Unlike my stance on expedition bags, I never used to give much thought to daypacks. I’d prep for any outing that didn’t require the capacity of my 65-liter trekking pack by dumping my things into whatever school bag or ski pack was at-hand. As a kid, that was a forest green L.L.Bean backpack with my initials stitched to its face, and later in life, it was a multi-sport bag by Dakine.
Oh, what a world I was missing. Last fall, I picked up Osprey’s Stratos in its 24-liter volume (there’s also a larger 34-liter version), and it has since changed how I think about the daypack. For instance, I had no idea that my back could be anything but hot and sweaty, and didn’t realize that hip support is still crucial, even on short hikes.
The Stratos is outfitted with all the pockets, compression straps and access points you’d expect from a backpack company — especially one with a golden reputation among long-distance thru-hikers — but the standout for me has been its mesh back panel. It’s raised and tensioned away from the pack’s main vestibule, which provides a comfy trampoline-like feel and allows lots of air to flow between my back and the bag, which minimizes the sweaty back issue I had used to view as unavoidable. The mesh also integrates into the hipbelt, wrapping its arms around my lower torso like a well-studied dance partner for a fit that’s more comfortable than any I’ve known before.
Right now Backcountry is holding a Memorial Day Sale, and the Stratos is currently 25 percent off. It’s perfect timing for a deal — just in time for hiking season.
Deals, discounts and drops on products you actually care about and want. Curated by the Gear Patrol Editors. Start Saving