealed zippers, waffled/perforated hip belt and shoulder pad, generous hip pouches with long zippers, and quite durable materials. For fair-weather hiking, the top pouch can be removed for a pretty sizable weight savings.

The winning feature for me is the AirSpeed suspension system, the trampoline-like webbing that keeps the pack directly off your back. Even when 3L worth of water reservoirs bulges softly against your back in this space, it's still mighty comfortable and maximizes internal pack volume. Any other back panel now feels like I'm wearing a sopping wet towel on my back.

I've carried between 20 and 30 pounds in the pack in relative comfort. Towards 30 pounds things do get a little fatiguing, but I've hiked all day with 30 pounds in the Atmos 50 for several days running and have not experienced hip discomfort (but with some shoulder discomfort at the end of the day).

There's always room for improvement, of course. As others here at BPL have observed, having the compression straps cross over the external side pockets is a bit of a disaster. While hanging a water reservoir between the frame stays is usually a superior packing method, putting it inside the inner hydration sleeve is a great way to keep the AirSpeed suspension clear (and your back dry) during day hikes (and myriad compression straps keep things small and balanced).

The curved shape of the pack, a result of the frame stays, is wonderful for human fit but a challenge for volume (although with UL equipment, volume is usually not an issue). The high extension collar helps with bear canister placement and fit, and having the canister at shoulder level actually helps balance the load over your hips given the pack's curved shape.

Overall, the Atmos 50 a very solid, well designed, and very attractive pack that should last for many years to come.

Chris Miller
( chrisdm )
Very cool (pun intended) on 09/08/2006 19:09:57 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

The Atmos 50 is my second pack. The first I bought was the Mountain Hardwear Sortie 38, and I needed more room.

I chose the Atmos 50 because it seemed a nice balance between features and weight. And after taking it on my first overnighter, I fell in love with it. The Airspeed system is very cool (sorry, the pun again...)I put a 3L Camelbak Unbottle back there, which rests against my back when full. This hydration pack is insulated, but filled with ice water gives a nice cooling effect to the back as well.

I noted the complaint about the compression straps suffocating the side pockets. This is a non-issue for me, however, as my water is in my resovoir and my handy items are in the very useful belt pouches. These sturdy webbed pockets on each side of the belt are perfect for storing little readily-accessed items. They are fairly large as well. My Garmin eTrex only occupied about half the space of one pocket.

As Nathan mentioned, the Airspeed system sells this pack. It's as if the pack just floats behind you, and only gets better as you add weight. I just weighed my overnight setup, and it came in at 19 pounds (24 pounds if you count 3L of water). I felt no fatigue with this load after a 12-mile round trip. I'll never use my Mountain Hardwear again... I highly recommend this pack.

Edited by chrisdm on 09/08/2006 19:10:36 MDT.

Price comparison from GearBuyer: CamelBak Unbottle priced at: $37.95 - $49.00
Glenn Roberts
( garkjr )

Southwestern Ohio
Atmos 50: Not for Me on 12/03/2006 14:05:34 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 3 / 5

A couple of disclaimers before you read further:

1. I'm not an ultralight hiker - more of a light hiker (WM bag, MSR Hubba tent, about 13 pounds base weight not including the pack.) As a result, my load is probably a little bulkier than yours.

2. This review is based on a few hours of dayhiking, which is all it took to convince me that I'm going to continue to use my Granite Gear Vapor Trail pack.

This is a nicely made pack. The large number of pockets is great for organizing gear and minimizing stuff sacks. The "swiss-cheese" foam on the shoulder straps and waistbelt is comfortable, at very light loads (not so much at around 30 pounds, which is my full load for a cool-weather week, and what I took for my dayhike.) The Airspeed frame, with it's exaggerated separation from your back, does allow a lot of air circulation.

But: at 3200 cubic inches (in size large), it just barely holds my gear, with no room to spare. The hipbelt starts to "fold" (collapse?) at about 30 pounds, and needs to be pulled almost painfully tight. The narrow "throat" in the middle of the pack (created because the suspension curves dramatically into the pack) makes it difficult pack the lower part of the pack, and difficult to organize gear well. As a result, with my full-out test load, it leaned backwards just enough that I had to fully engage the load lifter tabs - which pulled the top bar of the suspension forward onto the top of my shoulder blades, which got very irritating after about a half hour.

Since it weighs a pound more than my Vapor Trail, is rated for the same weight as the VT, and has a capacity of several hundred cubic inches less than my Vapor Trail, I simply don't find this pack to be a good choice.

I think it might hold an ultralight load quite nicely - but I doubt that someone carrying such a load would want to carry a 3+ pound pack.

Edited by garkjr on 12/03/2006 14:06:51 MST.

