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Is the Osprey Atmos/Aura 50 AG the best Camino backpack ever?

Mark McCarthy

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2014 2015
Lourdes 2 SdC 2016
Sarria 2 SdC April&Oct 2016 & (April 2018)
Camino Baztan June 2017
Feeling a little bit bored so I thought I would resurect an old debate about which is the best Camino backpack. I know its way too big, too heavy and you can't use it as carry on BUT after a winter Camino I am now convinced that the Osprey Atmos AG is the best Camino backpack ever! It is sooo comfortable! Please feel free to disagree and debate.
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Currently on a "Virtual" Camino and striding out across Castile y Leon!
Feeling a little bit bored so I thought I would resurect an old debate about which is the best Camino backpack. I know its way too big, too heavy and you can't use it as carry on BUT after a winter Camino I am now convinced that the Osprey Atmos AG is the best Camino backpack ever! It is sooo comfortable! Please feel free to disagree and debate.
According to Betteridge's Law the answer is "no".
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
I have one too (an Aura), so you get no argument at all from me.
The combination of a generous internal top-loaded space with two big zipper access outer spaces is just perfect. The stuff I need every day goes in the easily accessed places, and the rest goes inside.
Perfecto.
(And what Dave says is very true. Everyone's body is different and there is no arguing with what works...)
 

Turga

Camino tortuga
Camino(s) past & future
CF (Aug/Sep 2017)
CF (Aug/Sep 2018)
Everything is relative.

My first backpack was an 80-liter monster with a huge external aluminum frame and no hip-belt and it weighed around 4 kilos empty. I stuffed it with clothes, canned food and cooking equipment and attached a tent, sleeping bag and sleeping pad bringing the weight up to around 30 kilos and set out on a 10 days walk through a desolate mountainous range in Norway. I was 22 at the time and it felt just fine; today it would have killed me after an hour :D
 

MyDestinationGalicia

Mark Auchincloss
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Invierno,Portuguese Ways x15 French Way Sarria x5, Silver Way Ourense, Santiago-Muxia x2..
Lots of great British brands like Karrimor Jura 45L which is dirt cheap. Atom packs are expensive but awesome.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(May 2018)
VdlP (2022?)
Feeling a little bit bored so I thought I would resurect an old debate about which is the best Camino backpack. I know its way too big, too heavy and you can't use it as carry on BUT after a winter Camino I am now convinced that the Osprey Atmos AG is the best Camino backpack ever! It is sooo comfortable! Please feel free to disagree and debate.

At 50L I would have to say No. I use a 34L
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015, 2017, 2019) and plans for 2021 (Sept, Oct)
Agree with you Mark. I've hiked the camino frances three times with my Osprey Atmos 50L and just love it. My wife has an Osprey Kestrol 48L. She carried it each day to Carrion during our first camino, but developed severe knee pain (later diagnosed as a stress fracture), so sent her backpack ahead each day via Jacotrans the rest of our first camino, and both of the last two. Since I've carried mine on three caminos, I don't need to prove I can to it, so will send it ahead via Jacotrans and just take a light Osprey day pack.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
It would not be my choice. It is about the same weight as my favourite, the Deuter Guide 45+. I used a somewhat larger Osprey last year that is much lighter than either the Deuter and the Atmos but is a less flexible single compartment design. It might get a berth on my next Camino, or I will continue with the Deuter.
 

Simon B

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Ingles and Camino Frances. VDLP Spring 2019
Feeling a little bit bored so I thought I would resurect an old debate about which is the best Camino backpack. I know its way too big, too heavy and you can't use it as carry on BUT after a winter Camino I am now convinced that the Osprey Atmos AG is the best Camino backpack ever! It is sooo comfortable! Please feel free to disagree and debate.
For me it is the Osprey Kestrel 38. But as ever with this subject always down to individual choice. Would use for both winter and summer.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)

RRat

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning 2017
Feeling a little bit bored so I thought I would resurect an old debate about which is the best Camino backpack. I know its way too big, too heavy and you can't use it as carry on BUT after a winter Camino I am now convinced that the Osprey Atmos AG is the best Camino backpack ever! It is sooo comfortable! Please feel free to disagree and debate.
5€ X 35 days equals €175. 5€ to have your pack sent forward for 35 days. That's a lot cheaper than doctor visits, MRI, physical therapy, etc, to prove you have the correct pack and the stamina to carry it.
 

