Good afternoon fellow Ferals!
It occurred to me the other day that I haven’t given you a gear review in ages! With summer now (hopefully) fast approaching and many of us on the search for a new day pack (I know I was anyway.. my previous one that had lasted about 4 years was starting to look like an old, withered potato sack) I thought it would be appropriate to start my summer-themed gear reviews with my new Osprey Hikelite 18 (just to note, they do make the Hikelite in a 26L too!). These are not women’s specific packs, but at 5’1 and a size 8 I found that it adjusted to my size quite nicely (I usually struggle with unisex bags). So, as usual, let’s break down the techy stuff before I voice my opinion!
The Back System and Straps
I love the back system in this pack! Osprey use their AirSpeed backsystem. This layout basically places a thin, stretchy, breathable layer of mesh next to your back with the bulk of the pack suspended away from you – this means that even in the height of summer your back will still get some cool air, avoiding big sweat patches and the heat from your body won’t make the water in your hydration bladder warm. Win Win! The back system is also pre-curved so it sits snug to the natural curve of your back and hugs your hips. Lastly, the bag also features a slim, removable hip belt and a sternum strap (with a whistle) for added stability.
Osprey have absolutely nailed it! The storage space is functional and simple without being to faffy. There is one main generous compartment (*BONUS* It also fits my laptop in it – making it a SUPER comfy commuting bag too!) with a separate internal Hydration Bladder pocket and clip, two super stretchy mesh pockets on the side of the pack (they both fit in a litre bottle) and a top organising pocket with a key clip, that’s lined with a scratch resistant material (perfect for sunglasses and phones). All of which can be compressed down with the side compression straps if you don’t manage to fill the bag. The 26 litre also comes with a large front kangaroo pouch (I don’t think that’s the real name for it.. but we’ll roll with it) which easily fits in a waterproof jacket. It also comes with a removable raincover (which I got really excited about because lots of packs in that size range don’t). On top of all of that rad inner storage space it also has attachments on the outside of your bag for your trekking poles.
In My Opinion
I use this bag for pretty much everything (it’s sat next to me right now!); I can fit my laptop in it, it’s the ideal size for a day hike, and it’s the perfect to-and-from work bag (it also suits really well for snowsports and biking). I also know where everything is all the time – I love the simple (no extra unnecessary strappy bits), but functional storage space and I never lose my keys! Plus, they have nailed the colour range – everything from deep green, to dark blue, to bright red and loads more. And the price? A phenomenal RRP of £70 (currently £59.50 at Trekitt). Usually you’d have to compromise on price with a bag that’s as functional and durable as this but not this time! Thumbs up all round. Good job, Osprey!
I wasn’t the biggest fan of the hip belt. It provided a little bit of stability but not enough if the bags weight is uneven (e.g. if you have a big water bottle in one side pocket then you still get a decent amount of wobble). It’s also not the most comfortable. Other packs of a similar size come with a more substantial (albeit, not necessarily removable) hip belt, which is far more comfortable on long treks.
Whilst I am very aware that the bag fits ME very well, it is not built for everyone (but it’s kinda supposed to be). They do not come in different back lengths or sizes, but I think they should do. It’s a unisex bag, which means it’s supposed to be comfortable on someone who is my size, right up to a guy who is a 40″ waist and above – but it doesn’t; because of the solid preshaping in the base of the back system, it sits funny on your ‘love handles’ and can dig in if you’re on the bigger side – so keep that in mind when you try it on (I definitely recommend trying it on before taking the tags off and taking it for a test run!).
I love my Hikelite pack – but I’m well aware that it might not suit everyone. I would always advise trying on a pack (stuffed with weight bags if available) before you buy it; but if you don’t have the time and you find that online is more your thing then try to go through someone who offers free returns (like Trekitt), you know, just incase.
Thanks for joining me again today folks! If you do decide to invest in a Hikelite, then let me know how you get on with it! Your opinion means the world to me.
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