Open main menu

Buying a pack and cant decide which I want... I was hoping to get some advice from some more experienced 'packers.

I am debating between purchasing the Osprey Kestrel 58, Osprey Atmos 65, or the REI Flash 65.

Some of the packs have reviews on here. Some do not. I was just hoping to get some opinions/advice on what you guys thought.

I am mostly going to be a Friday-Sunday/Monday kinda guy. That stupid thing called work gets in the way of my fun. However, I do have plans to do long portions of the Florida Trail, App Trail, and North Country Trail that could keep me out almost a week, so I was looking for something versitile, that would fill the role of both Weekend and Multi-day pack.

Also, if you have a pack you think would be great for me, please feel free to tell me.


I looked at the Flash 65 when shopping for a replacement for my beloved but ageing Mountainsmith Auspex. It fit OK and was fairly comfortable but I ultimately went with an REI Ridgeline 65 because it fit better, was more comfortable with better padding, was made of stronger materials, and also was cheaper since it was clearance priced. I've only worn it around the house a few times but I like it so far.

The best thing to do would be to take all of your gear down to REI and see which pack will adequately hold it with room to spare for your food. Try the different packs out for fit and comfort. Wear it around the store for a while. The people at REI have always been happy to help me with a purchase.

The only problem may be if your REI is small like the one here, the selection of packs could be a bit limited.

When I was buying a new pack last year both of the saleman I talked to at REI had Osprey packs for there own use and couldn't say enough about them but they didn't have an Aether in my size. They sent to another REI across town that had a large and I talked to two different saleman there also. One of them carried a REI pack but the other used a Osprey Aether also. It made me feel pretty comfortable with my choice of an Osprey Pack and I have not been sorry. I really like the pack.

The Atmos would probably be my choice. I think it's the most flexible of the 3 as it includes a set of compression straps that can greatly reduce the pack volume from 65 liters to something closer to a big day pack. I have a similar Osprey and love it. The downside is that it's most likely the pricier of the three.

But, if you haven't gone in and tried them on with weight in them, I would highly recommend you do. I spent a fair amount of time in REI trying on nearly every pack they had in a my size and intended pack volume. I found that some really well made, highly rated packs just didn't quick hit me right. Once I put on my Osprey, I didn't want to take it off (partly because it was the last one they had).

Word of warning on the Atmos and Flash -- they are light and made for lighter loads, so the straps and pads are optimized for that use. You should see how they feel when packed with the weight you intend to carry. I found that the Flash was super comfortable with a load I'd carry for 1 night, but much less so when I started adding weight to duplicate climbing gear, an extra night of food/fuel, etc...

I have an Atmos 65 and love it. I've used it with loads up to 45 pounds and it still is comfortable. It has lots of special features built into it that will make your hike so much better. For example it has the ability to hang your water bladder behind the back netting so if you just filled you camel bak with cold water on a hot day you can cool your back off while you hike.

The main thing is to find what fits best on you.I love the Osprey packs but that fit me very well.I use the Kestrel 38 for weekend to 4 day trips in 3 seasons and it holds all I need even on solo trips here in the pnw.The larger size fully loaded may over tax the Kestrel.It is designed for under 35lbs of load.I normally carry nor more than about 22lbs in my 38 and it dies very well.Try a lot of packs on and dont load them with the sand bags but load with the gear you will be carrying on the trail,sand bags dont ride the same as gear.Good luck and enjoy both the gear search and the outdoors.  

I ended up buying the Kestrel 58. Of all the packs I tried on it fit me the best, and that is what is most important. I am really happy with it so far :)

It sounds like you picked the right one. A good, comfortable fit makes for an enjoyable trip.

October 31, 2020
Quick Reply

Please sign in to reply