Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Osprey Kestrel 48 backpack review

Kestrel 48

This is a very sweet pack. I picked it up in my search for a good lightweight pack for a 1-2 night solo outing. It is very well built and has a plethora of well placed pockets and straps. The body adjust mechanism is versatile, you can adjust the length of the pack torso by pushing out the packing and using a matt of velcro to put the shoulder harness anywhere you want it.
A couple of other features I like:
1) Hip belt cinch is on the sides. Makes for even pressure.
2) Lots of zippers and compartments in the top saddle.
3) Integrated rain cover. (in a little pocket on the back).
4) The pocket for the hydration bladder is open to the back outside of the pack. So you can get to your water without having to open the pack.
5) It has this "stow as you go" feature for your trekking poles. Lets you stow them under your left arm and get them out of the way without taking off the pack. Makes you feel like a samurai.

I was comparing this pack against some other UL options (which I will detail later). My main problem with this pack is that is was just too small for me. I had just about everything packed, but still needed a little more room. Perhaps the 60 liter would be enough. That said, this pack is a little heavy for the volume. It certainly has made me rethink this entire idea of UL vs. traditional hiking. I haven't decided if I have what it takes to be a Ultra Light hiker yet. This Kestrel felt REALLY nice on my back when I took it out on a good 6 mile checkout. 
So I don't know if I am going to end up with a larger Osprey or some UL cousin.


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