Osprey Atmos AG 50 review

How good is the Atmos AG 50?

The Osprey Atmos AG 50 is a mid-weight hiking rucksack designed for overnight and multi-day trips.
To my mind, Osprey is the best manufacturer of rucksacks and the Atmos is no exception.

Osprey Atmos AG 50 review 1

Who is the Osprey Atmos AG 50 for?

If you are looking for the most comfortable rucksack, you can find and are prepared to add a bit of weight to achieve that, then the Osprey Atmos AG 50 is for you. That’s exactly why I bought it and I haven’t been disappointed.

It is for multi-day trips or overnighters with a moderate amount of kit, weighing up to 15kg.

If you are carrying negligible weight and want to go fast and light, then this is not for you. If comfort is not a priority, then there are better options, such as the Exos 48.

What is a 50 litre rucksack good for?

Fifty litres is a good size for multi-day trips in the summer, spring and autumn. As winter sets in, it is hard to get all the gear in a bag this size. If your gear is not the lightest or smallest, then you could be better off with a bigger rucksack. For me, this is the perfect size for a few days on the road.

Comfort

The supreme comfort in this rucksack comes from the antigravity system. I was skeptical that this was marketing BS when I first saw the phrase. I no longer am. It really works.

It has proved to be the best feature of the Osprey Atmos AG 50.

As you walk along there is a tendency for a rucksack to bounce. The AG system addresses this issue and pretty much eliminates the shock loads from bounce. This reduces fatigue in your back and legs. It’s impossible to describe the difference it makes and do it justice. It just works.

It obviously doesn’t make the pack any lighter but it does make it more comfortable to wear all day. It’s not subtle and makes hiking much more pleasant.

Ventilation

The whole back and waist strap is one ventilated piece of fabric. It keeps the rucksack away from your back and that air space keeps your back cool, dry and reduces sweat build up. That’s the theory, and it works superbly.

Waist strap

As mentioned, the waist strap is one piece of material with the back panel. This attaches to a robust and easily adjustable waist band. It sits comfortably on your hips and does an excellent job of bearing the weight evenly. This is an area where many rucksacks fail. The Osprey Atmos AG 50 excels at weight transfer to the hips, which is where it should be carried.

The buckle works well and is easy to release and adjust.

I’m a skinny guy and there is a lot of excess waist strap that neatly tucks away, but I really should cut them shorter some time. That I haven’t shows that it is not an issue.

Shoulder straps

The shoulder straps are wide and comfortable, with plenty of adjustment. There are webbing strips to retain a water pipe and attach other things to. The ventilation on them is effective.

Chest strap

The chest strap is adjustable in both height and length. It all works as it should and is easy to get undone and do up. It also sports a nifty little whistle in the buckle.

Sizing

The Osprey Atmos AG 50 comes in different torso lengths, and it is important to get the right one. Read this article to find out what is the right size for you.

The waist band is adjustable in the simple form of how tight it is, but it’s also possible to adjust the position of the padding and hip support.

The torso length is adjustable too, which allows you to position the waist strap correctly on your hips relative to the rest of the pack.

The shoulder straps are adjustable for length in the normal way. At the top of the shoulder straps are load lifters that enable the lifting of weight from the shoulders.

All these adjustable elements result in a very comfortable load that is mainly carried on your hips. If you have the right size rucksack in the first place, you will be able to adjust it to fit you perfectly.

All of this involves buckles, straps, and pads that have a weight penalty. But it is so worth it to achieve the level of comfort that this rucksack delivers.

Storage

Water carrying

There is a pouch inside the main compartment that will take the Osprey hydration bladders as well as others. I use a Camelbak one and it works well.

An elasticated hole allows the water pipe to pass through and neatly lead to attachments on the shoulder strap. Ergonomically, it all functions well.

If you prefer to carry water in bottles, then the elasticated side pockets are ideal for this. You can put water bottles in them through front or topo entry openings. If you put them in the top, they are difficult to get out when wearing the rucksack. I worry things will fall out of the front opening, so rarely use these pockets other than for tall items like tent poles or groundsheets that get strapped in.