Juspassinthrough

in our minds, we're vagabonds, you and I
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Inglés 2019
Leon-Sarria, June (2019)
Camino Aragonés (2023?)
Feeling a little bit bored so I thought I would resurect an old debate about which is the best Camino backpack. I know its way too big, too heavy and you can't use it as carry on BUT after a winter Camino I am now convinced that the Osprey Atmos AG is the best Camino backpack ever! It is sooo comfortable! Please feel free to disagree and debate.

Mark,

I would have to agree overall. I wore the Atmos 50 on my first Camino (Frances) in 2017 and found it to be very adjustable and comfortable. I did not take the top compartment and still had more than enough room. I also liked being able to partition the pack to make an internal sleeping bag compartment. It also made getting to a water bottle much easier than any pack I've worn because of the mesh compartment is angled instead of vertical. Drawbacks are the size, can't carry it on and no built in rain cover. Last year I did the Ingles and then Leon to Sarria in a Strata 36 which is the perfect size and has a built in rain cover but it was not as comfortable and the positioning of the mesh belt compartments made it difficult to get to a water bottle some major contortions. One of the best packs I've ever worn.
100k.JPG
 
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susanawee

susanawee
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances-(2013/14/18
Camino Salvado Perth -(2015)
West Highland Way (2016)
Lyon France 2017
I like tio think that the absolute Best Backpack is the one which is right for 'you'.....or 'me' as the case may be.....ie....the one which is most comfortable, for you the individual. We can all tell you what we think is the best, what one we use or like to buy, but, when it all comes down to the wire, only You can decide which is the best pack for you. All we can do, is offer opinions. Just saying here.
 

MichelleElynHogan

Veteran Member
Though I admit my favourite pack has been a 48L Osprey Kestrel, I have determined that more is not better. Yes the Osprey company pads straps and backs and waist belts top make carrying weight as comfortable as possible. But the real determining factor, and one that keeps me from arranging my next camino is one inimitable issue, weight.

For me, weight has been my challenge.

So, as I continue to reduce body weight, pack weight has been reduced to the commensurate 10 lb. But I wonder if this will be enough. Though the Kestrel, for me, is a perfectly fitting pack, and very comfortable, it does weigh 3 lb.

Next step, find a comfortable pack that weighs less. And, after careful research, I discovered that a lot of packs, regardless of their, "Litre," rating, still weighed 2 to 3 lb, not wishing to drop any of the padding of bigger packs, though carrying less.

Several years ago, I was approached by Gobi Gear in the USA who were designing a light pack, 30L, with reasonable padding and features of bigger packs. We discussed it and the Free Spirit 30L Pack was the result.

Finally, the challenge left, other than body weight, is paring down the pack list to fit in the pack. And it is not so hard to do. Bigger is not always better. (do not quote me on that last one.)
 

dagomez

New Member
Feeling a little bit bored so I thought I would resurect an old debate about which is the best Camino backpack. I know its way too big, too heavy and you can't use it as carry on BUT after a winter Camino I am now convinced that the Osprey Atmos AG is the best Camino backpack ever! It is sooo comfortable! Please feel free to disagree and debate.
I’ve had nothing but good experiences with Osprey products … my last few caminos have been longer e.g. DLP starting in Cadiz so I am now using 65 liter version.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I’ve had nothing but good experiences with Osprey products … my last few caminos have been longer e.g. DLP starting in Cadiz so I am now using 65 liter version.
I'm not sure why you need a larger backpack for a longer Camino? I would bring the same gear for 2 days, 2 weeks, or 2 months.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, April, 2016
Frances: SJPP to Ponferrada April & October, 2017
Le Puy 2018/19
It’s hard to argue with any of the Osprey packs as they are well designed and well constructed. I have carried the smaller Kestrel as well as a couple other packs over the years. Each one had plenty of features that I liked and a couple I didn’t. In 2018 I moved to the Gossamer Gear Gorilla, a 40 L lightweight pack that is a top loader with a couple zip pockets. What I lost in having a few extra compartments I gained in both weight reduction and comfort. In short, the pack is a great fit for me and I imagine I’ll be carrying this one for the foreseeable future.
As most everyone has agreed, the best pack is the one that wears well and works for you. There are lots of great options. Buen Camino!
 
