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Osprey Rook Backpack Review

Osprey Rook Backpack Review

The Osprey Rook 50 is a multi-day internal frame backpack with a ventilated, adjustable-length torso that will keep you cooler and more comfortable in hot weather. It has top and bottom access points so you can quickly access gear buried deep in your pack and plenty of external attachment points to strap bulky gear to the outside of the pack. The large hip belt pockets and top lid provide plenty of additional storage for frequently used items, while mesh side pockets provide good storage for water bottles and wet items.

  • Volume: 50L
  • Frame type: Internal Frame
  • Weight: 3 lbs 9.6 oz
  • Adjustable Torso Length: Yes
  • Ventilated Suspended Mesh Backpanel: Yes
  • Access: Top, Bottom
  • Hip Belt Pockets: yes
  • Load Lifters: Yes
  • Rain Cover: Yes
  • Bear Canister Compatibility: BV475 fits horizontally in the upper part of the main compartment.
  • Torso Length Sizing: 18-22 inches
  • Waist Sizing: 25-50 inches
  • Material: 600D recycled polyester
  • Pros: Adjustable Torso Length, Ventilated Back Panel, Multiple Access Points
  • Cons: No front mesh pocket

The Osprey Rook (men’s) and Osprey Renn (women’s) backpacks (available in 50L or 65L volumes) have been two of our longtime favorites in the Osprey pack line because they provide enormous value in comfort and capability without a huge price tag. They’re excellent multi-day backpacks if you’re new to backpacking or only get out a few times yearly but still want a fully featured, high-quality backpack.

Backpack Storage and Organization

In addition to the main storage compartment, the Osprey Rook 50 has a top lid pocket, side water bottle pockets, hip belt pockets, and a bottom compartment with a rain cover.

The top lid pocket is quite large and has lots of room to store essentials
The top lid pocket is quite large and has lots of room to store essentials.

The top lid is sewn to the pack and not removable. It has a single pocket with plenty of room for a map, a keyring (a key fob is provided), a hat, gloves, etc. The top lid has some stretch around the edges, which gives it a nice fit around the top of the pack and prevents it from flopping down the front when overloaded.

The main compartment closes with a drawstring that is easy to cinch tight and pull open. The pack’s shape also makes it easy to see inside the pack so that you can locate gear quickly. There is an internal buckle/compression strap that cinches the gear (not an external strap that cinches across the top… but an internal one). It is bright red and easy to find and use.

The Rook has side mesh water bottle pockets and an internal hydration pocket if you prefer to use a reservoir and hose. My bottles fit easily into them and stay secure when I put them in from the top (vertically). But when I put the bottle in the diagonal opening, the water bottles slip out when I lean forward. This is true of many packs. 

The Rook has side pockets with holster style openings that are easy to reach when wearing the pack.
The Rook has side pockets with holster style openings that are easy to reach when wearing the pack.

There’s also a sleeping bag hatch on the front of the pack so you can access gear at the bottom without unpacking the entire thing. A shelf-like flap on the interior folds down to create a sleeping bag compartment, but you can also fold it up if you want to treat the pack’s main compartment as a long, continuous space.

The hip belt pockets are surprisingly roomy, with plenty of room for several snack bars, most smartphones, small cameras, etc. They have an interesting design where only part of the pocket is sewn to the hip belt, and the other end is attached to the hip compression strap. This results in a huge, room, and easy-to-access hip belt pocket.

The Rook's hipbelt pockets are enormous and can hold a full days worth of snacks
The Rook’s hipbelt pockets are enormous and can hold a full days worth of snacks

The Rook does not have a front stretch mesh pocket that many backpackers like because it provides a place to store damp gear. The pack does not have a stow n’go trekking pole carry system either, although there are gear loops near the bottom (front)of the pack you can stick your pole tips onto while securing the pole shafts with the pack’s side compression straps.

Backpack Frame and Suspension

The Rook is an internal frame backpack with an adjustable-length torso so that you can dial in your exact torso length. This is important because the pack comes in one size, fitting torsos from 18″ to 22″.

The torso length is adjusted by moving the shoulder straps up or down.
The torso length is adjusted by moving the shoulder straps up or down.

