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Osprey Stratos 36 vs Gregory Zulu 40 (Review Fight)

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Hello, hikers & backpackers welcome to the review fight. Today’s fight is between Osprey Stratos 36 vs Gregory Zulu 40. Both backpacks are ideal for men and have their own unique traits which make it hard for me to decide which wins the fight. But as you know this is a fight so only one can win the tag of the review fight winner.

Before comparing these two it is necessary that you are aware of the features that they are providing. And to be genuine reviews from real users of these packs help me a lot to choose the winner.

Winner: Gregory Zulu 40 (Amazon link) (Read the complete article to know why?)

To make reading easy all features of this backpack is given below in the form of a list.

  • Airspeed suspension
  • Dual side compression straps
  • FIxed top-lid with zippered slash pockets
  • Front panel vertical center zippered pockets
  • Integrated rain cover
  • Internal hydration reservoir sleeve
  • Ice tool loop with bungee tie-off
  • Seamless hipbelt interface
  • Spacer mesh harness
  • Stow-on-the-go trekking pole attachment
  • Torso adjustability
  • 3D tensioned breathable mesh back panel

>>Know more about Osprey Stratos 36 on Amazon<<

  • Adjustable torso length
  • 3D foam breathable back panel
  • FeeFloat dynamic suspension which moves according to the body’s movement
  • Front stretch mesh pocket
  • Sunglasses quick stow suspension
  • U-Zip access
  • Raincover
  • Hydration sleeve
  • Dual side stretch mesh pockets
  • Trekking pole attachments

>>Know more about Gregory Zulu 40 on Amazon<<

The fight Begins…


Stratos 36: 9/10 | Zulu 40: 10/10

When it comes to backpacking and hiking maintained weight is the first priority of every backpacker. What maintained weight means? it means the weight of the backpack and item inside that should be according to your body weight, in simple language the maximum weight which is comfortable for your shoulder, hips, and waist.

Remember every ounce counts. The weight of Stratos 36 is 3.296lbs and the weight of Zulu 40 is 2.90lbs. As you can see by numbers Zulu 40 is lighter than Stratos 36.

Hence, the winner of this round is Zulu 40.


Stratos 36: 10/10 | Zulu 40: 10/10

Both backpacks win this round because they both have the same frame which is the internal frame. In backpacks, there are two types of frames – internal & external.

External frame backpacks are cheaper and heavier than the internal frame and carry more load but the Internal frame is more comfortable because it distributes equal weight to shoulder and waist so that you don’t feel the weight inside the pack.

So in this round both back score equal.


Stratos 36: 9/10 | Zulu 40: 10/10

The suspension of the backpack will mostly decide the comfortable and weight adjustability of any backpack. Whether you will the 30 pounds or not will ensure by the quality of suspension it is using.

Zulu 40 wins this round because it uses FreeFloat dynamic suspension in which the FreeFloat flex panel allows the hip belt to pivot and flex with the natural movements of your body where Stratos 36 uses airspeed suspension.

In simple both bags are incredibly comfortable but Zulu 40 is providing you natural movements that make it more flexibly comfortable.


Stratos 36: 9/10 | Zulu 40: 10/10

We should see if the zipper is successfully passed in two functionality – one, it should be durable (smooth zipping & unzipping, strong material will decide the durability) and second, the zipper should not be seen as fashion in backpacks instead it should be seen as if zippers are making access to pack content easy or tough.

In simple the zipper style must ensure the easy access of content you had in the backpack and should be durable also so that it doesn’t get a break while unpacking and packing.

In zipper durability both backpacks are winners. But Zulu 40 provides more easy access to pack’s content due to its U-Zip style.

Hence taking both durability and easy access in mind the Zulu is the winner of this round.


Stratos 36: 10/10 | Zulu 40: 10/10

Stratos 36 provides 36 liters of storage while Zulu 40 provides 40 liters of storage. Both backpacks are known for their own storage. Stratos 36 is enough for 2 to 3 days of hiking where Zulu 40 is enough for 4 to 5 days of hiking.

Both have trekking pole attachments for addon external storage.


Stratos 36: 10/10 | Zulu 40: 8/10

Stratos 36 has 9 pockets and Zulu 40 has 6 external pockets.

Both backpacks have sufficient pockets to store your stuff according to your need. The only plus point in Zulu 40 is it has deep water bottle pockets that can safely contain a 1.5L Nalgene without falling out when leaning over.

They both have hip belt pockets for storing small quick to access materials and have dual side stretch mesh pockets.

Stratos wins this round not only because it has a large number of pockets but they also are very easy to access while hiking.

Torso adjustability

Stratos 36: 10/10 | Zulu 40: 10/10

Most hikers begin to consider the adjustable torso when choosing a new backpack. An adjustable torso used to provide fit and tuned customization according to various body shapes. Both Stratos 36 and Zulu 40 comes with torso adjustability.


Stratos 36: 10/10 | Zulu 40: 10/10

Hoping for a blue sky all the time during hiking is not a good idea because who knows when the lovely sky shower you with his love.

To protect your gears and food from the rain both backpack comes with a rain cover.

Who is the winner?

Now, in a way you briefly know osprey Stratos 36 review and Gregory Zulu 40 review. So after testing both on the basis of review fight anyone can tell the winner of this fight by seeing scores out of 10. By calculating all the scores Zulu 40 defeats Stratos 36 by 1. Stratos 36 is scoring 77 where Zulu 40 is scoring 78. Not much difference but it’s a fight whether you win with 1 in lead or 10.

Genuinely I am a big fan of the Osprey brand and in someway it hurts the ego of an osprey fan sitting inside. But no problem, because one should win this fight, and Zulu 40, seems to have more competence over Stratos 36.

Tell me about your experience in this review fight. Tell me Is there something I underestimated about any of these two backpacks and which backpack do you like most?

Have a nice hike.

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Tuesday 4th of January 2022

thank for the review. very useful! to make the more complete I would add just a couple more points: Extras: it could be something like "it fit in an airplane with no need to check the luggage" or it is available in 4 colours vs 2, etc... Materials: tougher / last longer, etc.

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