Gear Review: Osprey Hornet 32 Backpack

Gear Review: Osprey Hornet 32 Backpack
Blog Gear Reviews News

If you spend any time outdoors, hiking trails or mountain biking you are familiar with Osprey Packs and for good reason. From technical to hydration to everyday packs, Osprey has a generous lineup of packs to suit everyone’s needs.

I acquired a couple of Osprey Hornet 32 packs for my team to compete in a 24-hour adventure race. We put them to the test and they performed flawlessly. We were looking for something lightweight without sacrificing performance, capable of carrying all required equipment and have easy access to gear we needed quickly.

Product Description: The Osprey Hornet 32 is made of lightweight, durable 70D Triple Ripstop Nylon and 100D shadow check nylon. It features one large main compartment; two mesh side pockets with compression straps and a front stretch mesh pocket. The floating lid has a zippered storage area and a zippered mesh pocket on the underside. The pack also features gel pockets on the shoulder straps and two hip belt pockets that will fit small essentials like energy gels and lip balm and weighs in at 1.25 pounds — superlight indeed!

Besides being lightweight and designed with plenty of useful storage space there are a few other great features of this pack that should be noted. This pack has an HDPE frame sheet that gives extra support and load transfer without incorporating a true frame. An adjustable sternum strap improves pack wear and comfort. And finally, this pack has great corded tie-offs, on the front, for attaching trekking poles or other necessary tools.

Pros: This pack is lightweight, durable and has plenty of capacity. I carried a full bladder, climbing harness, food sack running shoes, rain gear, first aid kit, survival bag, map and compass and headlamp. It all fit into the bag with room to spare. All this gear fit into the main compartment and zippered pockets. I still had all the exterior tie-off points available for extra gear that I needed easy access to. The pack held up to some rugged mountain biking, bushwhacking and a 300-foot rappel without any tears or damage and never fatigued my shoulders.

Cons: My complaints are in regards to the side water bottle holders, size of the buckles and straps and no bladder included.

The mesh water bottle holders on the sides are not as deep as they need to be, though there are skinny straps you can use to help hold a bottle. We purchased 100oz bladders instead and used the side pockets for extra food.

The size of the buckles and straps were only an issue during the race. I have big hands and we wear gloves the whole time during our adventure races. The tiny buckles and skinny side compression straps were difficult to use and adjust while wearing gloves.

What Are Others Saying?

★★★★★ 5 out of 5 stars, on REI.com

“Lightweight and Awesome”

This pack is perfect for day hikes and some weekend trips if you are a light packer. It has a large main pocket that can fit most of what you need. The stretchy pouch on the front is great for stuffing stuff that you need quick. It has plenty of places that you can strap stuff onto on the outside of the pack. It’s lightweight and comfortable to hike with.”

Outsideonline.com gives this pack a thumbs up and also praises the floating lid, multiple attachment points, and the vast amount of storage available in a larger day-pack. They do recommend this pack for the user that isn’t prone to over packing.

Trailspace.com echoes these sentiments noting that this pack is incredibly durable and can stand up to plenty of abuse.

Final Thoughts 

Overall, excellent packs. The Osprey Hornet 32 has been stripped down to the essentials, yet offers comfort and functionality for trail runners, adventure racers and anyone else who wants to move nimble, fast and light.

The Hornet series comes in 3 sizes: 24,32 and 46, which is great if you need something smaller or are planning a weekend trip. The Hornet 32 was the perfect size for our 24-hour adventure race and I have used it since for climbing 14ers, overnight camping trips and traveling to Europe.