Gear: Osprey Kestrel 46/48 Rucksack Review

The Osprey Kestrel 48 Rucksack has been designed for what I call off-beat travel plans. Basically, its the perfect backpack to step out onto hidden trails for a hike, while carrying your hiking and camping gear. The problem with off-beat trails is you never know how long you’re going to be out for on hills.

A smaller day-sack will cause problems because you can’t carry your camping gear. If that off-beat track turns out to be slightly longer than expected, you have no tent to stay overnight. On the same token, the last thing you want is to be carrying around a large, 75+ Litre camping rucksack with all your camping and emergency gear, if you’re only out for one night.

This is where the Osprey Kestrel 48 comes into its own. It’s the perfect size for two-days in the countryside where you need to take your camping gear, but you don’t want a rucksack that will weigh a ton.

Kestral 48

The osprey kestrel 48 carries the Kestral heritage within it. This means the backpack is durable and will endure anything thrown at it. Most important of all, it has been designed to perform and designed to last for the foreseeable future. I have friends that have Osprey rucksacks and backpacks from 15 years ago that they’re still using today.

The kestrel 48 comes in two sizes, the 48-litre that we’re testing today and a slightly smaller 46-litre. The 48 comes with the dimensions of 75H X 34.0W X 32D CM while weighing in at 1.63 KG, while the 46-litre comes with the dimensions of 70H X 34.0W X 32D CM while weighing in at 1.56 KG.

Fit To Function

The rucksack is designed with an airscape backpanel that offers adjustable torso lengths and full ventilation to try and keep the sweat levels reduced as much as possible. It works okay, however on a hot day, you’re going to sweat from you back. Sadly, none of the rucksacks or backpacks that we’ve tested over the last few years stops your back sweating.

Together with the airscape backpanel, the rucksack has both soft padding on your back and a hard structure to keep the rucksack stability while stopping items pressing through. The last thing you want when you’re on the hillside is for your cooking pan to be digging in your back.

Extra Features

Features include a zipped sleeping bag compartment so that you don’t have to unpack your bag to take out your sleeping bag. On the front of the rucksack there is an integrated, removable raincover and two side compression straps, while on the side, there is a side zip, giving access to the main compartment.


Like many of the top camping rucksacks on the market today, they come with an abundance of pockets, some are zipped, while others are mesh. The osprey kestrel 48 is no exception. From the top, there are two zipped pockets; one is a mesh pocket on the inside of the lid that is brilliant for valuables, while the other is on the top lid and given its a decent size, its good for things you’ll need on your walk such as a navigator.

To the sides, there are stretch pockets that area decent size. Personally, I use these for water bottles allowing me to take two, 2-litre bottles with me at all time, however, if you don’t want to pack this much water, you could use them for something else. Finally, there are two hipbelt pockets on the belt, which are a great place to store snacks that you’ll need for the route.

Compression Straps

Compression is something that the Kestral 48 has focused on with this latest version of the rucksack. They are designed with a dual purpose. Firstly if you’re rucksack is not quite full, the compression straps will reduce the size of your pack and make sure the items within don’t move around.

The second purpose of the compression straps is to help with attaching your things to your rucksack. The Kestral 48 comes with several specific tool attachment points that you could use for your hiking poles, ice axes and camping gear, but you can also tuck things under your compression straps to hold them in place.

In total there are eight different compression straps on the Kestrel 48. Two on the front, four on the sides and two further at the bottom of the rucksack.

Further Attachments

Other than the compression straps, the Kestral 48 comes with stow-On-the-go loops that are on the shoulder straps and designed as a great place to hold your hiking poles when not in use, but you don’t want to stop and put them away.

On the front of the rucksack, there are also bungee loops that can be adjusted to hold spare hear that you might use during the day.

Price Vs Value For Money

Typical retail prices are around the £140 mark, although it’s possible that you can get this cheaper in the sales. In all honestly, this represents good value for money. You might be able to find a cheaper rucksack at this size, but I doubt you cand find the same level of quality and design. A cheaper version tends not to last, or they come with design flaws.

Our Verdict:

The osprey kestrel 48 backpacks will be your best pal on the rugged offbeat trails. You can carry heavy gadgets and all your essentials seamlessly in this spacious backpack without having to worry about causing any damage to the pack.

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