You already know that Osprey packs are quality packs. But which one of the Osprey backpacks is best for you? Maybe you're a student who only wants one bag to tote their books and supplies for the entire school year without your textbooks falling out of a rip in the fabric.

Maybe you're climbing in harsh, frigid mountains and want to make dead sure it doesn’t fail for the next week or so. After all, your life may depend on it holding together. If you are either of these people or something in between, you'll find Osprey packs perfect for your needs.

Choosing a Backpack

Buying a backpack is different depending on whether you are buying one for school or weekend getaways. You may need different features for hiking or wilderness trekking.

Buying Osprey packs for school

If you're buying one of the Osprey packs for school, the first thing you should consider is your comfort. You'll be wearing to and from school five days a week for nine months or more. If it isn’t comfortable, we can almost guarantee it will get “lost’ before Christmas vacation rolls around. And choosing a bag that is too small defeats the purpose. However, if you choose one that’s too large, you'll may tend to overfill it. This bad habit can result in back problems over the course of the school year.

Don’t be shy about choosing one that you like. This bag is going to be part of your school identity for almost a year. Why not buy the color or the style that fits your personality as well as your physical backpacking needs? There are enough Osprey packs out there that you should be able to meet all these needs with just a little searching.

Size and comfort

You should have a pretty good idea by considering what you needed last year. Just remember that your load this year may be slightly heavier. A good rule of thumb is not to carry more than 15 percent of your total body weight in your backpack.

Next, make sure it fits you properly. Try a few on in the store. You may want to take it for a little walk-about in the store to see how it feels. The store owner probably won’t mind as long as you don’t start stuffing it with merchandise. Look for padded shoulder straps and make sure it stays comfortable on your back.

Think of all the extra things you might need over the course of the school year. Do you need small pockets for things like pencils, change, or snacks? Do you plan on taking your electronics to school? If this is the case, look for padded pockets made just for your tablet or notebook computer. If you're sure you won't need these extra features, save some money by skipping them.

Buying Osprey packs for hiking and camping

Unlike choosing a school backpack that will be worn every day for a long time, hiking and camping backpacks have very different requirements. For example, if you're just going camping for the weekend and staying in a cabin or group tent, you'll probably keep most of your supplies in your car. You'd need a far different backpack than you would need if you were spending a week in the mountains and had to carry everything you need to survive, including your shelter and food.

If this is the case, make sure your bag is a good fit. You may not be wearing it for months on end, but you will be wearing it for hours on end. Make sure you get a pack that will still be comfortable miles down the trail. On longer treks, you'll want a backpack with a support frame to help distribute the weight more evenly across your body and keep the load from shifting.

Also, external frames will help the airflow keep you cooler on hot hikes. If heat is an issue, look for backpacks with more mesh construction for better airflow. On the other hand, internal frames are more compact and better for tight passages like caves and narrow trails.

Which of the Osprey Packs Are Right for You?

Now that we have that out of the way, let's consider a few Osprey packs that might best fit for your needs.


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The Osprey Kids’ Pogo Pack serves perfectly for school while designed rugged enough to take on the family camping trip. It comes equipped with a front zippered pocket for pencils, snacks, and personal supplies. You'll find a slash pocket for small things like money and notes.

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It also features a padded sleeve to protect your school-bound electronics. The main compartment is big enough for your books and homework when on the way to class. You can even fit some extra clothing on your way to the woods. The waist belt is removable for switching back to school use after the campfires have been extinguished.

The padded shoulder harness makes the entire load more comfortable, and the mesh bottle holder keeps a refreshing drink at the ready. There is a top handle for carrying it by hand, and it all weighs in at just over 19 ounces.


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The Osprey Kids' Jet 18 Pack is a perfect hiking pack for kids. Built to their smaller specs, the Youth Jet 18 features dual mesh side pockets, an external sleeve for cool drinks, and compression straps. Weighing in at 19 ounces, the bag isn’t going to add much to your load. But it will carry it comfortably and reliably.

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The front mesh pocket is stretchable, and the small external zippered pockets will handle all your small essentials. The 20 by 10 by 9-inch dimensions should hold everything you need and make the Youth Jet 18 an excellent choice for day trips away from camp or a short hike for supplies.


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One of the most popular packs in the Osprey lineup, the Expo 58 is also one of the most comfortable with a heavy load. It will not wear you down as the miles pass beneath your feet. It sports the mesh construction “Airspeed” 3-D tensioned back panel to keep sweating to a minimum.

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And you can remove parts of the bag you don’t plan to use to save precious ounces on long trails. The "stow-and-go" hiking pole compartment will keep your hands free for climbing or cave crawling. Strong, dependable, and versatile, the Expo 58 is made of 100 percent “high tenacity” nylon and weighs in at just 2.33 pounds.


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This top of the line among Osprey packs allows you to carry everything into the mountains, including your skis. The Aether AG is the backpack for you if you're taking a heavy load for miles or months and don't want to get worn down under the weight. An IsoForm5 harness combines with the CM™ hip belt to provide superior comfort as well as improved fit. This stability ensures you can tackle the mountains and enjoy the trek.

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The Aether also boasts of their trademarked "Anti-gravity Technology" suspension system. It consists of a suspended layer of lightweight, continuous mesh running from the lumbar region of the back to the upper torso. You can adjust this mesh for a more perfect and comfortable fit.

