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Osprey Kyte 46 Review

A small, but mighty pack, built for high abrasion pursuits, with the comfort to help you to tackle rough terrain with ease
Osprey Kyte 46
Photo: Osprey
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Price:  $180 List | $179.95 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Durable, comfortable even with heavier loads, streamlined features, great attachment points at outside of pack, integrated rain cover
Cons:  Main compartment is a little narrow, water bottle holster is awkward, requires thoughtful packing
Manufacturer:   Osprey
By Meg Atteberry ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 4, 2019
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60
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#9 of 14
  • Comfort and Suspension - 45% 6
  • Organizational systems - 20% 6
  • Weight - 20% 6
  • Adjustability - 15% 6

Our Verdict

We love the ability of the Osprey Kyte 46 to handle extra technical gear with ease because of all the features and straps integrated into the pack. It offers a high level of comfort under moderate loads and is still above average in comfort when overloaded. Its 46-liter capacity means you'll need to pack small and light. However, if you're the type of person that needs the features and durability to carry technical gear, but doesn't want a bulky pack, or you've got a light-and-fast backpacking setup, look no further than the Kyte.

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Price $179.95 at Backcountry
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Pros Durable, comfortable even with heavier loads, streamlined features, great attachment points at outside of pack, integrated rain coverComfortable and supportive, fully-featured with pockets and access points, adjustable torso and hip beltComfortable, lightweight, good set of features, large stow pocketsUltra comfortable, roomy, inexpensive, durable, can fit a bear can horizontally, low center of gravity, airy mesh frameLightweight, easy to access side pockets, removable pockets and straps
Cons Main compartment is a little narrow, water bottle holster is awkward, requires thoughtful packingMesh pockets lack durabilitySimple suspension, lacks supportNot many bells and whistles, set torso adjustment points, no back stash pocketFixed torso length, rigid feeling hip belt
Bottom Line A small, but mighty pack, built for high abrasion pursuits, with the comfort to help you to tackle rough terrain with easeA comfortable and supportive suspension, a comprehensive feature set, and adjustability all in a lightweight packageThe Octal 55 is lightweight, well-featured, and provides for tons of storage spaceThis simple pack combines comfort, volume, and price; it will take you anywhere and won’t break the bankA good option for quick overnight hikes and ultralight expeditions where weight matters
Rating Categories Osprey Kyte 46 Gregory Maven 65L Gregory Octal 55 Osprey Renn 65 REI Co-op Flash 55...
Comfort And Suspension (45%)
6.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
5.0
Organizational Systems (20%)
6.0
7.0
6.0
4.0
8.0
Weight (20%)
6.0
6.0
8.0
6.0
8.0
Adjustability (15%)
6.0
7.0
3.0
7.0
4.0
Specs Osprey Kyte 46 Gregory Maven 65L Gregory Octal 55 Osprey Renn 65 REI Co-op Flash 55...
Measured Weight (pounds) 3.6 lbs 3.4 lbs 2.6 lbs 3.6 lbs 2.7 lbs
Volumes Available (liters) 36, 45 45, 55, 65 45, 55 50, 65 55
Organization: Compartments Lid, mesh side pockets, hip belt pockets, lid pocket, front pocket, main compartment Lid with two pockets, front pocket, side pockets, hip belt pockets, main compartment Lid, front pocket, side pockets, hip belt pockets, main compartment Lid, side pockets, hip belt pockets, main compartment Lid, double side pockets, front pocket, hip belt pockets, shoulder strap phone pocket, main compartment
Access Top, bottom, both sides Top, side, bottom Top Top, bottom Top
Hydration Compatible Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Rain Cover Included Yes Yes Yes Yes
Women's Specific Features Women's specific fit Women's specific fit Women's specific fit Women's Specific fit Women's specific fit
Sleeping bag Compartment Yes Yes No No No
Bear Can Compatible Yes - Vertical, barely Yes - Vertical and Horizontal Yes - Vertical, tight fit Yes - Vertical and Horizontal Yes - Vertical
Main Materials 210D x 630D Nylon Dobby Nylon Nylon 600D polyester Ripstop nylon; Oxford nylon (bluesign® approved)
Sizes Available XS/S, S/M XS/S, S/M XS, S, M One size, with adjustable torso XS, S, M

Our Analysis and Test Results

We examined this pack inside and out, and the Kyte 46 impressed us with its small-but-mighty abilities. We loved taking this pack in all sorts of terrain, from the alpine for a romp in technical terrain with a compact backpacking setup to scrambly desert canyons. The Kyte has features where you need it, and despite its small volume, it still has ample room for most backpacking trips. Backpackers with lightweight gear would find this pack plenty spacious, but if you have heavier, bulkier gear or plan to go on winter trips, this may not be the model for you.

Performance Comparison


The Kyte is great for short trips into rough terrain such as desert...
The Kyte is great for short trips into rough terrain such as desert canyons that can present thickets of willows and narrow scrambles down slots.
Photo: Adam Paashaus

Comfort and Suspension


The Kyte wowed us with all-day comfort, even when trekking up steep, snowy inclines with crampons. The LightWire frame suspension system easily transfers heavier loads to your hips and made the pack feel light as a feather.

