First look: New Osprey Kyte rucksack

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First look: The new Osprey Kyte rucksack will be launched in March 2016. Here are the first impressions.

Osprey is acclaimed for its wide ranging and well-designed rucksacks. The brand has walking, cycling, climbing, skiing and travel covered with more than 50 packs in a wide variety of sizes.

KYTE_46_PURPLE_CALLA_BACK_02Osprey also make rucksacks to suit men, women and children. I confess I really like Osprey packs and their attention to detail. I have sometimes criticised them for having too many pockets, straps and clips but if you are looking for a rucksack that is specific to your gender, frame size and activity and in a size to suit your needs then it’s a brand worth checking out.

I have been testing a new and updated version of the Osprey Kyte 46l rucksack. Osprey state it is:

  • A sophisticated, functional and well-priced pack made using mid-weight durable fabric.
  • A classic day hiking/weekend trekking pack. Feature updates include:
  • New Airscape back system.
  • New fabric in the shape of a diamond mesh on the harness for extra comfort.

The existing Osprey Kyte rucksack is designed for women in sizes 36l, 46l and 66l. There is a men’s equivalent, the Kestrel.

Main features of Osprey Kyte rucksack

  • Designed for women
  • Updated AirScape back system with foam ridges for ventilation
  • Sternum strap with emergency whistle
  • Top lid access
  • Two zipped hip belt pockets
  • Two ice axe loops
  • Integrated and detachable raincover
  • Adjustable torso length
  • Sleeping bag base compartment with internal divider
  • Dual vertical side zipped pockets
  • External access for hydration bladder and tube
  • Fixed top pocket with zipped compartments
  • Removable sleeping pad straps
  • Side compression straps
  • Under-lid zipped mesh pocket

First look: New Osprey 46l rucksack

This 46l pack is aimed at walkers who are looking for a rucksack for multi-day summer trips or winter hikes. There is enough space for basic overnight kit if you are heading off in the summer months.

In winter, you’ll need the space for carrying crampons and ice axes, as well as extra winter clothing layers, so it could prove to be a squeeze to add in overnight kit, too. If you are planning an overnight winter walking trip I would go for a larger pack.

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What I most like about this pack is the back carrying system. It is adjustable vertically so it will suit women of different heights. You adjust the back height to suit before setting out on a walk.

The adjustor is basically a large piece of very sticky Velcro that you can adjust up or down to make the shoulder straps higher or lower.

The back system also includes a suspended mesh to give support and comfort at the back and also to allow lots of air to circulate on the area that gets most sweaty.

In addition, there are slanting foam ridges behind the mesh to add to ventilation. I have tested this pack on a cold winter’s day when I was working hard to walk uphill. I didn’t suffer an unduly hot and sweaty back but I will be testing it in other weather conditions as the months progress.

The shoulder straps are just as comfortable as I have come to expect from Osprey. They are well padded and fit my shoulders really well. I am not sure if the addition of diamond patterned mesh makes them more comfortable but I can offer no complaints at all about comfort.

I had to adjust the small straps that connect he shoulder pads to the top of the rucksack to bring the pack closer to my back and but this was fairly easily done while on the move.

The waist strap is also very comfortable and also has the diamond mesh. It is wide and padded and hugs the hips. The big zipped pockets on either side are brilliant. I always make good use of these for carrying a phone or camera or snacks.



There is a moveable (up or down) chest strap to further hold the pack in place. It can be adjusted to suit a range of chest (“boobs”) sizes.

The pack itself, the compartments and the pockets are well designed. However, I am not as keen as I have been before on the lower sleeping bag pocket. It is a nice size for a compact sleeping bag but I have found that if I want to put in anything else, for example a pair of crampons, the space is not the best.

The zip is quite tricky to get around each of the corners and  I would have preferred a slightly larger and more flexible compartment with a more straightforward zip.

That said, if it’s for a sleeping bag then it does do what it is meant to do.

The rest of the pack is as I’d expect. There’s a large main area that is accessed from the top and under the lid. Two expandable/compressible side pockets add to the space as you require it.

The lid outer pocket is generous and there is a useful inner mesh pocket for bits and pieces.

The rain cover is found in a neatly zipped pocket at the base of the rucksack.

I also really like the hydration bladder positioning. This is located on the outside back of the pack between the pack and the back system. There is a hanging hook and because of where it is positioned you can change the bladder without needing to go inside the pack.

I will be testing this system to see if the water stays liquid rather than freezes up in cold conditions.

In addition, there are two useful side stretch-mesh pockets. Sadly, I lost a coffee flask out of one pocket during my first outing but this was probably because I was sliding down snow on my bum and the rucksack got knocked about.

KYTE_46_PURPLE_CALLA_FRONTAnother great feature is a useful Stow-On-The-Go system for carrying walking poles when not in use. I had seen others walkers using this and it’s a useful asset to a rucksack. There is an adjustable elastic loop on the lower part of the shoulder strap and another loop on the side of the pack low down. The walking poles fit neatly between these and are tucked away between your arm and the pack.

The rucksack can be easily adjusted according to what you have in it with a good range of straps and easy to use clips. I think this rucksack is simpler than other Osprey packs that I have tested and I like this.

The new Osprey Kyte 46l is not on sale until March 2016. Keep an eye on Osprey and in shops.



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