Girl carrying an Osprey Ace 50 hiking backpack

Osprey Ace Hiking backpacks for Kids and Teens - Full Review

If you want to encourage your kids to have an active lifestyle then hiking is a really varied, affordable and fulfilling pastime for the whole family to enjoy. From being passengers in a baby carrier to toddling along on their own, children can learn to appreciate from a very young age that spending time being active outside is really fun.

If your family and kids are keen hikers then you'll appreciate the difference a well fitted backpack can make. Once your kids have a bit more hiking stamina and you are wanting them to carry more of their own kit then a good quality rucksack is a worthwhile investment. In this blog we compare the top of the range Osprey Ace kids hiking backpacks that can be adjusted grow with your child.

Checkout our video review of the full range of Osprey Ace rucksacks below:

Osprey Ace rucksacks

What are the age ranges for the Osprey Ace Rucksacks?

There are three Osprey Ace kids hiking rucksacks; the Ace 38, Ace 50 and Ace 75 between them they cover kids from the age of 8 years right through to older teenagers. The Ace 38 recommended age range is 8 - 11 years, the Ace 50 is 11 - 14 years and the Ace 75 is 14 - 17 years.

Comparison table for the Osprey Ace kids hiking backpacks

  Osprey Ace 38 Osprey Ace 50 Osprey Ace 75
Recommended age range 8-11 yrs 11-14 yrs 14-17 yrs
Torso length 11-15" / 28-38 cm 13-18" / 33-46 cm 14-19" / 35.5-48 cm
Volume 38 Litres 50 Litres 75 Litres
Weight 1.3 kg 1.7 kg 1.9 kg
Height 64 cm 70 cm 78 cm
Width 38 cm 38 cm 38 cm
Depth 27 cm 30 cm 33 cm
Waterproof cover included
Colour options 2 (orange or blue) 2 (orange of blue) 1 (green)
Adjustable back system

Fit-on-the-fly hip belt

Top compression strap


Bottom compression strap


Separation in main compartment


Side zip entry


How do you fit and adjust an Osprey Ace Rucksack?

  1. Firstly loosen all straps on the pack

  2. Position the hip belt over the hips so that the pads are touching the hips centrally then tighten the straps. Remember, the hip belt should support most of the weight so ensure that it’s tight enough to take the load.

  3. Adjust the height of the shoulder straps by pulling the metal bars out of the nylon loop (see image below) and repositioning higher or lower as required. You want to position the shoulder straps at a height that keeps both the waist belt in position and the strap in contact with the top of the shoulder blade and over the shoulder. There shouldn’t be any gaps.

  4. Then adjust shoulder strap length so that the pack feels secure and comfortable.

  5. Position the chest strap above the nipples and tension so that it is secure but not too tight.

  6. Finally adjust the top tensioners. These are straps behind your shoulders and tightening them will help to pull the pack closer to your shoulders and to keep the weight more centrally distributed.


If you follow these steps your child should feel comfortable carrying the pack and none of the straps should feel too tight or restrictive. As your child grows or you share the pack with a different child simply readjust the shoulder strap height by adjusting the metal bar.

Adjustable back system on an Osprey Ace 50 backpack

How much weight can my child carry in a rucksack when we hike?

The basic rule of thumb is that a kids hiking backpack should weigh no more than 20% of their total body weight. You'll be surprised how quickly you can reach this weight so it's a really good idea to pack your kids backpack with the bulky lighter items like their own sleeping bags, clothes or maybe the tent outer. Leave the food, cooking equipment and things like a first aid kit for the adults in the group to carry. Take time to fit the backpack to your child once it is loaded as having some weight in the pack will change the weight distribution on their body.

The Osprey Ace 50 and 75 backpacks have a zip entry to a optional lower compartment. This can be a good location to store a sleeping bag or tent outer which you'll want to access at the end of the hike without emptying your entire pack, see photo below. If you don't want the separation you can undo the fabric divider.

Bottom compartment in the Osprey Ace rucksack

Are Osprey rucksacks waterproof?

The Osprey rucksacks are made with waterproof fabric but not seam sealed. If you are caught in heavy rain you should use the separate rain cover to ensure you kit stays dry.

All the Osprey Ace backpacks come with a green waterproof cover. The colour is purposefully bright to help with visibility in poor weather conditions. Something which is particularly useful if you are trying to spot teenagers on a wet and windy DofE hike in the UK! The rain cover comes stored in the top pocket of the rucksack with an attachment point to help prevent it being lost. It is very easy to put on. You simply hook the top side over the lid of your backpack and then stretch the elastic to secure the other end under the base of the backpack.

Opsrey rucksack rain cover on kids Osprey Ace backpack

Which is the best Osprey rucksack for DofE expeditions?

The best Osprey rucksack for DofE is the Osprey Ace 75 as it has an adjustable back system so it can grow with your child and it has enough capacity to carry all the gear needed for Bronze through to Gold expeditions.

Across the Bronze, Silver and Gold Expeditions participants need to carry their own sleeping bag, sleeping mat, clothes, waterproofs, food and water and share carrying a tent and cooking equipment (usually between two people). This means that regardless of which expedition you are doing the amount you need to carry is not that different across the expeditions as all the bulky kit is needed even for a Bronze two day expedition. Therefore the best Osprey rucksack for DofE is the Osprey Ace 75. It might be a little big for a Bronze expedition but if you are planning to do the other awards it will grown with you and be ideal for the four day Gold expedition.

If you're looking for a rucksack that is less technical and more of an everyday backpack for your child then we have plernty of other options as we stock the full range of kids Osprey backpacks for sale in the UK.

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