Osprey Kestrel 48 Review

The Osprey Kestrel 48 might be light, but it has all the features you need. The design of the frame and the back panel, along with the plentiful padding, make it a comfortable backpack to carry.

Osprey Atmos Ag 65 Backpack, Rigby Red, Small

Pros / Reasons to Buy

  • Lightweight but fully featured
  • Budget price

Cons / Reasons to Avoid

  • Difficult to access water bottle when fully loaded
  • Less capacity than heavier backpacks

Modern-day camping equipment is now lighter than ever, so hikers no longer need backpacks capable of carrying very heavy loads. Hauling less weight on the trail always makes hiking more enjoyable, so if you are an economical packer, this backpack might be perfect for you. It has the same intelligent design and high-quality standards as the bigger Ospreys, but it is much lighter. We recommend the Osprey Kestrel 48 as the best lighter backpack for men.

Compare to Similar Products:

Osprey Atmos AG 65
Osprey Kestrel 48
Osprey Aether Plus 70
Gregory Paragon 58
Gregory Baltoro 65
Big Agnes Parkview 63
Osprey Aether 65
Granite Gear Blaze 60 Women
The North Face Women's Terra 55
Dueter Air Contact Core 60+10
Osprey Atmos Ag 65 Backpack, Rigby Red, Small
Osprey Kestrel 48L Men's Backpacking Backpack, Atlas Blue, L/XL
Osprey Aether Pro 70L Men's Backpacking Backpack, Kepler Grey, Large
Gregory Mountain Products Paragon 58 Backpacking Backpack
Gregory Mountain Products Men's Baltoro 65, Onyx Black, Small
Big Agnes Parkview 63L Backpack for Multiday Hiking, Fog, Large
Osprey Aether 65L Men's Backpacking Backpack, Garlic Mustard Green, Large / X-Large
Granite Gear Blaze 60L Backpack - Black/Black Gingham Long
THE NORTH FACE Women's Terra Backpacking Backpack, Agave Green/Pale Lime Yellow, XS-S 55 L
Deuter Aircontact Core 60+10 SL Shale/Ivy One Size
Buying Options
Our Award
Best for Men
Best Lighter Backpack for Men
Best Large Capacity Backpack for Men
Best for Women
Best Lighter Backpack for Women
Best Large Capacity Backpack for Women
S/M - L/XL
S/M - L/XL
S/M - L/XL
S/M - M/L
S - M - L
M - L
S/M - L/XL
XS/S - M/L
W - Regular
2 - 2.2 kg
1.9 - 2.1 kg
2.5 - 2.8 kg
1.5 - 1.6 kg
2.1 - 2.4 kg
1.6 - 1.8 kg
2.2 - 2.3 kg
1.3 - 1.4 kg
1.6 - 1.7 kg
2.1 - 2.3 kg
65 - 68 liters
46 - 48 litres
68 - 70 liters
58 litres
65 litres
63 + 10 liters
65 - 68 liters
60 liters
55 litres
60 + 10 liters
13.6 – 18 kg
9.1 – 15.9 kg
14 – 27 kg
22.7 kg
22.7 kg
22.7 kg
14 - 27 kg
22.7 kg
15 - 20 kg
Torso Lengths
43 - 58.9
40.5 - 58.5 cm
43 - 58.5 cm
38 - 60 cm
40.6 - 55.9 cm
46 - 56 cm
43 - 58.5 cm
38.1 - 60.9 cm
35.5 - 47.7 cm
35 - 62 cm
Rain Cover

Analysis and Test Results

Although it is lightweight, Osprey has not cut any corners in making this backpack. The back panel, hip belt, and shoulder straps are well-padded and work with the frame to distribute the weight evenly. The materials used are durable and environmentally friendly. There are loads of storage options with compression straps, lash points, daisy chain webbing, trekking pole and ice axe holders, and ten external pockets. The main pocket can be accessed by a side zip, through the top lid, or via the zip on the sleeping bag compartment at the bottom. Welcome extra features such as a rain cover, hydration system compartment, and a whistle have also been included.

See the Osprey Kestrel 48 in more detail: 

Performance Comparison

Osprey Kestrel 48 backpack


The main body of this backpack is composed of Bluesign-approved 100% recycled 420 denier nylon. The base has tougher Bluesign-approved 100% recycled 500 denier high-tenacity nylon.


