Osprey Kestrel 68
Nice balance of attributes.
Tried the whole 2012 Osprey line up and found the Kestrel 68 to be the best balance of weight, function, durability, capacity, and comfort for multi day trips.
2lbs less than the Baltoro I had been using was a significant drop in weight for me. Heavier than some of Osprey's models, but the Kestrel is made of durable 420D so I don't have to worry about tears when dragging it over rocks. Construction is top notch and mine is holding up well.
Osprey's promise to fix or replace any damage for any reason "All mighty guarantee" is stellar. That said, it would still be bad news for my pack to fail while in the backcountry. So the Kestrel's durability was a major consideration in my choice.
My personality thrives on organization and the Kestrel offers me that. Multiple exterior pockets to provide separation and quick access to gear. Unlike most packs, the lumbar belt pockets on the Kestrel are actually big enough to be useful. My Mountain Hardwear sleeping bag compresses to 12x7 and fits nicely in the sleeping bag compartment. The divider for this compartment is removable if you want to carry a bigger bag and don't mind giving up some pack space to do it.
I was initially skeptical of suspension system. My previous packs all had beefy aluminum stays and thick padding. However, the Kestrel carries my typical load of 28lbs well. I've never taken the time to see where it maxes out. The waist belt is low profile enough not to impede handgun carry, yet it's still comfortable.
There is no lumbar pad in the back. Instead the Kestrel rides and distributes weight evenly around the iliac crest. With a perimeter frame and pliable frame sheet, the pack forms a tight comfortable fit to my back keeping weight close to my center of gravity. The shoulder straps are nicely padded, but not overdone. They are comfortable and cause me not pressure points.
Mine is the S/M version and specs rate it as 66L. At first I thought that may be a little over stated. The pack does expand more than I expected and cinches down well for smaller loads. This adaptability makes it a versatile choice which can cover different occasions. It's just big enough to fit all my stuff inside for multi day trips, yet not cumbersome for day hikes when I want to carry extra JIC gear.
Personally I despise overly bright candy colored gear. I prefer a gray man appearance. The subtle "conifer" color scheme is perefect for my taste and needs. Blends well with both backcountry and urban environments. The stow and go trekking pole attachments along with the ice axe loops are useless to me so I removed them.
If I could change anything about this pack... I would like it if the stretchy water bottle pockets on the sides were 2in taller. Would also prefer beefier zippers like a #10 YKK on the sleeping bag compartment and #5s everywhere else. However I haven't had any issues with the zippers it has.
This has been a durable and versatile pack for me. Serving me well when traveling the back country and civilization.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $150
I recently purchased this pack to take on a week-long trip. The pack is extremely comfortable and was very roomy!! I love the external hydration access as well as all of the extra storage compartments as it helped to keep me organized! It was also fantastic that the torso could be adjusted for a custom fit! I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this pack to anyone.
- Extremely comfortable
- Easy to adjust for custom fit.
- Roomy and many storage compartments.
The pack is extremely comfortable and was very roomy!! I would rather have too much room than not enough. I love the external hydration access and I would definitely recommend purchasing the Osprey Hydraform reservoir to use with this pack, as it was so easy to access as needed to refill.
Many storage compartments to get me organized and help to keep me organized. It was also fantastic that the torso could be adjusted for a custom fit! It comes with a raincover that is stored in its own conveniently located compartment.
I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this pack to anyone.
4/24/14 Update: I wanted to update my previous review to comment/compliment Osprey on their excellent customer service re: a repair to my pack. One of the straps that hold the small supply compartment on top of the pack had started to pull loose and as a result, was slightly frayed.
I contacted Osprey regarding this and they told me to send it to them for repair. I followed their instructions regarding the mailing of the item and received it back repaired as good as new with no problems at all! Fantastic customer service!!
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $159
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Current Retail: $260.00
Historic Range: $140.06-$260.00
Reviewers Paid: $150.00-$159.00
|3 lb 15 oz / 1.78 kg
|4 lb 2 oz / 1.86 kg
|4000 cu in / 65 L
|4200 cu in / 68 L