Osprey is famous for their backpacks and other outdoor gear. One unique model they have is the Stratos 36. This daypack overnighter combo bag is the perfect option for the hiker who finds that typical daypacks are too small but weekender-style backpacks are too large.
If that sounds like you, check out some of the advantages of the Stratos 36.
The Osprey Stratos has very impressive advantages over competitors, all of which can be broken down into 4 main categories.
The Stratos 36 is extremely comfortable to wear, even for very long periods of time. There are a few features that make this backpack so nice to wear. First off, it comes in two size options for men. The S/M has a 34-liter capacity and weighs 2 lbs 14 oz. The dimensions are 26” x 13” x 12. The M/L has a 36-liter capacity and weighs 3lbs with dimensions of 28” x 13” x 12”.
The Stratos harness is made of a mesh covered ventilated foam. It comes complete with an adjustable sternum strap which has an attached safety whistle. The shoulder straps of the harness are contoured in design as well. The harness is gender-specific in build so women may find the fit and sternum strap uncomfortable since this backpack is made for men.
A hip belt is also built into the harness system of this bag. Just like the shoulder straps, the hip belt uses Osprey’s ErgoPull closure which makes quick adjustments easy without removing the backpack. The hipbelt also comes with two large pockets on both sides for easy access storage.
Another important aspect of comfort is Osprey’s back panel and suspension. The Stratos uses Osprey’s AirSpeed suspension which consists of a super lightweight aluminum alloy frame with cross struts for added stability. The back panel is unusual but effective- the backpack has a significant arch while the back panel fits snug against the wearer.
This arch leaves a gap that gives a ton of ventilation. The back panel is under tension which gives great flexibility when moving around without sacrificing support. This combo of back panel and suspension means you can get away with carrier a slightly heavier load for short periods of time without a problem.
Despite being a daypack the Stratos 36 is not short on storage space and pockets. Many brands tend to reduce the organization options in their small bags since a daypack will carry less gear than a larger 55 or 60 liter backpack. Osprey didn’t go this route however. While you may not carry as much gear it can be argued that pockets and different compartments are just as important in a smaller bag.
Aside from the hip belt pockets mentioned earlier, there are also two mesh side pockets for water bottles and other gear. These pockets aren’t just normal side bottle pockets however- Osprey added special InsideOut Compression straps so you can really cinch down the side pockets.
The main compartment is accessed from a zippered top panel. This main compartment is where you will store the majority of your gear as well as access the sewn-in hydration bladder sleeve. There are also two different slash pockets- on top of the back and in the front.
The top slash pocket is made with fragile items in mind such as glasses, a phone or GPS. It is lined with a protective heat embossed fabric. The front pocket is big enough to store snacks, light layers of clothing and other pieces of gear you don’t want to get lost in the main compartment. Both slash pockets have zippered access.
Organization of tools is also easy since there are both tool loops and trekking pole loops on the bag. The tool attachment uses bungee style tie-offs while the trekking pole uses a combo of straps on both the harness and bag. The trekking pole easy closure also means you can remove and reattach poles without taking off the bag. There are also external sleep pad straps at the bottom of the bag.
While the Stratos 36 is most often used as a daypack, it can handle overnights if you stay within the recommended load range. A 36 liter bag is a pretty in between size but that makes it perfect for someone who tends to go on all day excursions or packs very light on overnighters.
This backpack is also excellent to wear in weather extreme. Many brands struggle with keeping backpack ventilated enough for wear in hot weather but sturdy enough to handle cold or wet conditions. Osprey nailed it with this backpack.
The back panel and suspension offer some of the most impressive ventilation out there and the ventilated harness only improves its breathability. Despite the heavy use of mesh you won’t need to worry about rain or snow since the built-in rain cover will keep your gear dry.
All in all, the Stratos is a very versatile bag in terms of design and size.
Durability is a very important aspect of a backpack.A good bag should be able to withstand harsh weather conditions, put up with long wear time and be able to resist scratches or abrasions. The Stratos is capable of handling all of this.
The bag is primarily made of two materials: 210D high tenacity twill nylon and 420HD nylon ripstop. Both fabrics are super long lasting and resistant to stains. On its own the bag isn’t water resistant but the built-in rain cover keeps the backpack dry during showers. Since the rain cover is built into the bag (in a small zippered pocket at the bottom) there is no worries about forgetting it and getting stuck in a rainstorm without protection.
The Stratos can easily be worn in the backcountry and through rocky terrain without fear of damaging the fabric. The lifetime warranty also means if something does happen you will be compensated.
The ideal backpack should be functional but it never hurts for it to look good as well. It’s no surprise that the Stratos 36 is a very attractive looking bag, just like most any Osprey backpack. It is available in 4 colors- Pine Green, Solar Flare Orange, Harbor Blue and Anthracite Black, which are two-toned.
The top lid of the backpack has an Osprey’s brand patch while the front of the backpack has the model name and a gray design. All straps in each color are a matching grey color while black buckles. Overall it is a very sleek, compact backpack that looks just as great as it wears.
There isn’t much wrong with this backpack. You will hardly ever find a lower than 4-star rating on this model while most are 5 stars. However, there are 2 things to consider.
It is difficult to list price as a disadvantage of a product since it comes down to individual budgets. While the Stratos 36 isn’t overpriced for a higher end brand backpack it still may seem expensive to new backpackers who don’t have a lot of money to spend. Osprey is known for high-quality gear and their superior backpacks naturally cost more.
If you are serious about backpacking then spending the extra money on a daypack that will last for a long time and is backed by an amazing warranty will be worth it.
Another possible weakness of the Stratos 36 is its capacity. Depending on your typical load out you may find that the Stratos is an awkward size- it’s a little too big as a typical daypack but a little too small as an overnighter or weekender bag. Osprey does have this model labeled as an “Overnight Backpacking/Day Hiking” but keep in mind that this in-between sizing can leave you with too much room or too little.
The size is perfect for backpackers that only want a bag that can handle all day hikes or short overnight trips. Unless you are an ultralight backpacker, you likely won’t be able to get a lot of use from this model for weekend trips.
If you have been looking for an awesome daypack and overnighter backpack the Stratos 36 could be the perfect model for you- especially if you find most daypacks to be too small. Light backpackers will also get a lot of use from this model. If you are a woman who is interested in this model but concerned about the men sizing, check out Osprey’s Sirrus line.
Sam Hardy is an outdoor enthusiast with a penchant for survival skills. He writes about the great outdoors and his favorite equipment here.