Thursday, December 3, 2009

Ultralight Adventure Equipment (ULA) Ohm Pack

My favorite and also most recent addition to my backpacking gear is the ULA Ohm Pack. I picked this up off of the Gear Swap Forum at about 2/3 the cost of a new one.  It was only used on a weekend trip by the previous owner and he found that it was a little too long for his torso, so decided to sell it.  I have not used it yet, but am very excited to give it a spin on a weekend trip. I possibly may even bring it with me to Atlanta for Christmas as a carry-on (and if I can convince my wife, maybe an quick overnight trip!)

ULA has a great 360* view of the pack and description.

Here are the features as listed on their website:

A full featured, full suspension (active) ultralight pack that offers exceptional load control, on-trail functionality, and full body compression.

Combining a 1.2 oz carbon fiber/delrin active suspension hoop and exceptional compression, the Ohm maximizes load control, load transfer, pack compression, and overall pack rigidity in an ultralight package.

1.9 oz ripstop nylon, Dyneema Gridstop, and ULA's proven construction methods insure the Ohm is built to last despite its minimal weight.

Bottom Line? A full featured, ultralight performer.

Suspension Hoop
Internal Pad Holster
Contoured Shoulder Straps
Contoured Padded Hipbelt
Front Mesh Pocket
Dyneema Side Pockets w/ Elasticized Top
Non-Stretch Compression Cordage
Top Compression Strap
Sternum Strap
Ice Axe / Pole Loop
Ice Axe / Pole retention straps
Drawstring Extension Collar
Dyneema X Material

Main Body: 2,100
Front Mesh Pocket: 500
Side Mesh Pocket: 400 ea
Ext. Collar: 500
Total Volume: 3,500 cu in

Additionally I do have two of the options that they offer, the first being the Internal Backpad (Removable 1/4" foam backpad positioned in the interior pad sleeve. Provides additional comfort, and handy if you use the Conduit for dayhiking. Does not enhance load transfer.)  I use a Big Agnus Clearview Pad - Short that doesn't give me any padding under my feet so this Internal Backpad can be used for padding under my feet when I sleep as well as a sit pad around camp.

The second optional add-on that I have is the Hipbelt Pockets (Removable hipbelt pockets. Provide easy access for snacks, camera, and other essentials. Zip Closure. 3 points of attachment insure stability. ~4" (h) x ~5" (w) x ~1.5" (d). ~30 cu in apiece.)  The hipbelt pockets are a must for me to have items handy so that I don't have to remove the pack while hiking.

The selection of this back followed countless hours of researching what is available for packs versus the amount of gear and type of gear that I would be packing.  Not to mention a little trial and error with two previous packs.  To top it off I think it is a great looking pack (although my wife doesn't necessarily agree!)

I had previously owned an Osprey Atmos 50 as well as a first generation Gossamer Gear Mariposa Plus.  The Osprey Atmos 50 ended up getting returned to REI as I just didn't like how difficult it was to pack around the internal frame.  On one side, it was nice having the airflow frame that helped to alleviate sweat build-up on the back, but it just intruded into the pack to much and made it really awkward to pack your gear.

The Gossamer Gear Mariposa Plus was a great pack as well except for the minimally sized gear that I carry along with only doing 5 day trips or less, it just had way to much volume and wasn't able to compress down enough to carry well when lightly loaded.  Additionally, I had purchased a large when I should have bought a medium, so it fit a little long on my back.  Strange as it is, I am 6'-4" but have a relatively small 19.5 inch torso.  When one looks at me, you would think that I have a very long torso, but for pack sizing your torso is measured from the iliac (hip) crest to the base of your neck (7th vertebrae).  Apparently my iliac crest is very high despite the appearance of a long torso.

Initial review of the pack is that it wears extremely comfortable (around the house anyway) and my gear seems to fit it's style very well.  It is one of the lightest, if not the lightest, internal frame pack currently available  on the market.  Due to me using a BA Clearview pad, I am not able to use a frameless pack as I don't always have a closed cell foam pad to aid in giving the pack some comfort.

I use water bottles and can access them while wearing the pack which again is great that I don't have to take the pack off to take a drink.  Some people use hydration packs and personally I don't like the hassle of having to clean out the pack especially when using it for something other than water.  I prefer going as low of maintenance with everything to free me up to enjoy being in the great outdoors.

One feature that I really like about this pack is the ability to compress it down when lightly loaded.  It is pure ingenious how that have built in the compression straps (string) so that you can still access all the pockets while compressed.

The mesh back pocket will be great for stowing raingear and/or my tarptent when it is wet.  There is nothing worse than packing wet gear inside your pack where you are trying to keep everything else dry.

That summarizes my initial review of this pack.  Stay tuned for further reviews once I get a chance to put some miles on it.

No comments: