Are you finally ready to bite the bullet and get the Osprey Kyte backpack? Before you press that buy button, you should know exactly what you’re getting out of the pack. And you can find that out in this detailed Osprey Kyte review!
The Osprey Kyte backpacks are made for fearless women – ladies that aren’t afraid to take on even the most difficult hiking trails, and who spend a lot of time in the nature.
If that sounds like you, this might just be the best backpack you can buy – but don’t take my word for it. Read about all of Kyte’s features, and decide for yourself!
Osprey Kyte Overall Rating
I took a really detailed look at all the features of the Kyte backpack, and score it according to their functionality. Here's the score that the Kyte backpack got:
Osprey's Kyte is one of the highest rated packs we've reviewed so far. It excels in most areas, especially in the organization and versatility aspects. You can read in detail about the features from those categories, and see just why this backpack scored an A.
Weight & Materials
We’ll get to the features of the pack eventually. First, take a look at the basic specs of the Osprey Kyte backpacks:
27” x 12” x 12”
28” x 14” x 14”
The volumes aren’t the only difference between them – there are some features that you won’t find on the 36 and 46 versions. But more details about that later.
The Kyte backpacks are made from two types of nylon – the main body of the pack is made from 210D Nylon Diamond Ripstop, while the accents and the bottom of the pack boast 420HD Nylon Packcloth. These are sturdy and durable materials – nylon is actually the preferred material for all kinds of luggage, because of its quality. It has good tear resistance, and water resistance as well.
All of that is very important for outdoor backpacks – they need to be rugged, and able to withstand nature’s obstacles. That might be tree branches or sudden hail showers – the Kyte backpacks are equipped to deal with pretty much everything.
These are also very lightweight backpacks – at only 3.55 lbs, the Kyte 46 is one of Osprey’s lightest backpacks for women. And that is a crucial feature for your comfort – when you have to carry 40 lbs of gear on your hiking adventure, the last thing you need is a ridiculously heavy backpack.
Another thing I want to point out is that these are really versatile. Because of all the different features, they are equally good for hiking, trekking and backpacking. You can read more details about the versatility of the packs in a later section, but it’s an important factor that I wanted to mention upfront. It immediately increases their value for money, as you’re buying something that you will be able to use in multiple different scenarios.
How To Tell The Difference Between The Old And New Design
Maybe you’ve already looked online, and you’re not really sure which is the old and which is the new Kyte. Don’t worry, it’s pretty easy to tell the difference.
Look at the side mesh pockets – on the new version of the pack, the side pockets are dual access, which means they have slits at the back and at the top.
Another giveaway is the daisy chain webbing – that’s another feature exclusive only to the new Osprey Kyte.
Anyway, I’ve made sure to link only the new versions of these pack. So if you’re not sure, just follow our links – they will take you to the latest redesign of this backpack.
A good backpack will keep comfortable on your back, whether you're carrying 10 or 50 lbs of gear. It should be fully adjustable, so that you can get it to fit your body perfectly, and preferably designed to fit a woman's body.
Additionally, a really good backpack has a good ventilation system. One that keeps your body cool despite all the thick padding. In this section we'll tell you if Osprey Kyte lives up to those expectations.
Women’s Specific Fit
Why buy a unisex backpack, when you can get one that was designed to fit your body like a glove? And I know what you’re thinking – it’s another marketing trick to get the ladies to spend more money on a women’s version of the same thing. But it’s not – the Kyte backpacks cost exactly the same as the Kestrels (men’s version).
So, what does the women’s specific fit entail? The entire backpack is narrower and deeper, which gives you larger freedom of movement. The shoulder harness is designed with curves, and it creates an anatomical fit for a women’s torso.
Women have wider hips than men, with a greater difference between the measurements of the waist and hips. The hipbelt of the Kyte backpacks accounts for that difference – it is shaped and angled so that it fits more comfortably and transfers the load more efficiently.
And everything about the backpack is adjustable. Regardless of your height and body type, the Kyte backpack can be adjusted to fit you just right.
The Kyte backpacks are equipped with a 3.5mm LightWire peripheral frame. The frame is crucial for your comfort - its main job is to transfer the load of the backpack to away from the harness to the hipbelt.
Hips are the largest muscles in your body. And they are the ones that do all the heavy lifting when you're wearing 50lb+ backpacks for hours on end. That's how you manage to stay comfortable despite the heavy loads, and not feel sore the next day.
LightWire suspension is used in most of Osprey's outdoor packs. It's a tried and tested technology that performs exceptionally well in nearly all scenarios, and I don't really have too much to say about it. Except, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
OSPREY KYTE 36L
OSPREY KYTE 46L
The Kyte backpacks feature Osprey’s AirScape backpanel. It has foam ridges, which allow for good air circulation, while keeping the weight of the pack close at the same time. The padding feels comfortable against your back, which is crucial for backpacks with high capacities.
