Osprey Hikelite 26 Backpack Review.
Osprey Hikelite 26L.
Osprey are one of the premium pack makers out there. Osprey have taken packs to the deepest darkest parts of the world, the furthest flung corners of our planet.
I myself have a selection of packs, my most recent is the Hikelite 26. This is, to my recollection, the smallest backpack I have had since I was in primary school, it is certainly the most minimalist, and the lightest. As I write this on a train while my trusty Millican the Smith 25L pack is beside me I realise the Hikelite is actually bigger than the Millican. It doesn’t seem possible. The Millican is made of a tough, heavy weight rip-stop material that, even when empty weighs a bit, the Hikelite feels very lightweight indeed.
I love both packs, but have to say that they are in very different areas when it comes to use, and where and what they are used for. The Millican I use as a commuting bag, heavy, dependable, simple, practical. It is a fantastic pack with minimal drawbacks. The Hikelite is made of a much lighter material, thin, but through experience and their “almighty Guarantee” I know that it will last. It looks like an outdoor pursuit backpack, as opposed to the trendy Millican that wouldn’t look out of place on a suit in London.
The Osprey looks like a pack designed to be a pack. It has some great features, that an Osprey consumer would be familiar with-such as their emergency whistle on the chest harness strap, the rain cover emblazoned with a huge Osprey logo, and a water pouch flap and straw routing etc. For such a small lightweight pack the technology has been rammed in.
The bags first outing happened on July12th. Firstly I took the tag off and was impressed that it didn’t use a plastic tag, but some string. YAY, go Osprey-sensible and ecological. So I set off walking. I packed light-so light I forgot my sun-cream on a very hot day.
The walk went through some back lanes, woodland, ploughed fields, and paths in and around the Fal river. The bag felt good, close to the body, with adjustable straps, so everything could be improved for fit and comfort. You are able to strap stuff to the outside of the bag-I did this with my camera, but soon changed my mind due to the fact the bag is so light, that it was hanging down and unbalancing the pack, so I removed it and put it in the pack.
The day was hot, and my back and shoulders did sweat. It wasn’t uncomfortable, but there was lots of sweat-I guess there is and always will be sweaty backs when wearing a pack. My Nalgene bottle was in and out and although the side pockets fit it happily, you must ensure the compression straps are tight-or it will fall out. This isn’t a problem, but it does get irritating. The front top pouch is a ‘soft’ pouch for phone screens and sunglasses to be safe in, it also has an included envelope to slide your keys into-so they don’t scratch your valuable stuff. As the miles wore on, the initial irritation where the seam at the lower back-near the rain cover pocket wore off. I thought that I would be rubbed raw, but it was fine. The straps were excellent, secure, comfortable and padded.
The Hikelite 26 is a great size, and on the back it has a large open pocket-I kept a jetfoil fuel canister in there, and it was brilliant having that away from other stuff within the bag. A little bit of organisational ability. I guess this pocket will be excellent for stuffing jackets in and out of when walking in changeable weather, and mountains. Chucking on a base layer when required.
After having an Aether 70, and wearing it in wind-I was forever being slapped in the face by straps-there were straps flying everywhere. This bag doesn’t seem to have all those complications. To this I am thankful. I like its simplistic style. Its a bag, a good bag, a light bag.
As a day pack, coastal walks when its just me-I will be using it. My Stratos 36, although getting on, has more carrying ability so when having to carry layers this will continue to be my goto….. I think…..
I like the size, I like the straps, I like the weight.
Could be better if…
The water bottle holders were more elastic-so don’t need to take bag off every time I want to return my drink.
The colour was a bit blah-for me. I prefer bright.
The back mesh/trampoline still needs development.
Would I recommend the bag? In a heartbeat. Great, reliable, trusty, light!