Review: Osprey Stratos 36 Daypack
Better late than ever, here my review of the Osprey Stratos 36 Daypack. Overall, I found this to be a good general use daypack for backcountry hiking, winter sports, and general use.
Its detailed specs can be found here, but in general here are the highlights which I think are important:
36 L capacity - good for day hiking and light overnight trips
Integrated Rain Cover - no needing to buy a separate rain cover nor will you ever forget it
Airspeed ventilation/suspension system - no more sweaty backs! More on this further on
First off, I really like this pack. It's replacing the previous generation of the MEC alpinelite 35 of which I have used extensively over the last 4 years. While I liked the fact the alpinelite was able to roll up and be carried within my main pack on trips, whenever I was using a daypack exclusively (like for a day hike) I found the lack of support an issue. That's when I started longing for a new daypack. The Stratos 36 is what I found.
What I really like about this pack and the reason why I would suggest it, is solely for airspeed ventilation/suspension system. Osprey is not the only company that has something like this so it's entirely possible you'll find another pack brand that you will enjoy just as much. I would just highly suggest you look out for it. Essentially what it is, is the frame is built so the pack itself doesn't rest directly on your back. We've all experienced it. Our backs covered with sweat whether it be running after the bus with our schoolbag on or hiking out in the woods with our backpack. The airspeed ventilation allows a large air gap between the back of the pack itself and your rapidly heating up body. This reduces the opportunity for your back to disproportionally heat up and get totally sweaty. Not to say you won't sweat at all when you start to work hard, but at least your back isn't going to be crazy sweaty compared to the rest of your body. There is one downside to this, as the curved inner backpack design to accomodate the ventilation reduces your backpacks' capacity, so when compared to a backpack that looks similar in size from the outside, this one has slightly less space. All and all though, the back ventilation, for me, is worth it. Plus, you should know what the capacity of a pack is just based on specs anyways.
Other than that, the pack is solidly built with nice padded straps and hipbelt. The normal assortment of compression straps, water bottle holders, zippered compartments, hydration tube holes and carrying handles you'd expect for an outdoors pack. Also a super nice feature is the built in rain cover. This saves you a bit of money as you don't have to fork out any extra money for a cover and you'll have it each and everytime it rains. It also has trekking poles straps so you can easily store your poles while on the go. I haven't used this yet, but my initial thought is it might be gimmicky. Who knows though? It might work well.
Retail price for the Stratos 36 is around $120 putting it in the mid to higher end range for day packs. You might be able to find it on sale sometime for less. I think I got pretty lucky snagging it for $69.99 at steep and cheap during an hourly sale so keep a lookout.
This or any pack with a airspeed type ventiliation system I would highly recommend. This one worked out for me but make sure you find one that feels good and fits you well. As a starting point, definitely took at look at the Stratos 36 for your next daypack.