The Osprey Aura AG 50 is the best women’s pack we have used. We awarded it as the Editor’s Choice for its outstanding versatility with varying weight loads and objectives, comfort through three seasons, including hot summer temperatures, and the Anti-Gravity (AG) suspension that is supportive and far more breathable than any other pack in our review. AG incorporates a continuous mesh panel across the back and hip belt. It is tightly suspended away from the main body of the pack to create space for airflow and an exceptional suspension. This pack surpasses our expectations for comfort on the trail. It has a feminine design that is simple yet functional…
The Osprey Atmos 65 AG is our new OutdoorGearLab Editors’ Choice because of its ultra comfortable frame and suspension combined with one of our favorite overall pack designs. Once you put the Atmos 65 AG on you’ll be surprised how evenly the AG or Anti-Gravity suspension spreads the load out to create a fairly even, and pressure point free feel. The AG suspension takes the trampoline style suspension to a new level incorporating not only the entire back panel but also the waist belt that makes the Atmos with loads up to 40-45lbs the best feeling pack in our review. Not only is the Atmos an awesome feeling pack but it features a ton of very user friendly pockets that will keep even the most organizationally driven backpacker happy.
The Exos 58 is an amazing light pack that is similar in design to Osprey’s Atmos series, just lighter. At 2 lbs 8 oz the Exos is the lightest weight pack in our review and one of the lightest packs that has a real frame. It has many great features and felt slightly bigger than its 58 liters would suggest. It is great for backpackers and trekkers as well as alpine climbers and mountaineers. For people traveling cross country, they might want a tougher pack, but for most hikers and backpackers who do the majority of there trips on trails, we think they will be perfectly happy with the Exos’s durability. The Exos frame isn’t flimsy and carries surprisingly well considering its weight.
What is the best hydration pack on the market? We tested the top 11 contenders on the market to find out which one stands up to the test, time and time again. From hiking to biking, climbing to running, we put these packs head to head to prove which one keeps you hydrated, keeping you performing longer…
While we were really happy with elements of each pack, there was only one pack that didn’t have drawbacks that made us rethink them as a well rounded choice–the Osprey Raptor 10. The Raptor’s great storage, solid stability, and overall usability made it our favorite choice, and the decision was echoed by every mountain biker we made take it for a spin. Though it didn’t dominate any certain category, its well rounded performance makes it a great choice for a great multipurpose pack, even though it’s pegged as a mountain bike specific pack by Osprey.
The Osprey Volt 75 is our new OutdoorGearLab Best Buy Award winner because it is a comfortable and supportive pack that fits most folks well, is lighter than most of the packs in our review, and is only $200. The Volt is a fairly simple design but still has all the features that most users want in a backpacking pack. The Volt is the perfect pack for those getting into backpacking yet will also keep veterans happy who appreciate it’s simplicity or are on a budget. Because of the Volts durability, price and excellent adjustment range we also think the Volt is the perfect pack for growing kids and parents who don’t want to buy a new pack every couple years…
Once again, the Osprey Farpoint 55 walks away as our Editors’ Choice winner. This pack has the travel-specific features that you want and the space that you need to maximize your experience. It is one of the best travel packs we’ve put our hands on and it scored near the top in the areas of comfort, features, ease of packing, and durability. Its sleek design is easy to carry through crowded streets and is much more ergonomic than some of the other packs that were short and wide. The main body of the pack provides 40 liters of packable volume. The 15 liter companion daypack is super useful and fastens to the outside of the pack more securely than any other detachable pack in the review. Further, this little pack is quite comfortable when used alone and had a range of pockets.
As one of the highest scoring bags in the review, the Osprey FlapJack Courier was one of our favorites for taking to coffee shops, work, or just using around town. It has some excellent features and superb organization…
We loved the Osprey FlapJack Courier. The sporty style and superb features made it a pleasure to use. It has one of the best laptop compartments in the review and has pockets that are the perfect sizes for all your stuff. It you’re looking for a super great messenger bag at an awesome price, this one kills it. We tested the men’s version that comes in a 20 liter size. Osprey also makes it in a women’s version called the FlapJill in 17 and 9 liter sizes.
Choosing the backpack that is most suitable for your needs can be challenging, but we have broken down the most important aspects of the top rated women’s specific backpacking packs to consider. Side by side, we have charted and discussed the strengths and weaknesses of comfort, weight, suspension, ease of use, adjustability, and organization.
Light and Fast
Light and fast is another style of backpacking, and it entirely opposes the slow and steady leisure hiker. This style is very concerned with weight and the ability to cover distances either over a short or long time frame. This hiker may sacrifice some luxuries in the name of carrying a lighter weight pack and less gear. Whether hiking 50 miles in 5 days or 2000 miles in 5 months, this hiker pays most attention to weight and suspension in order to remain comfortable and unrestrained for going the distance. Models like the Osprey Aura 60 and the Granite Gear Blaze A.C. 60 – Women’s are suitable options for the light and fast backpacker.
And then there are thru-hikers, who backpack over long distances over an extended period of time, typically from the start to end of a particular trail such as the Appalachian Trail or the Pacific Crest Trail. Like the light and fast style, the thru-hiker is typically aware of gear weight. This style requires more preparation and planning than a leisurely trip, or even a weeklong trip. Thru-hikers tend to seek simplicity and organizational capabilities with great suspension, as the packs will be worn for an extended period of time. In regards to the women’s specific backpacking pack review, the Osprey Aura or the Osprey Ariel 65 are worthy thru-hiker options.
For this review, we tested four bags that convert from rolling bags into backpacks and three bags that had detachable day packs, including the Osprey Meridian Wheeled Convertible Luggage – 22”, the Patagonia MLC Wheelie, the REI Stratocruiser Wheeled Luggage – 22”, and the Osprey Ozone. Although we aren’t wholly convinced that convertible carry-ons are all that useful (see our buying advice guide: How to Choose Carry-on Luggage for a full discussion), we wanted to highlight the highest performing piece in this category with a Top Pick Award. We chose to give this award to the Osprey Ozone. Although this bag does not have the largest internal capacity, its detachable day pack design and convertible backpack features are more fine-tuned than its competitors. Moreover, it is remarkably light: without the day pack, this bag weighs in at 4 lbs 12 oz, which is a full pound lighter than most of the other carry-ons in this review…