When it comes to backpacks that are lightweight, spacious, comfortable, and secure, the ones made by Kelty and Osprey are among the best on the market, (we have aslo compared Osprey and Deuter backpacks). In fact, a lot of hiking newbies often can’t decide which of these two brands to go with when they’re shopping for their very first trekking backpack – both companies offer high-quality backpacking backpacks made out of premium materials and sporting lots of convenient features.

Whether you are planning a multi-day journey through the wilderness or you’re just heading out for a brief day hike, well-prepared trekkers have a lot of gear to carry with them. From first-aid necessities and walking sticks to something as simple as bottles of water, you certainly don’t want to find yourself in the middle of nowhere without the essential supplies.

Obviously, the way in which you carry these essentials is just as vital as carrying the right gear. A good trekking backpack is secure, comfortable, lightweight, and offers enough room for all of your gear. Ideally, the backpack also keeps its wearer well-organized, removing the need to fumble through it while searching for a flashlight in the middle of the night.

So, which one of these two brands is actually better – Kelty or Osprey? Whose backpacks are more durable and practical? In this article, we’ll be taking a brief look at both brands and their most popular products, with the ultimate goal of helping you determine whose backpacks will suit your needs the best.

Kelty Brand Profile

Kelty has its beginnings all the way back in the 1950s when it was founded by a guy called Asher “Dick” Kelty. Dick was an avid outdoorsman whose original backpacks used wool carpet for shoulder straps and aircraft aluminum for frames. He also used leftover WWII parachute fabric, which gave his backpacks the signature drab olive green look.

Nowadays, the company has its headquarters in Boulder, Colorado, and is well-known for designing and selling proven gear. Kelty is particularly famous for its high-quality camping tents, although they also use premium materials and employ the same attention to detail when creating trekking backpacks.

Who are Kelty Backpacks Made For?

This company’s packs are made for anyone who wants premium quality (and therefore durability) from their outdoor gear. If there’s nothing you like as much as spending time outdoors, or if you just want your hiking bag to be well-designed and practical, you won’t make a mistake by going with this brand.

After all, Kelty backpacks are designed by professional engineers and they’re made to last. The company offers unisex design options and has something for everyone – from absolute trekking newbies to experienced backcountry explorers.

The Best Kelty Backpacks

In this part of the article, we’ll be taking a brief look at the 5 most popular backpacks made by Kelty. Here’s what makes these bags so special and loved by many outdoorsmen all around the world:

Kelty Redwing 44

  • Volume: 44 liters
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Number of Compartments: Over 10

The Redwing 44 model is undoubtedly one of the company’s more multi-purpose options. This Kelty backpack boasts a relatively small and more manageable size while also offering enough room for all of your trekking essentials.

Whether you decide to use it as a carry-on or you’re heading out for a demanding day hike, Kelty Redwing 44 won’t disappoint you. The manageable size of this pack, which we mentioned above, is not the only good thing about it – this model is also very practical.

For example, Kelty Redwing 44 comes equipped with a U-shaped zipper – accessing the essentials on the go is as easy as it gets. In addition, the pack has over 10 different storage compartments, allowing its user to keep items such as clothes, bottles, and various tools well-organized.

Furthermore, this backpack sports something called the Dynamic AirFlow Back Panel. As the name suggests, this feature makes the backpack a lot more comfortable to wear during warm-weather hikes. In summary, this model is an excellent option for all those looking for an all-purpose backpack made by a well-known brand.

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Kelty Coyote 80

  • Volume: 80 liters
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Number of Compartments: Over 20

Here we have something completely different – a backpack made for those a bit more serious about backcountry exploration. The Coyote is one of the company’s most famous (and best-selling) products and an ideal option for all those who need a lot of strength and space in their trekking backpack.

Sometimes, you will want to head out into the Great Outdoors and carry as much gear as you can with you. Kelty Coyote 80 will allow you to cram a lot of essentials into it without compromising its capability or strength in the process.

What is more, carrying a lot of stuff in this backpack is never strenuous – it comes equipped with padded shoulder straps and has a well-cushioned back panel. Another feature that deserves words of praise is the completely waterproof design. In other words, Kelty Coyote 80 was made in such a way that it’s next to impossible for water to get inside of it and soak your belongings.

As such, this big backpack is an ideal option for those who often hike in moist conditions, but also for all those who need a lot of space in their trekking bag.

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Kelty Trekker 65

  • Volume: 65 liters
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Number of Compartments: Over 10

Another great trekking bag from Kelty, this backpack is a bit smaller than the previous one but still very suitable for longer camping trips. It’s a smaller and lighter option than Coyote 80 and therefore stands as one of the best options for folks who don’t really need a huge backpack and would rather go with something a bit more compact.

Kelty Trekker 65 sports a waterproof design – you’ll never have to worry about your hiking essentials getting soaked during a rainy-day hike. In addition, it sports over 10 storage compartments (two of which are for your water bottles), a sternum strap, a hide-away air-mesh waist belt, and side compression straps.

