Flying high || Osprey Sirrus 24 Review

Posted by on Oct 5, 2017 in Equipment | No Comments
Flying high || Osprey Sirrus 24 Review

Destination Gränslandet, central Scandinavia, the borderlands between Sweden and Norway. With a new daypack, the Osprey Sirrus 24. Like a companion, only met recently and invited to come along, a new pack is a challenge. It has to walk with you, river deep, mountain high, without complaints. Weeks in untouched and remote wilderness country, encounters with wind, rain and the occasional blizzard. Summed up a wonderful time and a great daypack.

 

Thoughts on packs and an old photo

Two people, both with a backpack. The man, tall and in his younger years athletic. The woman, short, an air of friendliness flattering her sturdy appearance. They walk a trail, somewhere.

What I describe here is a photo I found in some sort of antiques shop. It is set in a beautiful frame and the black and white image is of outstanding quality. Who these people are, I do not know. No indications, no names. The only clue can be found in looking closely at the surroundings, woodland in a mountainous area. It could be Norway, it might be Switserland or Italy, but it is hard to tell. There is more than one reason why this photo, about 90 years old, is so appealing. The backpacks, for instance. Simple they are in appearance, knapsack-style, made from cotton or canvas, with leather shoulder straps, no hipbelt, pear-shaped, no frame. Old-school hiking.

But the real eye catcher is how they walk….they must be closely related. Are they long-time friends, a married couple? Maybe it is not the answer to the question that is most relevant. For this image is the exemplification of the essential (hiking) rule: only take along who will enhance the experience. This goes for equipment as well.

 

Your backpack is like a dog…..?

I will explain. Your backpack is like a dog. It ought to stay with you for a while, you should be able to trust it. In other words, you must become friends. If a true companionship isn’t established, or worse, when there is more growling and biting than friendly hugs, walk away. Note there is a significant difference between dogs and packs when it comes to training – it won’t be you who takes the lead, it is the pack and its features.

Let’s start with what I do not like about a backpack in general. Fully aware of the fact that such is nothing more than a luxury statement – our ancestors were glad when they had created a means to haul their stuff, so no specific wishes there.

One: when we have to carry something, the load must not weigh you down in one way or the other. Two: if the things you have packed cannot be reached easily, that is without having to unpack everything, it’s annoying. Three: whenever compartments and pockets do not zip and unzip smoothly, there’s a problem grinning at you from a distance. Four: it must not fall to pieces before you decide it can retire. That’s about it. Functional, practical, durable are the keywords and because we are in the 21th century, add a smart look as well.

 

Osprey Sirrus 24, trail near Stadjan, Idre, Dalarna, Sweden

 

It is all about the frame

 

The Osprey Sirrus 24 had to demonstrate its performance on the Scandinavian trails, more specific, the remote wilderness areas in the provinces of Dalarna and Jämtland. My Swedish backyard. I am still deeply in love with the landscapes here. The boreal forest, the taiga. The mountains and the valleys, the quiet lakes, the flowers of the tundra, the woods.

This daypack, coming in different sizes (from 24 L up to 50 L) has been designed to be a fully adjustable backpack, using an innovative ventilation system to increase breathability. Perfect for the warm weather days on the trail and equally great when temperatures are lower. After all, ventilation is important in winter as well.

 

Gränslandet – river deep, mountain high

Gränslandet, the region mentioned earlier, is a 2105 square kilometers area of protected countryside, located in Norway and Sweden. Not only it is an area of stunning landscapes, also the names are a melody. A nordic song, about Gutulia, Femundslia, Rogen, Töfsingdalen. Grövelsjön, Femundsmarka, Långfjället, Stadjan-Nipfjället, Langtjønna.

The last Ice Age left its traces here – grooves, glacial meltwater channels, Rogen moraine (the bow-shaped lakes and pits). In Gränslandet there is little spruce forest. Here the windblown pine tree is king, illustrating the fierce winds as well as the cold winters. His queen is the mountain birch, that strong and equally beautiful tree. As this is also reindeer pastureland, the old Sami cultural landscape is present everywhere. Reindeer encounter guaranteed. Be careful not to disturb the animals, especially in summer when they walk with calves, still young.

