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Osprey Stratos 36 Backpack Review – Men’s Hiking Backpack

Osprey Stratos 36 Review - a great men's hiking backpack, perfect for weekend and short trips!


I recently purchased an Osprey Stratos 36 backpack for my hiking trips and found it to be an ideal choice. This backpack is both durable and versatile. What sets it apart is its exceptional comfort, which is not always the case with other backpacks.

Osprey enjoys making backpacks with certain activities in mind, and this is a great example of one: it is a light hike backpack. It’s a great bag that has a lot of good features and extras, and I just love it.

Having tested the Osprey Stratos 36 backpack, I can confidently say that it is an excellent choice for those traveling to hot-climate regions.

Based on my personal experience, it is a reliable and lightweight backpack. Here’s my in-depth review of Osprey Stratos 36.

Osprey Stratos 36
Osprey Stratos 36 Men's Hiking Backpack

Men’s | Women’s

Osprey Stratos 36 Specifications

osprey stratos 36 review
Let’s talk about numbers and details first. The Osprey Stratos 36 is a 36-liter backpack, weighing 3.2 lbs (1,4 kg). It’s made of 210D and 420HD nylon, and it feels very rugged.

It comes in three colors: black, Eclipse blue, and Gator green. It is a top-loader, (meaning it has a fixed top lid) with an internal frame made of aluminum, and has 6 exterior pockets.

Osprey Stratos 36 Features

With that out of the way, let’s talk about the bag itself. The first thing I noticed was that the top lid can’t be removed, but I don’t mind that at all. It has enough space to carry a lot of snacks and has an internal mesh pocket with a key holder strap.

It has a lot of pockets, and all of them are very good: the zippers are strong and the pull handles are big and easy to use even with gloves on.

The main compartment is big enough. It opens and closes with a draw cord, and it has a hydration pocket for water bladders.

Based on our careful observations, on the outside, it features a lot of good straps, with dual side compression straps, and the unique ‘stow-on-the-go’ to carry your trekking poles outside of the bag.

It also has an emergency whistle. A rain cover is included, it comes in its own little mesh pocket, which is really nice, and it’s detachable.

On the bottom of the Osprey Stratos 36, you can find a zippered sleeping bag compartment.

Just be aware that your sleeping bag must be well compressed in order to fit there, but other than that, the sleeping bag compartment is a great feature to have in a bag this size.

It also has external sleeping pad straps for you to carry a sleeping pad or a tent with you, and the straps are very firm.

This backpack has great organizational features. On the front of the backpack, you will find a very convenient vertical center pocket with a vertical zipper: perfect for you to grab things you need without opening the main compartment.

Speaking of well-placed pockets, there are two very convenient pockets in the belt strap, that are just great.

Through our comprehensive knowledge of the product, there is enough room for your phone, an external battery, your passport, snacks, you name it. The stuff you need quickly is right there at your fingertips.

But the best feature the Osprey Stratos 36 has to offer has got to be its back panel and the Osprey’s Airspeed Suspension system.

It is a mesh back panel that allows air to flow freely in your back, so you can wear the backpack without worries that your back will be sweaty.

See also: Osprey Kestrel 38 Review – Men’s Hiking Backpack

osprey stratos 36 belt pockets

What Can You Fit Inside Osprey Stratos 36?

The Osprey Stratos 36, just like the Osprey Farpoint 40, is not a small travel day pack, but it is also not big enough for a traditional backpacking trip.

I find that I can carry a lot of tools and gear outside of the bag, and still have plenty of external pockets to fill.

To be honest, I filled it with stuff for a weekend, a first-aid kit, a hiking water bottle which I placed on the side pocket, a pair of extra boots, knee braces, phone and passport, hiking microspikes, and my trekking poles, and I still couldn’t fill it completely.

Here’s what I got inside of it.

osprey stratos 36 fit inside

For a single-day hike, you can fit a sleeping bag and tent, a sleeping pad outside, some other hiking gear, a change of clothes, sunglasses, a water bladder, trekking poles, lots of snack bars, a camera, and your phone. Not too shabby.

Some of you may even be able to pack a lot more, I am sure of it. So you should be able to carry enough stuff for an epic day hike, or a single night camping (maybe 2 if you are good at packing stuff).

Osprey Stratos 36
Osprey Stratos 36 Men's Hiking Backpack

Men’s | Women’s

Wearing Osprey Stratos 36 – How does it feel?

As revealed by our meticulous testing procedures, the Osprey Stratos 36 is absurdly comfortable. I talked about the ventilated back panel before, but it is worth mentioning again: it is just amazing.

Your back will not be sweaty. But also, it will carry the backpack without straining it: you can adjust the shoulder straps to fit your size, height, and build.

The back panel has a Velcro that you can detach and adjust the straps to fit just the way you want it to. The belt and torso straps can be adjusted, of course, and the weight distribution is very balanced.

osprey stratos 36 back panel

Following rigorous testing, we noticed that the Osprey Stratos 36 backpack is slightly heavier than other backpacks of similar size. However, this is a trade-off for the high level of comfort and exceptional features that it offers.

