User Review: Osprey Stratos 24
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $120
A great ride daypack with limited storage, but wonderful airflow and good hydration options.
- Hydration options
- Hip straps
- Storage space
- Few pockets
- Those dark corners at the bottom of the big pocket
- Elastic pockets on side waller out quickly
- Fixed torso length
I've had this pack for about 5 years and it went from being my daily commute pack to a standby and now is back to a daily pack. I've mostly used it as a biking backpack and don't know how it would handle regular use as a daypack for hiking, but I love the way it fits and sits so much that I'd be happy to have it along, if it fit a day's worth of gear.
Storage and Features
It might not be obvious by looking at it online, but the pack has a HUGE airflow chamber that takes up almost half of the space of the large pocket. The airflow chamber is a mesh and plastic rod-framed enclosure that is against your back, allowing for very good airflow.
While riding I can dip my head and expose a bit of the top of the pack to wind and feel it against my back. Great for commuting in your work clothing or for hot days when you don't want your pack sweating up your back. The downside is that you have a rather large looking pack that can hold about one jacket, a long sleeved shirt and a snack.
Not that I haven't loaded it down though. With two elastic pockets on the sides, strapping on the back and a large elastic pocket on the back of the pack, it can be stretched and crammed to hold a lot. I've come home with my pack full of food and a case of beer (cans) strapped snugly on top of the load, using the cargo straps to hold it on.
The elastic pocket is perfect for my extra large bike lock and a couple frisbees, but not large enough for a bike helmet or soccer ball. In fact, I have to deflate my volleyball to get it through the zipper in the main compartment because of the airflow enclosure.
FIT and Harness
There is a fair amount of adjustment to the harness, with double adjustment on the shoulder straps and user-friendly straight pull tightening on the hip belt. The torso length is fixed, but with the shoulder straps being adjustable, it can work well for a range of sizes.
It has an inside pocket for a hydration pack, but, and this is a fun feature, there is also a zipper that lets you put the hydration pack inside the airvent enclosure, which saves a ton of space. With a 2L water pouch in the main compartment, the pack is almost full, so putting it in the air space is almost a must. This has the major drawback of warming your water with almost direct contact from your back. Great if you fill the pouch with ice and let your back sweat melt it into water, but really crappy if you don't want back-temp water after 2 hours. There is plenty of length and width to put an insulating sleeve around the water bag though, so this could be remedied.
The durability is solid, with all straps and seems holding up so far. The weak points are where the bag rests on the ground (cordura) and the elastic pockets which have become stretched out like a wizard's sleeve. I've had my coffee thermos fly out in traffic because I leaned a bit and the elastic wasn't snug enough. Ok, it's happened a few times so I should probably learn to not put it there, but putting it inside risks coffee stains on my work clothes.
I'm against reviews of gear you've had in your hands for only a few minutes. Something may look tough or feel nice when you put it on the first time, but if you pay $120 for a pack, it should hold up for a long time. This one does and it feels really nice on my back and secure while I'm riding or walking. Not useful for walking around campus with a load of books, but very nice for a hike or extended bike ride.