ULA OHM 2.0 Review – Best Backpack for the Appalachian Trail?

Howdy!

This is my review of the excellent Ohm 2.0 backpack from Ultralight Adventure Equipment, this is the pack I used on my 2015 thru hike of the Appalachian trail.

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Some quick stats first of all:

– The pack weighs just over two pounds
– It has 63 litres of volume
– It costs 210 US Dollars

The Pack is made up of two main materials to maximise weight savings and abrasion resistance. In the high ware areas ULA used green Dyneema which is an extremely durable fabric thats a little heavier than the black material used on the rest of the pack. When ordering from ULA you have many material and colour options to choose from.

The Design of the pack is very simple but functional which is what you should be looking for in a good ultralight pack. It has one large internal compartment that you access from the top, a large water bottle pocket on each side, a large mesh pocket on the front of the pack and a hip belt with two pockets.

The mesh pocket is excellent for storing things that you need access to throughout the day or if you have wet gear that you don’t want in the main compartment. It can hold a lot more stuff than you would expect and its nice that you can see what your trying to get at. I do have some holes in the mesh but nothing that makes the pocket unuseable.

The water bottle pockets on the side are huge, you can carry two large water bottle pockets in each. On the Appalachian trail I carried my tent in one side and two water bottles on the other. Having water bottle pockets that you can access with the pack on is extremely important and many companies get them wrong, ULA did a great job here.

You have a small loop at the bottom that you can use to attach your trekking poles, I never used it, I just stuffed my poles in the side pocket. The bottom of the pack is made of a heavy duty material to improve its durability, another great feature.

I thought the compression system wasn’t going to be super effective but it works really well, you can cinch down the cord to compress the load and stop it moving around.

The back panel on the Ohm 2.0 is Dyneema and on the inside of the pack is a thin layer of closed cell foam to offer some cushioning. Most of the other ULA packs have a foam/mesh back panel that supposedly helps with sweating, it hasn’t been used on the Ohm 2.0 to save some extra weight. I’ve used other packs that have a similar design and haven’t found that it makes a huge difference as I tend to sweat so much when I’m backpacking.

My one criticism of the pack is the lumbar area where the hip belt attaches. The hip belt attaches between two layers of Dyneema and secures via velcro. After hours of sweaty hiking and an accumulation of salt over six months (gross I know) it would start to rub and chafe my lower back. I don’t think this would be an issue for most people in most scenarios but I’d like to see ULA fit a foam/mesh lumbar pad like they use on their other packs

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ULA did an excellent job on the hip belt itself, its well padded and uses a breathable mesh. It has huge pockets which are great for carrying snacks or a camera, i used Ziploc bags in each pocket to stop stuff from getting wet and it worked really well. The hip belt adjusts with four separate straps which enables you to really dial in the fit, It also has straps that attach it to the side of the pack and help pull the pack into the hip belt.

The shoulder straps are great on the Ohm 2.0, they’re very thin which saves on weight but extemely comfortable. I don’t think big padded shoulder straps are necessary on a pack like this because most of the weight should be on your hips, running through the hip belt (which the Ohm does well). It has load lifter straps and a good sternum strap which are both essential.

The roll top entry has a large opening and uses a drawstring to close the main compartment, you then roll down the excess material and use the strap that runs over the top to secure the load. The top strap is also useful for cinching down extra gear or a wet tent.

The inside is extremely simple, it comes with a pocket for a hydration reservoir which I removed and also a small mesh pocket. I found the mesh pocket useful for storing my passport and other important items that I didn’t need access to regularly. The Ohm has a lightweight frame that loops around the pack and some thin foam to give the pack some structure and comfort, i think thats all you really need for an ultralight pack .

The Ohm 2.0 is definitely not waterproof so I used a trash compactor bag to line the inside of the pack. I put all my camp clothes and sleeping gear inside it, pressed out all the air and twisted the bag up making it water proof and nothing ever got wet. I also used a pack cover to keep anything on the outside dry.

The build quality from Ultralight Adventure Equipment is outstanding. They use all the best materials and the pack has years of use left in it which can’t be said for a lot of backpacks that have endured a thru-hike.

If your looking for a small volume, cost effective ultralight backpack then the Ohm 2.0 may be just the pack for you!

I’m currently on the market for a larger volume ultralight pack for winter backpacking, if you have any recommendations I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

Thanks for stopping by, PIE


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