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If comfort is what you are looking for in a day hiking pack, the Osprey Stratos 24 should be at the top of your list.
Osprey is known for quality, durable, and comfortable backpacks, and in those categories, the Stratos 24 is a home run.
I have hiked with 20+ packs in the past couple of years, and this is the most comfortable day pack I have tried.
The Stratos 24 has comfort and features on par with backpacking packs, designed to carry heavy loads and last for years. But it has the carrying capacity of a day pack. So in many ways, you get the best of both worlds.
With all that praise, there has to be a catch, right?
Osprey Stratos 24 overview
Capacity: 24 Liters
Weight: 44 oz.
Materials: 210D & 420D recycled nylon
Max load: ~25 pounds
Hydration sleeve: Yes
Osprey Stratos 24 ratings
The Osprey Stratos 24 is a one size fits all pack. It does have Osprey’s injection-molded ladder adjustment system, the same one that is found in their Exos 48. It provides four inches of adjustability in the height of the shoulder straps.
I can attest that the pack will fit most hikers between 5′ 6″ and 6′ 1″, and I would guess the range is bigger than that.
The Stratos 24 has a significant hip belt for a day hiking pack. Osprey’s ErgoPull system allows you to easily get an effective fit with the hip belt. Though, I still do fit the lack of stowage loops puzzling. The excess straps either have to just dangle off the front or be looped around the waist belt.
The load lifter straps make sure the main body of the pack is sitting closer to your body, preventing the pack from sitting too low on your back, potentially compromising your balance.
The Stratos 24 backpack also has two side compression straps on each side that allow you to cinch down the main body of the pack. Make sure these compression straps are tightened before tightening other straps to ensure you get the best possible fit.
Osprey has made the Stratos 24 a day pack with backpacking pack features. This allows for a really comfortable and dialed in fit with everything from the shoulder straps, hip belt, and sternum strap.
The only fault I have with the fit of this pack is that it is a one size fits all. I prefer multiple sizes to ensure the best fit, but the Osprey Stratos 24 does a good job of negating that.
From a carrying comfort perspective, this is practically a backpacking pack with a day pack carrying capacity.
The AirSpeed suspension system makes it a comfortable pack up to about a 25-pound load. Though, it really thrives in the 15-20 pound range.
Generously padded shoulder straps, save your shoulders from feeling sore at the end of your hike.
The hip belt has a good amount of padding and effectively transfers weight to your hips.
The Osprey Stratos 24 also has a mesh back panel that increases airflow on your back while you hike, making sure that you don’t end up with a sweaty back 30 minutes into your hike.
This is something that is more common on backpacking backpacks, so seeing it on a day pack gives it an extra boost in the comfort category.
As with the fit of this pack, the comfort is hard to critique.
The only negative I have with it is the pack is on the heavy side for day hiking. If you are carrying a lighter load, you do not need the extensive comfort of this backpack. I find it to be a bit bulky and clunky when not packed with a heavy load.
Keeping with the theme of this pack so far, the durability is on par with a backpacking pack.
With proper cleaning and care, I would see this pack lasting at least 5 years. The 210D and 420D nylon used for this pack is suitable for normal use and could last in some fairly rugged conditions.
It is not immune to wear and tear or particularly rough abrasions, but unless you are regularly hiking through overgrown conditions or sliding it across boulders, the pack should hold up for a long time.
The overall build quality of the Stratos 24 is on par with what is expected from Osprey. I have always found their packs to have quality materials and stitching, and no cheap or flimsy buckles and attachments.
The Osprey Stratos 24 has features galore.
Hip belt pockets
Trekking pole attachment
Ice axe loop
Integrated rain cover
Hip belt pockets. The Stratos 24 has zippered hip belt pockets, plenty large enough for a phone, snack, or other quick access items. These are a big plus for longer hikes compared to day packs with a basic waist belt.
Trekking pole attachment and ice tool loop. Not everyone uses trekking poles or ice axes, but they are nice features to have without hindering your use if not utilized. If you like to have trekking poles, but don’t use them the entire hike, the Osprey Stow-on-the-go system is one of the better ones on the market.
