Ideal for long day hikes or lightweight overnighters, the Osprey Kestrel 38 balances weight, features, price and performance. A supportive suspension enables the pack to comfortably carry loads of up to 35 pounds!
Ideal for long day hikes or lightweight overnight trips, the Osprey Kestrel 38 is a nice balance of weight, features, performance and price. Let’s take a closer look at what makes this lightweight, supportive pack so versatile.
I have taken off the Kestrel 38 so we can have a closer look and I want to start by turning the pack around so we can talk about its suspension system. At 38 liters you have got a mid size pack. It is capable of carrying around 35 pounds. So it has got all that it needs, a light weight suspension system. But true to Osprey, it is a suspension system that is quite capable. So out of view you have got a light wire aluminum frame that runs basically around the perimeter of the pack and then down the center here you have got a foam AirScape back panel. You have got some sturdy mesh stretched over that. There is channeling there. It is a very breathable back panel, but it also has some flexibility, kind of hug your back and provide a nice, comfortable, responsive fit.
Padding, of course, on the contoured shoulder straps, padding here down the side of the pack and then also on to the light weight and adjustable hip belt.
A couple of other points of adjustability here. You have got load lifter straps. You have also got a sliding sternum strap. I do want to call out that this is a sized pack. So it comes in two sizes, a small/medium and a medium/large. The smaller of the two will best fit tor-so lengths smaller than 19 inches in length and then the medium/large better accommodates longer torsos, longer than 19 inches in length.
Tucked in behind that back panel you will find a small hangar and a sleeve that allows you to utilize a hydration system and have it basically externally. It keeps all of the internal space available, makes it that much easier and quicker to get it out, to fill it, to clean it. Interesting little feature set there on the Kestrel. That, again, maintains all that internal access for other gear.
I am going to turn the Kestrel back around so we can look at the way it is organized and the way it is accessed. It is a top loading pack, so you have got a lid here on top that is a fixed lid so it can’t be lifted or raised. It cannot be removed. It does provide some excel-lent storage. There is a zippered mesh pocket on the underside and from the back or the top is a very large pocket that is accessed through a zipper.
At the top of the main pack back is a spindrift collar, expands there to give wide, easy access to the interior of that main compartment and also cinches down nice and tight to secure and protect contents. In addition to that main compartment you have a lower sleeping bag compartment that has its own front zippered access. There is, additionally, a panel between that lower compartment and the top compartment. So if you choose to, if you prefer to have the pack function as just one single, large compartment, you are able to convert the pack by basically putting that or moving that panel out of the way.
Lots of nice pocketing on the Kestrel. Most obvious is the large stretch mesh pocket here on the front of the pack. Nice durability, but also a lot of expanding that can be done. There is lots of different gear, clothes, what have you, that you can store inside that pocket.
You have also got side stretch mesh pockets, that very same material, perfect for a water bottle or other gear items. There are zippered hip belt pockets on either side and they are nice sizable pockets. So a lot of storage to be had there that keeps items really, really close at hand, easy to get to even when you are on the move.
There is a dedicated zippered pocket here on the front in which an integrated rain cover is included. But, again, just another element that adds such great value to the Kestrel. If you are going to be out there for any extended period of time or have been before, you know how important a rain cover is. And the Kestrel you don’t have to go looking for one that will fit. It is included in the pack.
A couple of other quick features to call out on the Kestrel. You do have daisy chain gear attachment points. You have got side compression straps that are perfect for securing gear externally. You have got gear lash points on the lid of the pack. You have got included Osprey’s Stow-on-the-Go attachment if you are carrying trekking poles rather than having them in your hands. And you do also have detachable sleeping bag straps here at the bottom of the pack. So they are great if you have got a rolled sleeping pad that fits best outside of the pack, but you can also take these off entirely if that is not something that you are putting into use.
Just a lot of great features here on the Osprey Kestrel 38, available at a budget friendly price. You get a ton of versatility in this one pack.