The Atmos AG is the type of pack that will satisfy the needs of most backpackers for 2-5 day trips - as long as they don't pack everything and the kitchen sink. All of our testers loved the overall design and found it kept us organized with its seemingly perfectly sized number of pockets. Its Anti-Gravity suspension, while gimmicky at a first look, is a straight-up dream, even after hours on the trail.
The Atmos is one of our Editors' Choices for its plush feeling suspension, perfect array of pockets and other features while still coming in at a pretty respectable weight.
The Atmos 65 AG is incredibly comfortable and earns the highest score in comfort, with the only other pack winning that honor being the Arc'teryx Bora AR.
The Atmos "AG" or Anti-Gravity suspension uses a "trampoline style" suspension (or "suspended suspension") seen in many packs and takes it one step further. Not only is the entire back panel suspended, but the hip belt is as well.
The result of this design impressed us. Despite some initial skepticism, our testers all commented on how effectively this design allowed the weight to be spread out evenly across our backs and waist. In turn, this eliminated hot spots, pressure points, and other higher friction areas for most users. A new addition to the 2018 model is improved shoulder straps, which taper the thickness of the padding depending on the height of the strap.
The cushy foam padding on the Atmos' shoulder straps was slightly softer-than-average, providing exceptional comfort. In this photo, you can see the tapered design of the thickness of the foam in these dreamy shoulder straps.
These new shoulder straps are MUCH thicker than the older model on and around the wearer's shoulders, becoming much thinner and more perforated around the middle of the chest. Not only is the padding thicker but it is also pleasantly cushy. It still strikes a delicate balance of being soft enough to conform to the shape of the user (a good thing) without being too soft until pack weights were in the mid-to-upper 40lbs range.
The face fabric Osprey uses is comfortable and enjoyable when it was against our skin or while wearing a tank top or thin base layer. Another advantage of the AG system is that the Atmos 65 AG
is the most well-ventilated pack in our review. It's an excellent choice for warmer adventures or for folks who are just plain sweaty.
We loved the suspension and comfort of this pack for most backpacking and mountaineering loads. However, we started to feel that the frame and suspended nature felt "mushy" and less supportive when carrying loads over 45 pounds. If you are someone that goes on extended trips or often needs to carry more than 45 lbs, we would recommend the Arc'teryx Bora AR 63, Osprey Aether Pro 70, Gregory Baltoro 65, Osprey Xenith 105, or the Osprey Xenith 75, which will all handle heavier loads significantly better.
You can see the Atmos's "AG" or Anti-Gravity suspension. This design takes a trampoline or "suspended suspension one step further and not only suspends the entire back panel but also suspends the hip belt as well. We found this pretty dreamy to carry, evening and effectively spreading out the load.
The AG or Anti-Gravity suspension used on both the back panel and the hip belt executes a comfortable ride, setting the Atmos 65 AG apart from the other contenders.
The LightWire tensioned peripheral frame suspension is moderately stiff and extremely effective at transferring loads up to 40-45 pounds. The Atmos was a solid performer when loaded to 40-45 pounds, but once above 50-55 pounds, our testers thought it didn't feel as comfortable as a handful of other models, nor did it carry the load as efficiently. Other packs with a more traditional suspension, like the Gregory Baltoro 65, Osprey Xenith, or the Arc'teryx Bora 63 performed better at handling loads above 45 pounds. If you tried this pack previously, you know that the new model's frame is slightly wider at the base to help it fit a much broader range of users; it's also more comfortable.
The lid of the Atmos is removable (and can be turned into a fanny pack, utilizing the pack's waist belt) or can be left behind entirely to save weight. In the draft collar is extra material that Osprey calls their "Flapjacket", which can be pulled out and pulled over the opening in the draft collar to serve as a lightweight lid, keeping the contents of the pack dry.
At 4 pounds 8 ounces, the Atmos 65 AG is 5-8 ounces lighter than most of the top scoring packs in our review. In fact, the only models we tested that were lighter were the Osprey Exos 58 (2.65 lbs), Osprey Aether Pro 70 (3 lbs 14 ounces), and The North Face Banchee 65 (3 lbs 10 oz) - or Deuter Aircontact Lite 65+10 (4 lbs 6 ounces). When directly compared to these models, the Atmos was the most comfortable. The suspension system was also far superior when compared to the Exos; the Atmos was comparable to the Banchee, but not as supportive as the Aether Pro or Deuter Aircontact Lite 65+10.
While the Atmos AG is hardly "ultralight", it's a respectable weight that gives up virtually nothing as far as comfort or features go (when compared to heavier, feature-rich models). It is on par with or lighter than most backpacking packs in its category. If you're considering a much lighter model but still want a frame, we like our Top Pick for Light Weight, the Osprey Exos 58, ringing in at 2 pounds 10 ounces. If you want a lighter pack but still need it to carry loads, we recommend the Osprey Aether Pro, Deuter Aircontact Lite 65+10, or Thule Versant 70.
The super cushy shoulder straps adjust a full four inches, making it easy to match the pack to your torso length.
The Atmos 65 AG is available in three sizes and features Osprey's "Fit on the Fly" adjustment system. This system offers an above average amount of vertical range when adjusting the shoulder straps (around four inches of vertical adjustment), which lets the user dial in the perfect torso length for their specific needs.
The Atmos 65 AG also features an adjustable hip belt that offers up to six inches of adjustment to add or subtract girth from the pack. This maximizes the comfort of the waist belt and makes sure there is the appropriate coverage (or maximum coverage) of the wearer's iliac crest, in an attempt to further reduce hot spots.