The adjustment system is designed to raise or lower the shoulder pads, relative to the fixed hip belt, which is how you adjust for torso length. The shoulder pads are attached to a ladder-like adjustment system where you slot connectors into the holes corresponding to your torso length. This system was introduced several years ago and is now shared by many Osprey models.

The Rook is also a ventilated backpack, with a suspended mesh back panel that allows superior airflow behind your back to help dry perspiration. The ventilation cavity is not as deep as on some of Osprey’s other packs, so it doesn’t interfere with internal storage.

Your back rests against mesh which is suspended over an air cavity
Your back rests against mesh, which is suspended over an air cavity.

The Rook has a lightweight wire frame that runs along the perimeter, with a reinforced center bar that adds rigidity to the pack and prevents barrelling when carrying a bear canister. I found the load transfer to the hip belt quite exceptional, taking the pressure off my shoulders and placing it on my hips, even when I loaded the pack up with extra gear and water. Surprisingly, the fully loaded pack is very well-balanced.   The weight “moves with me” when I hike, step, or cross a rocky stream bed. 

External Attachment Points and Compression

The Rook has one compression strap that runs above each side water bottle pocket. These straps can stabilize your load or help shrink the pack volume. They are also useful for securing longer items, like trekking poles or tent poles, to the side of your pack so they don’t fall out of side pockets.

There are straps (removable) at the base of the pack, a nice feature for carrying bulky objects so they don’t take over the pack’s closed storage. Many pack makers have dropped such straps from their packs, but they’re really quite handy and a bonus.

The Rook has straps in front whch can be used to attach a bulky sleeping pad or tent body.
The Rook has straps in front whch can be used to attach a bulky sleeping pad or tent body.

In addition, there are gear loops located around the front of the pack and on top of the lid, where you can attach additional items with webbing straps or cords. For example, you could carabiner Crocs to these loops to carry them more easily.

Comparable Multi-Day Backpacks

Make / ModelWeight
Osprey Exos 582 lbs 13 oz
Gregory Focal 582 lbs 9.3 oz
Zpacks Arc Haul Ultra 601 lbs 3.6 oz
Osprey Exos Pro 551 lbs 15 oz
Osprey Atmos AG 654 lbs 10 oz
Gregory Katmai 654 lbs 12 oz
Deuter Futura Air Trek 50+104 lbs 8 oz
Aarn Mountain Magic Pro 502 lb 8 oz
Gregory Zulu 453 lbs 8.3 oz
Osprey Rook 653 lbs 8 oz


The Osprey Rook 50 is a well-designed, easy-to-use backpack with enough features and pockets to stay organized but simple enough that you don’t need an owner’s manual to figure it out!  The pack is well suited for overnight and weekend trips and great for first-timers or those newer to backpacking because it is user-friendly and affordable. My favorite pack features were the super-easy torso adjustability and overall fit/feel/balance when loaded.  The only drawback was not having an outside stash pocket for wet rain gear.

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  1. Thanks for the review! I’m curious what weights you found comfortable with this pack. I’m looking at Philmont-level weights for a Scout troop (40+ pounds). Does this feel up to carrying that, or is it a 30 pound max pack?

  2. That outside mesh pocket is clutch!

  3. Besides weight, how would you compare this to Gossamer Gear’s “Gorilla”?

    • The Rook can carry a lot more weight but its a very different style pack from the Gorilla. For one it has a top lid, no front mesh pockets, and no sit pad. It’s also ventilated, something the Gorilla is most assuredly not.

      • Thanks for that. Your personal experience with both means a lot. I could not tell from online descriptions that the Gorilla was not ventilated. Thank you
        Also, where did your White Mountail Trail descriptions go? Am I not seeing something? Or did you decide to publish them?

  4. Bought Rook packs for my son and grandson . The adjustable torso feature allows for the growth of the grandson, who is 14. Neither miss the stretchy mesh pocket and my sonslikes the separate entry for his sleeping bag.

    Rides well, has the Osprey quality, and theirs is navy blue which hides dirt (though they probably don’t care). A great find! They’ll have these packs for years.

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