D

Deleted member 67185

Guest
Size does matter. The bigger your backpack and the more stuff you carry, the less enjoyment you will have. This applies to everything in life - not just caminos.

Yup, absolutely. . . a bit of knowledge and discipline means that while you could carry more stuff in a larger backpack, you certainly don't need to. My 60 liter Gossamer Gear Mariposa has been used on the Pacific Crest Trail with 24 pounds of gear, food, and fuel. . . but on Camino, it is only packed about 1/2 of it's volume with only 9.5 pounds of gear and clothing.

The most important factor that you mention - the lighter the load, the more enjoyable the trip - can also mean less risk of stress injuries and overuse injuries as well.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
And there must be another law about any statement about "the best" anything.
@C clearly, if not, there should be one. Normally I get rather bored when someone starts to tell me that they have 'the best' of something, and I am normally pretty wary of contributing to 'what is the best ...?' discussions. Why?

First, in general, very few if any of us have the experience to talk about more than one or two products like packs - hardly a sound basis for making bold statements about what might be the best when there is normally such a variety of products in any class on the market. Even if we do have practical experience with a broader range of products, the global nature of this forum brings with it the distinct possibility that my 'best of ...' product is not readily available in the country where it is 'needed'.

Second, we will each evaluate product characteristics differently, weighting our judgements according to our individual preferences. We normally have no idea how others might do that, normally because when a 'best of' question is asked, the person often has only the sketchiest idea of what they want in a product, let alone how they might weight competing characteristics.

Third, I often think that the truism that the best is the enemy of the good holds true here. If I consider price separately from functional characteristics, then I can ask 'am I prepared to pay $xx for this improvement in yy?' You might want to put that comparison into a per-usage framework. @davebugg recommends this in some of his posts, and I agree this can be a better comparison than purchase price alone, but only if you are going to make consistent use of the item, eg over several caminos.

Finally, there is a point where even major product purchases aren't entirely rational. A salesperson will sell the products that he or she has available, even if there are better products available right next door, and they know it. If you find their pitch compelling, you might decide not to make the extra effort to keep going from shop to shop comparing, and make the purchase. Equally, you might walk out of a store selling what might be objectively a better product because of poor quality service. You will never know.

Just as we will never really know if something is the best!
 
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Juspassinthrough

in our minds, we're vagabonds, you and I
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Inglés 2019
Leon-Sarria, June (2019)
Camino Aragonés (2023?)
Discussions about packs, boots, poles and socks should be elevated to a philosophical status as, IMHO, the only correct answer is the answer that’s correct for you. Excellent points for comparing different models though. 😎
 

Zordmot

First timer Spring 2019
Camino(s) past & future
April-May 2019
@C clearly, if not, there should be one. Normally I get rather bored when someone starts to tell me that they have 'the best' of something, and I am normally pretty wary of contributing to 'what is the best ...?' discussions. Why?

First, in general, very few if any of us have the experience to talk about more than one or two products like packs - hardly a sound basis for making bold statements about what might be the best when there is normally such a variety of products in any class on the market. Even if we do have practical experience with a broader range of products, the global nature of this forum brings with it the distinct possibility that my 'best of ...' product is not readily available in the country where it is 'needed'.

Second, we will each evaluate product characteristics differently, weighting our judgements according to our individual preferences. We normally have no idea how others might do that, normally because when a 'best of' question is asked, the person often has only the sketchiest idea of what they want in a product, let alone how they might weight competing characteristics.

