My kids are finally getting to the age, and stature suitable for more extended backcountry excursions. This has been a much-anticipated point for me as a parent. When I think of my own childhood I hold most dear my memories of backcountry adventures especially backpacking trips with my grandfather in the Uinta Mountains. I want my children to have the same opportunity to experience the beauty of nature, and feel the sense of accomplishment you can only find through a backpacking trip. I want them to connect with nature like I did as a child. I will admit that his desire is somewhat self-centered (I really need my kids to like backpacking so I have an excuse to be in the mountains more frequently).
I have realized that if I want to go on more than one backpacking trip with my children then I better do what it takes to make the trip a fun experience. Part of this is choosing appropriate backpacking gear. The most important piece of gear is the pack itself. There is nothing that can dampen the mood of a backpacking trip quicker than an ill-fitting backpack.
With a couple packing trips on the schedule and a 12-year-old son chomping at the bit to come, I set out to find the best youth backpacking pack. My quest was simple, find a pack that fit well, was durable and didn’t break the bank.
After a lot of searching, I decided upon the Osprey Ace 50 Youth Pack. I chose this pack for several reasons. First, the pack was made by a company known for high-quality packs. Second, the pack is adjustable and can be manipulated to fit a child from 10 to 18 years old. This not only improves the fit of the pack for youth but also cuts down on costs because you won’t need to buy a new pack every few years as your child grows. Finally, this pack was just the right size at 50 L for most trips. It provides just enough space for all of the essentials.
I decided to order the Osprey Ace 50 youth pack off of Amazon. It cost $148.00. I typically like to inspect the gear I buy in person. Unfortunately, I could not find an Osprey dealer in my area that sold the Ace 50. When the package arrived I was impressed with the quality of the pack. the pack looked very sturdy yet felt light.
To test the pack out we decided to take a quick trip into Granddaddy Lake in the Uinta National Forest. This involves a 4-mile approach with a steep climb and then a descent into the Granddaddy Basin. It was the middle of June and we were hoping that we would catch the end of the cutthroat spawn and get in a little fishing while we were there.
I loaded up the Osprey Ace 50 Youth Pack with about 15 pounds of clothing food and gear for the trip (15 pounds is about 20% of my son’s body weight) and headed off. Everything fit well in the pack, in fact, there was a lot of extra room for more gear if needed.
The pack exceeded all of my expectations on this trip. My son continually commented on how comfortable the pack was. The straps on the pack were very adjustable. There is a slider for the backstraps that allows you to quickly adjust the height of the straps to better fit your child. this pack is designed to fit a child as young as 10 years old all the way up to adult sizes. It really only takes about 30 seconds to adjust this pack to the optimal fit. There are also several other straps that adjust the fit of the pack.
While on this adventure we experienced a few afternoon thundershowers. The Osprey Ace 50 comes equipped with a built-in rain cover. It was very easy to access in a pouch at the bottom of the pack. It covered the pack easily and kept everything dry.
This pack has now been used on several occasions. Each time it is used I am amazed at the versatility and durability of the pack. 12-year-old boys are not always easy on gear (just ask the tent my 12-year-old took on the last campout). This pack continues to look brand new even after significant abuse.
I would fully recommend this pack to anyone out there looking for a good quality well fitting pack for their son or daughter. The nice thing about this pack is that it will grow with the child. this is a good thing because with the quality this pack is made with it will be around for a while. The pack also comes is different volumes if you are looking for a pack that is bigger or would like something on the smaller side. You just really can’t go wrong with the Osprey Ace 50 youth pack.