Osprey Atmos AG 50 review, luxury backpacking

Osprey Atmos AG 50 review. I picked up the Atmos AG, 50L capacity, before doing the GR20 in Corsica. I had plenty of backpacks at home but after trying a few much lighter options I decided I needed something comfortable for the weight I was going to carry. My trusty old Osprey Exos 34L could just about fit everything but the weight proved too heavy and left me very sore after a few days test trip.

The GR20 is a long-distance hiking trail crossing Corsica in its length. Forget about sandy beaches and suntan, the GR20 is a brutal, 180km long, technical trail with steep ups-and-downs, snow and scorching sun. We carried everything we needed with us, including shelter, and resupplied food and water at each refuge. The daily load was on average 12kg with water and food.

I’m all about ultralight and minimal, and this is far from it, but sometimes it is a compromise between weight and how much cash it would cost you to bring it down…

Osprey Atmos AG, a hug to your body

Enters the Atmos AG. We’re all big fans of Osprey and Gear Exposure. They are a big brand, fairly expensive and not the lightest. But none of their backpacks ever failed us (I have 5 different ones, all abused thoroughly for many years), they have plenty of great features that I want, and they are easy to find in shops where we are.

My checklist for Corsiva was: ventilated back, trekking pole attachment, water-reservoir compatible, comfortable, lightweight. The Atmos checks all that and more.

Osprey Atmos AG 50 review: fit, ventilation and comfort

Let’s start with the pack’s main selling point: the back panel and hip belt suspension. In Atmos AG and Aura AG, the “AG” stands for “Anti-Gravity” and is what Osprey calls this specific suspension construction. AG packs have a one-piece mesh suspended back and belt.

Ventilation-wise this is the best I have ever experienced in a backpack. The seamless construction between back and belt and the quality of the webbing is just perfect. Everything feels great and the pack doesn’t bounce around at all.

What you notice straight away with the Atmos is how the belt naturally folds inwards, providing amazing fit. It’s a bit of a pain to get into at first. You have to old the hipbelt open while sliding the pack on. But once you get the hang of it it’s no big deal. And the comfort and secure fit you get from it is just unrivaled. You still feel a bit sore after a 10 hours day but nothing on the scale of what I was getting with much lighter packs for the same load.

Suspended back panels do pull the weight away from your body but the distance with the AG system is kept minimal and I never felt the weight dragging me backward. This is really a feature you need to try out in a store to appreciate fully.

The padding on the shoulder straps and hipbelt put the Atmos and Aura into the “luxury” category and it’s probably why you would go for the model over something lighter. Like with all Osprey packs, the Atmos and Aura have plenty of adjustments for shoulder straps, belt and even back length.

Bells and whistles

Most Osprey packs share a common list of features: trekking pole attachment, water-reservoir pouch and attachment, large dual-entry side mesh pockets, whistle, Ice-axe attachments.

The Atmos also has a large mesh pocket on the front, great to slide in a warm layer but it can accommodate up to a small 2-persons tent, which is what I used it for in Corsica. The removable top lib has two zippered pockets. When removed you can still close the top entry to the main compartment with the FlapJacket.

The bottom of the main compartment also has a sleeping bag compartment you can access via a dedicated zipper. The divider between the two is also removable.

In addition, you will also find two small side pockets on the hip belt. I don’t have much good to say about those, unfortunately. Too small, a pain to open one-handed, I have not yet found a use for them. A fairly standard-size mobile phone does not fit nor would my energy bars without breaking them in half. Car keys and very small fabric items like a buff would.

The Osprey Atmos as a backpacking pack

I believe the Atmos has all the features you would need for a backpacking trip. Here a few things I noted while using in Corsica.

Having the water-reservoir on the inside is a pain when you want to refill at water sources. I had planned for that before leaving and all my gear was compartmented into dry bags. When stopping at a stream I could get the three dry bags out, the reservoir out and refill, then all back in. But with me was Simon with his Osprey Aether with external water-reservoir attachment and it looked much easier. I guess you can’t have suspended back panels and outside reservoir and I would choose comfort over practicality here.

The detachable top lid is sold as a way to save weight but in truth removing makes very little difference. I did find it useful around camp to carry stuff I would not want to leave unattended in the tent. When you get back to the trail in the morning just clip it on and off you go.

In terms of toughness, I think the Atmos is up there with the best. The fabric used is 100D X 630D Nylon Dobby with really tough 210D High Tenacity Nylon in strategic areas and 420HD for the bottom. Corsica’s GR20 is a very abrasive and rocky trail with many technical climbs where you squeeze between boulders. The Atmos survived with just a few signs of wear. I am confident it will last me for many years to come.

Comparison to other similar backpacks

name weight price
Osprey Atmos 50 1,9kg / 4.21 lbs 175€
Arc-Teryx Bora AR 50L 2.18 kg / 4.8 lbs 470€
The North Face Banshee 50L 1.5 kg / 3 lbs. 5 oz 100€
Vaude Brentour 45+10 1.9 kg / 4.20 lbs 180€
Vango F10 GR 45:50 1.48kg / 3.26 lbs 110€
Gregory Paragon 48 1.45 kg / 3.19 lbs 190€
Deuter Aircontact Lite 40 + 10 1.7 kg / 3.74 lbs 145€
Black Diamond Mercury 50 2.1 kg / 4.6 lbs 200€

Osprey Atmos AG 50 review: Conclusions

The Osprey Atmos and Aura AG are great packs. You get all of Osprey’s quality, their All Mighty Warranty (which I used and can vouch for) and packs with great features and impeccable design. I’m looking forward to the next version with hopefully better hip belt pockets but otherwise it’s a clear recommendation from me.