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Osprey Packs Kestrel 38L Backpack


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    14 Reviews


    No pain, all gain.

    When you head out for a marathon all-day hike or even a quick overnight backpacking trip, you know you won't be hearing from your back or knees when you carry your gear with the Osprey Kestrel 38 Backpack. The Kestrel's compact design, Airscape backpanel, and LightWire suspension frame makes loads ranging between 25 and 45 pounds easy to carry, while its simple top-loading design makes packing and unpacking as painless as possible. The Kestrel is home to all the features you'd expect from Osprey with an integrated rain cover, sleeping bag cover, and gear loops for your trekking poles, ice axes, and wet clothes all included.

    • Airscape backpanel
    • LightWire suspension
    • 210D nylon double diamond ripstop fabric
    • Integrated rain cover
    • Hydration sleeve
    • Top, front, and side pockets
    • Sleeping bag compartment
    • Ice axe and trekking pole loops
    • Side compression straps
    • Item #OSP004N

    Tech Specs

    [main] 210D nylon double diamond ripstop, [bottom]] 420HD nylon pack cloth
    [small/medium] 36L (2197cu in), [medium/large] 38L (2319cu in)
    Lightwire frame, Airscape back panel
    Waist Belt
    Hydration Compatible
    Reservoir Included
    top, front, 2 stretch mesh side
    Gear Loops
    Ice Axe Carry
    Trekking Pole Carry
    Sleeping Bag Compartment
    Rain Cover
    Weight Capacity
    25 - 40 lbs
    [S/M] 24 x 12 x 13 in
    Claimed Weight
    [S/M] 3.02 lb, [M/L] 3.13 lb
    Recommended Use
    Manufacturer Warranty

    Tech Specs

    • Reviews
    • Q & A

    What do you think about this product?

    Have questions about this product?

    It might just be me....

    • Familiarity: I've used it several times

    I purchased this pack for a 6000 m peak I'm climbing in the Himalaya later this month. My favorite pack is an REI 30L but is too small for this climb. I do like the Kestral's spacial layout and slim profile design. My challenges with the pack is that the water bottle pockets are impossible for me to remove and replace the bottles when wearing the pack (without taking years of yoga and becoming a contortionist) and having the waist belt buckled onto my hips. I spend a great deal of time in the high Rockies in frigid winter conditions which limit my use of my internal hydration pack. Taking my pack off each time I need a drink is obviously not acceptable. That said, I tried on several other brands of packs at REI and also experienced the issue with them as well, risking elbow dislocation along the way...
    I am 6'1" and have a minimally shorter torso length than average. Minimal. Seems like many packs are designed, in this water bottle pocket regard, for people with longer than average torso length.
    I found a 40L REI brand pack that works well for water pockets. Although I like its profile and spacial sequence less I must stay hydrated.

    Hi Eric - I am really sorry about that. I have heard that feedback by some, but those pockets are also used for more than just water bottles, so if we angled them to allow for easier water bottle access, they wouldnt be good for other uses. It's a tough one for sure!

    I really appreciate your feedback, though!

    Osprey Rep

    Amazing bag

    • Familiarity: I've used it several times

    Its almost as if it moves with your body as one. Hiked numerous very difficult trails with this puppy and it feels stunning. Drawstring to open the bag was weird at first but I've gotten used to it. Holds a ton of stuff for its size. Also perfect for holding gear and a rope. Side pockets are very reliable even with huge water bottles. Could use more spots for carabiners but I've made it work. Comes with a rain cover which saves you from having to buy one separately. It's my new favorite day pack!

    Go to pack: 1 day to 24 hour Adventures

    • Familiarity: I've used it several times

    After having my Camelback pack torn from Squirrels..I won't buy anything else, but an Osprey (lifetime warranty). My friend, Lacey Jo) has 3 other Osprey packs, but she suggested I buy this one because it's her fav. Because it's a great day pack to keep enough stuff for an an emergency or can be used as an overnight pack. Lacey Jo has the black and I fell in love with the green. The comfortability is top notch and the rain cover is very handy.

    I only have this screen shot picture from our adventure yesterday with our packs on...I'm on the far right with my lime green rain cover on my black pack (white North Face beanie I got from Backcountry too) and Lacey is the second from the left with her black Kestrel with her lime green rain cover and purple jacket.

    Go to pack:  1 day to 24 hour Adventures

    Kestrel 38

    • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

    This is Osprey's toughest pack, and I can testify to that after a summer full of canyoneering and climbing it knows how to take a beating well (a lot more abrassion resistant than other packs I've used). The main compartment is just wide enough to fit my 300 ft rope while inside of it's rope bag, and still fits all my other gear and first aid inside no problem. What I love most about this pack is the side compression straps. Once I finish the approach to a canyon and take out my rope bag I can just cinch up the bag and carry the rope separate through the series of raps. It also lets you pack a lot less than 38L without having an awkward feeling and saggy pack.

