Name: Fuzzy Monkey (David)
Date of Review: March, 2012
Photo Album – Osprey Atmos 65 Backpack
BACKGROUND: I’ve successfully thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail and Pacific Crest Trail. I also have numerous other backpacking trips under my belt. The weather conditions I’ve dealt with range from the desert heat to higher elevations in the mountains. I’ve dealt with thunderstorms, hail, extreme winds and most weather conditions in-between. I carried the Osprey Atmos 65 for my 2007 Appalachian Trail Thru-Hike and my 2010 Pacific Crest Trail Thru-Hike it is also the reason I wrote this review.
DISCLAIMER: Whenever I talk about my hikes people always end up asking me what type of gear I took with me. This review is to answer those questions and to further expand how it worked for me. I still own this backpack however, I have retired it from major hikes. Readers should be aware this particular pack is several years old. There are newer model Osprey Atmos 65’s available.
Manufacturer: Osprey Packs Inc
Product Information: Osprey Atmos 65 Backpack
DESCRIPTION: The Atmos 65 is a 6,500 liter internal frame backpack. The main compartment has a separate pocket to hold a water bladder. This pack is easily loaded from the top as well as the bottom. Two large pockets are on the front of the pack and have water-proof zippers. There is also an oval-shaped external pocket with stretching material on the front of the pack. The backpack has two hip belt pockets one on either side. There are also pockets on both sides of the pack that are designed to hold water bottles. The top cover of the pack is one large pocket and could possible be removed and used as a day pack.
Just about every multi-day pack is going to have similar methods of adjusting the pack and the Atmos is very similar in this respect. First is the adjustable hip belt. The second is the shoulder harness. The third is the load leveler. And finally the Atmos 65 also features an adjustable sternum strap.
REVIEW: Why I choose this pack
My first impression of the Atmos 65 was very positive. When I first started looking at packs I found it difficult to decide which one to go with. I eventually choose the Atmos 65 and here are some of the reasons why.
First, I was really sold on the airspeed feature of this pack. I sweat a lot and I knew that hiking with a heavy pack all day might become very uncomfortable for me, especially during the hot summer months. Since the Atmos 65 has this airspeed feature I imagined being much more comfortable with air circulating around my back. I was not disappointed and the Atmos 65 performed extremely well. I’ve become attached to my pack and the airspeed feature is one of the reasons why.
The second reason I choose this pack was for the fit and comfort. After measuring my torso and trying on the medium, I discovered how well the pack fit. I attribute this to the overall well design of the pack. The shoulder harness is a nice molded shape and fit really well for me. The rest of the pack seems to rest and touch my body in just the right places. This became very noticeable once I had the pack loaded with weight. Having an adjustable sternum strap also allowed me to adjust the pack so that it did not slip off my shoulders.
A third reason I selected this pack was for the additional features. I like the large front pockets and it fit well with the way I utilized the pack. I also liked having access to the bottom of the pack. This is where I stored my sleeping bag and sleeping pad. I also carried a bulky fleece jacket and put it in the outside front pocket for easy access.
The first time I used the Atmos 65 was in 2007 on the Appalachian Trail. Since this was my first long distance hike, there was a learning curve not only with the gear I carried but also hiking in general. As the days, weeks and months passed by I became more familiar and more comfortable with the pack. This made storing my gear and adjusting the pack for the various weights much easier and more efficient.
My Atmos 65 lasted about 1,300 miles when the load lifter straps started to rip apart. Since I had several hundred miles left on the AT I felt they would most likely not last. I returned the pack and had a new pack sent out to me while I was in town. This worked out perfectly, I had a new pack and was able to finish the trail with little downtime. I’m unsure if the load lifers failed because of too much weight or if it was just the way the pack was loaded. Either way, I knew not having load lifters would make it very difficult to carry my gear and finish the trail.
Another minor issue I had with the pack were the hip belt pockets. They are made with a mesh material and seem to rip easily. At first I put a few things inside the pockets like lip balm or gloves. Once the pockets started to rip and holes developed, I ended up not using them at all. This did not cause me to change m opinion about the pack at all. I felt the pockets were just a convenience and I really didn’t need the pockets for my style of hiking.
I also carried this pack for my 2010 Pacific Crest Trail hike. Because I had become so familiar with it, I could not imagine having to learn or become familiar with another pack. Since I was carrying most of the same equipment as I did for my AT hike I saw very little reason to change packs. The Atmos 65 has served me well for literally thousands of miles.
After more than 4,000 miles with this pack I was more or less familiar with how it would perform. By the time I was ready to hike the PCT, I was already familiar with this pack so there was no learning curve and I knew exactly what to expect. Once again the only other issue I came across was the load lifters. They started to rip about 1,600 miles into the hike. Since I also carry duct tape, I just made the repair on the trail by tapping them to the harness. This crude repair worked fine and lasted me the rest of my thru-hike. There was no need to replace the pack or spend days trying to find a replacement. I knew that after my PCT hike I was going to retire this pack.
After using the pack for thousands of miles I have learned a great deal about this pack. I have also changed a few things that I though might be helpful for my readers. The first thing I noticed is how much room a water bladder takes up inside the pack. What I quickly learned was the placement of the pocket for the bladder. It’s situated directly in the center of the pack which is great from a load design standpoint. However, with a full water bladder this took up an enormous amount of interior room. This made it difficult to store the rest of my gear. What I decided to do was move my water bladder to the space between the airspeed brackets and the mesh backing of the pack. In Atmos 65 pack there is plenty of room for a two litter water bladder. By moving the water bladder I created more room inside the pack.
I also felt that the hip belt pockets were pointless at least for me. I placed my pack cover inside one of the pockets. My though process was that a pack cover is bulky enough that I’d notice if it fell out. The second reason was, it did not matter if it was raining and got wet. Bottom line is I didn’t feel comfortable putting anything important in the hip belt pockets. I did not want to risk losing more important items.
CONCLUSION: The Osprey Atmos 65 is an excellent backpack. I’ve used mine for over 4,000 miles and have been really satisfied with this pack and its performance. The overall design and comfort made this a perfect pack for me during my long distance hikes. In terms of price, you get what you pay for. Sure there are less expensive models but I highly recommend this pack.
Fuzzy Monkey Likes:
- Airspeed backing
- Design & Comfort
- Pockets and Features
Fuzzy Monkey Dislikes:
- Price (But you get what you pay for)
- Airspeed takes up internal space
- Mesh hip pockets
Fuzzy Monkey Approved: YES