The backpanel is covered with mesh, which wicks away sweat from the body, and ensures fast cooling and great ventilation. Because of that, it’s a good choice for summertime adventures – you will stay cool and dry even in high temperatures.
Each of Osprey’s backsystem excels in something. The AirScape is their most stable backsystem out of the bunch, which is why it is often used in large packs for backpacking. It is great for fast paced activities, because it allows you to stay comfortable even after being on foot for long periods of time.
Spacer Mesh Harness And Hipbelt
The harness and hipbelt of this pack are heavily padded, so that they would feel comfortable. But when you have thick padding, often times you’ll get sweaty.
That shouldn’t be an issue with the Osprey Kyte. Both the harness and hipbelt are covered with spacer mesh, for better ventilation. So, despite the thick padding, you shouldn’t get too sweaty in these areas.
However, with Osprey Kyte, the focus isn’t on premium ventilation. It’s on staying comfortable when you’re moving around, even with more than 50 lbs of gear on your pack. The harness and the hipbelt are designed to be extremely stable, and to effectively transfer the load of the backpack away from your shoulders to your larger muscles.
Therefore, the ventilation isn’t as good as on some of their other packs. This is not a big issue for me, but it is something you should be aware of, if you’re considering buying this backpack.
If you’re looking for a backpack that has amazing ventilation, we recommend Osprey’s Rook/Renn series.
Obviously there’s a sternum strap on the Kyte packs. It helps keep the backpack more stable on your body, and ensures that its load is effectively transferred away from your shoulders.
Other than that, the sternum strap of these backpacks also doubles as an emergency whistle – something we see on almost all of Osprey’s packs
Getting The Right Fit
The key to being comfortable is ensuring that the backpack fits you just right. In case you haven’t owned an Osprey pack before, here are some tips on how to adjust the backpanel and harness.
Osprey recommends that you first load the pack with 10-20lbs of gear, depending on the size that you got. Obviously, the larger the pack, the more stuff you should put in it. This helps see how the backpack behaves when it’s loaded, and ensure that you don’t adjust it too tightly.
First you should adjust the hipbelt – make sure that it’s resting over you’re your hipbones. There should be the same amount of padding both above and below your hipbones. Then just buckle it, and tighten the straps so that the hipbelt doesn’t move.
After that, adjust the shoulder straps. Tighten them until the backpanel lies flat against your back, and there’s not space between the two. Adjusting the load lifters will transfer the weight off your shoulders.
Then you just need to tighten the harness yoke – the spot where the straps come together. It’s positioned so that you can reach it easily when you’re wearing the pack, and it should be right behind your neck. The ideal position for the yoke is that it sits about 2” below the C7 vertebrae. If it’s too high or too low, you can adjust the torso of the pack until you hit the ideal position. And you’re done!
OSPREY KYTE 36L
OSPREY KYTE 46L
Organization & Accessibility
Dual Access Mesh Side Pockets
Side Access To Main Compartment
It’s important to stay organized when you’re backpacking. Not having to search for everything will save you a lot of time, and help you enjoy your adventure more.
And pockets and compartments are crucial for organization. As you saw, the Kyte backpacks got a pretty high score in this regard. In this section, you can see exactly why that is, and read about all the different pockets and compartments you get on these Osprey backpacks.
Top Loading Main Compartment
The main compartment of Kyte backpacks is top loading, which is pretty standard on large packs for backpacking. It has drawcord closure, as well as a top lid that covers up the opening of the main compartment.
It’s easily accessible – just unbuckle the straps that keep the top lid in place, and you can already grab some of your gear at the top.
The size of the main compartment varies, depending on the size of the backpack you choose. Obviously, the bigger the backpack, the bigger the main compartment.
One thing I like about the Kyte packs is that you don’t need to pack strategically – the main compartment is accessible from the top, but also from the side and bottom of the pack (more on that later), so you can get to all your gear easily.
OSPREY KYTE 36L
OSPREY KYTE 46L
Stretch Front Pocket
The Kyte backpacks are equipped with a stretch front pocket. It’s the most easily accessible out of all pockets on these Osprey packs, and it’s great for quickly stashing away a piece of clothing, a travel guide or your tripod.
It is really stretchy, so you can easily fit a thick down jacket inside this pocket. But it’s also tight enough to keep that jacket in place, and not let it fall out while you’re walking around.
I actually really like this feature since it improves the overall accessibility and versatility of the backpacks, as well as the entire organization aspect. This is a lot better than having to take off the pack and put away your jacket in the main compartment. And it’s much quicker.