 

A reindeer on the mountain ridge. Location Idre, Stadjan-Nipfjället. Dalarna, Sweden. Photo Treeline Tales.

 

From airport to tent – good, better, best

I found a new friend. A praise like ‘a dream come true’ would be too much honour for a daypack, but nevertheless I feel the designers have done a great job here. Now, skipping the romantics by entering the practical realm of life, let’s take off from a crowded airport.

Standing at the airport check-in desk, I prayed this daypack would pass the cabin size exams. And it did, with KLM airlines that is. Bonus point for pack. That it comes with an internal document holder (A4 size) is a plus as well. At that time I could not foresee the IPhone trouble, bringing upheaval, one week later. Being temporarily locked out (……), ITunes and ICloud sync not working at all, I couldn’t access camera, e-mail, messages and documents….(flight schedules, bookings…oh help). A friendly spirit must have warned beforehand, because I had made some prints, good old paper that is, all documents neatly stashed away. I was happy to replace schedules with maps though.

A daypack should hold everything you’ll need, from an extra layer to energy bar and sunglasses. The minimum list (my one) for a summer hike include the aforementioned jacket, waterbottle, sunglasses, lunch/snacks, small first aid kit, rope and duct tape (yes…), mobile phone, camera, maps, compass, hat or bandana or buff or cap, wallet, keys. On colder days also a pair of gloves (in summer? affirmative). All items fit in and – equally important – come out with no difficulty. After some repeated exercise that is, because the external backpanel somehow was getting in my way. That frame is stiff and cannot be removed. Or perhaps it is the shape of the pack, more space at the bottom, in the middle section it is tailored slightly, that I had to get used to it. It is definitely not a ‘just throw everything in’ backpack. It calls for a minimum of packing smartness (managed).

A daypack that comes with an embrace

The best thing about the Osprey is how it sits on your back. The Sirrus is designed for women – I assume the equivalent for men, the Stratos, offers the same experience. It is extremely comfortable, even in the last hour of a long day’s hike. The curved internal load-supporting frame, in combination with the external open mesh backsystem (adjustable), offers maximum comfort. It has a great fit, shoulder straps and hipbelt are padded and very soft. Whether you wear only a shirt or are layered for the cold, the Osprey is ready to embrace you. I did not have problems with adjusting straps or hipbelt. With the kind of weather changes that are common in this region, implying you take your jacket off, and on, and off again, no annoyances here. Speaking of which, this backpack comes with an integrated raincover – detachable, so when you are pretty convinced not to run into a shower, you can use the pocket to pack something else.

 

Osprey Sirrus 24 daypack, backside. Photo Treeline Tales.

 

Ventilation is very good, a lot of airflow between back and pack. Osprey’s tagline ‘The wind on your back’ holds true. Therefore the superlatives have to stay in, this backpack deserves it.

The twin zippered hipbelt pockets are small. Sunglasses do not fit in, a chocolate bar does. At first at bit sceptical about this feature, I ended up using these pockets all the time. Designed to keep smaller items, such as the all-weather-protection-lip balm, buff, wallet, nice things to keep that I find where my feet walk…it is a useful add-on.

There is more. The internal hydration sleeve (didn’t use it so cannot tell anything here), clip to attach keys (very handy), a single ice axe loop, worth mentioning because in wintertime this is equipment you may need to bring along. An easy trekking pole attachment feature, side straps and sternum strap effortless to adjust. The designer who came up with the idea to integrate a whistle in the sternum strap buckle, definitely shall be hugged by me. Often forgotten but extremely useful in emergency situations, a whistle is a must. And here it is.

 

Winged blue

Back to that old photograph. Similar to home, where you want to live in good company, stepping out into nature’s moods will be enhanced pleasure with a true friend. Human, dog, or pack. This daypack has won me over on account of  its very good and back-friendly fit. All other features add up to this.

I love clouds. Their shapes, their colors, their layers. The forecasters of our hiking moods…This Sirrus can come along with me.

 

low couds, lake, Grövelsjön, Dalarna Sweden. Treeline Tales.

 

Note: this is not a review based on comparative product testing. What I have stated here is my personal opinion. It goes without saying that my words include a performance verdict, as I use other backpacks as well.

 

 

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