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Osprey Stratos 34 Pack | Review

Updated ventilated hiking day-pack mixes Ospreys excellent build quality, myriad features and a supportive trampoline-style back system.

‘All the usual Osprey excellence in build and features with a taut ventilated back system makes this an excellent all-day hiking pack that’s even up for light packing if you choose’

Outdoors Magic: Build quality, pockets, easy access to main compartment, taut ventilated back system, proper belt pockets, ace trekking pole stowage, adjustable back length, super supportive.

Outdoors Tragic: We found the prominent seams on the suspended mesh panel dug in slightly, so try for fit before buying. Mesh pocket long-term durability question mark.

Outdoors Grabbit? The latest Stratos combines the back and hip-belt mesh fabrics for a super supportive wrap-around fit. Taut, cool, suspended trampoline mesh copes well with medium to heavy loads and there are billions of pockets plus easy access to the main compartment via a whopping zip. The back is adjustable for length too. It’s an excellent pack, but the one issue we had was with the taut seam of the back panel pressing slightly against our back. For that reason, we’d suggest trying before buying. If it fits you, it’s a great pack.

 

Full Specification

Ventilated hiking and walking daypack / zip-accessed main compartment / zipped front-pocket / stretch mesh side-pockets / twin belt-pockets / top zip-pocket / hydration compatible / AirSpeed™ trampoline suspended mesh back system / adjustable torso length plus two sizes / Stow-on-the-Go™ trekking pole attachment / sternum strap with emergency whistle / single ice axe loop.

Full Review Below

The taut, trampoline-style back system creates a decent, cooling air gap without compromising stability. We did have issues with the seams digging in slightly, though we suspect that's a fit thing - Photo: Lukasz Warzecha (lwimages.co.uk)
Huge main compartment zipped panel allows easy access though you may need to unclip top compression straps too - Photo: Lukasz Warzecha (lwimages.co.uk)
No shortage of pockets including this handy zipped front one which works great for shell jackets and, er, gloves - Photo: Lukasz Warzecha (lwimages.co.uk)

Osprey Stratos 34 Pack | Performance

We’ve maybe become a little blasé about Osprey’s consistent excellence in terms of features, design and build quality, but they’re all present and correct in the newly revamped Stratos (men’s) and Sirius (women’s) pack ranges.

The essence of the Stratos remains the same – an all-round hiking and walking day-sack with a trampoline-stye suspended mesh back panel for cooling ventilation on hotter days – but it’s been subtly redesigned for 2017.

The most obvious change is the adoption of a wrap-around, continuous hip-belt / back panel design based on the the AntiGravity system used on Osprey’s larger packs. It’s hard to describe, but the pack does feel wrapped around your hips rather than just perched on them.

The air-gap’s been carefully moderated too and now has little impaction on either stability or the shape of the main compartment, which on some similar designs can get a little, well, banana shaped…

All good with the mesh/foam shoulder straps. Back length can be tailored to suit over two sizes of pack – Photo: Lukasz Warzecha (lwimages.co.uk)

Generally we’ve found it comfortable and supportive, even with medium heavy light-packing loads, but we have found the tensioned inner seam of the suspended panel digs in to our back between the shoulder blades just enough to be a little intrusive.

To be fair, we suspect that’s about fit. The OM editorial test back is quite wide and you may not have the same issue. Try before buying is our advice. There is plenty of back length adjustability and the pack comes in two sizes as well.

Feature-tastic…

We can’t fault the Stratos when it comes to features. There are loads of pockets including a lid-substitute top one and two excellent, large-sized, easy-access belt ones all with big, glove-friendly pullers.

There’s a lower compartment for the main body with independent access too, though we never really used it. And speaking of the main compartment, huge zipped panel access makes it super easy to get things in and out.

Stow-on-the-Go™ trekking pole attachment tucks those poles away when you don’t want them – Photo: Lukasz Warzecha (lwimages.co.uk)

One bonus for trekking pole users is the excellent Osprey Stow-on-the-Go™ trekking pole attachment system, which uses shock-cord on the shoulder strap to effectively tuck your poles away under your arm when they’re not needed.

No need to remove your pack to use it. No fiddling about with pole-tips and loops only to find you want to use the poles again two minutes later. It’s a little slice of genius.

Our only slight quibble is with the long-term durability of the stretch mesh side-pockets. As with similar designs, they don’t mix well with rock and abrasion, though Osprey has minimised the impact by making the lower sections from solid fabric.

Finally, the larger versions of the pack do equally well for light-packing use or bothying, while still being compact enough for general day use.

Pull to tension belt adjustability and handy hip pockets for easy stowage are typical Osprey touches - Photo: Lukasz Warzecha (lwimages.co.uk)

Osprey Stratos 34 Pack | Verdict

Osprey’s all-day, all-round ventilated hiking pack just got a little bit better in the load-carrying department for 2017. It still has all the all-round excellent features and sterling build quality you’d expect from the brand along with that little bit of indefinable glitzy star quality, but the adoption of the AntiGravity technology means it carries a little better particularly with weightier loads.

Throw in a narrower, but still effective air gap back system and all the pockets and pole carrying options you could want and you’ve got yourself a really impressive all-round day pack that’ll do double duty for light packing and bothying too.

Our one reservation is over the way the tensioned seams either side of the trampoline mesh dug into our back very slightly, but that isn’t a problem for everyone, so we’d simply suggest that you try a loaded-up Stratos before buying. That quibble aside, it’s another excellent Osprey offering.

More Information

See ospreyeurope.com

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