Gear Review

4 5

Great pack, however....

This pack was my first foray into the world of Osprey and I have to say that I love what I have seen so far, for the most part. The Airspeed suspension is great. I always had a problem with putting a pack on a cold, sweaty back after a break. No longer is this an issue. My back stays completely dry. The hip-belt pockets are indeed handy, as is the pocket on the shoulder strap. Having the option of a top loader and a front loader is convenient. I don't use trekking poles, so I cannot speak on the effectiveness of the "Stow-and-Go" feature (I tried to use it to hold my Rogue Hoe, with no success).

With that said, I have three big issues with this pack and one rather minor one. Here they are:
1.) You cannot cinch down tight on the compression straps. This causes the frame to bend and the suspension to press against the pack.
2.) The design of the cross-member for the frame causes the bladder to take up even more space than it would already. The Hydroform bladders from Osprey will not fit comfortably mounted on the outside as designed.
3.) If you actually pack the main compartment then the front pocket is useless. If you do accidentally do put say a notebook in there before you pack the main compartment, you have to fight to get it out.
4.) Minor Issue - When the pack is packed, it is difficult to access the built in rain cover. Not really a huge issue, but a lapse in design just the same.

Overall, would I buy this pack again? Yes, if only for the suspension. The other issues are dealt with by simply being careful when packing. However these issues have made me realize that I HAVE to get another pack, which I was hoping not to have to do. I will stay with the Osprey line, looking at the Kestrel and the Atmos.