Osprey Hornet 46 Review
Features: Ice Axe loop, side mesh pockets with compression straps, minimal hip belt with one zippered pocket, front stretch mesh pocket, removable top pocket
Osprey has long been considered the pack company for all folks. Focused on making the perfect pack for every one, Osprey has a dialed system for long trail support and functionality which to many in the light and fast mentality wishing for something that can haul gear with minimal frame and minimal weight.
The Hornet 46 is one of those packs that fills the long missing link in the Osprey line up. Designed to carry anything for any length of time this pack is a minimal top loader that carries weight surprisingly well. Whether you are stuffing the pack for a summit bid, weekend on the trail or day at the crag this pack can easily handle what ever gear you need.
While this pack is not meant to be seen as an ultra light option it is pretty darn light at only 24oz for a 2760 cu. in. pack. Which you can further reduce by a few onces should you ditch the removable frame sheet and lid pocket. But in all reality if you want a pack that light go with a company that builds packs made with weight as their first priority and where functionality and comfort are secondary.
One of the first things I noticed was the fact that this pack was made to be stuffed or cinched down. What I mean is that you can stuff this thing to capacity (which Osprey recommends be between 20-30lb of carry weight) or you can fill it with minimal day hike gear and cinch the entire pack down to a smaller size. By using a pretty nifty inside out compression straps on the sides of the pack, which were designed to help retain items ranging from water bottles to tent poles and the top compression strap, the pack can form to really any dimension. This allows the pack to be more contour to the items you're bringing and allows off trial travel to be much easier than with a standard pack where the frame of the pack will always dictate it's structure. But be aware with minimal loads this pack will sag down and look more like a sack of potatoes rather than a pack, but again this comes with any pack with out a true frame!
This top loader features a minimal hip belt that was designed to hold a few snacky cakes and nothing more and was not intended to help support the weight of the pack. So for folks new to the lighter weight or ultra light style packs this may take a few trips to be comfortable with. But remember the idea is that this pack is meant to carry minimal weight where having a supportive hip belt would be overkill. In addition to the minimal hipbelt this pack has a very narrow profile to allow you to travel off trail or in thick brush without getting snagged as you're navigating through branches and boulders.
This is a great all arounder pack that will open your eyes to the amazing value of going light with out sacrificing too much functionality or comfort. Be aware that this is a slippery slope and soon you may find yourself becoming a gram counter....