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Shaun S.

Shaun S.

Shaun S.

Shaun S.wrote a review of on June 26, 2018

2 5

The Stratos 34 is a Stratos 36 without the brain lid, and loses a tremendous amount of versatility in so doing. All panel loaders sacrifice loading versatility and efficiency for sleekness, but this pack I think sacrifices too much. The Stratos 24, 34, and 36 sport a vertical front panel pouch this year; it should have been a shove-it pouch like the 50 - preferably one with a map pocket. The current pouch design is rather small and difficult to load effectively. This trait carries over into the organizer pockets. While the slash pocket on the top of the front panel is OK, the main organizer pocket on the top of the bag is simply is a small pouch that drops into the main volume of the bag. As you fill the main bag up, it crowds out the organizer pouch. A better design would have the main organizer pocket immediately behind the slash pocket and tacked to the front panel, so that its contents would remain accessible as the main volume filled. With the present design you must choose between filling the organizer pockets or filling the main volume, and thus the full 34L capacity and organizational features of the bag are often not realized. The load lifter function and adjustability of the Stratos is great, but it's difficult to get a good fit in the bag if you're just under the torso height breakpoint like I am. The M/L is the better choice; maxing out the S/M adjustment causes the bag to flop backwards and one must rely on the load lifters for basic fit. Bottom line - this feels more like luggage than a backpack.

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Shaun S.

Shaun S.wrote a review of on January 20, 2013

4 5

Familiarity: I returned this product before using it

Lowe Alpine threw the features book at this pack. I've never seen a 27L daypack with an adjustable suspension before, and it is very welcome. The trampoline suspension is very popular for hot weather. It's actually tall enough for the load-lifters to work properly for someone 5'10" to 6' - rare on a sub-32L bag. And the full-opening side entry is a great idea for getting to all of the stuff in the bottom of your bag easily. This is a great 45L weekender bag. Unfortunately, it's only 27L. Trampoline suspensions work best for deeper, taller bags. The frame forces the load away from your back right in the center of the bag. Lowe Alpine was aware of this and made the bag tall and thin to keep the load as snugged in as possible - but the curve of the frame forces weight either too far up the bag or too far to the bottom. It's very tricky to pack a small trampoline pack right. With larger volumes this problem goes away. The side entry is also too much of a good thing. It opens up the whole side of the pack from frame to kangaroo pocket, which gives great access. But the weatherproof zipper loses something solid to work against and you have to use two hands, one for the zipper, one smoothing out the fabric, unless the pack is well stuffed. Other side opening packs use only a straight-line zipper. Not as clear access, but more practical. I really wanted to like this pack, but the bottom line is it needs to be at least 35L to make all the features work well together. I regretfully returned it.

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