The model also got great reviews for its strength and structure, even when it’s used for carrying heavier loads. Unfortunately, it is not that great when it comes to versatility, as the model’s external frame makes it quite inconvenient for all activities besides trekking – hence the name.

Still, this is a well-made backpack and a genuinely durable and reliable choice for all those who need a feature-rich 65-liter model. In fact, this just may be the perfect bag for your next backcountry adventure.

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Kelty Tactical Eagle 7850

  • Volume: 70 liters
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Number of Compartments: Over 20

Here we have a fairly large Kelty backpack – the Tactical Eagle 7850. Besides the fact that this is an incredibly tough, durable, and strong bag, it is also extremely spacious – with a total volume of 128 liters, you’ll never have trouble with carrying all of your hiking gear.

This cargo-style backpack is compatible with the battery holder and satellite radio holder made by the same company. As such, it’s one of the best options out there for those who are really serious about backcountry exploration. The model is also completely puncture-resistant, allowing its user to carry anything anywhere.

However, the bag’s spaciousness definitely remains its greatest advantage. With 128 liters of space and over 20 different compartments, one cannot make a mess while packing their hiking essentials even if they wanted to. Other features worth mentioning are the shoulder straps, the waist strap, and the back panel – these are all comfortable, well-made, and raise the bag’s overall value even higher.

In summary, Kelty Tactical Eagle 7850 is a perfect choice if you expect a lot from your trekking backpack and often go on extended camping trips.

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Kelty Tactical Raven 2500

  • Volume: 40 liters
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Number of Compartments: Over 10

One of the brand’s most compact and lightweight offerings comes in the form of this beautifully designed but practical and functional daily backpack. Its name is Kelty Tactical Raven 2500 and it’s absolutely loaded with features – if you’re looking for a small but feature-rich trekking bag, look no further than this one.

Even though it’s advertised as an “assault pack”, one doesn’t have to be a soldier to take full advantage of it. It is equipped with features such as the top haul handle, antenna & cable port, hydration port, four side compression straps, front-panel access, as well as plenty of pockets and sleeves for storage and organization of your items.

Due to these and other features, the model is an excellent choice for pretty much any outdoor activity, including hiking. You can easily use this backpack for your next air travel adventure, but also for your upcoming hunting or fishing trip. Versatility is undoubtedly one of Raven’s greatest advantages.

Another important thing to mention here is that Kelty Tactical Raven 2500 has a removable rain cover. As such, it effortlessly protects one’s belongings in case of a sudden downpour – it’s the perfect backpack for trekking in rainy conditions.

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Osprey Brand Profile

Osprey was founded by Mike Pfotenhauer, who had built his very first backpack when he was just 16 years old. In 1974, Mike started selling his bags in Santa Cruz, California – the name of his store was “Santa Cruz Recreational Packs”. One thing led to another and this small store became a global brand with a reputation for comfort, quality, and attention to detail.

One of the biggest advantages that come with opting for an Osprey backpack is the company’s famous All Mighty Guarantee. As the name suggests, this is a warranty that applies to all of the brand’s products and guarantees free repairs of damages and defects. In case a particular defect or damage cannot be fixed, the company replaces the product – pretty impressive, wouldn’t you say?

Who are Osprey Backpacks Made For?

The answer to this question is very simple – for everyone. From extreme mountaineers to students, the company’s range of guaranteed-for-life bags has functionality and size options for everybody. However, a large amount of Osprey backpacks are made specifically for activities such as mountain biking, mountain climbing, snowboarding, skiing, and backpacking.

The company offers special fits for kids and women, too, as well as many different hybrid models (backpacks/child carrier combos are one example). Besides the specialized backpacks mentioned above, the brand also manufactures and sells wheeled bags, travel duffels, backpacks for school, as well as classic commuter bags.

The Best Osprey Backpacks

In the next part of the article, we’ll be taking a quick look at the 5 most popular packs made by Osprey. Keep reading – one of these could be just what you need for your next adventure in the Great Outdoors:

Osprey Atmos AG 65

  • Volume: 65 liters
  • Waterproof: No
  • Number of Compartments: 3 primary, other pockets included

Rare are Osprey backpacks that are as famous as the Atmos AG 65 is. This model is among the company’s most popular bags and one that comes with a myriad of genuinely awesome features. It provides excellent general comfort, outstanding ventilation, and it’s equipped with many well-designed and convenient pockets.

One of the best things about this bag is that it features the brand’s proprietary Anti-Gravity system. To put it simply, its job is to properly distribute the load and make it easier for the backpack’s user to carry heavier gear. All areas that hug the wearer’s body are well-cushioned and extremely comfortable, although we’ve expected nothing less from Osprey.

This model is a particularly great choice for warm-weather trekkers, as it provides an unmatched level of ventilation (in case of sudden rain, you can use the integrated rain cover). Furthermore, it boasts a very rich array of pockets that accommodate all the items you may want to take with you into the backcountry – from snacks to tech gadgets.

All in all, Osprey Atmos AG 65 is a great option for three to six-day trips. Its user-friendly design and the sheer practicality and convenience of its features are precisely why this model has a cult-like following among trekkers.