I honestly didn’t feel the extra weight at all. It is made of very durable, light aluminum, so I know the extra weight comes from all the extra features, pockets, and the amazing mesh back panel.

Overall, it is just an amazing backpack to wear, and I could hike with it and not have the bag bother me for many hours. Also, because it is smaller than other backpacks, I can have it with me on my lap if I am in a car or a bus, no problem.

The Osprey Stratos 36 feels very versatile, very comfortable, and very rugged.

How Does It Compare With Other Backpacks?

Osprey Stratos 36 vs Osprey Talon 36

osprey talon 36 backpack

As mentioned previously, the Osprey Stratos 36 comes with a ventilated AirSpeed suspension back panel, which is its main feature and provides a unique level of comfort and airflow for hikers of all types.

Additionally, it comes with an integrated rain cover to protect your gear against wet weather.

Now, the Talon 36 doesn’t come with a rain cover or an AirSpeed suspension back panel, but it makes up for this by being incredibly lightweight and having its own unique AirScape back panel, which keeps your pack’s weight close to your body while still providing adequate breathability.

In other articles, I’ve mentioned that the Stratos 36 lacks easy access to some of its pockets, particularly the side mesh water bottle holders, while the Talon 36 provides several types of utility in the forms of top-loaders, lumbar packs, and several readily available mesh pockets.

However, all hiking packs serve different purposes. With that being said, while the Talon 36 may appear to have more advantages, it would really only benefit heavy-duty hikers, making the Stratos 36 still highly recommended for casual and light travelers.

Osprey Stratos 36 vs Osprey Exos 38

osprey exos 38 backpack

When comparing the Stratos 36 to the Exos 38, the Exos 38 has the benefit of being incredibly lighter than the Stratos 36.

However, when you really compare these two closely, you immediately notice that the Exos 38 has many glaring disadvantages that make the Stratos 36 the better hiking pack.

Most notably, the Exos 38 lacks an integrated cover for rain for protection and the hip belt pockets that are common on many hiking packs.

Meanwhile, the Stratos 36 provides all of that in addition to being extremely durable.

When it comes to hiking packs, you never want to sacrifice perks that will increase the lifetime of your bag or reduce your storage capacity, which when compared to the Stratos 36, is exactly what the Exos 38 does.

Overall, I can’t see any situation, even for a more seasoned traveler, where you wouldn’t choose the Stratos 36 as your first choice.

Osprey Stratos 36 Pros & Cons

So, here are a few things that I consider Pros and some others that I consider Cons. See if you agree with me:


  • Made with the light hiker in mind
  • Small enough so that you can carry it in your lap on the bus
  • Lots of pouches, pockets, and compartments including an internal hydration reservoir sleeve, zippered hip belt pockets, and dual side stretch mesh pockets for water bottles (sold separately)
  • Great rain cover included
  • Extremely comfortable, especially during the summer and in warmer climates
  • Made of durable, rugged materials
  • Large load capacity for its size
  • Great compression straps including adjustable sternum straps
  • Fully adjustable
  • Lifetime warranty from Osprey
  • Ice tool loop with bungee tie off
  • stow-on-the-go trekking pole attachment
  • ErgoPull hip belt closure with hip belts directly connected to back panel mesh.


  • Made with the light hiker in mind
  • It sits on the heavier side
  • The mesh from the side pockets isn’t the most bush-friendly

Is Osprey Stratos 36 for you?

The Osprey Stratos 36 is for you if you are a light hiker, a weekend traveler, or a one-night-over kind of person.

It is also for you if you need to carry a lot more stuff in the main compartment than what regular day packs can handle. It is not for you if you want to backpack or camp for longer periods.

If you are looking for long-term travel bags, then check our guide for the best travel backpack with wheels.

Osprey Stratos 36 has a perfect size if your trip is short or if you travel very light. That being said, if you like comfort, reliability, and versatility, this is the backpack for you.

Through our rigorous testing of the product, we discovered that the Osprey Stratos 36 backpack is an outstanding bag with numerous great features. It’s no surprise that it receives plenty of positive reviews from users.

If you value comfort more than you do size or carrying capacity, this is definitely the backpack for you.

Osprey Stratos 36
Osprey Stratos 36 Men's Hiking Backpack


How Many Liters Is Osprey Stratos 36?

The Osprey Stratos 36 has a 36-liter capacity to it. Although it will not sustain you for a long or multi-day hiking trip, as it cannot hold a lot of gear and food, it makes a good option for a day hike or a quick weekend trip.

Is Osprey Stratos 36 Carry On Size? 

Yes, the Osprey Stratos 36 is carry-on size and can fit in the overhead compartment of all major airlines. Its dimensions are 25.2” H X 13” W X 12.6” D, and it weighs only 3.174 lbs when empty.

Last update on 2023-12-10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API