The Kyte's suspension, while very comfortable with moderate loads, can buckle in the back padding when loaded with more than 25 pounds. We still found it comfortable, but it is worth noting that it may bother some users' backs. Osprey doesn't use their trampoline style suspension on the Kyte but opts for the more traditional back panel that fits closely to your back. We found it very comfortable but it doesn't offer the breathability you might want in hot weather.

The mesh-covered foam offers a bit of ventilation but nothing...
The mesh-covered foam offers a bit of ventilation but nothing compared to trampoline-style back panels, however, a close-fitting pack has the advantage of keeping the weight closer to your back for added stability.
Photo: Adam Paashaus

The integrated hip belt offers a comfortable cushion for smaller women, but ladies with larger hips may find the short section of padding lacking. The Kyte does use 1.5-inch webbing on the hip belt, so even if the padding falls a bit short, the wider webbing should help. Some hip belts have trouble staying in place, but the Kyte's belt always rode just where we wanted it. The shoulder straps are well-padded, giving you plenty of comfort. They curve under the arms quickly, offering plenty of freedom of movement.

The load lifters are well-positioned to take the load off your shoulders and enhance lateral stability when navigating difficult terrain that requires both hands and feet.

Honestly, when loaded under 25 pounds, the Kyte was so comfortable...
Honestly, when loaded under 25 pounds, the Kyte was so comfortable we often didn't bother to take it off during breaks.
Photo: Adam Paashaus

Organizational Systems


The features list seems to be never-ending with the Kyte. Even though the pockets aren't the largest or easiest to use, we appreciate their storage.

The hip pockets are positioned too far back to be easy to reach but are large enough to fit some phones. Dual water bottle pockets are nice and deep but too narrow for a Nalgene bottle, and we even found it tight for getting a Smartwater bottle in and out. The side entry makes it possible to do while the pack is on, but having a partner to fetch your water is much preferred.

Positioned behind the hip, accessing this pocket can feel a bit like...
Positioned behind the hip, accessing this pocket can feel a bit like a yoga twist.
Photo: Adam Paashaus

The back pocket, typically our favorite catch-all during the day, is so tight that not much gear can fit. A light layer can easily pack in there, but a puffy jacket will need to be strapped to the side or put into the main compartment. The lid compartment is handy, and a zippered mesh pocket under the lid makes a great place to stash essentials that you want to keep track of, like car keys and ID. The opening to the main lid compartment is averaged sized.

Osprey's "stow-on-the-go" pole attachment is handy if you want to free up your hands for taking photos or scrambling some rough terrain, but for long-term travel, we recommend stashing your poles on the side of the pack. They rubbed our tester's arms too much to walk with them underneath for long.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

An external reservoir pocket is convenient if you've ever tried to wrestle a full water bladder back into your loaded pack. It's still a bit tight to insert the bladder into the external pocket but is much more doable than an internal one where all your gear is fighting against you.

The sleeping bag compartment opening is smaller than average, but the Kyte is only a 46-liter pack, so you would expect to be carrying a lighter and smaller sleeping bag than average as well. And if you're not, you can still access this space from above.

All in all, the features are all there, they are all functional and useful, and while none of them offer the ideal configuration, we still find the Kyte to be an excellent pack.

We love how the Kyte works with a more minimalist setup but still...
We love how the Kyte works with a more minimalist setup but still has room for extra items, making it a great choice for the more experienced backpacker.
Photo: Meg Atteberry

Weight


For its capacity, the Kyte is on the heavy end of the weight range of models we tested at 3.6 pounds, but when considering the durable materials and all the features Osprey includes, we think the weight is worth it for the right user. If you will be spending your time off-trail bushwacking and squeezing through slot canyons, the Kyte brings the fabrics you'll need to avoid shredding your pack.

The added stability of the fully-featured Kyte makes the extra...
The added stability of the fully-featured Kyte makes the extra weight worthwhile in more difficult terrain.
Photo: Adam Paashaus

Adjustability


With a sliding torso adjustment and multiple options for the exterior compression straps but not hip belt adjustment, we ranked the Kyte average for adjustability.

We love the sliding style velcro torso adjustment because this type offers infinite fine-tuning to get just the right fit, especially if you aren't confident in your torso size when purchasing. However, we wish the hip belt had adjustable padding because many women won't find the padded section to wrap their iliac crest and will end up with webbing riding on their hip bones.

Not every small pack has a durable lashing point for an ice axe and...
Not every small pack has a durable lashing point for an ice axe and a sturdy back pocket you can pack crampons in.
Photo: Meg Atteberry

Value


This is a budget-friendly option. It is a durable workhorse with a sleek design to handle everything you need. If you're looking for a pack that can easily double as a burly day-hiker, carry your climbing gear to the crag, and still contends with a regular backpacking outing, this pack is well worth a look.

Conclusion


Everything considered we would recommend the Osprey Kyte to a friend. It isn't the model we would pick for basic backpacking but, if your trip plans include ice climbing, slot canyon squeezing, and other pursuits that could tear up the lightweight fabric on other packs but you don't need a huge capacity, the Kyte might be the ticket. It offers a comfortable carry and all the features you need for a low price.

Whether heading to the crag with climbing equipment or on a...
Whether heading to the crag with climbing equipment or on a multi-night excursion into rough terrain, the Kyte 46 is a great option for compact loads that need durable materials and places to attach exterior gear.
Photo: Adam Paashaus

Meg Atteberry