Rating: 4 / 5
Moved this here from the Lifer's only forum.
Here is what I thought
Review for Osprey Hornet 46.
43 years old
Living/hiking in far northern CA.
6'3" 210 lbs
Backpacking for over 25 years
Photos from 4 night trip in CA Trinity Alps last week.
First off I found the pack to be too short for my torso. As you can see in the photos the load lifter straps are useless when worn this way. Definitely a medium. Construction seems to be of quality and I can see this pack lasting a long time, without being overbuilt. Glad to see the smaller size straps and buckles being used as some manufacturers must think that we are going to strap down elephants or something.
I did not use the supplied back pad insert, choosing to use my sit pad instead in the main pocket. I think you could use a backpad of half the supplied thickness without any noticeable loss in comfort or support. The Montbell pad I used was also lighter and served dual purpose when used in this manner.
I only took the top pocket on this trip to see if it was needed or a pain. I really don't see myself using it in the future and am glad that Osprey makes removal easy. One thought on design improvement for the lid would be to have the adjustment strap be attached to the lid and not the pack. This would eliminate the dangling strap when the lid is not used. I would also like to see the strap used on the pack be a different color than the one for the lid as it was confusing in low light conditions to figure out quickly which one I was dealing with.
I am not a hydration bladder user so made no use of the pocket designed for one. I like the stretchy pockets on the sides, but did find it a little difficult to access my 24 oz GSI Dukjug bottle. A 32oz Nalgene was easier, and I imagine this was what it was designed for. Soft sided bottles were next to impossible to put back in when less than full.
The suspension rods did their job in transferring the load to the hipbelt. I found the pack comfortable until going over 20 lbs or so. The shoulder straps would then dig in.
Sternum strap. I was a little leery of the adjustment device used, but in real life it did not slide around on its own.
Hipbelt pockets. I though it a bit strange that only one side had a lining against the mesh. Also I did not like how the shoulder strap cut across the hipbelt pockets cutting some volume from the already small pockets. Too short to fit my Steripen Adventurer. Too small to hold my camera. Also did not like how I could not see into them when wearing the pack as they were too far back.
Shoulder straps and pockets. Well some interesting things going on here. I do like the idea of shoulder strap pockets. I also like the idea of hanging a water bottle off the shoulder strap, adventure racer style. With a lack of attachment points for the latter making that impossible, I would suggest some type of daisy chain setup. Also the pockets are too small. Couldn't fit my small point and shoot camera in there. They just fit my Garmin Geko 301 GPS. Close to being great, but no.
Volume size: this was great. I could easily fit all I need for a week long summer trip in areas where a canister is not needed. Good job! Loved the back pocket. Easy access made secure with the strap. Swallowed 3 24oz beers with room leftover.
I like the trim profile and was resistant to catching on bushes and such during off route scrambling.
Photo shows my basic load carried in pack for this trial. Montbell pads, a Therm-a-rest Compack chair,Snowpeak 600 mug/cookset. Grey stuffsack with all the little items, tarp and bivy, water containers and GSI coffee filter, Ursack, trowel and TP, stuffsack with quilt and clothes. With this style of packing the Hornet just has too many pockets, especially when using the lid. This is why I would leave it behind. Also with the lid weighing in at 3.1 oz and the backpad at 3oz, just too easy to lose over 6oz. If this pack is being marketed to lightweight/UL packer this is a huge amount of weight.
For the most part I think you have a good pack on your hands. I hope that you offer it in a subdued color choice as well as I like to blend in with my surroundings. A few tweaks in design and I am sure mainstream backpackers will go for it. Normally I use a ULA Ohm, size large, and find it to be a perfect design for my style of backpacking for the same weight of this pack.