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Hands-on Gear Review

Osprey Stratos 24 Review

Day Pack

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Price:   $120 List | Sale $119.93 online  —  Compare prices at 5 resellers
Pros:  Innovative and well ventilated back panel, hiking pole/ice axe stash system
Cons:  No good outer stash pocket, doesn't hold a laptop efficiently, when weighted down the pack tips backwards, water bottle pockets are small.
Editors' Rating:     
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Manufacturer:   Osprey


The Osprey Stratos 24 pack stands out for its innovative back panel. This panel makes the pack one of the most ventilated packs out there, but it also means the pack carries weight differently and does not fit as many things as efficiently as a pack like the Patagonia Refugio. The Stratos does have convenient features for hikers such as an ice axe carry and an easy to use trekking pole stash system. The Osprey Talon 22 has similarly designed back panels, but both of those packs leave less of a gap between the main compartment of the pack and your back, which means they are less ventilated, but hold weight slightly better. If you are looking for a pack that can hold a lot relative to its weight and bulk, try the frameless REI Trail 25 or Deuter Speed Lite 20.

New Version Update - May 2015
The Osprey Stratos 24 has been updated. Keep reading to find out more.

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Analysis and Hands-on Test Findings

Review by:
McKenzie Long
Senior Review Editor

Last Updated:
June 23, 2012

The New Version of the Osprey Stratos 24 vs. The Older Version

The Stratos 24 is now available in bright, new colors: Solar Flare Orange, Pine Green, Harbor Blue, and Anthracite Black. In addition to these new colors, Osprey has somewhat changed the design on the front of the pack, as you can see below. The price of this pack has increased by $30 and now costs $120. The latest model is pictured on the left (in Pine Green), while the older version is shown on the right.
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Hands-On Review

The Osprey Statos features a back panel that strives for the ultimate ventilation but results in a pack that carries awkwardly.

Performance Comparison

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The Airspeed back construction of the Osprey Stratos keeps the pack off of your back for excellent ventilation. The downside is that if the pack gets to heavy, it feels as if it is pulling you backwards.


The back panel on the Osprey Stratos, with a curved panel to holds the main compartment of the pack off of your back, is one of the most innovative and breathable we have seen. Few other packs, if any, let this much air circulate. This design also means that sharp objects in the pack won't poke into your back. However, because of this curve, if you load the pack with a lot of weight, it feels like it is tipping you backwards and the weight does not distribute properly. This design also means this pack is relatively bulky for its volume (since there is a lot of dead space behind your back).

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A close up of how the trekking pole attachment works while wearing the Osprey Stratos 24. You can also see how the frame holds the bulk of the pack away from the back.

There is a clever hiking pole stash system which lets you quickly stash your poles without removing the pack if you get to a tricky section of trail where you need to use your hands.

The pack comes with a rain cover that stashes away into its own pocket. This pocket is ventilated at the bottom, which means you can put a wet rain cover or a wet base layer in there to start drying and not make the rest of your pack contents wet, but there is no large outer pocket to stash extra things like extra layers or rain shell. Instead, this area is used up by the rain cover pocket.

The side compression straps can be routed under or over the side mesh pocket. This cool feature lets you compress the pack and still have access to the side panel for a water bottle or other item.

The pocket on the right shoulder strap is a little too small for an iPhone. It will fit, but it's a pain to get it in and out quickly. By comparison, the mesh pockets on the Osprey Talon 22 are easy to get an iPhone in and out of and the Patagonia Refugio has a pocket specifically sized for an iPhone.


At 2 lbs 8 oz, this is the second heaviest pack in this review, after the Gregory Z25. The back panel is the primary feature that adds weight, and it also adds bulk and size to a small capacity pack. This is not the pack for people trying to move fast and light in the mountains.


The ventilated Airspeed back panel and meshy waist belt make this pack a breeze to wear while hiking in hot weather. This is by far the most breathable pack, so if you are worried about sweating, the Osprey Stratos is the way to go. The main thing to consider is that it carries weight uncomfortably far back when the pack gets loaded too heavily.

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The frame of the Osprey Stratos 24 extends out and begins to curve around the hips with the waist belt. This helps the pack support more weight, makes it more comfortable to wear, and keeps it in place while moving.


