Osprey Stratos/Sirrus rucksack

stratos

What size of pack do you take on a microadventure? How about the Osprey Stratos/Sirrus 36?

The promise of a dry and warm summer’s evening prompted my partner, G, and I to make last-minute plans for a microadventure. A microadventure is a short overnight trip that includes sleeping out under the stars. It can be close to your home or place of work and makes the most of the hours between leaving the office in the evening and returning to your desk the next day.

We chose a nearby destination in the Kilpatrick Hills and walked around half an hour from the Queen’s View car park at the base of the trail, via the Whangie, and on to the summit slopes of Auchineden.

The views were tremendous. As we climbed the hill, the sun began to set in a clear sky over Loch Lomond far below and the mighty mountains of the southern Highlands in the distance. We raced to find a camping spot on the heathery hillside where we could pitch the tent and were just in time to enjoy a celebratory bottle of beer as we watched the last of the sun disappear behind Ben Lomond.

But why am I telling you all this? Of course, you might enjoy the story of our microadventure, but also I was testing a new rucksack.

StratosThe Osprey Stratos and Osprey Sirrus (women) includes a range of hiking rucksacks in sizes 24l, 26l, 34l, 36l and 50l. The 36l is the perfect size of rucksack for a summer’s overnight adventure. It would also be a good pack for winter walking, when you need to carry more items with you, such as extra layers, crampons and ice axe.

Features of the Osprey Stratos/Sirrus 36

If you know anything about Osprey you’ll be familiar with all their many, many features. This is a brand that thinks about every detail and exactly what walkers or cyclists will need when using a rucksack.

On occasions, Osprey add too many features to their packs in my opinion but with the Sirrus the design is perfect. I can see a reason for all of the features. These include:

  • Male or female-specific fit (so Stratos for men and Sirrus for women)
  • AirSpeed “trampoline” suspended mesh back system
  • Padded shoulder straps
  • Padded hips belt with two zipped pockets
  • Sternum strap with emergency whistle
  • Stretch mesh side pockets with “InsideOut” compression
  • Top lid access and crescent zip main compartment access
  • Fixed top pocket with dual zipped compartments
  • Zipped lower sleeping bag compartment
  • “Stow-on-the-Go” trekking pole attachment
  • Integrated and detachable raincover
  • Internal hydration sleeve
  • Internal key attachment clip
  • Sleeping pad straps (removable)
  • Side compression straps
  • Single ice axe loop
  • Weight: 1.25kg

This might seem like a lot of features but they all have a function and in one short microadventure I found most of them to be useful.

Into the rucksack I packed:

  • Lightweight one-person tent (Mountain Hardwear SuperMegaUL 1)
  • Sleeping bag (PHD Minim 400 down)
  • Camping blanket (for the dog)
  • Small camping stove (Primus Lite+)
  • Breakfast food and eating utensils
  • Evening beer (bottle) and snacks
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Spare lightweight down jacket
  • Small bag of toiletries
  • Mobile phone
  • Smidge (midge repellent) and midge head net

I attached the sleeping mat (Therm-A-Rest NeoAir Voyager) to the outside of the rucksack using the “sleeping pad straps”.

I placed a water bottle in one of the mesh side pockets and a fold-up dog dish and food in the other side pocket.

My mobile phone packed neatly into one of the zipped pockets in the hip belt. I put a GPS gadget into the other pocket.



Walking with the rucksack

SirrusOnce everything was in place I pulled all the straps tight, including the side compression straps, so that the rucksack was evenly packed and the weight, when carrying, would not be unbalanced.

As a slim female I appreciate rucksacks that have been designed to fit my smaller and narrower physique. The Sirrus has a shorter and narrower back system when compared to the male Stratos. The hip belt fits neatly where my hips are and also allows me to access the front pockets of my jacket.

The sternum strap is well positioned. I am not large chested so I can’t say how it would fit other women but the strap did work well for me and offered good support for the rucksack weight.

I really like the AirSpeed trampoline suspended mesh back system. It feels light but secure on the back and is very comfortable. I felt as though the pack was well supported but it didn’t annoy me by digging into my back or moving around.

The padded shoulder straps and hip belt are a real bonus, especially when walking longer distances. It is easy to adjust them to give a neat and snug fit.

I especially like the strap adjustment system of the hip belt, which works by clipping the straps together at the front and then pulling both straps outwards to tighten.

The compression straps are really useful. This means you can use the rucksack to its full 36l capacity or compress it down if you are carrying less.

Other great features include:

Two internal compartments with a zip divider. There’s a space at the bottom of the rucksack for a sleeping bag or similar. I found it was the perfect space for stuffing in my down sleeping bag and also a small down jacket.

The larger top compartment has access via the top, under the lid, and also a large crescent-shaped zip on the front of the pack. This means you can get into this area of the rucksack without having to open the lid.

The outside straps for carrying a lightweight sleeping mat are very helpful. This means you can have more internal space for your kit but also carry a mat outside on any trip.

“Inside-Out” compression straps work in two ways. You can keep them on the outside of the mesh pockets and use them to secure, for example, a water bottle tightly in place.

Or you can put the compression straps on the inside of the pocket. You might want to do this if you were carrying tent poles in the pocket. With the compression straps inside the pocket they can be adjusted to hold the poles in place yet you still have use of the mesh pocket for stowing a water bottle. See this video for further explanation.

Useful features

The Stow-on-the-Go system is a great way to carry walking poles. There are two elasticated loops that the poles slot through.

Most packs now come with a raincover and Osprey have placed one in a small zipped pocket at the base of the rucksack for easy access.

An internal hydration sleeve allows you to carry water in a hydration bladder.

Internal key attachment clip means you can be sure you will not lose your car or house keys.

In winter, the ice axe loop will be a bonus.

Conclusion This is a great size of pack (36l) for a short multi-day hiking/wild camping trip with one or two overnights, or for a longer hike in summer or a winter walk.

Thanks to the compression straps it is possible to also use the rucksack for shorter outings.

There are tons of great and useful features and Osprey’s usual attention to details is showcased in the Osprey Sirrus 36 and Stratos 36. Prices of the Stratos packs, sizes 24, 26, 34, 36 and 50, range from  £75 to £100.

For more information on Osprey packs see their website.



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