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.
I have the mens version of this pack the Kestrel and I love it! they didnt have the kyte in stock so I gave the kestrel a try and it fit like a glove – I just kept repeating “wow it just feels so good”. Never rule out a mens bag! My advice would be to try them on because when you find one that fits perfectly, nothing is better.
I brought this with me to Asia for 5.5 months and I have it with me in Australia. Love it. Everyone comments on how small it is but I refuse to go over 50L.
Great motto, Melissa! It’s weird that people think 46L is small- it can pack a lot of stuff!
I recently got the Osprey Sirrus 36 for a week long trip to Cuba and can’t wait to try it out. My only problem is I’m wondering if I won’t have enough room for all the rum/cigars to bring back home as gifts!
Hi all (especially Michelle)—Do any of you have experience with the Osprey Porter 46 for international travel? I am about 5’3″, and I purchased the Porter 46 because I’m just not sure I’m quite ready to go down to a 40L bag for my traveling. I plan to take the Porter 46 and a shoulder bag for a 10 day trip to Europe soon. I won’t be doing a LOT of trekking while holding the full weight of the backpack, but I want to make sure it will be comfortable enough for getting from Point A to B, and I want to have a bag that will last me a long time for lots of different kinds of travel. Thanks for sharing your experiences!
I have the old Porter 46 (it’s changed a touch in the last couple years), I’m 5’2″ with narrow shoulders, and I’ve basically done exactly what you’re going to do–a couple weeks in Europe, taking it from train station to hostel and back a few times, that sort of thing. My experience is a mostly positive mixed bag, so to speak.
The pros: The way the Porter opens is super handy for treating like a suitcase. It’s basically a box with a big open top that you can organize however you’d like and easily rifle through wherever you’re staying. The cinch-down straps incorporated with the side walls keep the pack nice and tight against your back and make it a dense little sausage roll for stowage on transit. The way the straps tuck away is gratifying if you have to gate-check it on a puddle-jumper plane (no worries about damage), and it’s relatively sleek for city travel (albeit with an awkwardly big ol’ pack sticking off you). And it’s got adjustable bits on chest, hips, and where it sags away from your neck at the top to give you a pretty decent fit.
Cons: It’s still one-size-fits-all. I keep several of the straps as tight as they’ll go to make up for the fact that the shoulder straps are placed too widely and the torso is too long, though I can wiggle the hipbelt to put most of the weight on my hips so it’s not too bad. But I can’t stay comfortable in it for a long walk. My 5’10” boyfriend borrowed it for a recent trip to Seoul and loved it more than his old backpack, because it really is great for that kind of city travel, just not my fit ideal.
I can’t speak to the utility of the new pockets and any other changes. Given those, and the fact that some Ospreys now(?) come in smaller fits, I’m gonna stop by REI this week and see if I can’t find something a little better fitted to my body to add to my wish list. Though I’ll keep using this one if nothing better comes along.
Any trouble taking the Kyte 46 as a carry-on?
same question, is it possible to fit it in Ryanair hand luggage?
You mentioned you took this bag on a business trip. Can you advise on whether/if you carried around a laptop and/or a day bag for any meetings?
J Roeber says
I have this same exact pack, and mine has a side zipper that allows you access from the side to the large main compartment. It helps when you need to get to something without unloading from the top. I also use packing cubes or sacks so I can pull out the one that I want. I too, really like the bottom compartment for shoes, or the rain cover, or sleeping bag. If anything, there are so many options here that I forget to use some of them. I’m also 5’2″, with a 14.5 inch back length, and this is very comfortable. My 5’8″ daughter borrowed it for the Camino in Spain, and merely adjusted the back length and was just as comfortable. Osprey will repair or replace anything that needs it, also.