Gear Box: Osprey Hornet 32 Pack

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of Osprey Packs. In fact, I own several of them in various sizes, and they each serve a specific purpose, and they do so very well. This is why I was excited to have the offer to test out one of their new Hornet 32 packs, a lightweight, minimalist daypack that still carries all the quality you expect from Osprey.

The first thing you’ll notice when you pick up the Hornet is just how light it actually is. The bag is designed for trail runners, adventure racers, and peak baggers, and it serves their needs very well. It is so lightweight, in fact, that you barely notice that it’s on your back, but even when filled with gear, it still carries the load very well. There are various adjustment straps to help you get just the right fit and secure your burden, which is appreciated when you want to set a faster pace on the trail.

As the name implies, the Hornet 32 is a mid-size pack with plenty of room to carry everything you’ll need for a long day on the trail. The Hornet features a spacious main compartment and three outer mesh pockets, one on the back and two on the front. Those mesh pockets are perfect for storing items you want to get to quickly, such as water shoes or a rain jacket.

There are also two more pockets on the hip belt and a removable top pocket with two separate compartments. In short, you have plenty of places to organize and store your gear.
Despite its lightweight, the Hornet still impresses with quality.

The pack is made from triple-ripstop nylons that wear well and feel solid, as do the shoulder straps and belts. Often, a pack this light feels like it could rip easily or show wear and tear after just a few hikes, but the Hornet 32 weathered the storm well and looks new, even after using it a few times.

As you would expect, the bag is hydration ready and can carry up to a 3-liter water bladder. It also comes with a vented back panel with a removable, replaceable pad, which helps you to stay ventilated on your back while on the trail.

But don’t expect the same level of ventilation you find on Osprey’s other, heavier packs that have a true frame in place to help facilitate airflow. Clearly, this was one of the compromises you make to reduce weight and adhere to the minimalist philosophy.

Still, the Hornet is a joy to use. It fits well, carries a load nicely, and has plenty of room for all your gear, plus water and lunch, on a day hike. Sprint adventure racers will appreciate the lightweight but high quality, and fast packers will enjoy the variety of places to stuff their gear as well. It should be noted that this bag comes in 24 and 46-liter capacities, so be sure to get the one that most fits your needs.

(MSRP: $139)

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Kraig Becker