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Backpack Size Decision Time!

Original Post
Scott V · · Lakewood Ranch, FL · Joined Oct 2019 · Points: 23

For the last several decades I have been an avid outdoors person.  My son got me to start training and running (5K's), I run +10 miles a week.  Bike around 25 miles every weekend hauling my camera gear on my back.  And hiking in the Florida mostly flatlands +15 mile isn't unusual but usually just in cooler weather, which isn't much down here.  A co-worker invited myself and my son to join he and his son hiking around the Bear Lake Trail area in the Rocky Mounts next year and also my son wants us to do parts of the AT.  So I'm slowly starting to gear up.  One of the biggest things is my pack.  Looking are probably 2-3 day hikes, maybe more someday but that's about it for now.  

Have been narrowing down the field and started focusing on the Gregory Zulu 55, Baltoro 65, Osprey Atmos AG 50 and 65 and the Osprey Aether Ag 60.  After reading enough reviews to make anyone's head spin I have pretty much settled on the Atmos because of the reviews of comfort.  Now I'm down to my bigger decision, the AG 50 or the AG 65.  I kind of feel like I'm asking myself if I want to stay light and pack the 50 tight, or add a little weight and size and pack the 65 loose.  Don't want to end up in that situation like not being able to repack your suitcase when returning home because stuff going back in isn't all nice and tightly packed as when it went in sitting on the couch in the living room.

I'm 5'-10", ~180lbs, torso around 19"-20" and hip circumference around 34".  From what I have read this falls on that fine line between medium and large but from what I have heard it's best to go medium.  Would try things out but no outdoors shops around that carry the Atmos AG's in stock.  

So I'm totally open for comments and suggestions and appreciate all,

Joan Pendleton · · Almaden Valley, San Jose, CA · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 9,303

You could go in between with the Osprey Aether 60 (still an Osprey) i have one and it's great, enough room for 7 days for me, probably up to 10 if i tried.  Also it's top hood thing can be used standalone as a daypack (the feature that clinched it for me) OR it can be left at home to get rid of the 1lb it weighs.  I'm also 5'10" and have loaded it up to 45-46lbs and it's still comfortable (although my boney hips and shoulders could use a bit more padding, under 40lbs and they are comfortable, i keep meaning to embellish the padding, but haven't gotten around to it, so must not be too bad, just trying to whine about something...)  I got the medium, just fyi

Scott V · · Lakewood Ranch, FL · Joined Oct 2019 · Points: 23

Thanks Joan, didn't see that model available before but found a good comparison review here: thriftyoutdoorsman.com/ospr…   Those are two very closely rated packs and both have great features.  Looks like the main reasons to chose one of the other would be weight distribution.  Seems the Aether supports the weight on the lower back more than the straps but the Atmos supports it more on the straps.  Chafing from the waist straps on the Aether is a bit of a concern.  Looks like I have three choices now  :O)

Scott V · · Lakewood Ranch, FL · Joined Oct 2019 · Points: 23

Just passing along I bounced things around and after finding I can remove the top of the Osprey Atmos AG 65 and make is 56, it sounded like a no-brainer.  I broke down and bought a blue one, arrived today.  The mesh net in the back that actually keeps the pack completely off your back is incredible.  Going to try to fit it and get it broken in, the waist straps and pockets are pretty stiff.  

Thanks for the feedback.

Scott V · · Lakewood Ranch, FL · Joined Oct 2019 · Points: 23

Took my new Osprey Atmos AG 65 out for a test hike yesterday.  Loaded up some gear to bring the weight to 25lbs and headed to Myakka River State Park to tool around.  My planned 10 mile hike turned into 13 due to trails on my GPS (and on the park map) that didn't exist anymore.  Had to add about a mile of bushwhacking thru tall grass, thick palmettos in ankle deep swamp water but that's a tail for another time.  Once I got the straps set it was great support and comfortable even with the weight.  But about 45 minute my walk I heard something and then the torturous hell started.  Somewhere in the structure of the pack or framing, every step I took was this rather loud annoying SQUEAK, SQUEAK, SQUEAK, after a while it was like some cruel torture method.  Tried adjusting straps, adjusting the gear, and still SQUEAK, SQUEAK, SQUEAK. Then poured some water in the framing and strap area and it stopped.... for about 5 minutes, then SQUEAK, SQUEAK, SQUEAK again.  Wrapped scarfs around the metal wire frame sections I could access and seemed to stop for a few minutes, then SQUEAK, SQUEAK, SQUEAK. It's very quiet out there and honestly that squeak totally destroyed any pleasure I would of had and had me pull my pack off a dozen times trying unsuccessfully to stop that friggin annoying SQUEAK, SQUEAK, SQUEAK.  

So my question is, can I use silicone or something to spray around the frame areas or something to stop this?  Honestly, if I can't stop that squeak I would consider returning this pack as the last thing I want during a nice quiet hike in the wilderness is SQUEAK, SQUEAK, SQUEAK.  Any and all help or suggestions would be greatly appreciate by myself and my sanity.  

Joan Pendleton · · Almaden Valley, San Jose, CA · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 9,303

Osprey has GREAT customer service (from my sister's experience with something else on her Aether pack) Have you tried contacting them?

Also, this appears to be a known problem - if you google search "osprey atmos 65 squeak" a lot come up. One of the best is a reddit post by a guy with the exact same problem and his great experience with Osprey custoemr service.

Hope this helps.

Scott V · · Lakewood Ranch, FL · Joined Oct 2019 · Points: 23

Hi Joan, I emailed Osprey and then started looking online and saw all the same issue so hopefully they will respond quickly.  I'm a mechanical automation engineer so if necessary I'm sure I can resolve this but if it's a known issue I would rather the manufacturer fix it right.  Sounds like they end up coating/painting the metal framing rods so it doesn't rub on the tight material.  Kind of makes you wonder why they don't just do that to start with.    

Scott V · · Lakewood Ranch, FL · Joined Oct 2019 · Points: 23

Been a little while since I replied but in that time Osprey paid all shipping, took the pack back and sent a new one that looked like it was coated on the metal frame.  Hiked around 12 miles yesterday and was silent until the last couple miles, started getting some little grunting sound from the same area of this pack.  It would come and go and not nearly as bad as before but still going to look for a way to put Teflon tape or some type of tubing over it to prevent it completely.  Very quirky.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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