Brett Balmer
( backcountry )

Northeast US
Nice Pack - just doesn't fit my frame on 12/30/2006 22:12:06 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

I have had my Atmos 50 for about 7 months and have carried it for about 3 weeks of total trail time. (4 trips, one of which being a week long trek)

I would consider myself a light weight backpacker with a 3 season gear weight of 13.6 lbs including the pack. Although my actual gear weight is pretty low I like to eat very well on the trail and enjoy wine with my evening meals. Therefore my carried weight often approaches 25 lbs depending on the duration of the trip.
I love the design of the storage compartments in this pack. The two zippered pouches in the rear of the pack are excellent for quick access items such as a water filter, shell and snacks. The rear elastic pouch also functions well for me and it often carries my sit-pad and other extraneous items such as a wet tarp. I also love the placement of the two lower nylon webbing straps as they allow me to stow my rolled up sleeping pad which also serves to keep the pack standing upright when it is placed on the ground. This makes access to the internal cavity of the pack much easier. The mesh cavity formed by the Air-Speed suspension is a very nice feature despite sacrificing some space from the main compartment. I find it comforting to be able to instantly gauge the amount of water remaining in my platypus reservoir when not donning the pack. The side pockets are difficult to use because of the compression straps therefore I relegate them to less commonly used items such as my pack cover.

Additionally I like the hip-belt pockets. This is the first pack I have owned with said feature and find it very convenient for holding an energy bar, mp3 player, and folding blade. I have not had any issues with the durability of the pack and quality of construction is high. I feel that the pack offers a lot of features for a fairly low weight (Measured weight of 3lbs 3oz for my medium pack)

Compared with previous packs I have owned (all heavier) including a Kelty External Frame(20 years ago), North Face internal frame (13 years ago), and Gregory Forrester (4 years ago) this pack lacks the ability to be adjusted for a perfect fit. The shoulder straps are sewn into position and there is no ability to adjust the vertical spacing between the hip belt and shoulder straps aside from purchasing a larger or smaller pack size. (I know – such adjustments are usually compromised in lower weight packs however there are sever other packs in the same weight range that do offer a higher level of adjustment such as the Granite Gear Nimbus series)

Although it pains me to do so I am going to have to part with this pack because it just doesn't mate well with the structure of my shoulders. I often find myself in camp with very stiff neck/shoulders as a result of the innermost edges of the shoulder straps pressing into my trapezius muscles throughout the day. Despite my best efforts to place more weight on the hip belt I cannot seem to effectively unload the shoulders without loosening the pack to the point that it bounces around on my back. I was able to improve matters by rolling up my Capelline pants and tightly pressing them to the bottom of the screened in portion of the Air-Speed suspension thus forming a more supportive wedge at the small of my back. This allowed the hip-belt to function better, however still inadequately for my frame. Incidentally I am 31yo, 5’9, 150lbs with an athletic build and sloping (not flat) shoulders.
Despite my conclusions on this pack I would not hesitate to recommend it to others so long as they invest the time in making sure it is a good fit. In fact I am passing mine onto my brother at an excellent discount as it seems to mate with his frame much more effectively.

Edited by backcountry on 12/30/2006 22:13:46 MST.

Richard Sullivan
( richard.s )

Supernatural BC
Atmos 50 - A cool pack on 02/01/2007 21:07:57 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

I'm with you Brett, I always carry some good wine in my Atmos 50, usually a Fetzer Zinfandel. I also carry some single malt scotch in case the temps go lower than my bag rating.

Anyway, the Atmos 50 is a very good pack for not more than 25 lbs. There are tradeoffs to get that mesh backpanel, notably the curvaceous intrusion of the frame into the main compartment. This makes it a bit weird to pack. I pack my BA IAC pad and TNF Propel bag in the bottom. Then I pack my tent and poles vertically on either side of the frame intrusion. Clothes next (in the low volume area in the center of the pack), then food, kitchen, and misc items in the upper area. Raingear goes in the shove-it pocket, and insulation goes in the tall vertical pockets. Presto, you're done! The top pocket is reserved for snacks and other hiking essentials. I cover it all with a Granite Gear silnylon Cloud Cover as necessary.

I would like to see this pack redesigned in minimalist fashion - I don't need a myriad of pockets and zippers. The other thing I would like is to have the meshed back-panel compartment vented at the bottom. As it is it is only vented at the top, so there is no "chimney-effect" cooling. Your perspiration will vent quite nicely out the top, but I think that flow-thru ventilation would be even cooler.

My pack is the 05 model. The 06 was improved with titanium frame connections, a waterproof zipper for the top pocket, and hipbelt pockets that are slightly larger and made of a less "catchy" mesh. The titanium enhancement was never proven necessary, it was merely done to improve perceived robustness, and there is a minor weight penalty. Hip pockets on the 05 model look great when the pack is off, but when you put it on the openings become constricted and you can only squeeze in very small items of food or electronics. Hopefully the pockets on the 06 and newer models are more usable.

Update April '09 - Reduced rating from 5 to 4 since the release of the Exos.

Edited by richard.s on 04/05/2009 12:34:24 MDT.

Price comparison from GearBuyer: The North Face Propel - Men's priced at: $14.99 - $25.00
Shop Granite Gear, Propel products at GearBuyer
Derek Cox
( derekcox )

Innovative, well designed Pack on 02/24/2008 20:53:10 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

Like others have said, what really separates this pack from others is the airspeed suspension. This pack molds perfectly to my hips and shoulders since it does not contact my back air can flow freely and keep my back cool and dry. I have not had any problem loading it due to its shape. As long as you consider its shape when you plan how you're going to pack it you should be fine. Great attention to detail and very good quality. So many little things make using the pack so much easier. Love the pack and it definitely makes up for its higher weight (still light compared to most packs...) with great design and functionality.

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