Since the carrying capacity is cut down inside the pack by the back panel, and weight is carried differently, this pack has more limited usage than some of the other packs we reviewed. It does not work well to really load this pack with weight, so it is best used strictly for day hiking. It is also difficult to use this pack for travel because there are less organizational pockets than in some of the other packs. Also, with the addition of the ice tool carry and trekking pole stash features, it is more tailored to a hike in the mountains than carrying around town.


This pack has so far been quite durable, and the back panel, which at first glance looks fragile, is actually really sturdy and well built.

Ease of Use

The curve of the back panel makes it difficult to pack and store stuff efficiently. All of the items in our "10 essentials" pack test fit, with the addition of an ice tool carry and trekking pole stash, however if you carry much more than the items on our list, the pack becomes hard to pack, too heavy, and begins to pull you backwards.

The rest of the features such as the trekking pole carry, which can be used without removing the pack, are very simple and straightforward to use. Even the convenient rain cover and dual hydration hose ports make it so this pack can be used to your maximum comfort and in all types of weather. The ergo pull adjustment of the waist belt is also much easier to use than most waist belts.

Best Application

This pack is best for simple day hikes where you don't need to carry much stuff besides food, water, extra layers, and possibly an ice tool and trekking poles. The pack will not comfortably hold much more, and it lacks good organizational pockets for work or school use. A 13 to 17-inch laptop will fit but there is a lot of dead space, making not an ideal way to carry a computer, so this not the best pack for traveling.


This pack typically costs around $120, which is on the expensive side, but makes sense when you consider how innovative the design features on this pack are.

Other Versions

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Stratos 26
  • $130

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Stratos 34
  • Middle version of the Stratos Line
  • Both top loading packs
  • Ideal for day trip or light overnights
  • $150

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Stratos 50
  • Largest in the Stratos series
  • Top loading style with a "brain" for extra storage
  • Ideal for overnight or short backpacking trips
  • $180

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Sirrus 24
  • Smallest in the Sirrus series
  • Top loading with many extras (many pockets, sleeping pad straps, tool attachment, hipbelt pockets, etc)
  • Ideal for a women's version daypack
  • $120
McKenzie Long

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews

Most recent review: July 2, 2015
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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Average Customer Rating:   
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50% of 2 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
3 Total Ratings
5 star: 33%  (1)
4 star: 0%  (0)
3 star: 33%  (1)
2 star: 33%  (1)
1 star: 0%  (0)
Sort 2 member reviews by: Most Recent | Most Helpful
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   Jul 2, 2015 - 03:54pm
MikeNYC · Hiker · New York
This is by far the most underrated product on this site. I use it for long hikes, overnighters, travel and and cross country skiing. The backpack panel ventilates really well, more so than any other similar design I have tried. Plenty of pockets and straps (you can carry skies or tent/pad with ease. I have flash 18 that served well as a minimalist pack for almost 10 years, but if the weather is hot and I have to carry a lot of water, Stratos 24 is the way to go. It is very comfortable with 20 pounds and unlike flash you have a lot of options for storing your poles, attaching your ice axe and not having to dig through the whole pack to get to something.
Certainly there are some draw backs. The pack does shift your center of gravity back just a bit. Shouldn't be a problem once you get used to it. The back panel fills up with snow when you glasade and the materials could be more durable. It is still in good shape after two years of rough use and many ski falls.

If you want comfort this is backpack is awesome. I also can't say enough good things about flash 18 which is great for shorter trips or summit bids.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Sep 7, 2012 - 04:33pm
waynowski · Backpacker · new zealand
its a compromise in design, to keep the pack away from your back they put a metal frame down the back, it makes it pretty rigid and it doesnt move with your body.
i found the shoulder straps would pull as i walked and my back twisted because of this rigidity.
I'd only consider this pack if your main issue is needing the extra ventilation down your back
i prefer designs like the black diamond packs where there is more flexibility in the hip belt and the shoulder straps dynamically alter their length as you walk.
osprey are still quality packs, but in some areas of ergonomics i feel they are falling behind, several brands have developed supportive but designs that are far more flexible to walk with… for this reason i have stopped using osprey packs for my hiking, i have retired my day pack for around town and carrying my running gear to work….

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this product to a friend.
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