Hauling big loads can be a soul- and spine-crushing experience, but the Osprey Atmos has a radical new AG (anti-gravity) suspension system that throws conventional pack design out the window.
Unlike most big packs, there’s no foam padding or plastic framesheet in the backpanel. Instead, nonstretch mesh (with pencil-eraser-size holes) spans a steel perimeter wire throughout the back and continuously through the lumbar and hipbelt. It’s that lumbar and hipbelt contact that’s key: “It wraps gently but firmly around my hips—like a dance partner’s hands—with no gaps or rubbing,” one tester says. With complete contact throughout the entire back of your body, you get no pressure points, excellent airflow, and superior load transfer. You also get good adjustability: The torso has 4 inches of play and the hipbelt extends up to 6 inches. Four compression straps (the lower two are V-shaped) connect directly to the frame, allowing you to squeeze down and stabilize smaller loads. Pockets aplenty kept us organized, and we liked the removable toplid (keep it attached for 9 liters of extra space or remove it and use the integrated flap cover, saving 6 ounces). Both the Atmos and Aura (the women’s version) come in 50- and 65-liter models.