The Atmos AG will satisfy the needs of most backpackers for 2 to 5-day trips — as long as they don't pack the kitchen sink. All of our testers love the overall design and found that it keeps us organized with its seemingly perfectly placed and sized pockets. Its Anti-Gravity suspension, while gimmicky at a first look, is a straight-up dream, even after hours on the trail.
The Atmos earned our Editors' Choice award for its plush suspension, perfect array of pockets, and thoughtful features. And it still comes in at a pretty respectable weight.
The Atmos 65 AG is incredibly comfortable and earns a top score in comfort. The Arc'teryx Bora AR is the only pack that can compete. The Atmos "AG" or Anti-Gravity suspension uses a trampoline (or suspended) suspension, which is seen in many packs. But the AG takes it one step further. Not only is the entire back panel suspended, but the hip belt is as well.
The result impressed us. Despite some initial skepticism, our testers all commented on how effectively this design distributed weight across our backs and waist. In turn, this eliminated hot spots, pressure points, and other high friction areas for most users. The 2018 model also sports improved shoulder straps, which adjust the padding thickness depending on the height of the strap.
The cushy foam padding on the Atmos' shoulder straps is slightly softer-than-average, providing exceptional comfort. In this photo, you can see the tapered foam thickness in these dreamy shoulder straps.
These new shoulder straps are MUCH thicker than the older model's 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 to support the load. They don't prove inadequate until pack weights are in the mid-to-upper 40lbs range.
The face fabric Osprey uses is comfortable against our skin 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 love the suspension and comfort of this pack for most backpacking and mountaineering loads. However, the frame and suspension feel "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 recommend the Arc'teryx Bora AR 63, Osprey Aether Pro 70, Gregory Baltoro 65, or Osprey Xenith 105 which all handle heavier loads significantly better.
Here is the Atmos's "AG" or Anti-Gravity suspension. This design takes a trampoline, or suspended suspension, one step further. It not only suspends the entire back panel but also suspends the hip belt as well. The system effectively evens out and spreads the load. We found this pretty dreamy to carry.
The AG or Anti-Gravity suspension used on both the back panel and the hip belt creates an exceptionally comfortable pack, 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. 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 perform better at higher loads.
The new version's frame is slightly broader at the base than previous designs. This broad base helps it fit a wider range of users. It also makes the pack more comfortable.
The Atmos has a removable lid. You can convert it into a fanny pack using the pack's waist belt. You can also just leave it behind entirely to save weight. Osprey also stashes a "Flapjacket" in the draft collar. You can pull this out and over the pack 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 are lighter are the Osprey Exos 58 (2.65 lbs), Osprey Aether Pro 70 (3 lbs 14 ounces), The North Face Banchee 65 (3 lbs 10 oz), and Deuter Aircontact Lite 65+10 (4 lbs 6 ounces).
When directly compared to these models, the Atmos is the most comfortable. The suspension system is also far superior when compared to the Exos. The Atmos is 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 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.
There are two pockets in the pack's lid that help us stay organized. (Both are shown here though the smaller pocket is difficult to see. Look for the upper gray zipper pull.) We liked this lid and find it easy to search through, particularity since its access zipper is on the side, but the design does make it easy for items to fall out when you're rifling around.
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 love 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 love these pockets for keeping important items accessible while out on the trail. These pockets are 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 are also designed so that opening and closing them while hiking is pretty easy, and we can operate the zipper while hardly breaking stride.
Our reviewers appreciate the dual-sided mesh water bottle pockets that allow you to insert water bottle either vertically 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 add 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 like how long the Atmos's straps are and find that they are able to fit around pretty much any sleeping pad. (We can't say this about the majority of backpacking packs).
The Atmos has a removable lid that can be left behind to save weight. If you do, 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 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 offer a cool and fairly unique design. These mesh pockets have two openings: one on top to help keep hard-to-pack items in place and one on the side which makes the water bottle easily availability. With practice, we could easily replace the water bottle in its holster 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 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 a pain to deal with as it slowly melts.
At $270, the Atmos 65 AG is average priced, comparable to most packs on the market. When compared to similarly weighted models that have similar features, like The North Face Banchee 65 ($240) or the Gregory Paragon 68 ($250), the Atmos is comparable in price. But it scores higher than these packs. For its price, the Atmos 65 AG does sport an above-average amount of features and usability, proving itself as one of the best values available.
The Atmos is a top-tier pack for its comfort and feature set. We love it for almost any trekking style application as long as our loads are below 40 to 45 pounds.
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 is the most comfortable pack in our review. Its AG system distributes 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 has one of the best set of features as far as pockets and organizational ability, without garnering much of a weight penalty. The Atmos' only drawback is that, if you carry a lot of heavier loads (45+ pounds), 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 is a top candidate.