Osprey Stratos 50
- Entry level price point
- Airspeed system for back ventilation
- Accessible rain cover pouch
- Two dual-access bottle sleeves
- Limited expandability
- Thin padding precludes heavier loads
- Basic plastic buckles
The Osprey Stratos 50 is a durable backpack that can be used in a wide variety of terrain and trips. The Stratos’ biggest strength is its entry level price point. It is limited by its expandability and size, which both preclude longer trips.
The Osprey Stratos has one of the best back ventilation systems in this set. The padding in the shoulder straps also has cutouts where air can pass to the torso. The texture of the mesh will make it preferable to always wear a shirt while wearing the Stratos. The sternum strap has a wide range of adjustability, and holds in place.
The Stratos has a back sleeve which contains both a zippered and non-zippered compartment, allowing for a variety of gear to be stored in an easy to reach spot. There are two entry points into the body compartment, at both the top and bottom. The bottom of the pack has a small zippered pouch for the pack’s included rain cover.
The stability of the Stratos is aided by the two diagonal cinches on either side. These are cinches, not buckles, which miss an opportunity for more exterior storage. The brain clips down on the body only halfway down the bag, which also limits compressibility, but helps the brain extend upwards easily. This pack is comfortable and stable with loads as heavy as 40 pounds.
The Stratos is a well thought out backpack, from design to manufacturing. The exterior has a moderate amount of water resistance, and will keep the user’s gear dry even in windy or light rain conditions. The top and bottom of the body, where the frame puts extra stress on the fabric, is reinforced without driving up the weight very much.
The Osprey Stratos has a whistle on the sternum strap and two hip pouches. There are two gear loops on the back of the pack and a stow strap for trekking poles on the left shoulder strap. There are also two gear straps on the bottom, which increase its storage capabilities.
How We Tested It
The packs in this test were used throughout the winter and spring of 2017, during day hikes ranging from a few miles to a summit attempt on Mount Hood. Tests were conducted on Maryland’s Western Shore, in the Olympic Range of Washington State, and in the Cascades of the Pacific Northwest. This geographic diversity of conditions allowed for a look into each pack’s strengths and weakness. Each pack was loaded down with at least 15 pounds.
For more reviews beyond this 2017 test, check out our other backpack tests, our Best 3 Person Backpacking Tents of 2017, along with our sleeping bag tests, and other related hiking and camping gear tests.
The products featured in this test have been loaned to the Gear Institute. For more on our policies regarding editorial objectivity and sample returns, see here.
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- Type of Backpack: Weekend Pack
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