Several of our testers used the Atmos 65 AG in the field, and we talked to several local outdoor shops about their luck fitting folks with the Atmos. All of the shops reassured us of our initial reaction, in which we found that the Atmos fits most people fantastically, regardless of their body shape. The ability to dial in the fit of the Atmos is one of the reasons so many of our testers found it to be one of the most comfortable packs in our review.
The two pockets featured on the lid of the Atmos are shwown here (the smaller higher pocket is slightly more difficult but look for the upper gray zipper pull). We liked that there were two zippered pockets to help keep us more organized. We liked the Atmos's lid and found it relatively easy to search through, particularity considering its access zipper is on the side, but we did have to be slightly careful that items wouldn't fall out (which its design makes easy to happen).
Features and Ease of Use
The Atmos 65 AG has one of our review teams' favorite all-around designs among packs in our review. It has a sweet array of pockets, adequate access, and a handful of other rad features. Our testers loved the two oversized zippered hip belt pockets that were some of the biggest in our review.
This model features two zippered waist belt pockets. We loved these pockets for keeping items we wanted easily accessible while out on the trail. These pockets were perfect for smaller items.
The pockets easily accommodated items like a point-and-shoot camera, so we didn't have to carry it in our pant pocket. These pockets also are designed so that opening and closing them while hiking was pretty easy, and we were able to operate the zipper while hardly breaking stride.
Our reviewers appreciated the dual-sided mesh water bottle pockets that allow a water bottle to be inserted either vertically in a traditional fashion or angled forward, making it far more accessible for the wearer to grab (without having to remove the pack). A small but fantastic feature is the large stretch mesh back "beavertail" pocket; during our field test, it proved to be perfect for camp sandals, fuel bottles, a Frisbee, or other awkward to pack items.
Behind the mesh beavertail pocket, you'll find two reasonably large zippered pockets. These pockets added to the Atmos' ability to help keep us organized. Like many packs, the Atmos also features a lower zippered sleeping bag compartment with a removable divider. It also has two zippered lid pockets and two straps over the sleeping bag compartment that are big enough to hold an average to larger sized closed cell foam pad or other items.
Having two straps for a sleeping pad or other oddly shaped items is a small but excellent feature to have. We particularly liked how long the Atmos' straps were and found they were able to fit around pretty much any sleeping pad (something that can't be said about the majority of backpacking packs).
The Atmos has a removable lid that can be left behind to save weight, which we like; however, there is an additional flap built into the draft collar, which is basically a second simple nylon lid. This was the only real feature our testers didn't like as much once we tested it out in the field. While it seems like a cool idea, in theory, our testing revealed it was just extra weight, and we rarely found ourselves using it.
For folks who might just leave their lid at home from the start of the trip, it will help keep the interior of your pack drier by covering the opening at the top of the pack. It's worth noting that the 2018 version has more durable fabrics throughout, including the mesh on the water bottle pockets and back beavertail pocket.
The Atmos's water bottle pockets offered a cool and fairly unique design. These mesh pockets have two openings: one on top to help keep hard-to-pack items in place but also one on the side which makes the water bottle availability to the wearers without having to remove their pack. This design took a little practice to get proficient with, but once we had it dialed, we could re-stow the bottles as well.
The Atmos 65 AG is an extremely versatile pack that nearly all backpackers can appreciate. Its wide array of pockets and decent access also make it a good option for use as a travel pack. As one of the most well-ventilated packs we tested (if not the most well ventilated), it's a perfect choice for backpackers who travel in warmer climates. While we'd take this backpack on many moderate, general mountaineering type trips, the only downside of the trampoline-style suspension is that it can collect snow. On a few climbing trips in the Cascades, snow worked its way into this space during breaks, which can be somewhat of a pain to deal with as it slowly melted.
At $270, the Atmos 65 AG is average priced, comparable to most packs on the market. When compared to similarly weighted models that have comparable features, like The North Face Banchee 65 ($240) or the Gregory Paragon 68 ($250), which are comparable in price, but the Atmos scores higher, finishing second in our overall testing. For its price, the Atmos 65 AG does sport an above-average amount of features and usability, proving itself as one of the most comfortable packs out there. The Atmos 65 AG is almost $200 less expensive than our other Editors' Choice, the Arc'teryx Bora AR 63, and we'd contend that the Arc'teryx model certainly isn't twice as good.
The Atmos is a top-tier all-around backpacking pack for its comfort and feature set. We love it for almost any trekking style application as long as our loads weren't too heavy, but as long as we kept this our pack weight to below 40-45 pounds this pack was pretty tough to beat.
The Osprey Atmos 65 is an exceptionally comfortable and well-ventilated pack that has all the features our testers are looking for - all at a reasonable price and respectable weight. For moderate weights (less than ~40 lbs), the Atmos 65 AG was the most comfortable pack in our review; its AG system distributed the load wonderfully across our hips, back, and shoulders. For warm weather hikers, the Atmos also brings an unprecedented amount of ventilation. It's worth taking a look if you log many days in these types of climates.
The Atmos had either the best or second best set of features as far as pockets and organizational ability, without much weight penalty. The Atmos' only drawback is that if you carry a lot of heavier loads (45+ pounds), either because your preference is for mostly extended trips or you just typically pack heavier, we'd recommend a different pack. For most people that are going on 2-7 night trips, or for folks that tend to pack lighter, the Atmos 65 should be a top consideration.