Sunday, December 04, 2022

Osprey Hikelite 26 Pack Review

Article by Jeff Valliere

Osprey Hikelite 26 ($110) 

One Size (but also comes in a 18L and 32L version)

Weight: 1.62 lbs 

Volume: 1587 sq/in / 26L

Dimensions: 18.9H X 10.83W X 10.83D IN

Available now


The HikeLite 26 (26 liters) is a versatile, technical hiking pack, perfect day hikes, everyday use and even to my surprise, some light trail running.  The HikeLite is chock full of technical features, yet has a simple, minimal, functional, no nonsense design.  

Key features

  • Integrated rain cover
  • Trekking pole attachment with upper compression strap capture
  • Internal hydration sleeve that can accommodate up to a 3L bladder
  • Sort scratch resistant organization pocket for sunglasses and electronics (with key clip inside)
  • Stretch mesh side pockets for water bottles or other items
  • Upper side compression straps
  • Sternum strap with whistle
  • Removable hip belt
  • Outer stuff pocket 

The Hikelite has a mesh back panel suspended by a Lightwire frame that allows for very good ventilation, excellent comfort and stable support.


The phone/sunglasses pocket (shown below) is handy and just the right size for keeping smaller essentials organized and I always value a good key clip.

The shoulder straps are thin enough to keep weight down, yet thick enough to keep the pack comfortable and stable when the pack is full and is well ventilated.

The pack cover is handy to have for those unexpected downpours.  It is removable if you had a clear forecast and wanted to further streamline or have extra carry capacity.

The side pockets are good for storing additional water bottles or other small items, but keep in mind there is no closure, so I would not put anything too valuable there.

The inner hydration bladder sleeve also is the perfect size for my 13” work laptop, which increases the versatility for me when I travel to the office (in SLC), as I can move quickly through airports without anything flopping around, as the whole package is very tidy and secure.

Pole carry is very easy, plus note the voluminous stuff pocket on the front that is deep and cinches nicely, perfect for quick access items like a jacket.


I am 5’9.5” and 145 lbs with a 38.5” chest and this pack fits me very well. While one size “fits all”, I would say that one size fits many.  It is perfect for me and fits my wife very well too who is 5’6” /~115 lbs, as well as my 12 year old daughters who are 5’4” / 85 lbs. 

When I am wearing, there is a good amount of extra strap to extend, but the pack has an overall feel of being on the small side of the spectrum (something that I really like for me), but could possibly feel too small if you are a larger person.  I would suggest trying it on first in person with the clothes you would wear hiking to confirm that this pack will work for you (or perhaps consider the 32L version which will be a bit larger).

Comfort is very good, especially considering the minimal straps and overall minimal nature of this pack. I appreciate this minimalism, although for a dedicated hiking pack where versatility is less important than the focus here, I might look at one of Osprey’s more dedicated hiking packs.  Otherwise, the HikeLite is very comfortable for its intended use as a day pack that can double as a day hike pack or travel pack.

Performance is amazing, and especially so for such a light pack, carrying a 26L load so efficiently.  Breathability is amazing and the pack feels tidy, compact and stable on the move.  While not intended to be a running pack, I have tested it running and it does not bounce and keeps the load close to the body.


Quality/durability is very good and versatility is key here, as the Hikelite 26 makes for an excellent all around pack.  While there are not a lot of organizational pockets or front strap pockets, I value the simplicity and streamlined design, which makes it great for day to day use, travel, day hikes and even some running.  Osprey makes a wide variety of packs, so if you have a specific singular focus on any one of the above, I would encourage you to check out their entire line. They make pacsk for every occasion, but for lightweight performance, quality and do it all versatility, especially at a VERY reasonable price, the HikeLite 26 is a top choice.


Camelbak Octane 25 (RTR Review)  

With nearly the same overall carry capacity, I like that the Octane has a variety of front pockets for quick access to phone, food, inReach or whatever you want to store there.  The HikeLite however has a Litewire frame and with the mesh panel, is much more supportive and breathable, whereas the Octane can feel “slumpy” when loaded down.  HikeLite is a really good value at $110.  I would pick the Octane perhaps for longer runs where you need to carry a lot and have more gear within easy reach up front, whereas the HikeLite is better for casual hiking and daily use/travel. 

The Hike Lite 26 is avaialbe now



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