Rudolf Abraham Travel Hiking Outdoor Writer Photographer Gear Reviews

Osprey Dry Stuff Pack – review by Rudolf Abraham

I’ve been looking for a small, ultra-lightweight daypack which I can use when needed on multi-day hiking trips, and which doesn’t take up much space when not in use – and with the new Osprey Dry Stuff Pack, I think I’ve finally found it.

The Dry Stuff Pack is a 20l roll-top pack, which weighs in at just a featherlight 194g. It’s waterproof (though not submersible), and rated at IPX5 (which is defined as ‘protected from a low pressure water stream from any angle’). Meaning, it will keep your gear dry in light rain, but don’t jump in a river with it. The 40D nylon fabric is 100% recycled and Bluesign approved, and the DWR treatments of the fabric and seams are PFAS-free.

The roll-top has a clip at each end, which fastens to a clip on the side of the pack, attached to a webbing strap which can then be pulled tight (alternatively – my preference – you can simply attach the clips on the roll-top to each other, like a drybag).  The shoulder straps are unpadded, but are shaped and have a mesh covering to increase ventilation, making them surprisingly comfortable. There’s a sternum strap which is easily adjusted to different heights by way of webbing loops rather than a more bulky sliding mechanism, which I found helpful to prevent a strap slipping off a shoulder. The side stretch pockets are large enough to hold at least a 650ml flask, and each has a single compression strap. The zipped front pocket is deep enough to hold an OS map, and includes a small inner pocket with a key clip, which is fastened with Velcro and doubles as an integrated pouch into which the pack can be folded when not in use. Osprey don’t give any details on the zip on the web page for the Dry Stuff Pack, but it seems waterproof.

Osprey-Dry-Stuff-Pack-lightweight-packable-rucksack-ReviewPhoto: Osprey Dry Stuff Pack folded into its integrated pouch, with Garmin Instinct 2 Solar for scale

The first thing I noticed is that it’s much more comfortable than I was expecting – it is, after all, a frameless sack, although I was quite willing to forgo some of the comfort of a proper back system as a winning trade off for weight and bulk. However I found that it sits really nicely on my back, and when packed carefully it holds its shape well. The second thing is that I was able to carry more than expected (weight as well as volume), without it becoming uncomfortable. I used the Dry Stuff Pack as my only hiking pack on a walking trip in Provence at the beginning of October, and on long day walks in the Luberon and Vaucluse I carried a windproof/water-repellent jacket (Paramo Ostro Windproof), lightweight fleece, a spare T-shirt or shirt, a 100ml tube of sunblock, a small powerbank and charging leads, elasticated knee brace, and two ThinkTank Trim Changer pouches, one with a couple of spare lenses inside (Nikon Z 50/1.8 S and 85/1.8 S), the other with a Z6 with a Z 35/1.8 S attached – as well as some food, plus a 650ml Hydro Flask in one of the side pockets. I could easily have added a hat and gloves, but the weather was in the high 20s C, and even the windproof and fleece never left the pack.

The low weight and bulk mean that the Dry Stuff Pack works well not only as a lightweight, minimalist pack for day walks, but also really comes into its own on longer multi-day hikes, since it can be stashed in your pack at a minimal expense in weight and bulk, and then used for days out from a hut or when travelling through a city, or arriving by train or air.

The Osprey Dry Stuff Pack comes in one size, and in a choice of three colours – toffee orange (which is what I have), waterfront blue, or black.

In 2020 Osprey stated their aim to become ‘the most progressive, transparent and sustainable outdoor hardgoods brand worldwide’. This commitment spans making gear which is intended to last longer in the first place, to offering a repair service to help ensure more gear goes back into the wild, rather than into landfill, and their SecondLife programme which refurbishes pre-used packs and helps put them into the hands of new owners. All Osprey products use PFC-free coatings, and over 60% of the main body materials use recycled content, with 65% of those being Bluesign approved. They have a range of 100% recycled fabric packs which include both post-consumer and post-industrial waste. Osprey have a long-term partnership with EOCA (European Outdoor Conservation Association), sponsoring several conservation initiatives in Europe and beyond, and have also partnered with the Nimsdai Foundation in the Himalayas.

Find out more about the Osprey Dry Stuff Pack here.

Review date: October 2023 | Back to reviews