Out of curiosity, does anybody have any experience/comments (good or bad) with an Osprey Atmos 35?
There's a possibility that i might need a larger pack than my trusty North Face26l for my next trip,and have been doing some research/shop testing, and so far this is the one i've found that ticks most of the boxes that i want ticking.
The only things i'm a bit dodgy about are (a) the price, though that's a minor issue and (b) the mesh frame - it add extra bulk/size to the bag which i don't want/like, and whilst seemingly very comfy i'm not sure if it would necessarily withstand the amount of bashing my bags normally get.
I'm also happy to take suggestions on other similar bags (upto, say 38l max), though they need to be zip locked (so i can use a padlock, have at least some kind of front bungee/pocket (for my fleece) and useful side pockets - which 95% of bags don't have. Most are utterly useless in practice.
for what its worth, i've been traveling with an osprey advent pack for the past nine years, have beat the things to hell, and just now am needing to get one of the main straps fixed. the quality is very good and the customer service on repairs is very reasonable...however i live in the states and can send it back to the manufacturer.
Gelli - my wife used one for a trip to Thailand. She appreciated the mesh back panel. It had lots of room for all her gear and we can now use it for light overnight backcountry trips. The pack is slightly sturdier than it looks but it's not bombproof. Wasn't a problem for us as we take care of our gear - you wouldn't have to baby it, that's for sure. All good in my book.
You are right about the mesh panel adding weight / bulk.
I've got the Deuter Bike Cross Air, a 22 liter backpack designed for hiking and cycling. It is very similar to the Atmos, if a bit smaller.
Compared to other backpacks of the same size my backpack is very heavy (over 1 kg) and the back of the frame curves inside the pack. (I don't really know how to describe it - instead of a straight backpanel you got a convex curve on the inside.) The latter is a distinct disadvantage (especially for you), since it makes the overall useful volume smaller. I don't know how bad the curve is on the Atmos, it might be smaller thus giving more room on the inside, but I strongly recommend that you check this out before you buy.
What I do like about the pack is the mesh panel - best thing ever, especially in warm or hot weather. It really reduces the sweating on the back and in a pinch the space between the mesh panel and the back of the pack can be used to store things - like your fleece.
BTW, have you looked at the Deuter Transalpine 30 yet?
EDIT: found a link that might be useful to you.
This German site lists over 6000 backpacks in the 15-35l range, just look at the pictures.
[ Edit: Edited on Aug 11, 2008, at 9:16 PM by t_maia ]
soupatrvlr - Thanks for that. Good to know that they will in general hold up to some beating, though in fairness as they are not exactly cheap, i'd be amazed if they didn't!
bradshaw - Thanks for some first hand comments. Obviously all bags will fail under extreme conditions, and i'm not expecting that at all. I just know from prior experience that bags can get thrown around abit - chucked off bus roods instead of passed down, for example, and straps can snag on something which if it isn't quickly noticed and the person keeps pulling, can get very messy very quickly... (An obnoxious and racist guy who was once on the same bus with me for 12hours in Pakistan had his bag straps caught during unloading, and kept pulling. To everybody except his amusement, his bag burst everywhere and was utterly useless again. It couldn't have happened to a more deserving person!)
t-maia - I know what you mean about the loss of useful space, and it is something i am very conscious of. I was once given a really comfy 18?l bag with a frame/mesh at a conference, which i used to use for work. But even when it was half empty, i struggled to fit much into it because of the bags curve (though the mesh gap was perfect for my fleece, even if that did negate some of the benefit of the mesh gap). It's not the size of the bag, it's how it is designed which is important.
I haven't looked at the Deuter Transalpine 30 yet, though not deliberately. I know Deuter do some good bags and that you use them and frequently recommend them, and am keen to look at some. Sadly, however, i haven't yet come across any stores that keep a good selection of their stuff in stock (in places where i have been in the last couple of months), so apart from a few of the smaller ones, haven't seen one in the flesh yet. And obviously, i can't consider a bag i've never even looked at, let alone been able to try on with any weight inside.
Thanks for the link though - it didn't come through on my email notification, so i have only just seen it. I'll have a browse through it now.
Gelli - what about the osprey kestrel 32? It has similar features to the Atmos (minus the space back panel). I've looked at one and it's a nice pack. A little lower key than the atmos.
If price (and empty pack weight) are not an issue, then also look at Mystery Ranch packs. I just ordered a Sweet Pea for winter dayhikes/snow-shoeing but plan to use it for travel. I used to just take a 25L pack traveling but with a 10 month old to now take with us, we've upgraded pack sizes to pack his stuff too.
Bradshaw - Good spot, many thanks!
I was aware of the series, but had discounted them because they had buckle clasps and not toploading zips. But for some reason the 32 has zips. That's suddenly gone very high on my list, and i will now try to hunt out one to look at it and try out. Ideally I would like an extra pocket or two on the front (small stuff), plus an extra hoop or two on the outside (for short term tying on of stuff). The other main issue is working out if the side pockets will take my walking shoes, or if they are liable to fall out (i currently put them in toe first and then there are straps across the top of the pockets which can go through the loop above the back of my shoe which i use to secure them)
Having said that, if i'm realistic, unless i can somehow talk the North Face into producing a one off version of my existing pack, but just 6 litres bigger, i don't think i'll find a better replacement!