Pole stowage

“Stow-and-go” is the aptly named pole storage arrangement on the left shoulder strap. The elasticated buckle easily clips around your walking poles under the handles and the other en of the poles goes through a loop on the main body of the bag. It’s easy to stow and go.

There are also 2 ice axe loops and elasticated buckles, which can be used for poles as well. I use these more than the other method. However, the poles will clash with a mat if you have one strapped to the outside of the rucksack.

Ice axes

The rucksack sports attachment points for 2 ice axes but as I don’t even own one, I can’t comment on their function.

Pockets – waist strap

Besides the side pockets, there are 2 pockets on the waist belt. These are great for stowing small items, but because of the shape of them they don’t cope well with larger items. I can just get an Explorer compass in there or an etreX GPS. I tend to use them for a buff and small food items.

On the back of the rucksack is a stretchy, elasticated pocket that can take pretty large stuff. I use it for wet coats and for my Sawyer water filter. It’s really handy having the water filter so accessible. At the end of the day, I often fill up a water pouch and put it in there for a wild camp.

The zips on these waist strap pockets are nigh on impossible to do up one handed. A real design oversight, but not a big deal.

Removable top

One of the many well thought out features is the top bag or compartment. This is completely removable to save weight, but it is not that heavy, so hardly worth removing. It is also adjustable so you can store stuff under it if you lengthen the straps. This can accommodate a wet tent or clothing that you don’t want in the pack.

The top comprises a main part, which is just an empty space and a zipped pocket on the top which takes the supplied rain cover. There is also a key clip in there. The rain cover attaches to a loop inside the pocket so it can’t blow away.

Zipped bottom with removable divider

The main compartment of the rucksack is one big compartment but there is a removable divider towards the bottom, which is adjustable. You can access the space below the divider via a zipped opening on the outside of the pack. This is a large opening and can easily take a sizeable sleeping bag.

There is also a large curved zip on either side providing more access.

Spec

Weight: 2.1 kg

Dimensions (CM): 86H 38W 31D

Fabric: 210D Nylon Honey Comb Contrast Recy BSAPP C0

Volume: S/M: 50L L/XL: 53L

Weight carrying

The Atmos AG 50 is rated to carry between 11 and 16kg, which it does very well and in comfort.

In comparison to the Exos 48

The Exos 48 is a lighter cousin off the Osprey Atmos AG 50. They are both excellent rucksacks for different purposes.

The Exos 48 is rated to carry 11-14kg and weighs 1.3kg

The Atmos AG 50 is rated to carry 11-16kg and weighs 2.1kg

The Osprey Atmos AG 50 is heavier at 2.1kg to the Exos’s 1.8kg. The increased comfort offsets that extra 800g and it feels lighter in the real world.

The Osprey Atmos AG 50 excels in the comfort department and can carry more weight. It is certainly the more comfortable option when carrying 15kg.

That one piece ventilated back panel with its associated anti-gravity system is a huge comfort upgrade over the Exos.

Choosing between these 2 bags was my big dilemma. I went in to a shop to buy an Exos. But when I tried on a loaded Atmos it became a simple decision. It was so comfortable that I no longer cared about that 800g. In practical use, I have always found the rucksack to be comfortable and have never regretted my decision. Weight is not everything and counting grammes can lead to a less pleasurable trip.

If fast and light is more important to you than comfort, go for the Exos. If comfort is paramount, then the Osprey Atmos AG 50 is the winner by a long mile.

Q&A

Conclusion

It’s all about the comfort with the Atmos AG50 and it delivers that in spades.

All the contact points are comfortable and its ability to transfer weight to the hips is fantastic.

The antigravity system does work and reduces fatigue on a long hike.

It is a very well ventilated rucksack and is difficult to beat on any front.

I certainly wouldn’t trade it in for anything else.

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