PowerMesh Side Pockets
These are dual access side pockets, with slits on top and on the side. This makes it very easy to get anything out of the pockets while you’re still wearing the backpack, so it’s fairly useful.
The pockets are pretty large, and they can fit a big water bottle easily, thanks to the stretchy PowerMesh. And you can put something smaller in the pockets if you want, and the mesh will still hold it tightly in place.
These are also designed to be able to accommodate poles, tripods or anything that’s fairly long. Say you want to put tent poles in the pockets – the compression straps at the top of pack will secure them in place, and ensure that they don’t fall out. While the mesh of the pockets keeps them tightly in place.
Zippered Sleeping Bag Compartment
There’s a zippered sleeping bag compartment at the bottom of the Kyte backpacks, just above the rain cover pocket.
The compartment is designed to fit a sleeping bag, but you can use it for whatever you want.
It’s separate from the rest of the pack, but it does have a removable divider inside.
So if you wanted, you could take out the divider, and just make the main compartment of your backpack bigger.
Or you could use it as another access point, one that would help you get to the bottom of your pack in seconds.
Zippered Pocket In Lid
The Kyte backpacks feature a zippered pocket in the top lid. On the largest backpack the lid is actually removable, but more on that later.
The zipper to this pocket is on the back, so you could actually get to it while you’re wearing the backpack. This is fairly useful – it allows for better organization and makes the backpack more easily accessible.
Now, the capacity of the pocket depends a bit on the main compartment. If you’ve over packed and the opening of the main compartment is protruding, you won’t be able to fit too much stuff in the lid pocket. But there should be enough space for some smaller necessities.
OSPREY KYTE 36L
OSPREY KYTE 46L
All three of these Osprey backpacks have hipbelt pockets. And if you’ve read my other reviews, you know just how much I love hipbelt pockets!
They are one of the best inventions since sliced bread. Often times when I’m hiking or backpacking, I’m wearing clothes that don’t really have deep pockets, and I have nowhere to put away my phone and GoPro. Which is exactly why I love these pockets – they are large enough to fit your on-the-go necessities, including a regular plus-sized smartphone.
And you always have access to them when you’re wearing the backpack. Additionally, because the hipbelt is heavily padded, you won’t feel the things in the pockets, and that’s a huge plus. One of the worst sensations is trying to hike with a GPS poking you in the hipbone – you’ll get none of that with Osprey’s Kyte packs.
Rain cover Compartment
Each of these backpacks has a dedicated rain cover compartment at the very bottom. It is completely separate from the rest of the backpack – you can store a wet rain cover inside it, and not worry about your other gear getting wet.
This also makes the rain cover easily accessible, as it should be. If you’re out backpacking with friends and it suddenly starts to pour, you can grab the cover in a matter of seconds, as opposed having to look for it in the main compartment.
The raincover is included in the purchase of the backpack, and that’s a nice addition. Not just because of the functionality of the pack, but also because of bang for buck – Osprey raincovers are fairly expensive, so this means you’re getting more value for your money. But more on that later.
Full Length Zippered Side Pocket: Kyte 46 Only!
Kyte backpacks don’t all have the exact same features. Which makes sense, considering that the largest pack is about 10L bigger than the smallest pack.
A full-length zippered side pocket is one of the features that you don’t get on the smallest Osprey Kyte. The side pocket is completely separate from the main compartment, and it is great for things you would want to access quickly and easily.
The pocket is pretty deep – even on the Kyte 46L version, it is deep enough to fit tent poles without anything poking out. It is hidden away behind the compression straps, so it’s pretty safe as well – no way could anyone try to open it without you noticing.
OSPREY KYTE 36L
OSPREY KYTE 46L
The Compression Straps
Ice Axe Loops
I love a versatile backpack. Actually, I like everything that’s versatile – why buy three different backpacks, when you can get one that can serve three different purposes.
In this section, I will tell you about all the features of Kyte that make is suitable for different types of adventures. Spoiler alert, there’s a lot of them.
External Hydration Sleeve
All Kyte backpacks feature an external hydration sleeve, which can fit a 3-liter reservoir. It is just behind the backpanel, and it is a compartment completely separate from the rest of your backpack.
So, in case any condensation forms on the bladder, your other gear won’t get wet. Also, if for any reason the bladder leaks or bursts, there is a small hole at the bottom of the sleeve which will let the water out – another well thought out design feature.
One thing to note is that a hydration bladder is not included in the purchase of the backpack. The sleeve is designed to accommodate Osprey’s Hydraulics Reservoirs, so it won’t fit all kinds of hydration bladders perfectly. But based on the shape and size, I think you have a good idea whether or not it will fit the reservoir you already have.
I also want to mention Osprey’s hands-free hydration system – you can buy hose attachments that allow you to secure the hose to the shoulder strap and sternum strap, for hands free hydration. This is a really useful feature if you’re walking with poles, as it allows you to drink without stopping.
