Osprey Stratos 24 Review 2019

  • Day Hiker

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Osprey Stratos 24 Overview

We love our packs don’t we? I mean, a good pack is like a treasured baseball glove or golf club: in all cases it behooves you to have the right product for the job at hand, and when you do it is sublime.

Today we are talking day packs. But not those formless sacks we sometimes lug around while pretending the beauty of nature eased our aching backs. No, the new breed of robust day pack is a sleek and efficient piece of art. Enter the Osprey Stratos 24.

The Osprey Stratos 24 has been a fan favorite for years, and rightly so. With pockets galore, the signature Osprey Airspeed suspension (a tensioned mesh back panel that offers ridiculous comfort), and impressive carrying capacity in a medium-weight package, the Stratos 24 does just about everything well. From casual strolls through the woods to full-day wilderness adventures, the Osprey Stratos 24 will get you there.

Osprey Stratos 24 Star Rating
  • Comfort
  • Durability
  • Packability
  • Fit and Adjustability
5

Summary

The Osprey Stratos 24 is a feature-filled backpack with robust suspension, well-placed pockets, and more carrying capacity than its 24-liter package lets on. While it works well for almost any scenario, it’s not a hardcore expert at any one given situation.

While we think the Osprey Stratos 24 would excel in any day hiking scenario, it’s not the most streamlined or lightweight option around, and we think the Osprey Talon 22 remains a better pick if you don’t want an extra-large day hiking pack. Likewise, the Stratos 24 could be lighter or use slightly more premium materials to get our coveted Premium Pick. Know that this backpack will do almost anything you ask of it, but we think for the price you could get a lighter or more premium package.

Cinch those straps, tighten your waist belt, and make your way through the full Osprey Stratos 24 review below.

Osprey Stratos 24 Specifications

Feature Type Feature Specs What This Means
Weight 2 lbs 12 oz. (1.24 kg) Medium-weight day pack. Not very light, but not extremely heavy. It can fit a lot and carry a decent amount, so if you like a big day pack this is perfect.
Capacity 24L Feels like it fits more than 24 liters, which is already a decent amount for a day hike. Straddles a larger pack, which is great for traveling abroad or extended day hiking. Learn more about backpack capacity in our Guide.
Frame Airspeed Suspension, Lightwire Frame Osprey is known for its Airspeed suspension and Lightwire frame. The frame is lightweight, very sturdy, and will last. The suspension is top of its class, and provides excellent breathability and support.
Hip Belt Fit 25-50 in. (63-127 cm) A very real, supportive hip belt on this day pack, which is rare. Great for heavy loads. Two real pockets, too! Learn more about backpack hip belts and how to measure in our Guide.
Torso Fit 18-22 in. (45-55 cm) The Stratos is offered in two sizes, and the torso length isn’t super adjustable, but does fit a range of sizes. To learn more about backpack torso measurement and adjustable torsos see our Guide.
Number of Exterior Pockets 6 Tons of pockets. A unique middle slash pocket is excellent for quick access, as is the top small items pocket. Two mesh water bottle pockets and two hip belt pockets mean you can store pretty much anything, anywhere.
Hydration Sleeve Yes A hydration sleeve is inside the main compartment, allowing for quick and easy access.
Main Pack Access Zippered The main chute is accessed via zipper.
Detachable Top Lid No There’s no top lid on this pack. Larger versions do have a top lid.
Trekking Pole/Ice Axe Loops Yes These loops work well, and are standard on most Osprey packs.
Sternum Strap Yes An adjustable sternum strap with whistle is standard for Osprey packs.
Materials 210D Nylon Crosshatch, 420HD Nylon Packcloth High quality materials that prioritize durability over weight.
Load Range 10-25 lbs. (4.5-11.3 kg) A solid load range for this size of pack. You could take it fastpacking easily, and while we don’t recommend going above 25 pounds, you probably could in a pinch.
Warranty All Mighty Guarantee Osprey has an excellent limited lifetime warranty, and you can return a pack for almost anything. If something breaks, get in touch.
Retail Price $130 A high price for a high quality pack. You’re paying for a do-it-all workhorse that can transition easily from trail to plane to the backcountry.