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Osprey Farpoint 40

  • Volume: 40 liters
  • Waterproof: No
  • Number of Compartments: 3 primary, other pockets included

Here we have one of Osprey’s more standard models – the Farpoint 40. As the name suggests, this is a 40-liter backpack, and therefore works well both as a sleek city pack and a backpack for shorter backcountry outings. Is this the right Osprey bag for your needs?

If you’re a trekker who likes to travel light, it definitely might be. Don’t be fooled by the model’s 40-liter volume, though – the interior of this clamshell backpack offers plenty of room for all of your trekking essentials. Due to the fact that it has a dedicated sleeve for 15” laptops, this bag works quite well as a student backpack, too.

The Farpoint 40 is also very comfortable to carry around, as it sports a padded hip belt and padded shoulder straps. The primary material used in the model’s manufacture is 210 ripstop fabric, which guarantees durability and long-term reliability. One thing we particularly liked is the model’s external and internal compression straps – these help squash the luggage down and keep it in place.

All in all, the durability, practicality, and size of Farpoint 40 turn it into an excellent option for those who like to move fast and light while in the backcountry.

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Osprey Raptor 14

  • Volume: 14 liters
  • Waterproof: No
  • Number of Compartments: 1 primary, other pockets included

Here we have something completely different – an Osprey-made hydration pack. As such, the main feature of this model is the proprietary 2.5l Hydraulics Reservoir, which allows easy drinking on the go. You can access the water through the model’s bite-piece that is located on its shoulder strap.

In terms of storage, this compact Osprey backpack has a primary compartment with a U-shaped zipper and a couple of mesh organization panels. One thing we particularly liked is the rollout tool kit pouch, which can even be detached from the bag for more extensive trailside bike repairs.

On the outside, you’ll find a large stretch pocket with compression straps and a smaller one that is capable of holding a light rain jacket. When speaking about the model’s exterior, we have to mention that this is one of Osprey’s best-looking models yet – it is incredible how the company’s engineers always manage to design a niche-specific bag without compromising the style.

All in all, if you’re a mountain biking enthusiast and need a suitable backpack for your favorite activity, Osprey Raptor 14 checks all the boxes. It’s a worthwhile investment and one you certainly won’t regret making.

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Osprey Ariel AG 65

  • Volume: 65
  • Waterproof: No
  • Number of Compartments: 3 primary, other pockets included

This Osprey women’s backpack is one of the best products of its type on the market. It’s an elaborate model with a burly overall construction, tons of features, and one that offers lots of support. Despite its bulky design, the model feels incredibly comfortable on the back – this is, after all, an Osprey-made bag.

In terms of storage and adjustment options, this model can even be difficult to get the hang of, as there are numerous straps, pockets, and zipper access options. You can store a lot of gear inside Ariel AG 65 – both in its interior and on its exterior. The model even has a removable lid that you can attach and detach as you please and which adds extra storage options.

As mentioned above, Ariel AG 65 provides a high level of comfort. Its back panel is designed in a way to promote airflow and its shoulder straps (as well as the hip belt) are heavily padded. The comfort is not compromised even in the case of very heavy loads – in fact, this backpack feels more comfortable with more weight, as odd as that may sound.

If you’re looking for a durable women’s backpack that is comfortable to carry around and which offers support and stability with heavier loads, look no further than Osprey Ariel AG 65.

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Osprey Talon 22

  • Volume: 22 liters
  • Waterproof: No
  • Number of Compartments: 3 primary, other pockets included

This is one of the market’s best daypacks for fast and light adventures – it’s as simple as that. With features such as the blinker clip patch, an ice axe loop, bungee attachments for hiking poles, as well as helmet attachment, the Talon 22 can be used both for backcountry trekking and as a typical commuting bag.

We have no complaints in the comfort department. Osprey Talon 22 features an AirScape back panel and keeps the user’s back comfortable and cool. The model’s hip belt and the BioStretch harness, on the other hand, wrap around the user’s hips like a big, cozy hug.

The myriad of extra features mentioned above turn the Talon 22 into a truly versatile bag – it’s an ideal option for almost every scenario. The helmet attachment, for example, turns it into a great choice for bikers, while the winter warriors can use the model’s special exterior loops to attach their ice axes.

Once you figure out how to efficiently and appropriately use its features, Osprey Talon will quickly become your favorite travel companion. Besides the fact that it’s jam-packed with features, the model is also very comfortable and adjustable – what more could one want?

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Kelty vs Osprey – The Verdict

So, which one of these brands makes better backpacks? While we do consider Osprey’s bags to be a bit more durable and feature-packed, we can’t say that this brand is a lot better than Kelty when it comes to the functionality and durability of their backpacks.

If you often hike in rainy areas and your first priority is to protect your trekking essentials from getting wet, you won’t make a mistake by going with one of Kelty’s bags – most of their models are waterproof or come equipped with rain covers.

On the other hand, if you need a niche-specific model or a backpack that’s jam-packed with innovative but practical features, Osprey remains the best choice on the market. After all, it’s not a favorite brand of millions of outdoorsmen around the world for no good reason.

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