Osprey Ultralight Stuff Pack Review
Cons: No hip belt, small overall size, no back padding - can feel contents
Compare to Similar Products
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Osprey Ultralight Stuff Pack is a 3.8 ounce pack made of ripstop 40D nylon, that packs into its own pocket for ultimate portability. With more features than we expected on a pack so teensy and light, we have happily awarded it our Top Pick for an Ultralight Pack.
For a pack with absolutely no back ventilation or padding or even a hip belt of any kind, we don't hate the Ultralight Stuff Pack, but it's definitely on a different playing field than most the other packs we tested. To keep this bag easily packable, Osprey ditched all structural support in the body of this bag but managed to keep a small amount of padding in the shoulder straps. This is key, as all the weight of the bag's contents will be resting directly on your shoulders. The other ultralight model we tested has no padding in the shoulder straps whatsoever. It also obviously has no specific back ventilation system. If you're heading out for a long hot day in the sun, this probably isn't your best option.
In order to make this bag reasonable to carry, you really can't load it with too much stuff. Though it has an 18 liter capacity, we think it's best for just a small handful of items, like an extra layer, a water bottle, and a couple of snacks. If you're hoping to carry heavier loads, you might consider a pack with a load-bearing hip belt. And an ultralight pack like this one also needs a bit more thought behind your packing strategy, as you'll feel every corner and hard surface through its paper-thin fabric. There are several other low-weight options that offer a bit more protection from feeling your contents while still being reasonably packable. But among ultralight models, this one is pretty reasonably comfortable.
Though this ultralight bag doesn't have all the same bells and whistles you'd expect from a more traditional daypack, it's not totally lacking in this department either. It has a top pocket with a key clip to help keep you organized as well as a side pocket for a water bottle or your smartphone. The Stuff Pack also still has regular Osprey zipper pulls, which we greatly appreciate. All these features are done away with in other models to help cut weight, but we like still having a few niceties to make the experience more pleasant.
One of this bag's most valuable features toward its versatility is the simple fact of how small and light it can become. The Ultralight packs down into its own teeny little pocket and can then easily be tossed in your purse, kept in your glove compartment, jammed in your carry-on, or even clipped to your full backpack to broaden the scope of possible adventures no matter where you go.
A clear winner in this category, the Osprey Ultralight weighs a mere 3.8 ounces while still boasting an 18-liter capacity.
While it is bested by the 2.7 ounce Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil, compared to the multi-pound competition, this ultralight bag blows them out of the water. The obvious trade-off for weight can be felt in this bag's comfort and seen in its durability. But for ultralight lovers out there, the trade-off just may be worth it.
Ease of Use
We greatly appreciate the organizational utility of the pockets the Stuff Pack has that other ultralight models have done away with. However, with such an overall light weight, this bag is a bit floppy and challenging to pack in any specific way, which is important for easy access later as well as your comfort while carrying the bag.
The Stuff Pack also only comes in one, unisex size, and that size is rather small. It also has surprisingly short shoulder straps (the only straps) that make it difficult for taller and larger folks to comfortably wear. Even our 5'4", size 4 main tester felt that she was on the taller side of comfortable for this pack. If you're much taller than that this pack will ride fairly high on your back. In general, this bag is one of the least adjustable options we tested.
This is another metric in which we aren't blown away by the Stuff Pack. But when you cut down on fabric weight, you're bound to lose out a little on durability. This bag is made of 40D ripstop nylon that looks paper-thin but is still thicker than some of the other ultralight models out there. The ripstop fabric will prevent any tears you do get from continuing unimpeded all the way down the length of the bag, but they won't stop the tears from happening in the first place.
As with all their packs, Osprey backs this ultralight model with their lifetime guarantee and warranty - a nice backing if the damage isn't your fault. And if it is, this bag's low cost means you can easily snag another one and still have spent less than you would on most the other packs in this review. However, if you want something that's thick enough you can't see right through it, you might consider a lightweight bag rather than an ultralight option.
With some of the least amount of materials going into it, the Stuff Pack is one of the least expensive models we tested, but still brings a lot to the table. It still has some handy features that the others have done away with and is only marginally heavier. We think the portability and versatility of having a useful ultralight pack on us at all times is definitely worth the asking price. For comparison, the Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil costs the same but has just one single pocket and no shoulder padding, which we really appreciate in the Osprey.
As an ultralight, packable pack, the options for using the Stuff Pack are as limitless as your imagination. This itty bitty pack has all the features we want in a super lightweight, packable bag and is our Top Pick for an Ultralight Pack. It combines lightly padded shoulder straps with a few handy organizing pockets and still scrunches down into a ball smaller than our fist. It runs a bit small for some taller folks, but if you're a small person looking for an even smaller pack that can literally go anywhere in your pocket, this is a great choice.
— Maggie Brandenburg