Not only is exercise livening up my brain, flooding it with dopamine, but so is simply being in the oxygen-rich atmosphere between the trees. I feel different, and instantly better when I’m surrounded by mature woods and beautiful scenes. So when I’m feeling down, blue, and full of nervousness, I take my pack and I go somewhere and simply wander and take in the colors, the bird song, the breeze, the plants and flowers, and the occasional wildlife. Nothing else soothes my mind and emotions better than a day hike. And for when I’m really feeling an impasse in my life, I go for days, hike and camp, and live for a short time among the wild places.
I recently had the opportunity to team up with Backpacks.com and they were kind enough to send over a pack made by Osprey. The STRATOS 34 is a wonderful little pack that’s designed for day hikes and built to last as long as you can carry on. I took the Stratos 34 on a recent hike and found it to be better than my other packs at keeping me cool in blisteringly hot days. Even when you’re in the woods and covered by shade, the Ohio humidity will drag you down if you let it. I kept myself cool with light clothes and the occasional spritz of water to the face, but the pack itself offered a substantial difference in its ability to keep me ventilated.
My comfort level during long hikes is basically second to none, because I’ve suffered from back and neck issues in the past, and really felt the effect of that when I backpacked around Europe for nine months a few years ago. The Stratos 34 offers adjustable torso lengths, allowing me to be able to customize where the weight sits more on my shoulders, back or hips. The overall design is sleek and slim, and very attractive, as it’s immediately noticeable how much care went into the designing of this pack. Osprey is known as being one of the best, and this pack says nothing to the contrary.
The Stratos 34 has panel-loading organization and is built out very well to help keep all your gear where you need it, while still appealing to overall comfort levels. The hipbelt is seamless and adds to the overall ergonomic fit of the pack as well. For when weather turns and you’re too far out to run for shelter, the pack is outfitted with an integrated rain cover which is removable with its own pocket. Other features include stow-on-the-go trekking pole attachments, internal hydration reservoir sleeve, dual-zippered panel access to main compartment, removable sleeping pad straps and a top panel slash pocket. Overall I was impressed with the build out and quality of the design, and although I’ve worked with larger and higher quality packs, for the price, it’s hard to beat this model by Osprey.
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(Main photo by 46785534@N06 via Flickr)