Gear Review of the Osprey Stratos 24

I really wanted to put this pack through the wringer to fully test its prodigious versatility.  While I had no ice climbing excursions on the books, I did make it my sole companion while exploring the badlands of New Mexico, the jagged peaks of the Rockies, and the urban jungles of Cleveland.

Osprey-Stratos-24-overlooking-trail-2
The Stratos 24 was my go-to hiking pack for an all-day photography shoot in New Mexico, among other excursions.

During these three trips on three consecutive weeks I used the Stratos 24 for traveling, hiking, and sherpa-ing — better known as providing race support to my wife during a triathlon in Cleveland and my friend during a 100-mile trail race in Colorado.

I was impressed with the pack at every turn.

Revelation: The Moment I Knew

My feeling about a particular piece of gear often evolves slowly over time, a fledgling ember that either ignites of snuffs out. With the Stratos 24 my fire burned hot and fast.

There are many reasons to love this pack, but for me it was the many and varied pockets. They are incredible.

Osprey-Stratos-24-center-zip-pocket
Vertical front stash pocket, two functional side water bottle pockets, two hip belt pockets, a small-items pocket, and a main compartment. The Osprey Stratos 24 has pockets galore!

Simply packing for my first trip to New Mexico I was blown away by how many things I could fit into a pack that is only supposed to be 24-liters — and how cleverly the pockets are arranged.

The Stratos 24 sports the typical internal hydration bladder pocket, an external front pocket with a vertical zipper down the middle, a couple top pockets for miscellaneous small items, and water bottle pouches on both sides.

But my favorite thing of all time — which, to be fair, many companies are now including in smaller packs — are hip belt pockets for food, toilet paper, or other things you may need easy access to. This feature on a day pack was surprisingly welcome, especially when hiking for a full day.

Osprey-Stratos-24-hip-belt
Hip belt pocket on a day hiking pack? Yes, please.

Digging Deeper

As you may or may not know, New Mexico is kind of a desert. And deserts get hot.

We were on location for a trail running photo shoot, which meant hiking to remote and extremely beautiful locations at dawn and dusk (that’s when you get the best light). We were scouting some spots around Shiprock in the predawn gloom, and as soon as the sun peeked over the rocky horizon the temperature skyrocketed.

Osprey-Stratos-24-packed-up-on-trail-2
The desert is picturesque…and HOT. Get a pack that will let you sweat.

My heart rate jumped, sweat started streaming down my face, and I noticed the full splendor of the Osprey Airspeed Suspension system in action. My back wasn’t sweaty, despite the intense summer heat.  The mesh back panel makes the Stratos 24 remarkably, almost indulgently comfortable, but it also breathes in a way that keeps your back much cooler.

In Colorado, I was able to store my trekking poles in specific pole straps on the Stratos 24. Super cool, and a common feature on Osprey packs.

Other features of note that I didn’t really get to test: ice axe straps (not an ice climber, but they work), a hydration sleeve (I was able to use and reach the bottle holders, so it wasn’t necessary), and a very slick built-in rain cover. No, it didn’t rain in the desert (or any of my testing grounds), but I need to acknowledge how awesome it is to know your gear will be dry if it does start pouring.

Comfort – 5 Stars

One of the defining characteristics of the Osprey Stratos 24. The strap system, padded waist belt, fit, and Airspeed Suspension make this perhaps the most comfortable day pack I have ever worn. (Insert my wife’s eye roll because of my penchant for hyperbole.)

Osprey-Stratos-24-back-panel
Osprey tends to over-perform when it comes to mesh back panels. The Stratos 24 is no exception.

It’s true though. I dare you to find a more comfortable day pack.

