User Review: Osprey Atmos 65
Design: top-load internal with sleeping bag compartment
Size: 65 liters (~4000cu in)
Number of Pockets: 8 (main bag, 2 side, 2 hipbelt, top, kangaroo)
Max. Load Carried: ~50 pounds
Height of Owner: 5'6"
Price Paid: $239
After 10+ years of hauling around my Dana Designs Terraplane -- a gigantic load hauler that was super-comfortable but also really heavy -- I decided to to move to something lighter, especially for summer hikes in the Sierra Nevada.
Since I sweat a lot, and I've always heard good things about Osprey packs, I quickly zoomed in on the Atmos 65, both for its weight (~4 pounds) and the nifty ventilation system. I am writing this after a few overnighters and one 5-day trip.
The Atmos 65 is a very competent pack. Compelling features for it are moderately capacious hipbelt pockets, a separate sleeping bag compartment, and of course the ventilated backpanel (basically a tensioned mesh panel against your back leaving an airspace). It also has a rear mesh pouch, elastic side pockets, space for a hydration bladder, and the seemingly-obligatory dual ice-tool loops.
While the Atmos is competent, I can't say I love it; it's really good but not great.
- Bear canisters are required for the Sierra Nevada so I always carry one (the classic Garcia). Fitting it into the pack is trickier and tougher than it ought to be (the packbag is a little too narrow except at the very top and bottom).
- The vented back can be nice when it's windy but it doesn't, in general, feel that much better than my previous packs.
- The ventilated back really eats up a lot of packbag space, and it makes it even harder than with most other packs to fit the hydration bladder in.
- The frame support for the vented back apparently is designed for differently-shaped hips than mine. It occasionally rubs, although it's not a huge issue.
- The hipbelt pockets are harder to use than I expected, the big openings turn out to not be so big.
- It would be really really nice to have a daisy-chain of some sort somewhere on the pack to attach random stuff.
- The sleeping pad straps have said sleeping pad hanging so low that I've actually abraded holes in my pad stuff sack, just from setting the pack down (Sierra Nevada granite). This is really annoying!
OK, all that being said, this pack is light, I've gotten the fit dialed in and it is capacious enough for a weeklong trip without any real problems.
All of the above gripes are really pretty small: it could be better, it's not perfect, but it's a good pack. I certainly won't be returning it to the store. But I might not keep using it for 10+ years, either.