With the new AntiGravity (AG) back system Osprey has come up with a radically different and innovative way of carrying a heavy load

The AG system both looks and feels unusual. A rigid curved wire frame holds the pack away from the back, creating an air gap. Over this gap is stretched a thick tensioned mesh panel that covers the inside of the hipbelt as well as the whole of the back. When the pack is off your back the tension on the mesh pulls the hipbelt inwards against the pack. You have to pull the belt outwards to put it on and it immediately hugs the hips even before the buckle is fastened. You don’t need to tighten the belt as much as with other packs before it provides support.

The length of the padded sections on each side of the wide belt can be easily adjusted for a personal fit while wearing the pack. Mesh is also used for the shoulder straps and the yoke that attaches them to the pack. This yoke can be slid up and down the frame for fine-tuning the fit. The load lifters are wide padded flexible bars that slide in and out of the shoulder straps rather than simple webbing straps, which makes for a much more positive connection. The result of this complex design is a very comfortable carry, good stability and excellent ventilation.

The pack really does hug the body despite the air gap and the weight is spread over the back and hips. The pack itself has a lower compartment and nine external pockets so there are plenty of options for storing gear so it’s accessible. The stretch mesh front pouch is great for stuffing in wet waterproofs or a tent and the stretch mesh side pockets have top and side openings, the latter so that water bottles can be easily accessed when wearing the pack.

The Atmos AG 65 isn’t lightweight nor is it inexpensive. But if you’re carrying heavy loads it is an excellent pack. With three back lengths for men and three for women (as the Aura AG 65) plus the adjustable length shoulder harness and hipbelt it should fit most people.

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Reviewed in October 2015 issue