My search for the ultimate backpack began in 2000 when I took my first backpacking adventure. Along the way I have used packs from REI, Osprey, Camelbak, Deuter, Marmot and OMM. All of these packs have served the purpose at the time of purchase. Over time the style of my adventures have changed and thus led me to the OMM Classic 25.
I was in the market for a lightweight, modular, all in one 1-3 night pack for backpacking. I stumbled upon some adventure racing websites that rated the OMM as a legitimate candidate. After scrutinizing the reviews I purchased one and put it to use.
OMM stands for Original Mountain Marathon. The company manufactures gear for the adventure racing scene as well as hosting events. The company is based out of the UK thus having little recognition in the US outdoor world.
When opening the pack for the first time I couldn't help but notice the lack of weight. The materials are lightweight and the design was well thought-out. The color combination was ugly to say the least (this color model was $25 cheaper) but they do make the pack in a yellow/black version that is much more appealing visually. The bottom of the pack is reinforced with strong material to resist abrasion. The pack has a system that allows for you to attach shock cord to the sides. This allows you to shrink the pack down as your supplies deplete. The shoulder straps and waist band are well padded considering the weight of the pack. The side pockets are generous enough to accept a 32oz bottle but would be a better fit for 26oz bike bottles. There is an additional mesh pocket on the back of the pack that allows you to store wet clothes or tarps away from other contents. The top has a lid with two pockets. One of which can accommodate a few liters of gear (headlamp, shirt, easy access items). On top of that is a thin mesh sleeve that you can easily slide a map or flat item into. This area would be ideal for a satellite tracker. It should also be noted that there is a UGR Gear Rail towards the bottom of the rear end of the pack. This is OMM's system for lashing additional gear (skies, crampons, tripods, trekking poles) to the pack. There are a few tutorials online of how to attach nylon webbing to accommodate these items. I describe the pack as modular because it is designed so that you can add a chest pack (OMM or rig your own) and they also sell a netting system for the back. The netting system is nearly impossible to buy in the US (except for an unreasonable price) but something could be rigged to serve a similar purpose. The nice thing about the netting is that it expands your capacity by 5 liters. It also fits a helmet if needed.
To break this pack in, I used it on a 36 mile overnighter that ended at a camp (no shelter necessary). Everything fit easily in the pack and my tripod was easily lashed to the outside of the pack. The OMM Classic rode comfortably with close to 30lbs in the pack (including water and food). I immediately noticed the way the waist belt pockets were designed to allow you to stuff them full with out effecting how the belt rode against your waist. On the hike back to the car the pack was cinched down and allowed me to jog sections of the trail. Overall the pack carried well.
-Can be stuffed full and over recommended weight and still carried well.
-Pack is insanely lightweight and the pad/pack support works sufficiently in both situations. On a recent overnighter my pad popped and I was able to use the OMM pad to keep warm (not amazingly comfortable on hard rocks).
-Lashings on outside of pack allow you to carry substantial gear for easy access (if you are someone who likes to have everything hidden inside the main compartment, this pack may not be for you).
-After some moderate use (not abusing this piece too bad, yet) the mesh on the rear pocket has begun to separate from the stitching.
-The drawstring closure (for the main compartment) is finicky and sticks sometimes. It is minor annoyance but I fear that the amount of force needed to close the compartment may eventually cause a failure.
-Nowhere to place a bladder if using the pad as a pack frame. I have tried hanging the bladder from the loop in the main compartment. With a 4 Liter Dromlite this does not work. The bladder is too long and rests on the bottom of the pack where the water makes for an awkward carry. I have also placed the bladder in the rear mesh pocket, but this greatly effects the carry of the pack and puts unnecessary stress on the shoulders. This single reason will most likely be the demise of this pack being my primary backpacking pack. Water is fucking important in the desert and this pack does not accommodate the quantity I need.
This pack is currently being replaced for backpacking. With the hydration bladder system and the size of the pack just being slightly too small for my longer trips, I can't use it. But just as quickly as it gets retired from the backpacking gear list it is repurposed. I used this pack to commute to work via bike last week and it worked perfectly. When the empty pack squishes down to nothing and allows for expansion when carrying a load home. It does not hit the back of my helmet when riding, which often happens with non bike specific packs. My only issue is that the straps are incredibly generous and needed to be tucked out of the way (this will not be an issue for most people as the pack is nearly too large for my waist which I feel is abnormal). I also plan to use this pack for day hiking as it is the perfect size for leading day hike trips where I need to carry a larger first aid kit. If you plan to purchase this pack in the US you have to search a little. Only a few sites stock the pack and ship to the US.
Official Manufacturer Website- https://www.theomm.com/products/packs/classic25/