This review of Osprey Aura AG 65 Backpack was carried out by Holly Barber, aged 15, during her silver Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme expedition to the New Forest. We asked Holly to find out if it was the ideal backpack for DofE.
Prior to this trip, I had been on 2 weekend expeditions where I rented a bag each time and definitely saw what a difference a good bag can make compared to a mediocre one in terms of fit and comfort. Therefore, I knew what I was looking for in my next backpack, and boy did the Aura AG 65 deliver. But was it the ideal backpack for DofE?
To help you choose the correct pack size, Osprey have a free app that predicts your size fairly accurately using other people’s results. All I had to do was take a picture of myself and put in my weight and height, and then it gave me a percentage on how likely each size would fit me. I was in between two sizes, which may be why I found that the shoulder straps rose too high around my neck (not that I noticed it once I got going).
The shape of the bag is ingeniously designed to cling to your body, no matter your shape or size. As well as many adjustments on the shoulder straps and running down the sides, one of the most useful features is the Antigravity™ mesh panel at the back, which can slide up and down to your torso length to make the shoulder straps higher or lower.
The hip belts also cling to the bag, although I found this a bit annoying as I had to awkwardly pull them open whilst trying to get the bag around my body like in a comedy sketch, much to the amusement of my friends. This might just have been me being, well, me though!
During this review of Osprey Aura AG 65 backpack for DofE I found the hip belts very useful in distributing the weight. But they also have twin pockets, which are good for keeping the essentials at hand such as my phone, first aid supplies and snacks whilst keeping them safe.
Despite its size, the Osprey Aura AG 65 backpack is deceptively lightweight at only 2.11kg. The top hood is also detachable for smaller outings, which makes the pack even lighter. Saying that, I don’t think I’d ever take it off because its spacious pouches on top are very useful and easily accessible – I filled the smaller one with the built-in rain cover, a rain mac and some waterproof trousers with plenty of space to spare! The days I was out were beautiful bluebird days, so I didn’t get to test how waterproof the bag was, but I have no doubts to how well it works.
Inside, the bag expands to your preference and easily fitted all my essentials for a 3-day weekend trek. There is also a bottom compartment separated from the rest of the bag which is intended for your sleeping bag, but I found it more convenient for my 2-man tent as it separated it from the rest of my stuff when it was wet and muddy.
As I was using the bag in the middle of Summer, the weather was (surprisingly for England) hot, and I am prone to a sweaty back. However, this pack is well ventilated along the back and, unusually, the hip belts, so kept me cool and comfortable in the sun.
During this review of Osprey Aura AG 65 I found it is very stable and sat in place on my back the entire time without swaying. This was even the case when I badly attached my sleeping mat to the bottom at an angle!
Deep pockets are in abundance with the Osprey Aura AG 65 backpack, with two twin zippered ones on either side of the front of the bag and a large open pocket in the middle. Although they could hold a lot of items, I found it hard to find stuff to put in them as whatever I put in there needed to be strong because it was likely to be crushed (such as my poor flapjacks, R.I.P).
A couple of features that I didn’t use, but deserve to be mentioned all the same, are the loops to hold your walking poles whilst you don’t need them. Also there is an emergency whistle (which I didn’t actually see until I read about what the bag included). Perhaps the best, though, was the pack’s compatibility with Osprey’s reservoirs. I would have liked to test this out, but unfortunately, I couldn’t procure a reservoir in time for my trip.
Overall, I was very impressed during this review of Osprey Aura AG 65 backpack. As my first trekking rucksack, it has certainly done me well and I look forward to taking it out again in September and again in the future.
It just remains to see how well it will fare in the test of time, but I have high hopes for the extraordinary Osprey Aura AG 65. Is it the ideal backpack for DofE? I think so!
We hope you enjoyed the different perspective of this teenage review of Osprey Aura AG 65 backpack. If you are looking for the ideal backpack for DofE it is a great option. You can pick one up for £190 here: www.ospreyeurope.com/aura-ag-65-2018