Here, we have two Osprey backpacks that have been specially designed for backpacking and hiking: Osprey Atmos 50 vs Kestrel 48. You are probably confused in choosing between these two models because the Atmos is quite considerably more expensive, while the capacity increase alone does not seem to be worth the money. But, then again, Osprey Atmos 50 has received lots of positive reviews, and is apparently more popular than Osprey Kestrel 48. So, is the Atmos really overpriced? Or is there something else that the Atmos offers that makes it worth the money? Find the answer below.
Weight and Build Quality
Although the manufacturer says that both Atmos 50 and Kestrel 48 are suitable for a load range between 25 – 40 lbs, they are indeed made from different materials. Osprey Atmos 50 is quite heavier because it is made from thicker, more durable fabrics. It uses 100D x 630D Nylon Dobby as the main fabric, and is reinforced with 210D High Tenacity Nylon and 420HD Nylon Packcloth. On the other hand, Osprey Kestrel 48 is slightly lighter, featuring 210D Nylon Double Diamond Ripstop main fabric and 420D Nylon Packcloth secondary fabric.
Looking for something ultra-lightweight? Take a look at Osprey Atmos 50 vs Exos 48!
Size and Capacity
Of course, the most apparent difference between Osprey Atmos 50 vs Kestrel 48 is the size. The Atmos 50, though slightly narrower, is much taller. The Small size has 29” height, providing 47 liters capacity; the Medium size has 31” height, providing 50 liters capacity. On the other hand, the S/M size of Kestrel 48 is 26” tall with 46 liters capacity, and the M/L size is 28” tall with 48 liters capacity.
The higher capacity is generally preferable. The increased space will be handy for storing extra gear and supplies. Although Kestrel 48 is shorter, the wider size makes a problem of its own.
Both of these two models have adjustable backpanels so that you can fit them to your torso length. Both also have external compression straps to keep your load stable. However, only Osprey Atmos 50 that has an adjustable hip belt and internal compression straps. The adjustable hip belt allows a more comfortable fit, whereas the internal compression straps ensure that your gear can stay in place even if the bag is not fully loaded.
Each of the two models come with an external tool attachment with loops and bungee tie-offs for secure tool carrying, a side pocket for a water bottle, and the Stow-on-the-Go trekking pole attachment system. Osprey Atmos 50’s special feature is the removable floating top lid, which you can remove in order to accept an oversized load in a lidless fashion.
Osprey Kestrel 48 comes with several minor yet useful features. These features are great for small items. First, it has daisy chains on the front panel for additional attachment points. Second, it has a stretch mesh front pocket and zippered hip-belt pockets. Third, it has an external hydration sleeve. Fourth, there is an integrated rain cover in a dedicated pocket at the bottom of the backpack.
Osprey Atmos 50 vs Kestrel 48
- Pockets: 3 interior slip, 1 exterior
- Main 210D Nylon Double Diamond RipstopAccent 420HD Nylon
- Osprey's stow-on-the-go trekking pole attachment
Both Osprey Atmos 50 and Osprey Kestrel 48 present great values; they excel in different things. If you think that you are going to carry heavy loads, you should choose Osprey Atmos 50. It is more durable, and it can be used lidless to carry oversized stuff. However, if you need more pockets for organizing small items, or perhaps the external hydration sleeve, then Osprey Kestrel 48 is an excellent choice.