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Osprey Ace 38

The Osprey Ace 38 is a technical, quality pack for your young backpacker. It has all the bells and whistles of an adult pack with adjustability to keep up with your growing child.

We had every intention of testing the Osprey Ace 38 this spring on a multinight backcountry trip in Utah. However, the pandemic rearranged our plans. Instead of adventuring in red rock country, we put in miles on blacktop, in the backyard, and hiking trails close to home.

Read on for our full review of this great pack!

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Tech Specs

  • Volume: 38 Liters
  • Weight: 2.91 pounds
  • Dimensions:  25.2″H x 12.6″W x 10.63″D
  • Torso Length: 11″ to 15″ inches
  • Hydration Compatible: Yes – internal reservoir sleeve
  • External Pockets: 4+ main compartment
  • Material: Recycled Polyester main body & accent, Polyester Base
  • Ages: 5-11

Key Features

  • 4″ of torso adjustability
  • Soft, edgeless padded mesh hipbelt
  • Airspeed suspension system for ventilation and comfort
  • Large front shov-it pocket
  • Sternum strap with safety whistle
  • Stretch mesh side pockets
  • Removable sleeping pad straps
  • Zippered sleeping bag access
  • Daisy Chain for additional gear
  • Dual lower side compression straps
  • Integrated, removable rain cover
  • Haul handle on top of pack
  • Made with sustainable, durable materials
  • Lifetime Guarantee

Best Uses for the Osprey Ace 38

The Osprey Ace 38 is a hardworking, high quality backpacking pack. It’s built for hauling a load of up to 25 pounds over long distance. When we backpack, we like to stick to the industry recommendation of 10-15% of the childs’ body weight.

For our first trip, which consisted of miles of neighborhood trails, & streets and culminated in a backyard sleepout, the total loaded pack weight was 12 pounds of tent and water. According to my 75 pound 10 year old, this was a comfortable weight.

The pack was stable enough to allow for hopping from boulder to boulder, running in the fun spots, and making balance beams out of brick walls. This would be an ideal pack for a one nighter or a week out on the trail.

It’s not just for overnight adventures on the trail though…from scouting trips or summer adventure camp to outdoor programs, this is the pack that can handle the task. Sturdy. Large enough to hold the essentials. High quality.

Adjustable for a perfect fit!

As the years pass, you can count on the Osprey Ace 38 to grow alongside your child. It stands out with it’s adjustability and will provide a comfortable fitting pack no matter how fast your child grows.

The Ace 38 has 4 inches of torso length adjustability, fitting kids with torsos’ from 11″ to 15″. My son wore the pack with the torso adjustment at the smallest position. He is 7 years old, but at the top of the growth chart with a height of 54″.

For my 10 year old daughter, who is 57″ tall, we easily adjusted the shoulder harness to the middle position. The waist belt, the load stabilizers and the padded mesh harness all adjust to fit.

Adventure Ready Features!

Airspeed Suspension to keep stay cool and keep weight off the back. Made with GRS (global recycled standard) materials, and PFC free!

A lower zippered sleeping bag access makes setting up the sleeping system a little less of a bag dumping mess.

A raincover that is well fitting and high quality.

What Does it Hold?

With a 38L capacity, there is plenty of storage space in this pack! Whether you adventurer is headed to outdoor school, or out on a backcountry adventure, you’ll find this backpack holds what they need. Two ample stretch mesh side pockets are perfect for bottles up to 40 ounces.

The large front panel fabric/mesh shove-it pocket is perfect for discarding layers as the day heats up. Located on the hipbelt is an easy to reach stretchy pocket for storing sunglasses or any other small, high use items.

The internal reservoir sleeve holds a hydration bladder of up to 2.5L, and the hydration hose can be routed down either shoulder.

Sleeping bag straps at the bottom of the pack allow for an external carry of gear. Clip your additional accessories to the pack with the handy daisy chain.

Although we haven’t been able to test this pack out in a backcountry multi-night adventure due to covid19, for our trial runs and local conditioning day hikes, we filled the pack with our 3 man tent, water, raincover, snacks and a change of clothes.

My little testers say that even with 12 pounds of water and gear, the pack is comfortable.

Bottom Line:

What we love!

The Osprey Ace 38 is an ace of a pack. Ample capacity, simple & effective adjustability, and high quality construction make this a backpack that will be used and enjoyed for years. The buckles and zipper pull tabs are gentle on little fingers.

The tensioned mesh back panel and airflow suspension keeps your hiker cool and dry. And to top it off, Osprey offers an “All Mighty Guarantee” that covers the pack for any reason.

What we aren’t so crazy about

Weight is always a big issue when choosing gear, especially when kids are involved. The Ace 38 weighs in at almost 3 pounds. For the average 8 year old who (according to the CDC) weighs about 60 pounds, you’d only be able to stash another 3 to 6 pounds in the pack to keep with industry guidelines recommending a child carry no more than 10 -15% of their body weight.

For this reason, my personal recommendation would be that the ideal age for this pack would be 7 years +.

Where to Buy

You can buy an Osprey Ace 38 at REI, or directly from Osprey.

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