Third, I often think that the truism that the best is the enemy of the good holds true here. If I consider price separately from functional characteristics, then I can ask 'am I prepared to pay $xx for this improvement in yy?' You might want to put that comparison into a per-usage framework. @davebugg recommends this in some of his posts, and I agree this can be a better comparison than purchase price alone, but only if you are going to make consistent use of the item, eg over several caminos.

Finally, there is a point where even major product purchases aren't entirely rational. A salesperson will sell the products that he or she has available, even if there are better products available right next door, and they know it. If you find their pitch compelling, you might decide not to make the extra effort to keep going from shop to shop comparing, and make the purchase. Equally, you might walk out of a store selling what might be objectively a better product because of poor quality service. You will never know.

Just as we will never really know if something is the best!

Yes to most of your points here but.......when you have experience in something and I have none, what you have to say is helpful for me at least as a starting point. I don’t take what you say as infallible but at least you help identify what are the issues that I need to consider. It gives me a starting point, a reference point for weighing further input. If this was my first Camino and you are a veteran, of course I’m going to be very interested in what you say about packs. After 2 Caminos, I would advise a first-timer that a lot of people walking their first Camino that suffer foot problems seem to be carrying too much weight and that people tend to get packs that are large enough to hold all the stuff they think they need RATHER THAN buying a pack to hold a certain amount of weight and then fitting what they bring to that maximum. I’d also say that people with Osprey and Deuter seem to be happy with their packs.
 
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dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
Yes to most of your points here but.......when you have experience in something and I have none, what you have to say is helpful for me at least as a starting point. I don’t take what you say as infallible but at least you help identify what are the issues that I need to consider. It gives me a starting point, a reference point for weighing further input. If this was my first Camino and you are a veteran, of course I’m going to be very interested in what you say about packs. After 2 Caminos, I would advise a first-timer that a lot of people walking their first Camino that suffer foot problems seem to be carrying too much weight and that people tend to get packs that are large enough to hold all the stuff they think they need RATHER THAN buying a pack to hold a certain amount of weight and then fitting what they bring to that maximum. I’d also say that people with Osprey and Deuter seem to be happy with their packs.
@Zordmot, you make excellent points here. Indeed, if every 'best of ...' thread was discussed in the way you have outlined, we would be having some well balanced discussions on any of a range of matters - packs, footwear, underwear and outerwear - the list is limitless. Clearly I don't think we are there yet, largely because members still ask for advice on what is the 'best of ...'. Or, as is the case with this thread, provide an unsolicited recommendation for a very particular pack devoid of any context that supports this assertion.

Mind you, I think that there is a tendency in the outdoors press to write widely on 'best of ...' themes. It seems to make good press, and given the complexity and variety of products on the market, I agree that getting a starting point is a pretty attractive thing to do. Will my objections to this approach change it? I don't expect that will happen. Too many of us are happy to get a PQD (pretty quick and dirty) response and don't have time to explore some kit issues more completely than that.
 

Mark McCarthy

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2014 2015
Lourdes 2 SdC 2016
Sarria 2 SdC April&Oct 2016 & (April 2018)
Camino Baztan June 2017
I am the OP, just to add a little background, my normal summer pack is an excellent Lowe Alpine AirZone Pro 35:45L which weighs in at impressive 1.65 Kg. It has an offset mesh back which is brilliant in the summer and fully loaded comes in at 8 Kg on a summer Camino. When one of the straps broke Lowe Alpine were excellent and honoured their lifetime warranty. However, for a December pilgrimage I took my Osprey Atmos AG which my wife had bought for me in 2015 as a birthday present. It weighs in at a hefty 2.0 Kg and as I was taking winter clothes and a laptop and just one flight so I took my Atmos which fully loaded came in at a whopping 12 Kg! However, the AG (anti-gravity?) system was amazing and the pack felt easier and more comfortable to carry than my normal 8Kg pack. I have had Decathlon and Deuter packs in the past but I have fallen back in love with the AG system on the Atmos. I don't know whether it is technically possible to introduce the AG system on a pack small enough to use as carry on which would be perfect. I understand that many and probably most pilgrims consider weight to be the ultimate determinant of comfort when carrying a pack but my recent experience has really challenged this belief in my mind. As always please feel free to discuss and debate but please let's be kind to each other.
 