    Kestrel 38

    Not for Me.

    • Familiarity: I returned this product before using it

    I bought this pack intending to use it as an overnight pack. Something that I can stuff my sleeping bag, pad, outer layer and breakfast for the next day in. I found that this bag in the 38 liter Large was really tall and narrow in the main compartment. Not something that you can really pack how I wanted to.
    I do love the zipper on the side of the main compartment for easy access to inside but found that the Osprey Stratos 36Liter was exactly what I was looking for.
    Love the brand and the features the company adds to their packs.

    Great pack for long trips and dailys

    • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

    I took this pack through Central America for 2 months, it was great to jam all my stuff into, as well as just a day pack because of the way it folds down when nearly empty. The back frame fit my back like a glove when adjusted right. Towards the end of the trip it was a squeeze to fit all my stuff into, but that is given when trying to take a 38l pack on a 2 month trip. I also used it for some small treks here in Utah and it worked very well. Lots of openings make things easily accessible. Only complaint is there is not an easy way to secure bottles in the side bottle holders, I recommend using a couple carabiners. It is also just small enough to use as a carry on with most airliners which is a definite plus.

    Great pack for long trips and dailys

    Good with limitations

    • Familiarity: I returned this product before using it

    This pack had a lot going for it - nice suspension without being overly burly, adjustable fit, quality build, and useful layout of the pockets. Unfortunately it has two issues which limit its flexibility: (1) the lid is fixed with no ability to expand for those days when you need to carry a little more, and (2) the sleeping bag compartment divider is not removable (not really needed on a pack this size). Because of these limitations I returned the pack.

    If these items aren't issues for you, I think you might really like this pack.

    initial impressions

    • Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

    I have bought this with the intention of using it for short 2-4 day trips, mainly with the purpose of taking it on a plane. So far I think the pack is great, it is very comfortable, large enough to carry 4 days of clothes and climbing gear, and has a good variation of pockets to keep things organized and easy to reach. Also the main reason I bought this pack in particular was due to its ability to hold climbing gear as well as a hydration pouch.

    When fully loaded the pack feels sturdy and well balanced. The load is not completely on your shoulders which certainly helps when wearing it for long periods of time.

    For my size @ 6ft 200lbs, I think this bag is a perfect fit . Before this bag I had bought a Deuter pack which was far too narrow and short for my size.

    [UPDATE 1] The first draw back I realized is the placement of the hydration pouch. It is located on the outside of the bag between the main compartment and the straps, which has it in almost direct contact with your back. This design makes the water in the bladder get warm.

    Hip Belt Ripped on First Outing

    • Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

    What can I say...its the last possible thing you'd want to happen to your pack on a long backpacking trip. With a name like Osprey, I expected a lot better. 10 miles into my hike, the strap rips apart as the thread that was sewn on to hold the hip belt shredded apart in front of my own eyes. I was shocked. I couldn't believe what just happened. Then frustration set in as I knew I couldn't continue forward with 40 lbs. and no hip belt support. Perhaps I just happened to buy the one pack that had this fluke but nevertheless, a pack that is meant to handle between 25-40lbs should have incredibly strong and durable stitching all over.

    This pack had everything I wanted: Large external water bladder compartment, multiple daisy chains loops, front stretch pocket, side water bottle pockets THAT COULD ACTUALLY HOLD WATER BOTTLES, sleeping bag compartment, organization zipper pockets, external sleeping pad straps, hip belt zipper pockets, and the list goes on.

    Because of this issue I did not trust keeping this bag. What else could possibly break next time? Do I have to sew on additional stitching on an already expensive pack? Very disappointed in the craftsmanship. This is just one persons experience. If you do buy this bag then check the stitching, especially the hip belt, to make sure that you don't experience any failures in the middle of your own adventure.

    btw I love the customer service from Backcountry. They were just as frustrated as I was and issued a full refund. For this reason, I will continue to buy my gear from them.

    Hip Belt Ripped on First Outing

    So, back in March, you wrote this review, and I am so sorry that I am only seeing it now! I am so sorry that this happened to you - zero excuses. I hate to hear when this stuff happens. Please know how incredibly rare this is, and I know because I have been Osprey's rep in the Rockies for 23 years. So, my most sincere apologies to you, and know that this is such a insanely rare thing.

    I hope that you will try Osprey again, so we can make it up to you!

    Osprey Rep

    osprey never lets you down

    • Familiarity: I gave it as a gift but have feedback to share

    this back is perfect for weekend trips, holds all the gear i need. very comfortable to wear, love the external pouch to hold my water. enough pockets to hold all of the toys. highly recommend anything osprey.