Osprey Stratos 34
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: I can't remember - haven't had to replace it for 3 years now.
This is a well-made, well designed pack, designed to fit everyone from the slim lady to the more robust guy. It is the only pack I carried for 5 months hiking through SE Asia.
- Extremely durable
- Good sized hip belt pockets, easy to access
- Very light weight
- Comfortable to wear for extended periods
- Excellent air flow
- Quick and snug fitting rain protector
- Need to remove gear to fill water bladder
I first bought my Stratos 34 for a 210km, 3 day trail run on the Bibbulmun Track in Western Australia. I was so impressed with the comfort under speed, for extended hours on consecutive days, that I decided to take only this pack for 5 months in SE Asia.
The pack fits really well, and can be adjusted for comfortable wear for a surprising range of builds. The chest straps are adjustable not only by tightening and loosening, but can be moved vertically for a more individual fit.
As far as comfort goes, few compare to Osprey. A lightweight but sturdy internal frame with the back net for exceptional airflow is complimented by well padded shoulder straps and hip belt. I believe few have tested this pack for comfort over extended periods and in various adverse conditions like I have. Hiking 60km days through the Australian bush, monsoonal Asian jungles and swollen rivers, and arid outback Australian desert trails, I cannot in anyway fault this pack for comfort.
Organisation of the pack has been well thought out. A small pack, the front zipper opening allows for quick access to gear, with generous side pockets, top pocket and front pocket. On extended journeys organisation and ease of access is important - the Stratos 34 does not disappoint. Whilst I carried it at capacity, which was ample, the pack sits well with even weight dispersion no matter how full you choose to fill it.
I would have to say the most exceptional feature of this pack is its durability. Made of lightweight materials, I have expected the pack integrity to fail long before now — but it just keeps performing. Incredible comfort over long distances and in extreme conditions, it is the perfect pack for the minimalist hiker over 3 seasons.
Of my travels with this pack, the solo 160km hike through dense Cambodian jungle which included swimming swollen rivers, slogging through thick mudpits, sudden monsoonal downpours, and a few inquisitive animals in extremely stifling heat and humidity was the most robust hike this pack has endured.
However, it has also been my pack of choice canyoning in Karijini NP, hiking Australian bush and mountains, multi day kayaking through the islands of Vietnam, and been my home for 5 months of constant use and abuse in SE Asia.
Designed to be a light hiker, it won't disappoint. For the more adventurous, minimalist hiker, this pack is ideal for anything bar an alpine winter, only because it won't fit all the gear you'd need.
The only downfall was having to remove gear to refill the bladder.
Anyone who needs an overnight hiking pack should buy this pack. Anyone who wants to hike endlessly through extreme conditions with a well thought out light load should also buy this pack. Quite simply, the best pack I have ever owned.