The Aether also boasts an adjustable suspended harness that sports a structural load lifting bar that eases load transfer and increases comfort. The lower foam also adds to the overall comfort level. Finally, there is an adjustable sternum strap and a loud safety whistle.


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Ordinarily, we're a little suspicious of any outdoor gear that is listed “for women.” We've never known a woman backpacker, hiker, or camper that seemed to need something smaller or less rugged. (Or pink, like the pink power tools marketed “for women.”) Fortunately, the Aura AG 65 is a proper-fitting, well-ventilated, and apparently, the most comfortable backpack ever made specifically for a woman’s frame and structure.

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The Anti-Gravity suspension system distributes the weight in such a way that it will have less impact on your muscles as it wraps your frame. It has easy-access stretch side pockets made of mesh, a “stow-and-go” attachment to hold your polls for hands-free trekking, and dual tool loops that have bungee ties.

You can adjust the fit-on-the-fly hip belt to make sure the fit is the best possible without having to stop and remove the pack to make the modifications. InsideOut side compression straps make sure you have the most streamlined profile possible. Additionally, you can add the 3-liter fluid reservoir to the internal sleeve for ready hydration on the go.

The zippered hip belt pockets provide quick and easy access to snacks and small personal items. Top it all off with a unique sleeping bag or bedroll compartment with a removable divider, and you have as complete a backpacking unit as you can imagine. If that wasn’t enough, Osprey actually toughened the Aura AG 65 up over last year's model by making the high-wear areas more durable. Sounds like a great bag no matter who you are.


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When you're wearing a backpack while mountain biking, it’s important that it feels like part of your body. The Raptor 14, with its BioStretch harness and snug, adjustable hip belt is designed to do exactly that. It features a 3-liter “Hydrolics” fluid reservoir keeps the liquid from flopping as you ride, which increases your stability in rough situations and at high speeds.

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This hydraulic sleeve comes zippered to refill conveniently. The hose is laced through the right-side shoulder strap directly to the sternum strap. There, it stays in place with a magnetic disc for quick and easy access to the bite valve.

A LidLock™ helmet carrying system allows you to stash your lid when you are taking a break. The roll-out tool pouch keeps your precious tools handy for quick repairs that will help get you back on the trail. Add to these tools the blinker light attachments and safety-conscience reflector patches in case it gets dark faster than you can get home. Comfort, convenience, and safety combine to make the Raptor 14 the best backpack for mountain biking.


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Osprey’s Farpoint 40 is the perfect backpack for a weekend around the city or out the wilderness. The LightWire™ frame spreads the load around, so you don’t get fatigued. The mesh back panel not only increases ventilation, but it also reduced chafing under your load.

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Zippered, lockable sliders restrict access to the central compartment, and an inside mesh pocket holds smaller items. Dual “StraightJacket” compression straps make sure the load stays stable and centered. The padded top and sides protect the cargo if you drop it, bump it, or throw it in the back of the SUV.


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It may happen that rather than hiking or biking over mountains, you choose to fly over them. If that’s the case, there are still Osprey packs for you. Best for this purpose is the Osprey’s Ozone convertible 50-liter / 22-inch wheeled pack and luggage combination. It features several configurations to serve you in the sky and back on terra firma.

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This excellent wheeled piece of luggage conforms to airline maximum carry-on size regulations. The secret is that it has a tucked-away backpack suspension system that lets you carry it like a backpack on those not-so-smooth surfaces and stairs. Once you're in the wilderness, the “HighRoad LT” chassis comes with heavy-duty ABS plastic back plate and a light aluminum frame.

Then, it employs the sealed-bearing rugged wheels for rolling on even inhospitable surfaces. Stability is assured by compression straps, attached inside and out. A low-profile carrying handle on top and another one on the side make it easier to hoist it up into the overhead on the plane. It also eases lifting to the back of the truck for a quick ride into town.

You'll find an internal ID card holder to make sure you get your bag back if it gets misdirected by the airlines. The Ozone convertible daypack has storage for laptops or tablets, extra clothing, or snacks. There is also a zippered front panel pocket for stowing personal items and a 908scratch-free slash pocket on the outside to protect sunglasses or small electronics.


Comparison Table

Product

Price

Rating

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Osprey Kids Pogo Pack

$49.95

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Osprey Youth Jet 18 Backpack

$60.00

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Osprey Packs Exos 58 Backpack

$223.86

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Osprey Packs Aether AG 85 Backpack

from $264.00

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OIsprey Aura AG for women

$269.95

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Osprey Packs Raptor 14

$140.00

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Osprey Farpoint 40 Travel Backpack

$160.00

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Osprey Ozone Convertible 22-inch Wheeled Luggage

$300.00

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The Osprey Packs "All Mighty Guarantee"

The company guarantee, as quoted by the company, reads as follows. “Osprey will repair any damage or defect for any reason free of charge – whether it was purchased in 1974 or yesterday. If we are unable to perform a functional repair on your pack, we will happily replace it." It's then signed by the company founder, Mike Pfotenhauer.

This policy features large in the Osprey packs legend and has resulted in some of the highest rated backpacks on the market. With this kind of customer service, you're sure to find a backpack with full confidence, whether you're lugging school books or survival gear.

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