Osprey has re-envisioned what suspension can do for a pack with their Atmos AG and Aura AG bags. “AG” stands for anti-gravity, and it truly seems that these packs defy the laws of physics. Like most other backpacking packs, the suspension system used in the Atmos and Aura works to channel the weight of the pack away from your shoulders and back and towards your hips. However, the way in which Osprey’s anti-gravity system achieves this task is what sets these bags apart.
Most pack manufacturers these days use mesh backpanels in order to help the pack fit to your back and allow for airflow to keep you cool. This is most commonly achieved by suspending the mesh over the pack’s suspension, trampoline-style, and typically encompasses the area between the shoulders of the pack to the lower back. Osprey’s AG packs, however, have seamless suspended mesh that spans from the shoulders to the waist. That mesh then runs around the hip straps, acting like an anchor for the entire load, thus hugging the pack around the user’s hips rather than simply resting the pack on top of them. This ensures that the weight is evenly distributed and helps to keep the pack from shifting as you walk. Additionally, this system provides maximum airflow to help keep your back from becoming overly sweaty.
A great way to think of the difference between a traditional pack and Osprey’s AG packs is to think about the difference between someone leaning on you as opposed to someone hugging you. A pack that rests the load on your hips is doing just that, resting. By balancing more of the pack’s weight across the whole of your back, shoulders, and hips, and having the suspension system wrap around your hips, the AG suspension hugs your body, making the pack feel as if it is an extension of it.
Osprey claims that their AG suspension balances a load like nothing ever before, and we’re inclined to believe them. They’re also expanding their selection of packs that include it beyond the Aura and Atmos lines to the immensely popular Poco Kid Carriers and Mira and Manta hydration packs. With the awards rolling in for this exciting new suspension system, it just may be time for a new pack!