Thursday, February 21, 2013

Nepal 2012 Carry an Osprey

I have owned a dozen good backpacks, but the Osprey Stratos is the best I have ever carried. 

Last year I carried a good brand-name backpack in Nepal, and I was happy with it.
But I noticed that more than half of our trekking team carried Osprey packs, so I asked a lot of questions, and trial-carried several of them. I could see the superiority of materials, suspension, and features. I heard of amazing comfort, but would test that later.  

For Nepal 2012, I would carry an Osprey Stratos-36. I chose a top-loader (expandable for bulky loads) with a practical load range of 20-35 pounds (9-18 kgs). During my pre-Nepal conditioning, I broke it in hard, and tested it's comfort with 60 pound (27 kg) loads.  Such excessive weight was not recommended for the pack nor for me, but both handled it well :). This pack fit with uniform body contact and no hot spots. If it could be this comfortable at 60 pounds, I was really confident it would be comfortable with the 10-20 pounds I would actually carry in Nepal. The Stratos pack was accepted as Carry-On luggage on the flights from Canada - Korea - Nepal.

I carried the Osprey through some spectacular and serene countryside. Even on long climbs in hot weather, the breathable mesh fabric provided good airflow and ventilation, so no sweaty back!

Hydration was so important, particularly with an ostomy.
I drank 6-7 litres a day during the hot weather.
On the small sample size of our team of 10 trekkers, Osprey HydraForms had over 50% market share!

We climbed through the foggy clouds.

Hogus, normally a rider, sat with my backpack and contemplated life in the mountains.

We covered some nasty terrain at Chola Pass and while climbing Island Peak.

Three of us, each with Osprey packs of different vintages, look ahead at Kala Patthur and Pumori.
Next day we crossed the Ngozumpa Glacier.

Same 3 aging climbers, totaling 190 years, summited Island Peak at 20,306 ft (6189 m).
The descent was more challenging than the ascent.

I have too many backpacks
Osprey Stratos is my favorite 

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