About | Blog | Forums | People | Free Newsletter
Trailspace is a product review site for outdoor enthusiasts. Use it to find and share great gear.

Osprey Kestrel 48

10 reviews
5-star:   6
4-star:   4
3-star:   0
2-star:   0
1-star:   0

This is a pack that you can use day in and day out…

Rating: rated 5 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new


This is a pack that you can use day in and day out and not worry about it tearing up. Great support and can be used as a day pack comfortably.


  • Back support
  • Lifetime warranty

This pack is the most comfortable pack I own. The back support that contours to your back is fantastic. It has plenty of room, and can even be used as a day pack comfortably. The lifetime warranty that Osprey offers should be considered when purchasing a pack.


Great pack for lightweight overnight backpacking and…

Rating: rated 4.5 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $169


Great pack for lightweight overnight backpacking and airline travel.


  • Lightweight
  • Full of features
  • Small enough for all airplane overheads

This pack is fantastic. I purchased it for airline travel because the frame height is just within the maximum overhead bin length limits. I was hoping that someday my backpacking gear would be light/small enough to use this for overnight backpacking. I have been traveling on planes for over a year with this pack and it fits in even commuter jets overhead bins. It is Osprey, so the build quality is top notch.  Love this pack for travel.

My gear has gotten light and small for backpacking. I now take this pack for overnight backpacking trips.  My other main pack is an Osprey Aether 60.  This pack has a much thinner (less padding) strap setup. I expected some "hot spots" or soreness due to thin straps.  I was wrong.  

This pack wildly exceeded my expectations in the comfort department. Mind you- my pack weight was 30 lbs. in and 26 lbs. out. This pack is not designed to carry over 30 lbs. My only complaints are the amount of pack sway and the need for constant re-tightening of my hip belt straps. The pack sway is mostly due to my insistence of keeping the pack off of my shoulders and on my hips.  Kudos to the hip belt for being able to comfortably handle the weight!  This made the hip belt constantly need tightening. It may have been a hassle, but I was comfortable for ten miles in and ten miles out.

This pack has so many features. Hip belt pockets, shove it pocket, trekking pole stash loops, side water bottle pockets, camelback pocket, straps to hold anything anywhere on the outside. You name it, it's got it.  No other pack that I looked at in this size range had all the features and could comfortably carry 30 lbs.  

I would buy this pack again in a heartbeat. I look forward to many wonderful overnight backpacking trips and many trips in airplanes all over the world.


The Osprey line of backpacks is one of the most highly…

Rating: rated 5 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $150


The Osprey line of backpacks is one of the most highly praised in the oversaturated industry of outdoor recreation equipment, and with good reason. The Kestrel series is no exception. Intended for both amateur and serious hikers, the Kestrel delivers on multiple levels.


  • Extremely high quality construction
  • Multiple ways to cinch and tighten the pack
  • "Air Scape" backpanel keeps you dry and comfortable
  • One of the most comfortable packs around


  • Hydration port is not very accommodating
  • Top lid is fixed and not removable
  • Color choices could be better

The Kestrel 48 is a versatile and lightweight pack that can be used for a day hike or a multiple overnighter. When I strapped this thing on for the first time, I was amazed how comfortable it was. Despite weighing three pounds alone without any gear, it felt as light as a feather. Even with the pack full of 30+ pounds of gear, it still felt light and airy and the straps were comfortable.

The pack can surprisingly hold a lot of gear, which can also make it deceptively easy to overpack. I've had a tendency to put way too much into the pack for short overnight trips, because I have the space and feel like I can keep going.  The ability to really compress it down keeps it very well-balanced and weight-distributed, too.

The Kestrel has many amenity features, including lots of convenient pockets and extra little things to hold gear. The trekking pole bungees are extremely useful, and I've actually used them while on the trail. I have also used the built-in rain cover, which was an absolute lifesaver when hiking in a steady rain for over three hours. The hip belt pockets are great for a digital camera, and I found myself using them a lot for quick and easy access when it was time to take a shot.

There are about a million and one ways to adjust the pack and dial it in to your liking. I found tightening the sternum strap, making the hip belt as tight as possible, and using the load lifters really helps get the pack the way I want. Still, all these straps come with a price--if you're one of those people who don't like a lot of dangling straps, you might not like this pack.  Taking care of that is just a matter of cutting them, though.

I have taken this pack backpacking in the Charles Deam Wilderness in Indiana, the Big South Fork in Tennessee, and even the Rockies. It has served me well everywhere I've taken it, and isn't even so much as shedding a thread.  It almost looks as good as the day I bought it.

All in all, the Kestrel 48 is a pack that really can't be beat. The quality construction will last for years, and it will quickly become your "favorite pack" for all its cool features and custom adjustability. A world-class product.




This is the best day / overnight backpack I have used…

Rating: rated 5 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: ~ $125


This is the best day / overnight backpack I have used and I highly recommend it!


  • Fit and comfort
  • External hydration sleeve
  • Durability
  • The National Park Service employees in Grand Canyon use it!


  • Only access to inner part of pack is from the top
  • Sleeping bag compartment is on the small side.

I am a backpacking guide in Grand Canyon and have used this pack for all day hikes since I bought it 2+ years ago. It is a fantastic day / overnight backpack!  I have been so happy with this backpack I am looking into buying a Zenith 88 for the multi-day trips I lead.


