I just received an e-mail from John Pieper of Osprey. He mentioned that we testers are free to discuss our impressions of the Hornet 46 on these forums. His quote: "Free speech is totally cool". He indicated that the feedback we give him, as well as other forum questions/comments, will be forwarded to the design team, and would be considered while making final changes prior to the Aug-Sept production.
He indicated that the prototype packs we received are roughly 42 L, as Ryan mentioned in his initial post. Osprey will size it up a bit for final production (to 46 L?). I expect that they'll offer various colors, and their usual 2 sizes (S/M and M/L) for the 46 L. pack. I don't know about other pack volume sizes.
Now, my initial impressions from just one outing (I'll work on that 100-mile minimum, Dave):
The pack is not framed, but has the removable foam pad. It also has two vertical frame rods secured in sleeves on either side of the pad sleeve. No top horizontal frame rod like the Talon.
A unique feature is the side mesh pocket design. They are 15" x 6", running along the whole side of the pack. There is an opening at the top, and also one half way down on the shoulder strap side. This allows a good deal of flexibility of what it can do. You can access your water bottles easily, or you can choose to use a pocket to store your tarp or some such piece of gear. There are two lightweight 3-point compression strap setups over each pocket, which will allow one to secure whatever is placed in the pockets. My camera isn't working, but maybe Roger or Jennifer could add a photo, showing the side of the pack, with the large mesh pocket and unique compression straps.
Another useful feature is a series of maybe 14 small loops of non-stretch cord sewn into the sides, top, and front of the pack, which allow you to configure all sorts of external lashing options (provide your own cord).
On last week's outing, I found that I missed having some sort of hip belt padding (there is none at all). And I have to disagree with Jennifer's feeling that the shoulder straps were 'heavenly.' I've never been a fan of Osprey's thin perforated padding there, and I suggested to them that they consider beefing it up a wee bit, if only at the shoulder point-of-contact, and for sure at the iliac crest.
But, all in all, I think they've come up with something here. With a few tweaks and a slightly larger volume (and a corresponding increase in weight), this pack has the potential to compete with the Jam 2.