I've owned a lot of backpacks. Winter packs. Summer packs. Lightweight packs. Expedition packs. Even camera specific backpacks. What I've always wanted is one rucksack that would suit every activity, although I'm realistic enough to know that's not going to happen.
The Original Mountain Marathon (OMM) Classic 32L pack is the latest backpack I've bought. Paired with a Lowepro Toploader AW75 camera bag, it's quickly become my 'go-to’ option for outdoor adventures.
What I like about the OMM Classic 32L backpack
- Size and 'cinchability' - At 32 litres, it holds a lot, despite weighing only 700g. On a recent camping trip to a mountain summit, I used it to carry a tent, a 3-season sleeping bag and a sleeping mat. I then removed everything but the safety essentials and was able to cinch it down well enough to go for a mountain run.
- Waist belt pockets - These make a difference for me. The OMM hip pockets are nice and large and you don't have to struggle to get your fingers into them, as with some packs. I stuff the pockets full of snacks so I can graze all day in the mountains and ensure there's no energy bombs (like this eye opener on a previous mountain running shoot).
- Functionality - I wasn't initially convinced that the main closure strap on the OMM 32L backpack - which enables access into the main compartment without unclipping it - is any better or quicker than a traditional buckle. When you want something quickly out your pack though, it's really handy (as is the large, stretchy mesh front pocket). The pack has a removable sit/sleep mat (which doubles as the padding for your back - a great idea but don’t expect to be too comfy if you use it for sleeping on) and it's compatible with a hydration pouch. OMM also gives you the ability to attach items to the outside of the pack, e.g. ice axes, using what they term a Universal Gear Rail.
What I'd change
Not much. Despite on paper being too short for me (50cm back length and I'm 6'2" tall), it's super comfy, even fully loaded. My only gripe would be the mesh material used for the front/side compression pockets is not very robust. It's only been used to hold soft materials such as clothes, energy bars and water bottles but the mesh has torn with what I'd class as minimal use. (Update - I've also had stitching come loose on the side pockets). It's still plenty useable but I'd like to see stronger material being used for these high-wear areas.
The main pack materials however are very robust and, for me, the OMM Classic 32L mountain marathon / adventure racing sack appears to be an almost perfect balance of features versus weight versus comfort. I really like it and it's had a lot of use over the last Winter season.