Hydration sleeve. If you use a hydration reservoir (bladder), the Stratos 24 can hold up to a 3L bladder. The hose port is in the center (top) of the back, giving you the ability to route the hose over either shoulder.
Integrated rain cover. This is a nice feature because it prevents you from having to purchase a separate rain cover. A zippered pocket at the bottom of the pack houses the rain cover. So it is as simple as unzipping the pocket, and pulling the rain cover out and over the pack to keep your pack dry. Just make sure to let it dry out before stowing it back into its pocket to prevent mildew.
Exterior pockets. Aside from the hip belt pockets, the Stratos 24 features side mesh water bottle pockets, a zippered pocket on the front panel, and two zippered pockets at the top/front of the pack. There are plenty of pockets on the outside of this pack that can give you easy access to items like phones, snacks, first aid kit, etc. I prefer a front mesh pocket versus a zippered one, but that is my personal preference.
This is where the Stratos 24 hits a bit of a lower note. The pack is comfortable, fits nicely, and has plenty of features, but I think the price is just a little high for it.
I lean toward lightweight hiking, so I don’t often carry more than 10 pounds on a day hike. For my usage of the pack, I prefer a lighter option without as many special features.
A more minimal option, ala something like the REI Flash 22, is more suitable for my preferences. (and wallet)
If you are someone who places a high importance on comfort and features, the price tag may be more palatable. But if you don’t often carry more than the hiking essentials on your day hike, the Stratos 24 is probably a bit much for you.
Overall, much like the Osprey Exos 48 backpacking pack, the Stratos 24 is a comfortable option with a lot of bells and whistles. But ultimately has a fairly narrow usage for me, making it a fairly expensive pack to only use once or twice a year.
There are plenty of hikers who this pack is worth a look for though:
Often carrying 15-20 pounds
Using one pack for multiple people
Wanting to maximize comfort out of your pack
A do-it-all type of pack
Something worth mentioning is that the Stratos 24 is able to be used as a carry-on bag for a flight. So if you want a pack that can double as a travel bag, the Stratos has you covered.
Osprey Stratos 24 pros and cons
Comfortable to wear
Plenty of pockets
The best aspect of the Osprey Stratos 24 is the comfortable carry created by the mesh back panel and suspension system. I could see doing an 8+ hours hike with this pack with little to complain about. There are plenty of packs made with lighter materials, but the trade-off for this pack is the increased durability. Osprey is known for quality materials and build quality, and the latest Stratos 24 is no exception.
Heavy for a day pack
On the pricy side
The increased durability and comfort come at the cost of weight. There are multi-night backpacking packs that come in lighter than this day pack. For me, it is a little too much to counteract the durability and comfort. Plus, the cost is significant, and for a backpack with little versatility on the trail, I would put my money in a different pack.
Is the Osprey Stratos 24 right for you?
Ultimately, whether the Stratos 24 is right for you comes down to if you prioritize comfort or value.
There are plenty of cheaper options on the market, but they won’t be quite as comfortable or you will lose some features.
Conversely, there are few backpacks that carry heavier loads as well as the Stratos, but you will end up paying for that perk.
I tend to prefer the first option myself, as I have multi-night backpacks that carry heavier loads well, so investing in a day pack that does that doesn’t make a lot of sense.
Ultimately, stick with your gut on whether a pack like this makes sense for you. If you are on the fence, I would recommend skipping out on this one until you know for sure you need a pack like the Stratos.
You would rather start with something cheaper to know whether or not you needed something more. Compared to spending a nice chunk of change on something that you find out you don’t really need.
The Osprey Stratos 24 offers a day pack with the features and comfort of an overnight backpack.
From the AirSpeed suspension system to the wide array of features, you will not be disappointed when carrying this pack.
The biggest drawback is the price, and for me, that is too big of an obstacle to feel good about purchasing it. But that isn’t to say that this pack won’t fit your needs.
If you want a backpack that can double as a travel pack, or you are carrying around gear for your family of four while hiking, this should be on your short list of packs to consider.
If comfort and features are nice to you but not the end all be all, you may want to look elsewhere for a backpack best for you. But for those that value what this pack does really well, the price is a small obstacle.