GEAR | Hill Walking With The Osprey Hikelite 26 Backpack – Review

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Osprey Hikelite 26 BackpackHill walking in Scotland with the Osprey Hikelite backpack

What is it?

Osprey Hikelite 26litre Backpack RRP £80


Technical features

  • AirSpeed™ suspended mesh backpanel.
  • Two PowerMesh™ pockets on the side
  • A removable webbing hipbelt
  • Adjustable sternum strap
  • Large front shove-it pocket
  • Internal hydration sleeve
  • Integrated & detachable raincover
  • Light weight peripheral frame
  • Trekking pole attachment
  • 5 different colour options available

Osprey Hikelite 26 Backpack

What I thought

I have always used my either my 35litre or 30litre backpacks for day hikes, but had come to the realisation that actually, they are probably a bit too large for my needs, so at 26litres, the new Osprey Hikelite backpack sounded ideal and I was keen to head for the hills to test it out.

Osprey Hikelite 26 Backpack

Although I usually go for bright colours, I really liked the muted grey colour of the backpack and especially like the vibrant yellow accent colour used for the straps.

I always look for sturdy, easy-pull zips and clips that are easy to do up and undo, and Just like all of the Osprey backpacks I’ve owned, the Hikelike 26 performs well.

Osprey Hikelite Backpack Review8 months on, using my Osprey Hikelite 26 during a walk in Cumbria

The verdict

I’ve been using this pack for 8 months now, and in that time I’ve clocked up close to a hundred km, hill walking in the Peak District, Snowdonia and in Scotland and I’ve used it on numerous camping trips too, so I’ve already got a lot of use from this backpack.

Osprey Hikelite Backpack ReviewA coastal walk in Cumbria this Autum wearing the Osprey Hikelite 26

I find that it’s really comfortable to wear and that it’s also very easy to adjust the straps to give me a good fit. I also thought that the suspended mesh backpanel worked really well, stopping my back from getting too hot.

The only thing I don’t love about the pack are the shallow, rather wollowy side pockets. My usual water flask kept falling out until I devised a way of attaching it to the top straps of the bag to keep it in place.

Osprey Hikelite 26 BackpackI found the side pockets too large to hold my water bottle, so secured it using the top clips

I also haven’t decided what I think about the large front pocket. Designed for easy access, in theory it’s a good idea, but in practice I find I’m too worried to keep anything inside it in case it falls out. To be fair, with the top straps done up, it keeps the front pocket closed, but each time I take out my water bottle, I have to un-clip the top straps, and unless the backpack is upright, anything in the front pocket would likely fall out without the straps in place.

Osprey Hikelite 26 BackpackThe front pocket that allows for quick access

I felt the backpack held my walking poles well thanks to the two sets of straps, including the ones right at the top that also keep the large front pocket closed (and my water bottle in place).

Osprey Hikelite 26 BackpackZip pull detailing

With Osprey, you are paying a premium, but you are paying for quality. There aren’t many manufacturers that are confident enough to offer a ‘reasonable lifetime‘ guarantee and from my experience of Osprey, their gear really is built to last – giving you many years of great performance. This is another superb quality Osprey backpack, which has fast become my go-to choice for day hikes, whilst I still use my larger Osprey Tempest more for travel and camping purposes.


  • Good air flow from the mesh back to keep your back from getting sweaty
  • Comfortable to wear padded and adjustable straps
  • Nice neutral colour
  • Great 26litre size that’s perfect for day hikes
  • Usual excellent Osprey quality
  • Sturdy zips and clip fastners

Thank you to Osprey who gave us the backpack to test. We were not paid to write this review.

Where to next?

Shell Robshaw-Bryan
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