User Review: Osprey Atmos 35
Design: Front Loading
Everything about this pack screams "light" and "breathable", and it achieves this very well. Perhaps too well, at the expense of other factors.
First, the good. Everything mentioned in all the advertising is true. It's very cooling, very breathable, and lighter than most packs of the same capacity.
The biggest sacrifice I noticed was stability. The pack is supported on the lumbar area by the trampoline like mesh, stretched taut across the hourglass shaped frame. It is not stiff enough to hold the pack securely. There is no load stabilizer straps on the waist belt, and since the waist belt is sewn onto the mesh, it allows a lot of movement of the pack no matter how tight it is around the waist. The pack leans outwards, putting a lot of pressure on the front of the shoulders.
The waistbelt rides up the waist when I move, and the straps seem to slip through the buckles, so I had to keep adjusting the pack as I moved.
The air space is nice, but do you really need 3.5 inch of air space? The shape of the frame, to create this air space, make the interior a very odd shape, very difficult to pack. There is an option to put you water bag inside the air space, but doing this nulls the effect of the mesh, at least at the bottom of the airspace. Also, to put the waterbag into the air space, you need to access through the main compartment, meaning you still need to open the pack every time you need to refill. With the already odd shape of the interior, if you put your waterbag inside the main compartment, there is only space for slotting all other stuff vertically down both sides. And is hydration pocket inside the main compartment is very narrow, compared to the shape of most hydration bladders.
The durability of the pack also questionable. After some trail bashing during just 1 trip, the stretch fabric has had bits of fiber pulled out, forming a loop. The base is made of the same 210D nylon as the rest of the pack, instead of a thicker, more abrasion resistant material. It's already starting to show signs of abrasion wear.
The shoulder straps and waist belt are sewn directly onto the mesh, so I'm skeptical how strong it is.
The zippers to the main compartment are made such that it only closes to the middle, and folds backwards the the top, so it's troublesome to close. You probably need both hands to close each side of the zippers one by one. then there is a flap which buckles to the front stretch pocket. Meaning you have to undo the buckle every time you open the pack.
I would give it 2.5 stars if there is half stars. Buy the pack only for what it is advertised to do. To keep you cool. Use it in the cities, not out in the wild.