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  • Michael Deckard
    Mar 5, 2013
    • 0 Attachment
      *Osprey Stratos 24 Pack*

      Tester Bio:

      Name: Mike Deckard

      Age: 26

      Gender: Male

      Height: 6'0" (1.83 Meters)

      Weight: 245 Pounds (111 Kg)

      Email: michaeljdeckard@...

      City, State, Country: St. Louis, Missouri, USA

      Date: March 5, 2013

      Backpacking Background:

      I started backpacking with the scouts when I was around 13 (about 13 years
      ago). I typically go on day hikes, weekend overnighters and a few longer
      trips a year. The Missouri Ozarks and river valleys are my typical range,
      althogh I'm excited to start doing more traveling to other NPs and
      wilderness areas.

      Manufacturer: Osprey

      Year of manufacture: 2011

      URL: www.ospreypacks.com

      Listed weight: 2lbs, 10oz (1.18 Kg) [sizeL]

      Actual weight: 2lb, 13.5oz (1.19 Kg)

      MSRP: $99.00

      Product description: "The Stratos 24 offers simple panel access in a
      lightweight, comfortable, custom fit daypack. Dual mesh side pockets with
      InsideOut� compression and zippered mesh hipbelt pockets allow for easy
      gear access."

      *Field Information:*

      Location(s): st. Louis, MO area state/county parks; St. Charles County MO
      private hunting land; numerous rugby trips and day outings around the
      Midwest USA.

      Description: mostly flat to moderately hilly, desciduous forests, less than
      1,000ft (300 meter)elevation.

      Weather: Between 40-90*F (~4-32*C), clear to light rain.

      Trips: I've taken the bag on numerous short day hikes and overnight trips.
      Besides backpacking, I use this bag as a general-purpose backpack any time
      I go on an a one-two night trip, as a carry-on on a plane, as a rugby kit
      bag, and just about any time I need to carry more than what will fit in my

      When I first won this bag at an online auction benefitting the organization
      Wilderness Volunteers, I could not wait to test it out. Since the day I
      opened the box, the Stratos 24 has become a staple of my outdoor gear, and
      generally the most used item I own for carrying anything from gear for a
      day hike to clothes and toiletries for a hotel overnight to my rugby
      equipment on the bus to a match. Osprey has incorporated some really
      thoughtful features into this bag, and while some are more practical than
      others, many go a long way to increasing its multi-use functionality.

      The most prominent and unique feature of this bag is what Osprey calls the �
      AirSpeed� 3D mesh backpanel and LightWire� frame�. Now, for a big guy like
      myself, I often experience this phenomenon known as �swamp-back�. So when I
      put the pack on for the first time, I really was excited about having a
      hefty layer of nothing-but-air between my spine and the pack. The mesh
      allows fresh air to circulate between your body and the bag, minimizing the
      stifling, heat-and-sweat-generating contact that is all too familiar for
      many a large hiker and backpacker. Right away, I liked it.

      As I started to load up the pack, the tradeoffs of this innovating frame
      became apparent. For a panel-loading pack, it can be difficult to get items
      larger than a thermos into the pack, due to the curved, rigid structure of
      the frame. In addition, there is an interior pocket across the entire
      back-inside panel that is, frankly, largely useless. I believe the idea was
      for it to be meant to hold one of Osprey�s hydration bladders (sold
      separately). The configuration of the hydration system allows it to hang
      either in the space between the pack and the mesh back panel or inside this
      envelope within the pack. I have the 3-liter version of the bladder, and it
      does slide neatly inside the interior pocket�when it is empty. When it�s
      full of 3 liters of water, it takes up a healthy chunk of the main panel of
      the pack: not good when you�re only working with a 24L pack.

      Staying with the hydration system, another feature of the pack is so hard
      to use that it escapes all reason and common sense. The small clip that
      serves to hang the reservoir is on the outside of the pack, behind the mesh
      back panel. Separating this area from the main pack is a zippered opening
      that can only be opened (let alone closed again) by tugging and pulling at
      the fabric of the pack so hard that you are sure you will rip out the
      stitching. What�s even more frustrating is that there is no way to use this
      pack with a reservoir *without *opening this zipper! Whether you hang the
      bladder outside or tuck it in the envelope, the hanger or the sip tube has
      to pass through this opening.

      Once you resolve the issue with the reservoir, the rest of the hydration
      system is nice. Dual slits in the top corners allow you to choose which
      side of the pack the tube rest on, and each shoulder strap provides anchor
      points for the magnetic bite-tube holder.

      The shoulder straps and hip belt are wonderfully comfortable and easy to
      use. Load stabilizers are a welcome site on such a small pack, and the hip
      belt has a wide range, able to accommodate the smallest and largest
      adventurers. A sternum strap with a built-in emergency whistle and small
      iPod/accessory pocket on the right shoulder strap are useful additions. The
      hip belt also features two large zippered mesh pouches, each large enough
      for your smart phone, an array of snacks and protein bars, and whatever
      trash you generate or pick up along the trail.

      The top of the pack features a sturdy carry handle (which I use to hang it
      from tree branch stubs) and a nice size accessory pocket with an attached
      clip for your keys. On the outside of the main panel is another pocket good
      for a first aid kit and any small accessories you may want to keep handy.
      The only caveat with the top pocket is that when the pack is fully-loaded,
      it can be a challenge to load or retrieve items, since the mesh feeds
      directly in to the main pack and can become pinched or smashed with other
      gear. It is not recommended for sunglasses or other easily-destroyed items.

      Osprey decided it was important to add a system for securing an ice-axe to
      this pack, to which I say, really? I imagine that there are people who use
      the elastic clip and corresponding loop for this purpose, but I find it
      more suitable for hanging my bandana or camp socks (or anything) to dry
      while I�m on the trail.

      The Stratos series comes equipped with a built-in rain cover with its own
      dedicated pouch on the back of the pack, which is nice if you like and use
      rain covers. If you don�t, it is easily removable, which gives you an
      additional small area to store maps, assorted small items, hat, gloves,

      The pack also has a trekking-pole secure system, for when you don�t feel
      like using your poles. I�ve never used this feature, but the design and
      materials lead me to believe it likely works, but may become annoying if
      your left arm routinely hits the pole handles sticking out from the bottom
      of the shoulder strap.

      Two mesh water bottle holders are good for anything tall and skinny. You
      can fit a full 32oz/1L Nalgene in one, but you have to have two hands and a
      sense of purpose to do it. A Smart Water bottle and an MSR liquid fuel
      canister fit nicely, though.

      A four-point compression system keeps everything tight and in place, and
      the top straps let you secure tent poles, a shed layer such as a fleece or
      rain coat or anything else you want handy on the outside of the pack.

      Overall, I think Osprey has hit the mark wonderfully with the Stratos, even
      if they did go a bit overboard on trying to make this pack so multi-sport
      that the average user could not possibly make use of all of the design
      features. If you�re looking for a multi-purpose, lightweight pack for day
      hikes or ultralight weekend trips, look no further than the Stratos. This
      model is the smallest in the product line that goes all the way up to 36L,
      which is nice if you want to carry a sleeping back or full-size tent (not
      feasible with this size of pack unless you are a true ultralight

      Summary: A nice, multi-purpose daypack or ultranight overnight pack.

      Things I like:

      - AirSpeed mesh back panel and frame

      - Comfort and fit of shoulder straps and hip belt

      - Multiple storage options and accessibility of essential gear

      Thing I could do without:

      - Intrusion of frame in to the main storage compartment

      - Impossible-to-use zipper in hydration system

      - Useless interior pouch

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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