Mark McCarthy

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2014 2015
Lourdes 2 SdC 2016
Sarria 2 SdC April&Oct 2016 & (April 2018)
Camino Baztan June 2017
I'm sorry, but 1.65 kg is not all that impressive! I have used three different backpacks on the Camino which range in weight from 0.99 - 1.02 kg.
I am curious, which packs were they and which was your favourite?
 

Don Camillo

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 04-16
Norte/Primitivo 09-16
VdlP/ Sanabres 02/3-17
Levante 09/17,
Ruta de la Lana 09/18
For me it is the Vango Khumbu 50 lt trekking rucksack - somewhere around 1.25 Klg ticks most of the boxes. Hard/impossible to get now in UK but managed to replace it with a Khumbu 60 lt which apart from the extra 10 lt has a full length front zip for access. I know there is extra carrying capacity in there but I need this for my sleeping bag and bivvy and despite this manage to keep weight down to under 10 kg which includes 2 lt of water.
On the home front I use a Karrimor 65 lt which weighs in nearer 2kg but is more robust and suitable for the canal towpaths ( Flat and mostIy good paths) I mainly walk in UK.
Cost - the Vangos came in at £50 and £55, the Karrimor was £12 from a charity shop (new as well).
All now lovingly packed away and waiting ! First walk post lockdown will be 100 mile+ Cotswold Way - One of the Vango's will be out for that one as it is not a level walk - not a camino either.
Stay safe, Don.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I am curious, which packs were they and which was your favourite?
I used the Marmot Graviton 36 for my first two Caminos. Great backpack and there is a men's version too.
For my third Camino I needed something that would qualify for RyanAir carry-on size (the Marmot has a rigid frame sheet, and was a few inches too long. I had no problem using it as a carry-on on United and Lufthasna, but I knew that RyanAir was much stricter) so I bought The North Face Aleia 32. I loved all of the features of this backpack, but it ended up not being as comfortable as the Marmot. I have a friend who borrowed it for her Camino last year and loved it. I think that it was just a better fit for her than me.

I prefer a panel loading backpack, and last year I learned about a new backpack from Gossamer Gear - the Ranger 35. Although it didn't have the "trampoline" style back panel that I prefer I found it to be very comfortable.

Being a bit of a "gear junkie" I am always looking at what's new, and this year I bought a Gregory Juno 36 because it has the combination of features that I like - carry-on size panel loader with trampoline style back. The men's version is the Citro 36.
 

jozero

Been there, going again...
Camino(s) past & future
CF x 3
For me, I’m a big fan of the Atmos AG 50L. Not because it lightweight (it isn’t), fits on the plane as carry-on gear (it hasn’t thus far) nor because it’s 50L (although in winter months I do seem to fill it easy enough with warmer gear). For me, it was the first time I found a pack that fit my large frame (just shy of 6’3” or 190cm and well accomplished in helping ensure the food doesn’t get spoiled) and actually allowed my to use a hip belt on my hips, not across my belly button!

In the winter months the AG system (which by name annoys the heck out of me btw, I mean who really thinks we are dumb enough to believe a harness will change the gravity applied to a pack? Rant over.) with its wraparound style harness has provided a very warming element in its design on very cold winter days. Not surprisingly, I find it almost too hot/sweaty on a summer hike up in the mountains.

Sadly I’ve looked high and low but finding an extra long backed pack in the 30-35L pack size has been fruitless. If you’re a tall/big person this pack could also be a good one for you.
 

Tony Bobcat

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2017
Feeling a little bit bored so I thought I would resurect an old debate about which is the best Camino backpack. I know its way too big, too heavy and you can't use it as carry on BUT after a winter Camino I am now convinced that the Osprey Atmos AG is the best Camino backpack ever! It is sooo comfortable! Please feel free to disagree and debate.
I do like the larger waistline pockets, tried get my Kestrel 48 pockets made larger to no avail.
 

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