The following Osprey Kyte 36 backpack review was submitted by Emma. Check out more female travel backpacks reviews.
Hi! My name is Emma, and I’m a Danish veterinary student currently living in our beautiful capital, Copenhagen. I love experiencing nature through hiking and trekking, and have a special thing for mountains – which is ironic, since my home country is flatter than a pancake. Due to my studies, I’m pretty grounded at the moment, but I grab every opportunity to travel and see more of the world!
Currently planning a skiing-trip, a small one-week university exchange program to Edinburgh and a hiking trip to Spain this summer, I’m excited to be reviewing my trusty companion, the Osprey Kyte 36!
What’s your backpack brand and model? How much does this backpack typically cost?
I have the women’s version of the Osprey Kyte 36, and bought it for what corresponds to about 190 USD in a Danish outdoor shop, because I just wanted to try loads of backpacks on and see what felt right. It’s listed on the REI website for $160.
>> Check for prices of the Osprey Kyte 36 on Amazon.
How long have you had your backpack and where have you traveled with it?
I’ve had my backpack for about a year and a half, and have taken it on every trip since then! I use it a lot for traveling between different parts of the country to visit my family and boyfriend back home, about four hours away by bus. I have taken it on last year’s skiing-trip, a long weekend in London, for camping with friends and hiking in both Norway and Spain.
>>Check out our camping and outdoors hacks.
What factors were most important to you in choosing a backpack?
The fit! When searching for my new backpack, I researched from home and thought a lot about which other features were important to me and which would just be nice to have. I then made a list of these important features, and went to a few stores to try on lots of bags until I found the one that felt the best to wear.
It was very important to me that the backpack would fit the measurements of strict carry-on restrictions. I actually brought a measuring tape with me to the stores to make sure it fit the measurements. Knowing I wanted to go carry-on only in the future, I wanted the bag to be as large as possible within these carry-on measurements. A lot of the bags I was shown in the store were only 20L, which was way too small.
Another important feature was a good hip-belt and a weight-carrying frame, so I can get as much weight as possible off my sensitive shoulders.
On the list of (very) nice-to-have features were pockets for water bottles, trail snacks and nick-knacks, all of which I like to have within my reach without having to stop to take off the pack. I also wanted a top loader for the one stupid reason that I think they’re prettier. It seems silly, but if I’m spending this much on a bag, I want it to look good.
>>Don’t want a top loading backpack? Learn how to choose a front loading backpack.
What do you like most about your backpack? Any down sides?
It is just beautiful! The colour and shape of it is so pretty, it actually still makes me smile a little.
It also fits me like a glove, making it comfortable to carry for long periods of time, and it has just the right size. When packed pretty full of my usual stuff, it usually weighs about 11kg, which is the ideal weight for me (disregarding carry-on restrictions and not including a laptop).
After using my backpack for a few trips I’ve grown to know it pretty well, and found ways to optimize my packing. For example, I found out that if I attach the strap of my DSLR camera to the little strap on top of the bag, I could stuff the objective of the camera into one of the mesh pockets on the side to carry it hands-free but easy to reach. There is even a little compartment just behind the back panel to store a camelbak, making sure your other items won’t get wet if you have a leak.
I can find only minor downsides to this bag, beside the price being a little steep. While I love the blue colour, travelers who want to blend in with the crowd might want to go for the grey one instead. I just think it’s great that it’s easy to spot in the luggage compartment of the bus.
The mesh outer pockets tend to get a little loose when stretched out for longer periods of time, but after leaving them empty for a few hours they tend to go back to normal. Lastly, the little pockets on the hipbelt tent to bulk out and be slightly annoying for my arms when not wearing sleeves. All these things are just small details, though, and would in no way keep me from buying it, if I had to replace the one I have!
Tell us about the fit and comfort level of your backpack.
It is incredibly comfortable! When I first put on the bag in the store, I was just amazed by the level of comfort compared to other backpacks I tried.
I am slightly sway-backed, which makes a lot of other bags feel awkwardly like they sit only on my hips, lower back and shoulders. The Kyte follows the natural curve of my back nicely, making it very comfortable to carry. The mesh of the backpanel makes it very breathable, and the shoulder and sternum straps are very comfortable and doesn’t annoy my bust at all.
I am quite small at 160cm tall, and wear a European size xs clothing. The adjustable backpanel can definitely accommodate petite women, but the hip-belt is a little long. I am just big enough around the hips for this not to be an issue, but if you have narrow hips make sure it fits before you buy! The whole point of a good backpack is lost if you can’t carry the weight on your hips because the belt isn’t tight enough.
>>Learn how to pick the right backpack.
If you want to take your backpack as carry-on luggage, can you?
Yes, if I don’t stuff it higher than the frame. This was a must when I purchased it, and I’ve done it several times since. When traveling carry-on, I usually bring the Kyte and a medium-sized purse as my personal item. I can then put the personal item in the top of the backpack when it doesn’t need to be within the measurements anymore.
Have you found the size to be too small, just right, or too large?
I think the size is just about perfect for me. I don’t care much for tenting and prefer to stay in huts when hiking, so it doesn’t bother me that I probably couldn’t pack full camping gear and tent in it. I can pack all that I need, but not much more, limiting my overpacking tendencies.
Overall, would you recommend your backpack?
Big yes! I am absolutely in love with this backpack, and would recommend it to anyone! Of course you should always try it on before you buy, but I have heard only good things when different sized members of my family have used it.
>> Check for prices of the Osprey Kyte 36 on Amazon.
About the author: Emma is a Scandinavian veterinarian student living in the Danish capital Copenhagen. Having caught the travel bug at an early age traveling with her parents all over Europe and in Africa, she is always looking towards the next adventure, big or small! You can follow her travels and daily life in Copenhagen on Instagram.
This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase using them, we will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. It helps to keep this site running – thank you!
Join the Her Packing List email community!
Subscribe to get our latest packing lists, gear deals, and travel news by email.