I have had the Osprey Stratos 24L for right at a year now. In that time I think I have taken it on around 100 miles worth of day hikes. So I think I am at the point where I feel comfortable writing my rather detailed review of the Osprey Stratos 24L.
Overview The Stratos is available in two sizes: 24L and 36L and four colors. I have the 24L liter version which obviously has a volume of 24L and is in black. Osprey claims a weight of 2.7lbs for the Stratos 24L and on my scale it came out to 2.79lbs with the included rain fly. Osprey recommends a load range of 10-25 pounds. I think the heaviest I have ever loaded my Stratos 24L is to right at 8 kilos so right at 18ish pounds. The Osprey Stratos 24L retails for $130 and I’m pretty sure that is what I paid for mine. I would consider this to be more of a “technical” daypack. All around I love this pack and I think it is a great setup for longer day hikes or when you need to carry a little more gear for something more technical or adverse weather conditions.
The Basics The Osprey Stratos 24L is an internal framed pack with a mesh back suspension system. The back mesh flows seamlessly into the mesh hip belt. I like that it is one continuous piece so it doesn’t bunch, catch, or rub. The hip belt has two pockets that are solid for storing snacks or other “useful” stuff, I prefer snacks. I can wedge my iPhone X into the pockets but with a slim Otterbox on my phone it is more a pain than it is worth. The shoulder straps are height adjustable to the back panel via a huge section of Velcro. There is also an adjustable sternum strap that slides up and down the shoulder straps via a track. It has a handy dandy safety whistle built into the buckle!
Moving around to the main storage area. It is accessible via two zippers that run about two thirds of the way around the pack. It is nice to have them go down that far so that I can stuff things like gloves or gaiters down towards the side at the bottom but still get them out without having to unload the entire main compartment. The main compartment does have a bladder pouch along with a hole to route the tube out through. The system is set up with a clip to work with Osprey’s Hydraulics water bladders but it works well enough with others like Camelbak. However, routing the tube out of the pack is a tight fit and honestly a pain in the ass. Also, of note the Osprey Stratos 24L does not include a hydration bladder with it.
Hanging down into the main storage compartment is a mesh zippered pocket that is accessed through a zipper at the top of the pack. It is a great place to store small items that you want to be able to get to relatively easy like car keys. The pouch actually has a bright red lanyard clip for just that purpose. However convenient it is the mesh pocket is also on of my few complaints on the Osprey Stratos 24L. By hanging down into the main compartment it completely covers the hydration bladder pouch. It is inconvenient when the pack is empty and you’re trying to put the water bladder in and route the hydration hose. I can only imagine it would be a complete nightmare with a full mesh pouch obscuring your view as you try to take the bladder out to refill it. Luckily, I use the Osprey Hydraulics LT 2.5L bladder which I have never had to refill on a day hike.
On the back side of the Osprey Stratos 24L there are three more pockets. At the top is a small storage pocket that is good for storing headlamps and such items. It could easily fit sunglasses or extra snacks as well. Running the length of the pack is a big zippered pouch with Velcro at the top. This is my favorite place to stuff my rain jacket as it keeps it accessible but also separate from the rest of the stuff in my pack if it is still a little wet. Lastly, at the bottom is a small pocket for the built in rain fly. It attaches via a little toggle lanyard to the pack but still fits over so you won’t “misplace” it. If you don’t feel like bringing the rain fly along it can easily be removed but it doesn’t really free up any extra room in that pocket as the items from the main compartment will just push further down into the pack.
There are a couple of technical features on the Osprey Stratos 24L that I want to make note of. On the back right side is an ice axe loop that secures via a bungee strap. It held my Black Diamond Raven 65cm ice axe in place while hiking Mount Taylor. On the left side of the Stratos 24L is Osprey’s stow & go trekking pole attachment system. It features a bungee loop covered in plastic at the bottom of the pack where the points of the trekking poles go through. Then the handles go through another bungee loop with a cinch point on the left shoulder strap. The system seems kind of flimsy but actually works rather well. I don’t think I would leave my trekking poles there for an entire hike but while I had my ice axe out for a mile or so of uphill hiking the trekking poles stayed in the stow & go system without issue.
There are mesh water bottle pouches on either side of the Osprey Stratos 24L. Each water bottle pouch has a compression strap but one runs below the mesh while the other runs over it. Honestly, I think it could have been a good way to store more bulky/non-compressible items in the one pouch but the compression straps really don’t work all that well. They are just hard to tighten down. There are also compression straps at either top corner of the Osprey Stratos 24L that work much better and actually seem to make a difference when it comes to compressing your load.
Load Carrying One of the most important aspects of any pack is how does it carry a load and how much can it reasonably be expected to carry. I have filled the Osprey Stratos 24L up to its max size and hit around 18lbs and hiked without issue. I carried right around 16lbs in it for a 16 mile hike up Santa Fe Baldy with 3,570’ of elevation gain. Between the shoulder straps, padded hip belt, mesh back panel, and load lifter straps the Stratos 24L is pretty adjustable mid hike. So, as you tire of carrying the weight on your hips you can adjust it more onto your shoulders and so on to share the load around. Although, it really does carry pretty well and only starts to become uncomfortable after long days of continuous use.
Size wise I think the Osprey Stratos 24L is solid and versatile. It can definitely fit everything you will need for a lengthier winter day hike when you have to have room for extra layers. I have only maxed out the Stratos 24L by making sure it can fit my entire layering system in it if I end up much warmer than expected and need to go all the way down to my baselayer. I think it could carry more weight easily I just really haven’t had a reason to put anymore in it.
The Bad or Annoying My complaints with the Osprey Stratos 24L are pretty limited. Like I mentioned before I am not a fan of how the mesh pouch hangs down into the main compartment covering the water bladder pouch. The routing for the water bladder is also a pain to deal with. I wish the hip belts pockets were just a tiny bit bigger so my iPhone would fit in them but that is really not much of a problem. I also wish the compression straps at the bottom by the mesh water bottle pouches worked a little bit better but honestly most of these complaints fall into the annoying not bad category and I’m really scrapping the bottom of the barrel to come up with even these.
Summary Overall I really like the Osprey Stratos 24L and at $130 I think it presents a pretty solid value. Size wise it is almost perfect for longer day hikes and is still compressible for shorter hikes. On winter trips it will carry quit a load although our recent trip to Mount Taylor in the winter pretty much maxed it out with three different jackets, spare gloves, crampons, gaiters, water, med kit, food, and a survival pouch. I have hiked as little as 4 miles with the Stratos 24L, as many as 16 miles, and completed 8 miles of kicking trail in the snow. Covering those extremes makes this an all around versatile pack at a reasonable price. The Osprey Stratos 24L also seems to be quite durable. I have scrapped it against rocks while scrambling without any issue and plopped it down in lots of dirt and sand with nothing more than a few small stains on the hip belt to show for it.
There are loads of other great packs out there and many that are better than the Osprey Stratos 24L especially in more niche functions. But as a great all around daypack that can be called upon to do more when needed the Osprey Stratos 24L really does knock it out of the park.
For this review I purchased an Osprey Stratos 24L from Backcountry.com
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