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February 2021 Issue
Home / Gear reviews / Packs

Osprey Hikelite 26



Our Rating:

At a glance
Plusses: Good ventilation, comfortable, lifetime guarantee
Minuses: Minimalist hip harness limits use

710g / 26-litres

Features: This nifty daypack is made from 100D nylon, with a 500D bottom. One large zip compartment provides top-loading access, and two mesh side pockets and a front stretch pocket store smaller items. A small scratch-resistant organisation pocket will protect delicate items. An AirSpeed suspension back panel is supported by a LightWire frame, and a removable webbing hip belt and sternum strap provide security. The pack is hydration reservoir compatible, and comes with pole attachments and a detachable rain cover. 

Fit: Adjustments are limited to shoulder and hip straps, as there is no means of adjusting back length. This may bother tall users, who might find the hip strap sits somewhere around their navel, but should suffice for most. Adjustment is simple and quick. 

Comfort: Osprey is renowned for comfort, and the Hikelite is no exception. The AirSpeed suspension panel and curved frame keep the pack away from a wearer’s back, ensuring ventilation and comfort. The hip belt is a simple nylon webbing and has no padding. A more substantial belt would feel more snug, and enable heavier loads to be carried comfortably. 

In use: Arguably Osprey’s most minimalist line of packs, the Hikelite shaves weight by removing the brand’s famously comfortable hip belt system. The nylon webbing used here is not as hip-hugging, though it prevents bounce and keeps the pack stable against the lower back. However, the no frills design limits the weight load that can be comfortably carried.

The pack has a relatively slim profile, though isn’t as tall as some equivalent daypacks – as greater depth has been opted for. It hugs the back well though, and can be cinched in to reduce its profile. Movement of the shoulders and torso are unrestricted, but the pack can develop a bounce when jogging or speeding downhill.

Ventilation is excellent, and having the bulk of the pack away from the back means you can really stuff it full and not worry about lumpy gear sticking into your back – often a downfall of daypacks. Sweat, too, is kept away from the pack, and the AirSpeed suspension mesh is quick drying.

At 26l, it will suffice (just) for overnight trips, and the mesh pockets and stash pocket will extend the volume of the pack a tiny bit if necessary.

The scratch resistant pocket is a great feature for the modern tramper, and it should keep your smartphone, sunglasses or camera equipment safe.

For lightweight day excursions, it’s a good choice of pack, and the detachable rain cover ensures insurance against the elements. 

Value: A well priced daypack, bolstered by Osprey’s epic lifetime guarantee. 

Verdict: Excellent ventilation, lightweight, and comfortable, but not Osprey’s best. 

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