Osprey Ultralight Stretch Mesh Stuffsack Review
Sometimes it takes a bit of creative design genius to change a very familiar product for the better. I guess that is Dyson with the vacuum or Apple with the phone - or maybe even Osprey with their Ultralight Stretch Stuff Sack range? A modern take on an outdoor essential….
I would suspect just about every outdoor goer uses stuffsacks and they come in many shapes, sizes and styles. If I’m out for a day of activity a stuffsack will hold my lunch, separate my spare clothes from climbing kit and a small one will keep my keys and wallet from going astray. For longer camping trips I’ll add stuff sacks for my tent and sleeping bag and others will keep clothes and other essentials organised and easy to find.
For travelling I love stuffsacks to help organise kit in my duffle bag. I choose different sizes and colours for different items and it really helps to keep me organised - once I get used to my socks being in the blue bag and underwear in the red one it really streamlines my day to day and minimises faff time. I actually wrote a Top Tips piece about this system here.
Well, amongst all their standard stuff sack offerings Osprey have recently released a range of Ultralight Stretch Mesh Stuff Sacks and I think they are great for a lot of organisational challenges. The bags are made of siliconised 40D nylon ripstop with stretch 200 gram nylon mesh panels along each side. They aren’t designed to be waterproof, but the stretch panels allow them to expand to squeeze as much in as possible and also enable them to conform to odd shaped items.
The bags come in 4 sizes (1litre, 3 litre, 6 litre and 12 litre) and each size comes in a selection of colours. They have a drawstring at the top and a hanging tab on the side. The other key feature of the bags is their shape. Each stuff sack is made in a rectangular shape which makes them easy to pack and, combined with the stretch from the panels, means they can store a surprisingly large amount. The range weighs between 20 and 60 grams depending on size and they cost from £8 to £16 again depending on size .
So, how do they perform? The main thing I see the Ultralight Stretch range being useful for is organisation. They obviously won’t, with sides made of mesh, keep things dry and there is no padding to keep things protected (beyond the protection offered by the single layer of fabric), so these bags are all about organisation and in that role they really do excel.
I have, so far, used them primarily as bags for carrying food and clothing. For organising clothes in a duffle bag or sorting different food packets they really are excellent. The cube shape allows plenty to be packed in and if you do pack them a little over capacity it isn’t a problem as the mesh will allow that little extra capacity. The slippy siliconised nylon also allows them to slide smoothly into a corner of your bag or pack. The hanging tab has also been great for organising them in my van and tent.
The one litre is pretty small and has become a general organiser bag that I keep in my rucksack. It is perfect for keys, wallets and small items. The 3 and 6 litre options are the ideal for small clothing items or food. The 12 litre is the largest in the range and is good for either larger clothing items or chunkier bits of equipment. I would say that the 12 litre is the one I struggle to find as many uses for, but it is serving an excellent job as my leisure centre kit bag and could similarly be used for sleeping bags or such like. The hanging tab has also been great for organising them in my van and tent.
I am constantly looking for new ways these bags can be used and, of course, the options are pretty endless. They will undoubtedly suit people in a range of situations or for different interest groups. The build quality is, as with all Osprey products, excellent. As mentioned mine have been used primarily for storing softer items, but even with things like keys and sharper items in them I have noticed no wear so far and they seem very robust. The colour variations are also superb. I like having different colour bags for different things and there is plenty of flexibility to do this with this range.
As usual, Osprey have hit the nail on the head with these bags and I think a lot of active people will find them useful for so many things. A big thumbs up from me and well done again Osprey.
Posted by Paul
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