Osprey Kestrel 32 Review: Versatile Backpack for Hiking

This Osprey Kestrel 32 review is for those wanting a versatile daypack for hiking and sports.

The Kestrel 32 has just about every great feature of the medium-sized backpacks made by Osprey. This is a mid-sized backpack, but it’s not quite made for several days worth of content.

Why Buy the Kestrel 32 Backpack

Osprey Packs Kestrel 32 Backpack (2015 Model) (Conifer Green, Medium/Large)

This backpack can be used for several sports, such as cycling or running. Take it out with you on a day hike, or use it to camp overnight. The ultra-durable quality of this backpack makes it suitable for many different uses. One of the differences between the Kestrel 32 and other backpacks is the fact that it has a spacer mesh harness. This allows for the transfer of weight among the entire webbing, including the hip straps.

With an ergonomic feel that is typical of Osprey products, the Kestrel 32 is suitable for those wanting a highly comfortable backpack that does not feel very heavy.

Osprey Kestrel 32 Features

Weight: 2.82 or 2.91 pounds; depending on the size you choose
Dimensions: 22 x 12 x 13 or 24 x 12 x 13 inches
Mesh front pouch: The Kestrel 32 has a mesh fabric front pouch.

Wide Panel Access:

The main compartment of the Kestrel 32 gives a wide area of access to its contents. This means that all of your contents are viewable in one glance and you don’t have to rummage through to find your things.

Osprey Packs Kestrel 32 Backpack (2015 Model) (Conifer Green, Medium/Large)

Spacer mesh harness:

One of the things that makes this backpack sporty is the fact that it has a spacer mesh harness. This allows for the transfer of the load across the back panel, as well as the hip belt. This is why customers tend to find that the objects they carry don’t feel nearly as heavy as they would in other backpacks.

Airscape mesh back panel:

Using Osprey’s special Airscape mesh back panel, you can hike on really hot days more comfortably. Traditional backpacks only have a regular fabric back panel. Even military-style backpacks are simply made of the same stuff as traditional backpacks. The Kestrel 32’s mesh fabric allows for the aeration of your skin. Sweat buildup will not happen as easily as with other backpacks.

Straitjacket side compression:

In case you do not fill up this backpack completely, you can compress the sides using the Straightjacket straps. This makes the backpack more stable, especially when you are being very active.

Osprey Packs Kestrel 32 Backpack (2015 Model) (Conifer Green, Medium/Large)

Side mesh pockets:

The side mesh pockets are easily reachable by hand while you are wearing the backpack. You can easily reach for your water bottle and any other items.

Hip belt pockets:

The hip belt has two front mesh pouches for your smaller items. This makes your phone, camera, and snacks easily accessible.

Osprey Packs Kestrel 32 Backpack (2015 Model) (Conifer Green, Medium/Large)

Trekking pole attachment system:

Like many other Osprey backpacks, the Kestrel 32 has a pole attachment system for your trekking poles. This makes your trekking poles quickly reachable by hand without taking off a backpack.

External hydration sleeve:

Osprey has a selection of hydration systems. You can use one of these with the Kestrel 32 and its external hydration sleeve.

Adjustable harness:

One of the great things about Osprey is that all of its products are highly adjustable to your own body type. The backpack harness is adjustable to your own torso length. In fact, this backpack is also suitable for people who are very tall and of large stature.

Integrated rain cover:

In order to protect the backpack against rain, its bottom external pocket hides an integrated rain cover. This works above and beyond the fact that this backpack is water-resistant.

Osprey Packs Kestrel 32 Backpack (2015 Model) (Conifer Green, Medium/Large)


  • More comfortable than heavyweight backpacks
  • Also suitable for someone of a taller and wider stature
  • Compatible with Osprey hydration packs
  • Can protect the pack against rain and snow using the external rain cover
  • Sturdy and very durable
  • Multi-sport and multi-purpose usage


  • Has fewer pockets than other Osprey backpacks
  • Straps are not long enough for larger people who are wearing heavy coats

Osprey Kestrel 32 Price

Osprey Packs Kestrel 32 Backpack (2015 Model)...
  • Unique Stow-On-The-Go trekking pole attachment

The Verdict

The Kestrel 32 was meant to be one of Osprey’s most versatile backpacks. In fact, it has a proven track record with customers. While it can sustain the rapid movement of bicycling or running, it can also carry much more than regular day packs!

If you are interested in backpacks for sports, the Kestrel 32 is a great choice.

Osprey has also made other backpacks that are meant for a high movement activity. For example, the Talon 22 backpack also can sustain high-performance sports. The main difference between the Talon 22 and the Kestrel 32 is the fact that the Talon 22 holds less content. With this in mind, the Talon 22 can be used very efficiently as a daypack. But the Kestrel 32 can be used for overnight camping and even a couple of days of hiking.

While the Talon 22 is on the lower end of the sizes, if you are looking for a backpack that is even bigger, the Kyte 46 has more room than even the Kestrel 32. However, this is mainly a thru-hiking backpack. You will not get much use out of the Kyte 46 if you are going to be doing sports.

Going even bigger than the Kyte 46 is the Aura 65 backpack.

Here, you can really see the difference between the two. The Aura 65 is your full-service thru-hiking backpack. It is much larger than the Kestrel 32 and can hold much more weight.

By looking at all of the backpack reviews above, you can see where are the Kestrel 32 lies in terms of its purpose. It is not as light as a regular day pack, yet it is not as heavy as a traditional hiking backpack. However, it can be used for both purposes as well as allow for rapid movement.

Which backpack you choose to purchase will highly depend on what activity you tend to do the most. As with all Osprey backpacks on the market today, the Kestrel 32 is an excellent choice.

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