There are many great backpacks from top brands with a ventilated back panel design. But how is this regarding the ventilated hip belt? Read more here.
There is only one hiking and backpacking backpack series currently on the market with a truly ventilated hip belt design. This is Osprey Atmos & Aura AG packs series.
How did Osprey manage to create something so great?
This is a long story, but there is nothing comparable to this on the market.
As far as I remember, the first examples of these AG (anti gravity) packs appeared on the market some 8 years ago or so. The designers used the phrase ‘wear the pack’ instead of ‘carry the pack’.
Here is what this design includes.
- There is a continuous tensioned mesh instead of the standard back panel of the pack. Now, this is available in some other ventilated packs from Deuter and Gregory. But the new and ingenious detail here is that this tensioned mesh continues smoothly to the hip belt. See how this look in my new backpack, the arrows show the areas with the gap between the hip belt and the body:
- This trampoline style mesh is completely separated from the rest of the pack, so air can circulate in all directions.
- Only the mesh is in contact with the back of your body and with your lumbar and hips zone.
- On the other hand, with that mesh in place, the hip belt of these packs is quite rigid and it is a 3D design.
- To put the pack on your body, you have to spread the fins of the hip belt, and the mesh generates some resistance to it. This creates even more tension in the mesh, and it completely separates the hip belt from your body.
- So when the pack is on, you have mesh only in contact with your back and with your hips. The air circulates everywhere. Only on the front of your waist you have the actual hip belt padding in contact with your belly.
- The weight of the pack is actually distributed over all areas where mesh is in contact with the body, so it is not mainly on your hips area. This is also behind the word ‘anti gravity’ (AG) in the name of these packs. You wear a pack almost like a jacket.
So this is an ingenious design. With such an AG pack, you have a ventilated back area of your body and hips as well.
They have had several versions on the market. The previous version is still around, and I must say it looks even better than the new version shown above. The gap between the hip belt and the mesh is even bigger and ventilation is better. See it here in our previous pack:
What exactly are Osprey Atmos and Aura packs?
These are packs from the same series, the difference is only that Atmos is specifically for men, and Aura (in the pictures above) is a women design.
These packs have been around for years, and they have been reshaped and modified a few times in the past. From what I remember, the first version of these AG packs appeared in 2015.
There are currently four packs in the Atmos & Aura AG series, this means two packs for men and two for women. But each of them also has two sub-sizes, so this would make 8 packs in total.
But did you know that they also have Atmos & Aura AG LT series? So here again you have 8 packs in total.
The standard Atmos & Aura AG packs have a fully adjustable suspension, and this implies the following three elements that are rarely seen together:
- Adjustable torso length.
- Adjustable hip fins. This means that you can extend padding on the hip belt.
- Adjustable padding on the shoulder harness. So here too you can adjust how long the padding should go around your shoulder and chest area.
You can see more about them here in the video:
Are there any alternatives?
The answer is simple, there isn’t. However, there are some backpacks with a wide hip belt where padding is compensated with the width of the belt.
So in this case the hip belt hugs your hip bones perfectly and it distributes the weight over a larger area. In such a hip belt you have just a bit of foam, but it is with cutouts and covered with a breathable mesh. This means that the hip belt is very breathable, but it cannot be described as truly ventilated.
The best examples of this type are the packs Exos and Eja from Osprey. In the same group are also Osprey Stratos & Sirrus packs.
As of the moment of writhing this text, the Osprey Atmos & Aura AG packs are the only with such ventilated hip belts. I am not aware of anything even remotely close to this.
But do let me know if you think I missed mentioning something important. There is a comment box below. Bookmark this site and keep as a reference, you will always have new informative texts added here. Thank you for reading and have a nice day.