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The Inside Scoop on the Osprey Atmos AG & Aura AG

Backcountry Edge Gear Specialist Steven "Leon" Lutz and Osprey Product Line Manager Chris Horton discuss the Osprey Atmos AG and Aura AG series of backpacks.

The Inside Scoop on the Osprey Atmos AG & Aura AG

Steven: I am Steven Leon Lutz, gear specialist at Backcountry Edge.


Chris: And I am Chris Horton, product guy at Osprey Packs.


Steven: Chris and I are talking about the Atmos and Aura. We are Backcountry Edge love this award winning series and have loved it for years. So we were a little nervous, frankly, when we heard that you guys were changing it.


Chris: Now the original Atmos Aura won a design award and, you know, this one won the same award.  And we took all of the innovation and all of the change, all of the out of the box thinking from that first generation years and years ago and blew it out of the park and made it much, much better. We redefined backpack suspension.


Steven: Well, I am excited to see it.  Let’s take a look.


Chris: So top to bottom everything is changed and new. I mean, the suspended mesh back panel is something you are used to Atmos Aura and something we have done at Osprey for a very long time. Son instead of a flat sheet, we have always done 3D sculpting so it is going to match up and contour with the body. What we have done with this is we have taken it from just the back panel to your shoulders, to your hip belt, to your lumbar.


Steven: And that is jumping out at me right away, just the mesh across the hip bone. 


Chris: And that is the best part. Let’s save that... let’s save that for later.


Steven: Ok.

Chris:  Let’s start from the top. So a lot of us, you know, we talk about our shoulders and our shoulder blades and, you know, we have done something different here where we have brought that suspended mesh into the yoke. So this top part of the harness where your shoulder blades interact with the load. And a very nice couple of harness... but you have got this suspended here. So it is like having your shoulders in a hammock.  So stiffen load lifter. It doesn’t... you don’t have to do anything different. You know, when you are wearing it you don’t have to think about it. And basically what that means is now it is just wrapping your body instead of clamping your body.


Steven: So it is already setting apart from the body higher rather than just starting from that fixed point.


Chris: Perfect.


Steven: Interesting.


Chris: Exactly.  You know, this is obviously a cool piece, great central harness. And then we move into our 3D sculpted back panel.  So tension mesh. You are going to think ventilation and, obviously, in humid and hot climates ventilation is very important. But one of the best things about tensioning mesh and having it kind of curving around your body isn’t just the ventilation, it is how it is now custom molding and wrapping in every little nook and cranny and part of your body. No matter what your build is, what your shape is, it is like a custom fit. Again, like you are laying in a hammock, but now it is a back pack.


Steven: And does it continue, though? It almost looks like it is just a single piece.


Chris: Yeah. So you see a single piece of mesh. It starts at the top and goes all the way down. So as you come down to the bottom where it is rare.... So that way we have a suspended mesh lumbar and hip belt. This is my favorite part.


Steven: You can feel that tension just as I even pulled that wing apart.


Chris: So now think about where you usually get hot spots when you are carrying a load, where you feel most uncomfortable. Where most of your pack weight should be is kind of, you know, the shelf of your body, on your hips. This is where it is going to take those hot spots, any type of rub, any type of forced comfort or forced fit. Again, this is all kind of custom wrapping your lower back and around to your hips.   And it is the most comfortable back pack I have ever worn. That is fairly unbiased opinion.

Steven: And this actually stands away from the body at the hip, too. I don’t know that I have seen that separation.


Chris: No, this is the first time you have ever seen a suspended full lumbar hip belt. Nobody has ever done this before.  There is an old, old, old pack that does something similar and Mike has been sketching this for 20 years, our new designer and company owner and founder.  And it took us a while to make this real.

Steven: Is this adjustable? I know that the Atmos and the Aura come in size variations for different torsos, but is there actual adjustment in this backpack?


Chris: Yeah.  So three sizes, three sizes for men, three sizes for women. On the last generation for the first time we figured out how to make it adjustable. But this generation also adjustable. Harness can slide up and down so you can get a totally dialed torso fit.


Steven: What is the range of adjustability there?


Chris: It is about four inches.


Steven: Four inches.


Chris: So, again, small, medium, large for men, extra small, small, medium for women. So just in those three sizes you are probably going to get a pretty dialed fit, but the ability to have kind of an infinite level of adjustment, you are not doing one inch to one inch to one inch. You can put it exactly where you need to be to have it comfortable.

So beyond the adjustable torso we also want to make sure that we have a good hip belt. So we have an adjustable hip belt that we have retained. You break a little Velcro piece and you have got three inches on both sides you can extend the hip belt padding out. Make sure you get a good full wrap. Make sure it is covering all the hip bone.

Steven: Is the organizational set the same or has that changed? 


Chris: Pretty much exactly the same. The 50 liter now has a lower sleeping bag compartment so stuff your down sleeping bag in there.  Good compression.  Front shove it pocket, side and mesh pockets, big internal organization. You don’t want too much.  You know, pocketing is great. You have two pockets on the top of the lid. You have got your external. Inside it is just one big chamber and you can make this sleeping bag pocket one big chamber, in fact...


Steven: By removing that shelf.


Chris: Exactly. Yeah.  But a good back pack here you are going to learn how to kind of pack and organize your own gear. We all have our own system.  The best thing is not to throw too many pockets in there to ruin the system. 


Steven: Does Osprey obviously has a wide range of pack options.  As far as weight range or the type of use that is expected here, does Osprey kind of have a specific user in mind for the Atmos Aura?


Chris: Yeah. And this is your... this is your standard back pack here. You know, I would say who this individual is, is somebody who wants the top level of comfort, top level of innovation. They are definitely people, you know, I would want the best of the best and the newest of the new.  That is who this person is going to be. But at the same time it is not scary to anybody that is new or a beginner. It is, again, comfort. Everybody is going not enjoy comfort.


Steven: Sure.


Chris: And, you know, as you go up in load or go down in load you can think about other packs we have in our line, because that is kind of how you differentiate things is: How much gear are you going to carry? How much weight are you going to carry? What kind of gear? Then also, you know, what type of person are you? Do you like lots of organization? Do you like little? Do you want something super light and minimal? So we try to feed something for everybody, but this really is kind of your standard back pack that wants that suspended mesh technology and the ultimate in comfort there.


Steven: And we were looking closely there at the Atmos, but we need to mention the Aura as well is a women’s specific fit. Same feature set.


Chris: Yeah, we have been doing women’s fit for a very long time. It has been a huge priority for us. Most of our packs come in men’s and women’s specific fit.  They both come in a 50 and a 65 liters depending on your trip duration.

Steven: Well, I have had some weight in it. I have had it on a little bit. I can’t wait to log some more miles in the Atmos.

Chris: Yeah. I have had probably 20 nights and 20 days in this thing and I can tell you: Trust me. It is extremely comfortable. So I am looking forward to you and anybody else to give feedback on this, because it is ... we are proud of this.

Steven: Oh, thank you for giving us the overview. It is great to have a better understanding of the tweaks you made.