If an all-day hike evokes thoughts of schlepping around with a hefty pack slung uncomfortably across your shoulders, it’s time for an attitude change – and a gear upgrade. Today’s packs are technical, performance-oriented tools: Lightweight, custom-fit and (dare I say?) even comfortable. Simply put, the Osprey Sirrus 24 is a gift to hikers that keeps on giving. I tested it on several day hikes, and was amazed at how much it could fit, not to mention the ingenious and efficient way in which all of the compartments are organized. Even when packed to the brim, the Sirrus 24 felt deceivingly light, thanks to the back panel suspension, padded belt and strategically-placed harnesses. It’s even hydration-compatible if you want to purchase a coordinating reservoir, and another bonus is the integrated rain cover, which can easily be whipped out if you’re taken by a surprise storm. $99; 21 x 13 10.25 in; S-L,
Why is the Osprey Hornet is one of the hottest new backpacks of 2011? There are several reasons:
First, the Hornet series represents a radical change in the Osprey Design Philosophy away from their overbuilt backpacks to a more customizable design with removable features and lighter weight fabrics.
Second, this pack clearly signals Osprey Pack’s entry into the lightweight backpacking market, where consumers are interested in the improved comfort provided by ultralight gear.
Lastly, there’s the jaw-dropping fact that the Hornet 46 liter pack (2760 cubic inch) only weighs 25 oz fully configured or 19 oz without the Hornet’s optional 3.2 oz frame sheet and 2.8 oz floating pocket. That’s a coup for Osprey and puts them in an enviable market position for bringing lightweight backpacking to a mainstream audience.
Mother’s Day Gift Guide:
This 36 liter pack is the perfect companion for your gal’s next extended day hike or overnight camp. Osprey’s AirSpeed™ suspension will make her forget she is carrying a 20-30 pound load, all day. There are pockets everywhere on this top-loader, several large pockets for bulky items as well as a pocket on the lid, one each waist strap and even a handy pocket for her MP3 player or other essentials is built into the right harness strap. Bred for the back-country this pack is well built and ready for years of outdoor fun.
Bike commuters rejoice! The new Momentum backpack from Osprey was designed just for you. Available in 26- or 34-liter sizes, the bag sells for $130 to $150 online. For that price, you get a slim-profile pack with several slick cyclist-specific features. After more than a month of testing, I came away believing that the Momentum can stand out as a strong contender in the saturated field of made-for-commuting bike packs.
On rides as long as 20 miles this spring, I have employed the 26-liter version to haul not only my computer but a change of clothing, shoes, and more. Understandably, with the padding needed to protect the computer, the bag seemed stiff at first. But soon it blended into the periphery and allowed me to transport my gear safely and with no discomfort at all.