Osprey Manta AG 36 Review

Most people literally say, “wow” when they try this pack on, I know I did. Osprey’s AG system gives you an even distribution of weight, while making the pack lighter and more breathable. It’s impossible for a reader to know how good it really is, so if you’re on the fence about purchasing the Osprey Manta AG 36, I’ll just save you some time—we love it.

Want more detail? Read on.

Osprey’s Anti-Gravity system has several benefits: It saves weight, does a better job of distributing the load, and provides better airflow. The 3D mesh is tensioned, and seamlessly transitions from the backpanel, to the hip belt. Anybody that’s carried a heavy load for multiple days knows that it doesn’t take much to produce a hot spot or uncomfortable pressure point. The Manta AG 36 was by far the most comfortable pack I’ve ever tested. The only small issue with the AG technology is that the user can’t easily tuck away the hip belt if they don’t want to use it.

Just behind the backpanel is the hydration compartment. The Manta AG 36 comes with a Hydraulics LT 2.5 L reservoir, made by Hydrapak. It’s lightweight and maintains a streamlined design. The top has a handle for easy filling, and a slide-seal opening which opens and closes very easily. I didn’t have any issues with leaking during testing, but some users online have reported issues. The compartment has a small clip to hang the reservoir, so it doesn’t ever sag to the bottom of the compartment. It also has a quick-connect near the top of the compartment, so you can leave the hose in place and refill quicker, and easier. The only thing I would ad is a small loop on the bottom to hang it upside down for drying. Lastly, the bite valve has an on/off position and a magnet that attaches it to the sternum strap—awesome feature.

Gone are the days when you had to pull most of the gear out of your pack to access the stuff on the bottom. The main compartment zips way down the sides, exposing the majority of your contents. It also has a small mesh panel to keep the important stuff up near the top.

Just in from the main compartment is a sleeve, which is perfect for shoving layers if you are quickly transitioning, then a smaller zippered compartment with plenty of options for organization. The very front has a stretchy mesh panel, as well as two stretch mesh pockets, perfect for any size water bottle. It has quite a few smaller pockets as well, like the two zippered pockets on the hip belt, and the small top pocket with a scratch resistant liner for your sunglasses.

I couldn’t forget some of the other small features that make this an Osprey pack, like the stow-on-the-go trekking pole attachment, and the loops for helmets and lights.

With all of the features put together, you have a really solid pack, but the Anti-Gravity system sets this pack above all others that I’ve tested. Bells and whistles are nice, but the bottom line is that this pack simply out-performed the rest. For me, it’s a bit too small for an overnight trip, but if you’re a minimalist hiker or live in a warmer climate, it may be perfect. Otherwise, Osprey is rolling out the AG system with several other packs, including many of their larger sizes.

Weight: 3 lbs 0 oz, or 3 lbs 6 oz (with empty hydration system)

Price: $175.00

Best used for: Extended day hikes

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