Hey! My name’s Michelle and I am a designer and outdoor travel addict living in California. All my free time is spent working on Anywhere at Home with my boyfriend. We are currently taking as many weekend or longer trips as possible while saving up and planning for a much, much longer adventure around the world later this year.
I’m excited to offer my Osprey Kyte 46 backpack review. I spent months researching backpacks (including on HPL) before finally biting the bullet and buying this one.
What’s your backpack brand and model?
My backpack is the Osprey Kyte 46, I got it at REI for $180. I chose REI because I was very nervous to spend so much money, and I knew they had a good return policy. Not that I have needed to return it because it is perfect for me.
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How long have you had your backpack and where have you traveled with it?
I’ve had my backpack for almost a year. It not only held all my items, but also my boyfriend’s, for a week in Costa Rica. That’s right, I got to carry all of our clothes and shoes and toiletries, and there were no problems fitting everything in. It was extremely comfortable on my back. We did the same thing for a weekend trip to Georgia, and I was able to compress the bag down pretty small. And it’s been my pack on a couple camping trips in California and Oregon.
I even managed to fit all my personal and work-related items in it for a business trip to China, and still use it as a carry-on! I’ve had a couple opportunities to try the bag out in different situations before it comes with me on the long-term trip I’m saving up for.
What factors were most important to you in choosing a backpack?
I had no idea what to expect when buying a backpack, and the more research I did, the more overwhelmed I felt. I knew I wanted a top loader, because I want to use the same bag for all my travels, including overnight camping and backpacking trips. I tried the Kyte 36 and really liked it, but I wasn’t sure if it was just because of the jewel-tone colors. I tried on a couple different bags and did an insane amount of research and googling. After a few weeks of wavering on what to get, I finally bought the slightly larger Kyte 46.
The quality and warranty on Osprey packs also drew me to this bag, and I know I will be using it for a while, so maybe I will have the chance to test out the warranty policy in a couple years. I am not delicate with anything I own, so I imagine it will get pretty beat up.
What do you like most about your backpack? Any down sides?
Without a doubt, I love the color.
I’m pretty excited it has a separate sleeping bag holder. When I’m hiking, this holds a sleeping bag. When I don’t need a sleeping bag, that section is perfect shoe storage. All the extra straps and pockets on the outside are convenient as well. I’ve used the sleeping pad straps to hold wet shoes away from the rest of my pack. The mesh pockets are perfect for water bottles and jackets.
I wanted a top loader because I felt it would be most multi purpose for me right now. Although honestly, I don’t know if I will always feel that way. Especially when I am traveling long term and need to completely unpack my bag almost every day. Packing cubes help me to keep it organized.
Tell us about the fit and comfort level of your backpack.
I’m kind of short at 5’2”, but I have a long torso. When I ordered it, I couldn’t figure out why it didn’t fit, since it fit so well when I tried it on in the store. I almost returned it, until an REI employee showed me how to adjust the torso harness. The adjustable torso allows the backpack to fit a large variety of sizes.
If you want to take your backpack as carry-on luggage, can you?
Most of the time! I have taken it as a carry on within the US, and to Costa Rica and China. I plan to use it as a carry-on whenever possible. If the exterior pockets were stuffed full, it might be too big. If I keep the bulk of the items in the main compartment, I can use the compression straps, and it shrinks down pretty small.
Have you found the size to be too small, just right, or too large?
I think it is the perfect size for anything I need to do. It can compress down for a small load or I can stuff it full of everything needed for an overnight backpacking trip without it feeling unbalanced or too heavy. I almost bought the 36L bag, but the 46L is more versatile because I can compress it down just as small, and stuff it full when necessary.
I definitely did not want to go any larger, because otherwise I know I would be loaded down with unnecessary items. (Wise advice, Michelle!)
Overall, would you recommend your backpack?
For someone looking for a top loader backpack, especially if you are also hiking, I would 100% recommend this one. Osprey is a great brand, and their bags are quality made and comfortable.
>> Check out other traveler reviews of Osprey backpacks.
About the Author: Michelle wants to experience as many dirt and mud filled trails as she can, to stand on top of mountains and waterfalls, at the base of giant trees, and go everywhere in between. Her upcoming round the world trip will start in Mexico, and then take her everywhere she can enjoy the great outdoors. Michelle blogs about these experiences at Anywhere at Home. You can follow their adventures on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.