Osprey is a leader in the backpack market, so when I was on the hunt for a new pack, I decided to give the Osprey Stratos 34 a try. This compact, versatile backpack is marketed as an excellent pack for day hikes or short overnighters, boasting extreme comfort, even for heavy loads. But did it perform out on the trail? Read my Osprey Stratos 34 review to find out.

Quick Summary

  • The Osprey Stratos 34 backpack is a versatile, top-quality pack perfect for day hiking.
  • Price: $160.
  • It’s a panel-loader pack with lots of handy compartments in various sizes.
  • Airspeed suspension provides an incredibly comfortable mesh back panel that can be customized for every backpacker.
  • Padded straps and hip belt for extra comfort.
  • Lots of useful attachments including pole straps, removable sleeping pad straps, and a rain cover.
  • Not an ultralight pack – weighing in at 3lb, it could be lighter.
  • Worth the cost? Yes, if you’re looking for a good-quality, versatile day pack with plenty of storage. However, it’s probably not the best option for backpacking.

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Osprey Stratos 34 – The Verdict

The Osprey Stratos 34 backpack is a great pack for dedicated day hikers. The rigid suspension supports a wide range of loads and holds the pack away from your back for great ventilation. The pockets and straps are carefully designed to carry everything you need for all-season hiking. I’d thoroughly recommend this backpack as a great option for day hiking, although you might want to consider something larger for an overnight trip.

Back view of Osprey Stratos 34L Backpack
Back view of Osprey Stratos 34L Backpack
Osprey Stratos 34L Backpack in blue colour
Osprey Stratos 34L Backpack in blue colour

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Overview of Osprey Stratos 34

The Osprey Stratos 34 is one of the largest capacity panel-loader packs in the Osprey line. I personally have always preferred the panel-loading packs for day trips as opposed to the ‘everything goes in the top’ top-loaders. The Osprey Stratos 34 has a rigid structure that supports heavy loads particularly well, and offers the best combination of comfort and convenience.

When to use Osprey Stratos 34

The Osprey Stratos 34 is a pack that is perfect for hiking, and perhaps single overnighters, but is a little too bulky for day-to-day or multi-sport use.

Osprey Stratos 34 Weight

The Osprey Stratos 34 comes in two sizes.

The S/M weighs 2.946 LBS (1.34 kg)

The L/XL weighs 3.075 LBS (1.39 kg)

Pros Of Osprey Stratos 34

  • Lots of compartments in various sizes to keep your gear sorted.
  • Airspeed suspension – Incredibly comfortable and ventilated tensioned mesh back panel with added adjustability for variations in torso length to provide fine-tuned customization fit for every hiker and backpacker.
  • Seamless padded shoulder straps and hip belt made carrying heavier loads very comfortable.
  • Stow-on-the-Go trekking pole attachments are really useful.
  • Removable sleeping pad straps if you want to strap your sleeping pad outside the bag.
  • Sleeping bag compartment.
  • Zippered hip belt pouches for snacks while hiking.
  • Ice axe loop with bungee tie-off.
  • Integrated rain cover.
  • Dual side stretch mesh pockets, large enough for a good sized water bottle.
  • Comes in 2 sizes – small/medium (32L) and medium/large (34L)

Cons of Osprey Stratos 34

  • At 3 lb., some will think that this pack is too heavy. As a day hiker this isn’t too bad, but for backpacking I’d prefer something lighter.
  • This pack is not rated as a hydration pack. However, it does have a reservoir sleeve inside the main compartment and a hole in the upper body to feed your hose through. It works, but it could be better.
Testing Osprey Stratos 34L Backpack in backcountry

Comfort

I find that the Stratos 34 sits higher on my back than my previous pack, thereby giving me a more balanced weight distribution. The adjustable torso length makes for a perfect fit. The chest strap is also adjustable, across the chest and vertically along with the shoulder straps. The dual side compression straps keep the pack nice and close to the body.

The Stratos 34 features Osprey’s patented Airspeed Suspension which keeps the pack away from your body and keeps you cool. The shoulder straps are amazingly well padded and the seamless, also well padded, adjustable hip belt makes this a super comfortable pack.

Osprey Stratos 34 Storage

There are pockets everywhere on the Osprey Stratos 34. I’m an organizer so I like to know where things are when I need them, and this pack is perfect for getting all your gear in place. The pockets come in all sizes, even a sleeping bag compartment. There is a pocket on the front of the pack which I initially thought would only be good for maps or trail guides. I have since discovered that I can fit a light down jacket in the pocket, as well as the maps. However, the pockets that I use the most are the zippered pockets in the hip belt. That’s where the snacks go.

The downside of so many pockets on this pack is that it results in a higher weight compared to more basic packs. Personally, I prefer having these pockets, but if low weight is a priority, or you prefer a more minimalist, streamlined pack, this might not be the best option.

Testing the Osprey Stratos 34 in the Canadian Rockies
Hiker wearing Osprey Stratos 34L Backpack in the backpacking hike for a review

Integrated Rain Cover

When the weather turns, you’re still covered, literally. The Stratos 34’s integrated rain cover keeps your gear and pack protected. The rain cover is attached to the pack, so that even if it comes off you won’t lose it if you’re at the end of the line.

Should you buy the Osprey Stratos 34 backpack?

If you’re looking for a comfortable backpack with good storage, then the Osprey Stratos 34 is a great option. The main compromise is that the cost for the comfort and storage is additional weight. I think this pack works perfectly for day hikes, but I’d probably choose a different option for a longer backpacking trip.