Osprey has used their in-house designed fabrics to give this backpack good breathability. The Airscape back panel is mesh-covered 3D foam with lots of perforations to provide plenty of ventilation. The shoulder straps and hip belt are covered in Spacermesh to increase breathability.

Osprey Kestrel 48 backpack


All the fabric making up this backpack is treated with a DWR coating made without PFAS. There is a rain cover made from Bluesign-approved 100% recycled 40 denier high-tenacity nylon that also has a DWR (durable water repellant) coating made without PFAS.


The Osprey Kestrel 48 comes in two sizes – small/medium or large/extra-large. There is a woman’s version called Kyte 48.

Small/ Medium
46 liters 2807 cubic inches
1.9 kg 4.4 lbs
9.1 – 15.9 kg 20 – 35 lbs
74 x 40 x 30 cm 29.1 x 15.7 x 11.8 inches
Large/ Extra Large
48 liters 2929 cubic inches
2.1 kg 4.6 lbs
9.1 – 15.9 kg 20 – 35 lbs
79 x 40 x 30 cm 31.1 x 15.7 x 11.8 inches


The torso of this backpack can be easily adjusted. After loosening the load lifters, slide your hand between the back panel and the shoulder harness where there is an arrow. Free the shoulder harness from the Velcro pad holding it in place and move it to the correct length. When the torso length is correct, press firmly to reattach the Velcro.

Torso Length
Small/ Medium
40.5 – 53 cm 16 - 21 inches
Large/ Extra Large
40.5 – 53 cm 16 - 21 inches
Osprey Kestrel 48 backpack


The Osprey has plenty of storage options despite being lightweight. The main compartment can be accessed from the top or by using the full-length zip on one side. A compartment on the bottom is separated from the main section by a removable divider and can be accessed by a zip.

On the opposite side from the zip for the main compartment is another full-length zip that accesses a long, thin pocket. On the front, a stretch woven front pocket is secured with a strap and buckle. Two stretch woven side pockets are ideal for water bottles with dual access from the top and side.

The lid is fixed and has two zippered pockets. One is on the top of the lid, and a mesh pocket with a key clip is on the underside. The hip belt has two generously sized zippered pockets big enough to hold a smartphone.


This is a comfortable backpack to carry. A 3.5 mm LightWire peripheral frame helps to transfer the load from the shoulder harness to the hip belt. The Airspace back panel keeps the load close to your body to make carrying a load easier. The shoulder straps and hip belt are padded with soft, edgeless mesh to add comfort.

Osprey Kestrel 48 backpack


The Osprey Kestrel 48 comes with plenty of features despite its lightweight nature. Unlike most backpacks with an internal sleeve, this backpack has an opening behind the shoulder straps for storing a water bladder with a clip for securing it and exit ports for the tube. If you like to use a hydration system, this design means you don’t have to unpack and repack your backpack every time you need to refill it.

Osprey hasn’t stinted on straps for this backpack. There is an adjustable sternum strap with an integrated whistle on the shoulder straps. Also, on the shoulder straps are two Stow-on-the-Go loops for carrying trekking poles. On the front of the pack are two loops for attaching ice axes. In addition, the front of the pack has two removable sleeping pad straps and two daisy chains. The lid has four lash points. On each side of the main pack, there are two compression straps secured with quick-release buckles.

Osprey Kestrel 48 backpack


Osprey claims the Kestrel 48 “can handle scraping through sandstone canyons.” Even though it is a lightweight backpack, the materials used in its construction are thick and durable. Osprey has a reputation for building high-quality, long-lasting products, and this backpack is no exception.

Osprey has an ‘All Mighty Guarantee’ that covers any defect in how the backpack was built. They will repair or replace it without any charge within its reasonable lifetime. If the backpack has an issue not covered by the guarantee, such as wear and tear, accidental damage, abuse, and lifetime expirations, they will always try their best to help, and when at all possible, they will offer to repair the packs to a functional state.

granite gear backpack


Osprey says they “are dedicated to the outdoors, and a key aspect in our ongoing strategy is the protection and conservation of our natural environment”. The Kestrel 48 is a good example of this commitment, as it uses recycled nylon and Bluesign-approved buckles.


If you are a hiker looking for a lighter backpack that can still carry all your equipment, then the Osprey Kestrel 48 could be exactly what you are looking for. It is well-made, durable, and doesn’t skimp on features despite its lightness.

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