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Osprey Kestrel 58 Backpack | Review

The popular backpack for trekkers has been updated once again. Find out how we go on with 2019’s version of the Osprey Kestrel

Why We Chose The Osprey Kestrel 58 Backpack: Design features, carrying comfort, adaptability.

You can often tell how you’re going to get on with a backpack
from the moment you put it on. The best ones are the ones that fit with your contours like a glove and seem to integrate with you rather than hang off you. Our testers had just that with the Kestrel 58 by Osprey.

The Kestrel and women’s-specific Kyte series have become of Osprey’s most popular models for hiking and this latest iteration, though not radically different, still builds on that legacy well.

Available in a range of different capacities from 36-litre to 68, there’s a model to fit any type of multi-day adventure, from weekend micro adventures beyond the city’s boundaries to full-blown expeditions in the Yukon. This one we’ve been testing, the Kestrel 58, is the kind of size we’d want for hiking a long-distance trail with – say, the Pennine Way, or even the Pacific Crest Trail.

First of all, there’s a big compartment with loads of different access points to it which obviously makes finding that tucked away bit of kit much, much easier. These include a toggled drawstring entry at the top, a zip that opens up the entire base, and then a long U-shaped zip across the whole of its front. It’s a floating lid design so there’s also that added volume up top for those really big loads.

In terms of pockets, you’ve got one under the lid and one over it (with a useful key clip in the latter), two generously sized zipped pouches on the hipbelts for your wine gums, two stretch mesh ones on either side of the main compartment, and then a front ‘shove-it’ pocket for sticking your down jacket and/or waterproof.

The 58 litre size is perfect for hiking long-distance trails. Photo: Chris Johnson
The back system is easily adjustable, to help get the ideal fit and to distribute the load evenly. Photo: Chris Johnson
A large U-shapped zipped pocket spans the length of the pack and makes hard to reach things more accessible. Photo: Chris Johnson

There’s plenty of adaptability which is useful – after all, you won’t always be carrying the exact same weight on each trip. The overall volume, for instance, can be altered via the eight compression straps throughout, and the Velcro-sealed sliding panel makes changing the back length painless. Then there’s the sliding sternum strap (with its nifty emergency whistle) which is quick and easy to adjust but also holds in place when you need it to.

“The back system and load carrying on this new Kestrel really is excellent. It keeps the pack right up against you.”

One thing we really like on the adaptability front is the fact you can also transform this into a generously-sized daypack by removing the floating lid and covering the top with the simple FlapJacket instead.

Other features worth mentioning include the ‘stow-on-the-go’ toggled bungee that lets you secure your trekking poles onto your shoulder strap for quick access, the detachable rain cover which is tucked away at the base, and the external sleeve for keeping a hydration bladder behind your shoulders.

Last but not least, the back system and carrying comfort is mightily impressive, as our editor can tell you…

A closer look at the Airscape back system. Photo: Chris Johnson

Tester’s Verdict

Will Renwick, Outdoors Magic Editor

“I’ve used a variety of Osprey packs for the long-distance walking I’ve done over the years, including the Osprey Stratos 50, the previous Kestrel, and their Atmos AG as well. This, I think, is the best of the lot.

“The back system and load carrying on this new Kestrel really is excellent. It keeps the pack right up against you to make sure the weight is spread and distributed evenly across your back and onto your hips.

“Some might see the fact it doesn’t have trampoline mesh as a downside. I don’t – the load distribution is never as good in my opinion. If you want that kind of back system, look to the Osprey Stratos.

“This back system still offers plenty of ventilation though, that’s thanks to the Airscape back panel that has long channels cut into it as well as a number of ridges. That’s one of the obvious differences between this Kestrel and the last one – there’s more ventilation I think. Aside from that, the other changes seem to be the new colourways and just generally a neater and sleeker design.

“As for its weight, at 1760g it’s not in the ultralight category but I wouldn’t call it a heavy pack either.”

Ventilation whilst walking is offered through the Airscaoe back panel. Photo: Chris Johnson
Stow-on-the-go pole attachment. Photo: Chris Johnson
The comfortable and ventilated Airscape back system. Photo: Chris Johnson

Osprey Kestrel 58 Backpack

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