Best for heavier loads and use above the bushline
Plusses: Comfortable, strongly built, feature replete
1026g / 24l
Features: This pack’s adjustable harness is a notable feature. It provides 10cm length adjustment and utilises a suspended highly breathable back panel that keeps the sack away from the back. Plush shoulder straps and hipbelt are well ventilated and form-fitting. A light but rigid frame provides load support and stiffness. The main compartment has a heavy-duty #10 YKK zip, and inside there’s a hydration sleeve with a central hose port. It has a small zippered external pocket and gusseted stretch mesh pockets on the sides. With a rain cover, ice axe retainer, compression straps and hiking pole stowage, this pack’s ready for a mission.
Fit: This is a men’s model and comes in one size, but it has ample, quick and secure adjustment.
Comfort: The pack is form-fitting and the adjustable back length makes it easy to refine the fit. The great fit makes it handle heavier loads well. It’s the sort of pack that moves with you. No matter how carelessly it’s packed, with the Airspeed harness there won’t be anything digging into your back.
In use: Although it claims to be 24l, the Stratos appears to be much bigger. It feels like a small overnighter and, as such, it’s probably best suited to light overnight or day trips where a lot of gear is carried – such as family trips or photography. It’s not what I’d use for commuting or as a casual day pack. Loaded up with an ice axe, spare clothes, food and water it’s a great pack to use with high-quality features.
Value: For the same price you could buy a larger pack of another brand, but Osprey packs are among the best in the world and this one is very well-featured.
Verdict: The Stratos borrows features from larger packs but assembles them in a smaller bundle that’s designed to go the distance and last well.