After having used a couple of day packs which included the Deuter Futura 32, and Lowe Alpine Quest 27, using the 2014 version of the Stratos 26 from Osprey, I instantly noticed the subtle differences in design made to the overall comfort of this daypack.
What I like
The overall design of the pack is simple. It has one main body with a top loading design, meaning you can stuff it pretty full without the restriction of zippers (It is available in a zippered version). With a double compartmentalised top lid you can add smaller items and valuables, such as your keys, wallet, headlamp and first aid kit, separating it from the rest of your larger gear.
There are three compartments on the body which include two bottle holders which can just squeeze a 1-litre Nalgene bottle on each side, an inner sleeve for a Camelbak water bladder (3-litre version), as well as a little zippered section on the bottom of the pack to house the rain cover, which is a nice green colour adorned with the Osprey logo.
The two final storage areas are located on each side of the hip belt. Both are generous in size which I utilise to store my trail mix, whistle and pocket knife, hand sanitiser and a GPS (I use the Garmin etrex 20) when needed.
The shoulder straps and harness belt are well padded with fantastic ventilation,and the whole pack harness system follows the contours of my shoulders and distributes the weight predominantly to my hips.
The ‘stow on the go’ trekking pole storage loops are a fantastic addition to the day pack, particularly useful on long hikes over changing terrain where I need to regularly put away my trekking poles. You are also given the option to store your poles in a more permanent position at the back with the appropriate anchor points.
Another point worth mentioning is price. I picked this up for $135 AUD, plus about $10 in postage fees from www.globetrekker.com.au which is located in Brisbane. Do keep in mind that the top loader design which is the one I’m reviewing here is not as popular as the zippered model, and the reason why I had to have it shipped interstate as opposed to buying it here in Melbourne. The pack is still backed by Ospreys limited lifetime guarantee, which is pretty awesome if you ask me.
What I dislike
There are two separate zippered compartments located on the top lid of the pack, with the bottom one being quite difficult to access. This is due to the top part of the internal aluminium frame, which sits quite high around the neck area, blocking user access to the zipper. Not only does this minimise access and make it quite difficult to get your fingers too, but it also means you really have to be careful when trying to store something a little larger than your average sized wallet. I can only just fit my Adventure Medical Kit 0.5 first aid kit in there. One solution to the problem would be to transfer the bottom zipper on the underside of the lid. The Alpine Quest 27 by Lowe Alpine does this quite well.
Another point worth mentioning, is due to the contours of the back meshed section to allow air flow, it really does limit the amount you can store in the main body of the pack. I guess this isn’t a ‘dislike’ since all packs which utilise this technology would have the same problem, and holistically I think the benefits outweigh the limitations, but for review purposes, I would have to point this out as a negative.
Would I recommend
Other than the only design flaw of the top lid zipper, the pack is very comfortable with no issues with durability to date, and is, for the most part, a very well thought through day pack. I’m looking forward to seeing how it performs on our trek up Mt Kilimanjaro later this year.