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Review: Osprey Atmos 35L & 25L Packs.

Review: Osprey Atmos 35L & 25L Packs.
Osprey Atmos 35L & 25L Packs.

Osprey Atmos 35L, 25L, and The Talon 4 Lumbar Pack.

Anyone with an interest in the outdoors will tell you that all of us have an obsession with kit, and within that obsession we usually have one particular fetish. For some it’s stoves, for other’s it may be accessories, boots, or whatever.  Mine, as you will gather, is packs!
I have a shameless lusting for packs.
(I also have an unhealthy addiction to training shoes; in fact I’m your regular Imelda Marcos, but that’s another story).
I currently own seven backpacks, yes that’s right seven! (Not including the ones I have for fishing). I wonder what a psychiatrist would make of that? 😀
So I reckon that I’m in a pretty good position to review a pack or two!

You are going to have to suffer me waxing lyrical about the Osprey Packs because I love them.
If a pack had been purposely designed for all of my adventures then the Atmos 35 is it.

I bought mine several years ago after searching long and hard for something that suited me. Since that time it has been everywhere that I have. And it’s been abused too.
It’s been stuffed in to taxi’s & tuk-tuk’s, slewed around in bus & train cargo holds, hiked to Everest Base Camp (twice), carried my essentials in The Yak Attack in atrocious conditions (it even carried my bike over the Thorong La Pass on Annapurna at 5416m, twice), endured torrential rain in Singapore, the dust, heat, and humidity of Southeast Asia & North Africa, it’s been climbing in Spain, and done innumerable journeys around Europe. Why it’s even been camping and road-tripping around the British Isles too!
It’s been grossly overloaded and I’ve expected far too much of it. It remains intact.
It has had a lifetimes worth of use and although it’s showing the odd sign of minor wear (from misuse!) I fully expect to get many more years of loyal, trouble-free, service.

Now, the technical jibber-jabber:

It’s constructed, largely, from high denier ripstop nylon; and as you will have noted it’s a very robust material verging on the indestructible. It has a decent level of water resistance.
It has a strong, lightweight, external frame assembly, and is complimented by Ospreys Airspeed back system. This offers excellent support and ventilation; and with the exception of the very hottest of weather it functions well. There isn’t a pack anywhere that will keep you 100% dry in high humidity but this one is of the very highest calibre.
The harness and waist straps are nicely padded, very comfortable, and sit well on the hips and shoulders; no pinch points or rubbing spots. The high density foam has plenty of ventilation holes backed by a hard wearing mesh for good breathability, although, as I said, in high humidity some perspiration is unavoidable. 
The hipbelt has a mesh zippered pocket on either side useful for storing keys, snacks, gels etc.
It offers a high degree of tuning from the adjustable straps which secure well and don’t need to be regularly re-tensioned. In a word it is supremely comfortable.
Side compression straps cinch the pack in firmly and the quick release clips and fittings are robust and still good as new.
If you are thinking that there must be a trade-off to all this with an excess weight penalty then you’d be wrong, the medium sized 35L weighs in at a paltry 1.18kgs.
Storage wise the stretch woven external side and front pockets offer great flexibility. The side pockets will easily take a pair of shoes and have additional compression straps for security. The front pocket will accommodate a helmet, guide books or a jacket without a struggle.
A couple of other useful smaller zip pockets allow easy access to your most needed items.
The elasticated ice axe/walking pole straps are simple, yet clever, and secure.
The 35L and above versions also have removable sleeping bag/tent compression straps. I use a Rab Ascent 700 down-filled sleeping bag and this fits well, with a nice even weight distribution.
The spacious internal storage is accessed from a large zippered front panel which extends below the mid-point of the pack allowing you to retrieve kit without having to rummage around or empty half of it on to the floor. I dread to think how many times I have opened and closed the zips but they are all functioning perfectly well and show no signs of failing. The pull tags on the zips are replaceable but mine have proved strong and hard wearing thus far.
There is an easily accessed pouch for a hydration bladder that will take a 3L Camelback or similar.

In conclusion; if you are looking for a reliable, robust, long term pack to do everything you ask of it then look no further. From weekends away to indefinite gap year backpacking, from wilderness camping trips to long days at the crags, you will find it a trusted companion. The 35L pack is also accepted as carry-on luggage by most airlines. And lets be honest if you can’t get what you need in to a 35L pack for most trips then you are probably carrying too much stuff! Go for the 50L or 65L instead!

Can I find a fault? Not really. However for a pack that retails at £100 a raincover included in the price would be nice. But that’s a trifling niggle. Osprey sell them aftermarket as an optional purchase;. and unless you expect to encounter some serious prolonged weather then it will shrug off the worst of it anyway.

Osprey offer them in three different back sizes and the capacity varies slightly with each one.

Small 32L Weight 1.13kg
Medium 35L Weight 1.18kg
Large 38L Weight 1.23kg

I have the 35L Medium and it is a touch too long for my somewhat squat demeanour but I compromised for the extra 3L of capacity.

The Atmos 25L pack differs only slightly in that it is considered a daypack and therefore it has no external sleeping bags straps. Other than that it’s pretty much identical.

Small 23L Weight 1.10kg
Medium 25L Weight 1.11kg
Large 27L Weight 1.12kg

My Atmos 25L is a small and fits me perfectly. Strangely I chose the small because I wanted the reduced capacity! There’s nothing so strange as folk!

I will be using the 25L for my attempt at the 2013 Yak Attack Mountain Bike Stage Race in Nepal and I have engineered a cunning system that will allow me to carry the bike when required, during some of the horrendous hiking sections. It is really a compression strap extension that will allow me to secure my bike to the pack (and won’t invalidate the warranty; I hope!). I’ll let you know how I get on with it.

I would like to personally thank Dominik Wolf, the European Marketing Coordinator, at Osprey Europe Ltd for generously supplying me with the 25L pack to use in The Yak Attack. It’s piece of mind to know that one of my most essential items of kit won’t let me down. Thank you.

Osprey Talon 4 Lumbar Pack

My mountain biking buddy, Mitchell Bryan, has had one of these for quite some time and he loves it. Recently I borrowed it to use in a race. I’m in love all over again. I will getting one to use in The Yak Attack and The Everest Marathon.
I’ll be reviewing it later in the year, but unless something catastrophic happens you can probably expect similar praise; my first impressions have been very favourable.

Take a look at the link below to view Ospreys extensive range of Outdoor, Travel, and Bike luggage:

Osprey Packs

Proof of the pudding. At 5416m after 5km & 1000m of vertical hike-a-bike!
Neil and his trusty Amos 35 racing through The Himalaya, Nepal.
My much used and abused Atmos 35, still going strong!
My shiny new Atmos 25 ready for The Yak Attack
Mitch’s Talon 4 proved invaluable during a recent endurance race.

Thank you for looking, I hope that you find my reviews useful.

About The Author

Neil Cottam

Neil is the founder of Chase The Rainbow. He has spent a lifetime exploring the outdoors, from a childhood climbing trees and scrambling his bike around old pit heads to hiking in the Himalaya and backpacking around Europe and Asia.

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