Osprey Kestrel 48 Backpack: Initial Impressions

Kestrel FrontShedding gear weight has become a primary focus for me.  I’m not obsessive, yet, but reserve the right to become so later.  In my last post I outlined how I shed close to two pounds with a Super Cat alcohol stove.  Today I lost two more pounds by purchasing an Osprey Kestrel pack.  It may not seem like much, but these two gear changes alone just saved me 6.5% of the total weight I carried out Davis Spring Trail last month.  I’m resigned to the fact that I will be carrying 25-30 pounds of water, but everything else is fair game for some serious weight loss therapy!

The Kestrel is designed as a light weekend or section hike pack.  It isn’t the lightest pack in its class, with a stated weight of 4 lbs 13 oz, but the material appears to be more durable than many of its competitors which is essential for desert off-trail hikes.  The pack has 48 liters or 2900 cubic inches of capacity, and is reported to be suitable for weights up to 50 pounds (35-40 pounds seems to be optimum).  Additionally, it has lots of compartments for organizing your gear and plenty of straps and tie points for external stowage.  The shoulder strap assembly is adjustable through a 5 inch field of travel, allowing for a wide range of body sizes.  All of the straps are generously padded and easily adjustable.  Overall, the pack is very comfortable and rides well.

Kestrel BackIt is obvious that a lot of thought went into the design.  I particularly like the trekking pole storage straps (no more stopping to strap the poles to the back) and the external water bladder compartment.  It does seem like there are a million straps on this thing.  It’s hard to say if they will be a problem until it is packed, but the excess can always be tied off or taped.  This is by no means an expedition pack, but on first glance it looks like it will fit my need for a 2-3 night pack very well.  There’s not much more I can say until I pack it up and take it out to the field.

Shopping Guide:

Altrec Outdoors

Kestrel 32: $128.95

Kestrel 48:  $158.95

Amazon.com

Kestrel 48: 595

For my initial Field Test CLICK HERE.

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About the Author: Tucson, AZ Realtor & Investor. My true passions however are hiking and whisky (although generally not at the same time). If you have a question about any of these just drop me a line!

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