Gear Review: Osprey Hornet 24 Backpack

All loaded up and ready to go!
When it comes to choosing the perfect day pack for a hike, there are a significant number of options available. You can narrow your search depending on the features you're looking for, and for me, the more features, the better.

Osprey hit the nail on the head with the Hornet 24. I was fortunate enough to win one of the packs in Chicks Ambassador Poster Plaster contest through Chicks Climbing, and immediately put it through its paces here in Pennsylvania and in the Sierras.

Osprey designed the Hornet 24 is for lightweight day hiking and peak bagging, but it could be great for adventure racers as well. The M/L version of the Hornet 24 weighs in at only 19 ounces (536 grams). The S/M version, which weighs 18 ounces, fits my 16" torso perfectly. The wearer can easily attach webbing to the outside, carry important small items in the hip belt pockets, even carry an ice axe.

Even though the pack capacity is 24 liters (1,440 cubic inches), it sure seemed bigger than that to me. I was able to stuff a thick fleece, a full body insulating layer, a full nalgene, a day's worth of food, my Adventure Medical Trekker first aid kit and other essentials in without any trouble, and with room to spare. Attaching my ice axe and crampons to the outside on a trip up Mount Agassiz in the Sierras was a piece of cake. The large panel pocket, front stash pocket and a small top-access pocket help separate items.

The Hornet 24 and I mid-way up
Mount Agassiz in the Sierras. (J. Johnsen)
One of my biggest complaints with frameless packs is that they're just not comfortable. I can always feel every piece of gear pushing through the fabric on my back. But thanks to Osprey's innovative fabrics and design, the Hornet 24 is incredibly comfortable. The spacer-mesh back panel helps keep the pack lightweight, but provides even more ventilation and padding. I

t's hydration compatible, and Osprey's ventilated BioStretch™ harness and hip belt ensure it stays put and fits perfectly. Compression straps on the outside allow the wearer to adjust the pack to fit the gear inside, and a full size water bottle will fit in both of the water bottle pockets.

Given the lightweight fabric, the Hornet 24 is quite durable. It's made with 70-denier triple ripstop nylon and 100-denier shadow check nylon, which comes in handy when you're tossing the pack around. The Hornet 24 held up just fine while I scrambled up and down boulders as well. On my trip to the Sierras, I stuffed the Hornet 24 into my backpacking pack to use on summit day, and was happy to find it was easy to shove into the smallest corner of my pack.

Bottom line: I can easily see the Hornet 24 becoming my go-to day hiking pack.

Have you used the Hornet 24, or and of the Hornet packs? Are you an Osprey fan? Sound off in the comments!


Christine Perez said…
OH!  This looks awesome! I'm looking to make a new purchase for my camping/hiking excursions!  Having a backpack when you're hiking to climbing spots is ideal. Having piles of snacks and water at your disposal is divine. (My first trip, I didn't.  Can we say "Nightmare?!?!")  I might need to make some purchases soon.  :)
Jim Littlewood said…
Nice review Katie!  I own several Osprey packs and love each one.  This one might find its way into my collection very soon!
Katie L. said…
Glad you both like the review! It is an amazing pack. I added mountain biking to the list of activities it's great for this weekend!