- Don't miss out on REI's current sale - shop now and save on all your outdoor gear needs!
As most of you know, I'm a huge fan of Osprey backpacks and talk about them a lot (full list at the bottom of this post).
...especially about the Atmos/Aura line.
...and especially about the AG 65. This is why I recommend it as the best multi-day Osprey backpacking backpack out there.
Recently I get asked about Atmos AG 50 vs 65 and Aura AG 50 vs 65 (women's counterpart) a lot. So there we go.
If you'll be doing a fair amount of backpacking trips longer than 2 nights, then I'd recommend the 65 liters (bonus: 2 extra front pockets).
What's more, to be honest; top-notch construction of Atmos/Aura Series would probably be an overkill at 50 liters for most of us. This is why, even if you're convinced you need 50 liters, then I'd recommend Stratos 50 for men and Kyte 46 for women.
- #A sidenote here: REI's backpack capacity chart is GOLD. Highly recommend you to check it out before you read any further.
You'll love 2 extra front pockets as much as you love the additional 15 liters of volume.
- Bold are my top picks for each group (based on trip length).
- If you tend to pack more or less than the average person, then shift the trip length values accordingly.
- If you're planning to get either one of them, I'd also highly recommend you to check out Osprey's own PackFinder tool as well.
To see the full table and my top picks, visit my post Best Osprey Hiking Backpacks.
Rotate your phone sideways for a better table display.
Features & Organization
Weight (M Size)
Trip Length: 7+ nights [>90 L]
Xenith 105 (Men's)
Trip Length: 5-7 nights [75 - 90 L]
Xenith 88 (Men's)
Xena 85 (Women's)
Aether AG 85 (Men's)
Ariel AG 75 (Women's)
Trip Length: 2-5 nights [55 - 75 L]
Sweet spot. Versatile picks.
Atmos AG 65 (Men's)
Aura AG 65 (Women's)
Xenith 75 (Men's)
Xena 70 (Women's)
Volt 75 (Men's)
Viva 65 (Women's)
Aether PRO 70 (Men's)
Ariel PRO 65 (Women's)
Aether AG 70 (Men's)
Ariel AG 65 (Women's)
Aether AG 60 (Men's)
Ariel AG 55 (Women's)
Volt 60 (Men's)
Rook 65 (Men's)
Renn 65 (Women's)
Levity 60 (Men's)
Lumina 60 (Women's)
Exos 58 (Men's)
Eja 58 (Women's)
Trip Length: 1-3 nights [45 - 55 L]
Atmos AG 50 (Men's)
Aura AG 50 (Women's)
Kestrel 48 (Men's)
Kyte 46 (Women's)
Stratos 50 (Men's)
Sirrus 50 (Women's)
Levity 45 (Men's)
Lumina 45 (Women's)
Exos 48 (Men's)
Eja 48 (Women's)
Rook 50 (Men's)
Renn 50 (Women's)
Viva 50 (Women's)
Trip Length: 0-1 nights [<45 L]
Kestrel 38 (Men's)
Kyte 36 (Women's)
Stratos 36 (Men's)
Sirrus 36 (Women's)
Talon 44 (Men's)
Tempest 40 (Women's)
Talon 33 (Men's)
Tempest 30 (Women's)
Exos 38 (Men's)
Eja 38 (Women's)
If you're interested in getting a travel backpack, check out my Osprey's top travel backpacks post.
You must have a GOOD reason to get the 50 L option. Some say the more space you have, the more you'll pack. But I don't think this is necessarily true for most of us.
This is why I'd only recommend the 50 L option over the 65 L option to those who won't be backpacking for anything longer than a night.
What are the differences between Atmos/Aura AG 50 and 65?
Yes, the most important difference between them is the volume difference: 50 vs 65 - but this isn't the only difference as I mentioned above.
As you can also see in their manual here [PDF], you also get 2 extra front pockets with the AG 65 options of both Atmos and Aura - which in the end make more of your items readily available.
This is a life saver on longer trips.
Volume: How to decide?
Here's the way it's looked at:
- 50 liters is considered as the sweet spot for backpacking trips up to 2-3 days.
- 65 liters is sufficient up to a 5-6 days, or almost a week if you tend to pack very little. Then again, if you're an ultralighter, you'd probably better check out my Atmos vs Exos comparison rather than this post.
Now, putting this rule of thumb aside, I always recommend opting for a backpack with around 10-15 liters of more volume than you think you'll need.
Dimensions and volumes of Osprey Packs reported in their product pages don't add up.
I contacted Osprey's customer service about this and laid out all my findings here in this post.
Because not needing the extra volume but having it is always better than wishing extra volume but not having it.
Two front pockets: How important are they?
Granted, the these pockets become more important when you're on a longer backpacking trip (or pack more stuff for any reason: Trips with kids or pets, winter hikes, etc.). Just like the volume.
After all, the entire point of these front pockets is to make more of your items readily available.
If you think you might need a pack with an even better organization, then check out Aether AG 70 and how it compares to the Atmos AG 65 (or Aura vs Ariel for women's).
At the end of the day, not having to dig through your entire inventory when you need an item stuck somewhere in the middle of your pack will save you a lot of time and frustration.
So the more you pack, the more you'll benefit from these front pockets. Another thing makes the AG 65 option a better suited alternative for long lasting trips.
Is anything else any different?
No. Comfort, adjustability and ventilation are all the same and top-notch.
Here's a good review of Atmos AG 65:
That of Aura AG 65:
Thank you for this article.
Currently I am really torn between 50L or 65L, but now I am sure to get the Aura 65L.
But too bad in my country (Indonesia) the Aura that available now is only 50L.
If I but the Atmos 65L version, is it comfortable for me? I am short (158cm, torso 15,5 inch) but have a wide waist.
Thank you for your kind words and your comment Lidya.
If you’re built like most women (which seems the case based on your stats), then yes, poorer fit is likely with the Atmos.
Having said that, at your height, even the Aura might not fit the best. Have you checked out the Viva 65 – https://www.avantlink.com/click.php?tt=cl&merchant_id=798fccde-f6a9-4548-b54b-2adfad6c3703&website_id=7d2db7c2-8100-4bd6-b4c6-5afdc7e639e4&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.osprey.com%2Fus%2Fen%2Fproduct%2Fviva-65-VIVA65S19.html?
Its harness is EXTREMELY adjustable, which almost always makes it a superior choice to Aura for quite short or quite tall folks like you! I talked about this in the intro of my best Osprey hiking backpacks post as well: https://outdoorcrunch.com/best-osprey-hiking-backpack/
I am hiking the north rim of the Grand Canyon to the South rim over 3 days/2 nights. Camping with a tent, pad, sleeping bag, small stove, food, walking sticks, gear like a bowl and forks, first aid kit, headlamp, etc. Do you think the Aura 50L or 65L is best? I am 5’7″ and fit well in the M.
Mike de Ruyter says
After two Bibb track end to ends (1000km) plus many 7-10 day hikes with an AG50 without even the top box I know your reasoning is in fact flawed.
I am a large 90 kg man with a healthy appetite, always carry a 2 man 3 season double skin tent plus many creature comforts and have no issue with a 10 day trek between restocks but then I put the tent on the outside.
What you are really saying is that if you get the 65 you are more able to use older gear that can be heavier and bulkier and that would be valid.
Having said all that, I am looking at replacing my old AG50 with the AG65 because I’m about to walk the Heysen and will prefer the tent internal on longer refill stages. Otherwise the 50 would be a certainty.