Osprey Kestrel 48 ReviewMay 11, 2013
- Adjustable torso length
- Loads of pockets and exterior carry-capacity
- Rain cover included
- Most extra pockets are useless if main compartment is full
- Hipbelt is too large for waists 32” and narrower
- Harness connection to upper pack feels sloppy
Exhibiting good adjustability and an impressive number of pockets, the Kestrel could have been one of the most versatile packs we tested—if its many features had only been more carefully designed.
Easy harness adjustment and standard back panel ventilation keep the Kestrel’s lightweight suspension comfy for most users—unfortunately, those with waists narrower than 32 inches will find that the hipbelt is simply too big.
Load-lifter straps connect somewhat narrowly to the ¾ perimeter frame, allowing the upper pack to swing around more than expected. Lack of lumbar definition at the back panel was also a stability issue for some testers.
The big main compartment is prone to barreling when fully loaded, though using Osprey’s hard-backed Hydraform water reservoir helped to minimize the problem. The external pockets lack the expansion to be useful when the main compartment is full.
This pack has so many pockets! However, the Kestrel is at its organizational best when carrying a smaller load.
Handy add-ons like Osprey’s Stow-On-The-Go trekking pole attachment and an included rain cover round out a mostly well-built pack. Small issues (plastic zip-pulls breaking in the cold, awkward zips on hipbelt pockets, the non-removable lid) keep it from scoring higher here.
The Kestrel is a good all around value for a variety of recreational hikers.