by Marcus Leach
There are few better companies better for rucksacks than Osprey, and not without good reason, as The Essential Cyclist found out in the Alps recently.
Armed, amongst other things, with a brand new state-of-the-art Osprey Stratos 34 rucksack we set off into the wintery Alps for a week of outdoor adventure. Billed as the perfect rucksack for multi-day hiking and day-long trips into the wilderness we were keen to put those claims to the test, and it didn't disappoint.
When you're going to have a pack on all day, day after day, you want it to be comfortable, and despite being full, not feel like you have a heavy load on your back. Added to that you don't want to have a sweaty back whilst wearing it, not too much to ask then.
Not too much at all for Osprey, whose ventilated AirSpeed back-system ensured that all pre-requisites were ticked off with their trampoline back system offering great structure and support, as well as excellent ventilation with the pack sitting away from the back. For an extra measure, and for added comfort, they use a breathable mesh and perforated, moulded foam on the shoulder straps and hip-belt which was particularly appreciated on the longer days of trekking.
Built with the day trekker in mind it had several small, yet very valuable features that we loved. First of all all it is compatible with water reservoirs, meaning staying hydrated whilst on the move was never an issue and the side pockets could be used for a flask of hot tea instead of a water bottle. The separation of space is well thought out too, with an easy access bottom pocket ideal for stashing waterproofs in, leaving the main section of the bag for other items and food supplies.
The hip-belt, featuring Osprey's ErgoPull closure, also features twin zippered pockets which are ideal for a phone, small camera or even just your keys and a few little snacks. With some rucksacks it feels that all of your equipment and supplies are just thrown in, yet with the Stratos 34 everything was organised and easy to access as and when it was needed. On top of that it features an integrated rain-cover, trekking pole attachment point and even a single ice axe attachment loop for those really heading off into the wilderness.
One last feature that really stood out was that the zips all come with over-sized loops on, meaning that when it is cold and you don't want to take your gloves off you can still get into your back with the least amount of effort. All-in-all a very well designed back that is indeed ideal for day hikes or short trekking trips.
- AirSpeed™ trampoline suspended mesh backsystem
- Sternum strap with emergency whistle
- Stretch mesh side pockets with InsideOut™ compression
- Zippered panel access
- Twin zippered hip belt pockets
- Stow-on-the-Go™ trekking pole attachment
- Integrated & detachable rain-cover
- Zippered lower sleeping bag compartment
- Fixed top pocket with dual zippered compartments
- Internal hydration sleeve
- Internal key attachment clip
- Removable sleeping pad straps
- Side compression straps
- Single ice axe loop
- Weight : 1.25kg
For more information on the Stratos 34, as well as all other Osprey rucksacks, click here.