OMM 32l Classic

                                                            

Pros: High quality, lightweight
I was looking for a lightweight sack, as last winter saw me using a 60 litre sack which was too big and heavy for the job. I wanted something lightweight which could carry all my gear for a winter walk, crampons, ice-axe and snow shovel included. The OMM Classic marathon 32l sack seemed to fit the bill, being made of a lightweight ripstop material with attachment points which can take everything from ice axes to skis, and with reflective patches and cords to help you stand out on those roadside walks back to the car in the darkness.
On buying this I noticed that an instruction manual could be downloaded from the OMM website. Surely a daysack which requires a ten page instruction manual must be overcomplicated? How wrong I was. There are some small features which are built in to the sack which means that a quick examination would overlook them and it’s worth sitting down and going through the manual to get the best out of this sack.
The sack has one main compartment which has two dividers at the back, one for the Duomat, a sit mat which doubles as back padding (and which combines with another Duomat to form a full sleep mat) and another for a hydration system. The space for a reservoir is good and easily takes a 2l unbottle. The lid closes over a single snow lock, and fastens using one central adjustable strap, and the main body can be stabilised by elastic side compression straps.
The lid has two pockets, a non waterproof zipped secure pocket and a mesh outer pocket, which can store wet gear. The lid closes with a single strap. I usually avoid single strap fastenings, but this has been stable and secure.
There are two side mesh pockets and a front mesh pocket which extends for most of the length of the rucksack, useful for wet gear or for storing maps or waterproofs where they can be easily accessed.
The sack is comfortable to wear, the Duomat provides excellent padding and is very comfortable. The waist belt is lightly padded and has a well sized sipped pocket on either side, large enough to easily swallow a large GPS. Reaching round allows you to access the two mesh pockets, which have elastic cord fittings to securely hold items. I was impressed with these, I could reach back and access a first aid kit, remove it, and importantly, replace it in the pocket without having to take the rucksack off.
The chest strap was very innovative, the securing clip doubles as an emergency whistle, and an effective one at that. The shoulder straps are good, lightweight and comfortable, and are fitted with female quick release clips, which are designed to take an optional OMM chest pouch.
The optional 4l chest pouch can be attached in a number of ways, on the chest, on the rear of the sack, or as an internal pouch, and it is well worth investing in. It is ideal for increasing the capacity of the pack when you want to carry that bit extra, yet it can be left at home when not required.
The pack itself weighs in at a low 775g, and the manufacturer gives advice on lowering the weight down further to 630g, by removing items when not in use, such as the Duomat or ice-axe attachments.
This is an extremely well thought out and well made sack. The lightweight ripstop material is not as resistant to abrasion as some other sacks, but being aware of this means you are less likely to throw it down where it could be punctured, and the advantage gained by the low weight is more than worth it.
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