Osprey packs have gained a fairly large following in the outdoor community. If you’re a hiker, trekker, or wilderness camping enthusiast, chances are there’s an Osprey pack that can serve you well as you carry your survival and comfort gear while you travel on your next adventure.
The problem ahead today isn’t which manufacturer’s pack is going to do the job better. If that was the case, I’d easily put the Osprey family up against all challengers in their respective classes. The chasm between today’s competitors isn’t nearly so broad as all that.
Today I want to compare two of Osprey’s Women’s Specific packs, the Kyte 36 and the Kyte 46. Picking a favorite between these two quality packs is going to be a challenge, so let’s get started before we run out of daylight.
They’re Both Packed Full of Great Features
In a lot of ways choosing between the Kyte 36 and Kyte 46 are really like picking your favorite half of the same sandwich. They’re pretty close to the same, but personal preferences will guide you toward one or the other.
These are full sisters, and they could be twins, but they’re not identical.
Osprey Kyte 36 video review
Osprey Kyte 46 video review
A rainfly doesn’t seem like a big deal. That is until it rains. Trust me here. You want a bag with the rainfly included, plastic bags just don’t cut it when you’re on the move.
Osprey put theirs in its own external pocket so it’s easy to access and stows away from your dry socks.
Both of these Osprey Kyte packs feature an easy to adjust harness that will customize The Kyte’s already great fit until it feels like it’s really made for you.
Forget feeling stretched, chafed, or cramped by your pack harness, these fit like the proverbial glove no matter how rough your trek.
Back Panels, Belts, and Harnesses Designed for Comfort
The Kyte 36 and 46 both feature a mesh-covered, padded torso contact area that allows your back to breathe while you carry.
It’s a really great feeling to take off your pack and not get that sudden chill because you’re sweat-soaked from belt to the base of your neck. Carrying these you won’t feel like you’re melting away back first.
The Hip Belt and harness feature soft padded mesh void of the hard rolled and piped edges found on other packs. Adjust your harness and belt and carry in comfort all day long.
You won’t fidget with biting straps or fight to keep your pack on straight while on difficult terrain. Experience your surroundings instead of struggling with your luggage, choose an Osprey Kyte Pack.
Lightwire Suspension Frame
The ultra-thin Lightwire frame distributes the load between your shoulder harness and hip belt so you can wear your pack like it’s part your body instead of feeling like it’s making demands on you with every move.
Integrated Hydration Sleeve
Another great feature of the Kyte line is the external hydration sleeve that both sisters offer to the parched traveler. It’s easy to access for a convenient way to carry that most important resource without getting the rest of your belongings wet.
StraightJacket Cargo Straps
I can’t even begin to explain how much I love these. The StraightJacket straps on these Kyte packs stabilize your load and keep the pack tight even as you use consumables and lighten the load.
Without these, I too often feel like a kindergartener getting beat up by a half-full pack of stuff flopping around on my back.
Stow On The Go Pole Storage
While I’m not really fond of hiking poles, I’ve used them and when you need your hands they can be a real pain in the neck. This nifty little harnessing system lets you free up your hands without taking off your pack or forgetting those overpriced poles against a tree near a gorgeous view, never to be seen again.
So Many Storage Perks
There are so many awesome features that fall under ‘storage perks’, There’s a bottom of the pack access pocket for your sleeping bag.
If you carry a sleeping mat there are still external straps to carry it neatly underneath your pack on both models. Bungees and daisy chain attachment points make hooking on those extras fairly easy, while belt pockets ride at the hip for easy access to that little stuff you might want on the move.
While we’re talking about easy access, zippered side access makes unpacking from the top down at every rest stop a thing of the past. For me, these sisters really do have it all.
The Big Difference
Really, there’s only one really noticeable difference in these packs, and it’s a big one if you’re looking to stretch that hike into a weekend camping trip, or if you have a tendency to bring along a few extras like I do.
Okay, I’ll confess, it’s usually more than a few, but if I’m carrying it in the Osprey Kyte 46, you’ll never notice because even an extra 610 cubic inches of stuff carries naturally without slowing me down.
The more practical hiker will find that extra space great on a longer trek (think three-day weekend) or when adventuring with a someone who can’t carry much.
Overall, I take the Kyte 46 over the Kyte 36 for anything longer than an afternoon stroll. I like stuff and this lets me take it along without getting too weird or slowing me down. The Kyte 46 unburdens this mobile packrat without forcing me to sacrifice the cheese puffs.
The Verdict: Go Big
Osprey has my vote in every category, they offer features that are not only designed to make life on the trail easier, they actually deliver on the promises they make. I’ll opt for the Kyte 46 based on pure volume, but a minimalist might think it’s a bit much.
Still, with the StraightJacket straps there to rein in a loose pack, you’ll never know the difference if you don’t need it, but it sure would be a shame to have to forgo snacks for lack of space.