Removable Sleeping Pad Straps
All three Kyte packs feature external sleeping pad straps, at the bottom of the pack. They allow you to attach the sleeping pad to the exterior of your pack, and save a lot of space inside the main compartment.
And that’s in addition to the sleeping bag compartment.
They are fairly versatile, since you can use them for pretty much anything that can fit them over. And they’re removable, so if you don’t really use them, you can just take them off.
Trekking Pole Attachments
Stow-On-The-Go Trekking Pole Attachment Points, to use Osprey’s phrase. These are tiny loops that you see on the shoulder straps and below the side pockets, and they’re designed to hold your trekking poles.
This is a great feature for people who usually carry a lot of gear, since it allows you utilize your backpack to the max.
Also, because the attachment points are on the shoulder straps, it’s easy to put away the trekking poles without taking off your backpack.
OSPREY KYTE 36L
OSPREY KYTE 46L
Ice Axe Loops
There are ice axe loops on all of the Kyte backpacks. This is pretty useful for winter adventures, especially because ice axes are fairly awkward to carry around. And even more awkward to store anywhere.
The loops are on the front of the backpack, so the ice axe won't get in the way of your other gear. And they are bungee loops, so attaching securing the axe to the pack should be fairly easy and quick.
Side Zipper Access To Main Compartment
With big backpacks like these, there’s always the issue of access. You have to pack strategically, because it takes time to get to the stuff that’s at the bottom.
Which is why you will love the side zipper access to the top loading main compartment. The zipper is neatly tucked away, so it’s hard to notice it unless you know it’s there. And it adds a lot more access to the pack, which is amazing.
With the side zipper, you get access to stuff that’s in the middle and at the bottom of your pack. Plus, the opening is covered with some mesh, to prevent your stuff from just falling out the pack, which is actually very thoughtful.
Daisy Chain Webbing
The newer versions of the Kyte backpacks are also equipped with webbing loops on the very front. These give you even more versatility and accessibility – you can attach pretty much anything you want to them. You just need a carabiner.
External Compression Straps
The Kyte backpacks have eight external compression straps. There are two on each side, two big ones on the front, and two smaller ones on the bottom of the backpack.
Compression straps are a lifesaver when your backpack is not filled to capacity. They allow you to tighten the pack and make it smaller, so it doesn’t bounce around too much when you are wearing it.
That doesn’t let the gear in the main compartment get jumbled around, and keeps everything in its place.
Internal Compression Strap: Only On Kyte 46L!
Only the Kyte 46L backpack has a compression strap inside the main compartment. This makes sense because of their load capacities - on the smallest one, you don't really need this feature.
An internal compression strap helps you keep all of your gear in place, and ensures that things won't move around. Which is especially useful when the pack is only half full. It also allows you to tighten the main compartment, so that it doesn't protrude on the top too much.
OSPREY KYTE 36L
OSPREY KYTE 46L
Value For Money
The Kyte backpacks aren’t exactly cheap, but they aren’t ridiculously expensive either. But are they really worth the price tag?
For me, they are. The versatility of these is undeniable – the Kyte is a backpack you can use for pretty much every outdoor adventure, and that significantly increases their value for money. They are good for hiking, backpacking and trekking all year round, which is really great. And if you had to buy a different pack for each purpose, you would have to spend a lot more money.
Also, you get a raincover with this backpack. So let’s crunch the numbers – Osprey’s raincovers cost anywhere from $20 to $60. So, if you deduct the cost of the raincover form the actual cost of the packs, all of them are under $100.
I hope that explains the rating – you do get great value for money, but it’s still a lot of money. Hence the four stars.
Osprey Kyte Review: Is It Right For You?
If you are an avid hiker and backpacker, then yes, this is the right backpack for you. You will appreciate the women’s specifit fit of the pack, and the adjustability of the harness will help you feel comfortable throughout your adventures. Even when you’re carrying 50 lbs of gear on your back.
Or even more – 50 lbs is the load range of the main compartment. But the sky’s the limit to the amount of stuff you can attach the exterior of the pack, what with all the loops and webbing.
Yes it is a pricey backpack, but it has the features to back up that price. If you’re looking for premium quality and reliability, then the Kyte is a backpack you will love.
On the other hand, if you’re a very casual hiker then this might not be the right backpack for you. You’ll only get good value for money if you actually use this pack fairly often. And use all of it.
We can recommend you some sweet alternatives – backpacks that are a bit more suitable for beginners, and significantly cheaper than this one. Check out our related posts to find the right one for you!
But if you’re dead set on getting the Kyte, I am not going to stop you. Head over to Amazon to see the prices and color options of this awesome women’s backpack!