- Buyer's Guide
Third Annual Carry Awards :: Best Active Backpack Results
Some innovations take an aha moment and then it’s job done, proceed directly to go and collect your $200. The other 99% of innovations take a huge amount of work and problem-solving to realise, often stretching over years.
The Atmos is not new to the Osprey range, but the addition of the AntiGravity™ (AG) suspension system certainly is. However, when you speak to the brand they say that their innovative founder Mike Pfotenhauer has been working on this vision for years, trying to find ways to bring this seamless mesh into a real-world system.
The AG wraps and warps and bends around you like a Play-doh sculptured mesh, with awesome levels of comfort, breathability and movement. Putting it on feels like a child is piggybacking on you, wrapping their arms and legs exactly to your curves. It’s a surprising feeling at first, but one that quickly wins you over and makes you want to go and play.
The stretched mesh reduces hot-spots while increasing ventilation, both of which are holy grails in hiking packs. Perhaps the most impressive aspect is the way the seamless mesh continues down into a sprung hipbelt, keeping the ventilated benefits all the way to the base of the pack’s contact with you. There are female-specific versions, excellent height adjustability, and typical Osprey levels of refinement and patternmaking. This is a huge accomplishment – well done, Osprey.
These are the pieces that just missed out, and in most cases, by the smallest of margins. To them, we award a High Commendation. The below were of outstanding quality, displaying fine craftsmanship and design flair. With honour, we bow our heads in the upmost respect and kudos. If this were a dias, they’d be biting their teeth into silver medals, while their flags were hoisted into the horizon – a feat not to be overlooked. And I’m sure they’ll be back, to take it one notch higher, next year.
New Zealand based Aarn have been quietly creating revolutionary pack designs for years now, and their Liquid Agility is no exception, nailing the carrying of heavy loads over irregular terrain. The integrated Flow-Motion systems enhance freedom of movement while still ensuring the pack remains stable on the user’s back. The back length is adjustable to suit different torso lengths and the hydration pocket accepts a 3-liter bladder. The daypack also converts into a bodypack using optional balance pockets – a great way to reduce strain on the body when carrying heavy loads, as well as offering quick access to important items on the go without having to take the pack off. Congratulations, Aarn, this is truly well-deserved recognition.
Timbuk2 tick all the boxes with their updated version of the Especial Tres Cycling Backpack – enhanced visibility, a better user fit, improved ventilation and the ability to expand the volume for carrying larger loads. This bag packs plenty of urban style, along with a choice of pockets and a waterproof drop liner to keep the contents safe from the elements. Timbuk2 are one of the top names in cycling bags but you don’t need to get around on two wheels to appreciate the appeal of the Especial Tres. Kudos, Timbuk2, you’ve done an awesome job.