Durability – 5 Stars

Osprey makes a mean pack. I have been using an Osprey Aether as my full-weight backpacking pack for over 10 years, so I know what they’re capable of.

I tossed the Stratos 24 around like a dog with a squeaky toy. It has been shoved in overhead compartments, under seats, and in between rocks. Not a zipper jam or scuff to be had.

Packability – 5 Stars

Another signature feature of the Stratos 24. Advertised at 24-liters, it felt bigger to me in terms of what I could fit into it, and how intelligently it is designed to store many easily accessible items.

Osprey-Stratos-24-overlooking-trail
You can fit a surprising amount in the 24-liter day pack.

Fit and Adjustability – 5 Stars

I am 5’9”, 155 with broad shoulders and a long torso and the M/L version fit me perfectly (the S/M size is for slightly shorter torsos). The strap system and waist belt are also easy to use and provide quite a bit of adjustability. I tightened and loosened the pack multiple times based upon the circumstances, often leaving the waist belt unhooked entirely, and was always comfortable.

Grievances

As is often the case when I reach this section for a piece of equipment I particularly appreciate, I will be dedicating this space to philosophy more than negativity.

The Stratos 24 is somewhat of a tweener pack. If I was going for a normal day hike, I would probably take a smaller pack. When embarking on a traditional backpacking trip, I would definitely take a bigger pack.

Honestly, the Stratos 24 is absolutely perfect for fastpacking — in which you backpack really quickly and sometimes run, with a super low pack weight — because it is medium volume, fairly lightweight, and extremely comfortable and form fitting.

These features also make it an ideal travel pack, as long as you have another piece of bigger luggage.

Will it get the job done as a day pack? Absolutely, hands down, and twice on Sunday.  However, it may be a tad big and heavier than necessary, meaning you could spend more on a pack made with lighter materials, or spend less overall for a pack that does 90 percent of the job.

Final Word

Is the Osprey Stratos 24 just about the most comfortable and versatile day pack on the market? Are bears Catholic? Does the Pope…nevermind. If you want an extra-large day pack with all the goodies, just go buy this pack.

Where to Buy Osprey Stratos 24

We tested the Osprey Stratos 24 in a M/L size. Osprey also offers it in a S/M size, which has a slightly shorter torso length. It’s best to try one on in store, but if you can’t measure your torso then follow Osprey’s guide to determine the right one for you! This is technically a male-specific day pack.

Osprey also offers the Sirrus 24, which is the female-specific version of the Stratos. It has differently shaped shoulder straps and hip belt for more support for most women. Still, we recommend trying them on to see what actually fits you best.

The Stratos/Sirrus line is also offered in larger sizes, specifically in 34- and 50-liter sizes. These are much larger packs meant for full-on backpacking or long international travel. They are great packs, but quite different, so don’t mistake them!

Compare Osprey Stratos 24 and Sirrus 24 prices below.

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josh mathe bio pic

Josh Mathe

Josh Mathe is passionate about squeezing every last drop from life, and helping others do the same. He is the best-selling and award-winning author of "I, Athlete" and "In the Footsteps of Greatness", as well as a speaker, fitness expert, nutritionist, ultra endurance athlete, and life adventurer. Josh is the owner of One10 Performance & Nutrition, and when not in office he spends his days in the mountains moving as fast and light as possible. Josh holds a Master’s of Science in Human Nutrition, and is a certified sports nutritionist (CISSN), Performance Enhancement Specialist (PES), and endurance coach. He lives in Sacramento, CA with his wife and three crazy animals. For more information or to contact Josh directly, please visit his website.

Review Policy: We do not accept payments or gifts from brands and vendors, and strive to provide unbiased, independent advice. Brands typically provide review samples which we return, and in some cases we purchase the item so we can keep using it long after the review. Affiliate Policy: We support the hours that go into our reviews and testing through affiliate commissions on purchases made through links in this article. These don't effect the outcome of our reviews or selection of gear, as per our Review Policy.