Large in features and space, small in footprint. As…

Rating: rated 4.5 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $168


Large in features and space, small in footprint.


  • Very adjustable
  • Lots of features
  • Relatively lightweight


  • Cumbersome hydration bladder pocket

As a larger guy, this pack does very well in the "fit" category. Much more flexibility than its sibling "Talon 22" (another Osprey I own).  I'm also not the thinnest and the waist strap has plenty of room for girth adjustments.

Once on and adjusted properly, the pack is very comfortable. Users should be familiar with all the modern adjustment straps as this pack has them all.  

The pack has a wide array of pockets and straps for storing gear, top, bottom, and sides. This allows for items of frequent use while on the go are available, and of course there is plenty of room for the rest of your gear in the main compartment.

The pack rides very well and feels very stable. Because of the packs ability to be compressed down to adjust for smaller loads, everything stays in its place as you make your way.

The trekking pole system works very well and is a great "on the go" feature. And take a close look at the sternum strap, you just might find a built in whistle

As with all the Osprey products, the construction is top notch. I've been using the pack for about three months now and have not noticed any unusual wear points.


Finally I think I have found 'my' pack. The Kestrel…

Rating: rated 5 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new


Finally I think I have found 'my' pack. The Kestrel comes in two torso sizes and is lightweight for a multiday pack. It has several pockets and a place to lash on your poles. One nice feature is the zipper on bottom allowing you to access gear at the bottom of the pack easily.


  • Well constructed
  • Fairly lightweight for a multiday pack
  • Access from the bottom of the pack
  • Rain fly in its own storage pocket
  • Nice waist belt
  • Large pockets on each side of waist belt

As mentioned above, this pack comes in two torso sizes with several straps for adjusting to your own personal fit. The waist belt has 2 large zippered pockets for extra snacks or small gear you want quick access to.

There are 2 zippered pockets on the top; a mesh zippered pocket on underside of top of pack; 2 mesh pockets on the side and a large exterior pocket. There are several places to lash gear to the pack including a designated place to lash on your hiking poles. A rain fly is included in its own special pocket. Several straps help to compress your gear.

There is an exterior pocket for your hydration system.

I found the pack to be easily adjustable and extremely comfortable in both summer and winter hiking. I expect to get many years of hiking from this pack. Good job, Osprey!


Perfect winter pack. This is my mountaineering and…

Rating: rated 4.5 of 5 stars
Source: received it as a personal gift


Perfect winter pack.


  • Comfort
  • Durable


  • I'm not fond of the Trekking Pole strap location.

This is my mountaineering and winter pack. My snowshoes can be strapped to the back and all my winter gear fits inside. The waist belt has easy adjust straps. It is super comfortable and roomy and the durability is a plus. It has fantastic pocket space and just the right amount of loops for gear.

Osprey products are fantastic and I would buy from them again.


Having had several external frame packs I wanted to…

Rating: rated 4.5 of 5 stars
Design: internal frame
Size: 2800 cu.in.
Max. Load Carried: 25
Height of Owner: 5' 9"
Price Paid: $159


Having had several external frame packs I wanted to try a medium size internal frame backpack,and selected the Osprey Kestrel 48. It appears to be very well made and fits well.

I am 5' 9" and about 170 pounds. The literature said it has an internal divider between the lower zippered sleeping bag access and the main bag. As it turns out, it was a misprint according to Osprey. No big deal as I prefer a light weight stuff bag anyhow.

I started backpacking in 1965 in California, then to Wyoming, and currently am in Arizona. I am updating my gear this year in anticipation of retirement and putting in some trail miles.

Update: Summer 2012  have taken it on overnighters mainly, and basically love how it fits me. Easy to distribute gear and "becomes part of you" when hiking. So far, so good!  


The backpack is perfect for weekend trips, workout…

Rating: rated 5 of 5 stars
Max. Load Carried: 35lbs
Height of Owner: 5'8"

The backpack is perfect for weekend trips, workout sessions, or minimalist week trips. I carry it every day when I do my 7 mile walk in the evenings with 30lbs of weight in it. I have carried it on weekend trips and I have carried it on week long trips of the AT.

I pack very light weight so it does a phenomenal job. I don't go anywhere without it and would suggest it to anyone. It carries the weight evenly and has plenty of pockets and storage. I liked the fact that I did not have to buy a rain cover because it comes with it.


I just used it for the first time on a long but short…

Rating: rated 5 of 5 stars
Height of Owner: 6'0 240
Price Paid: $150

I just used it for the first time on a long but short trip and climb, two days 28 miles. I couldn't ask for more in terms of a 1-3 night pack. I had room to spare and the comfort and fit for a 30-35 lbs load was incredible. The sto-and go for you hiking pole was the envy of the group. They work well.

Know someone who might be interested in this?
Share it on email, Facebook, Google+, or Twitter.
If you've owned or used an Osprey Kestrel 48, please share your experience.

Osprey Kestrel 48

currently retails for:
$168.95 - $180.00
MSRP: $159.00

where to buy:


s/m m/l
Weight 3 lb 7 oz / 1.56 kg 3 lb 10 oz / 1.64 kg
Capacity 2800 cu in / 46 L 2900 cu in / 48 L