Gear Review: Katabatic Gear Onni 65L
MSRP: $265 (+$25 for optional hip belt pockets)
Weight: 1lb 11oz (27.9oz) for size medium
Recommended Load: up to 35lbs
With loads of comfortable padding, ??massive pockets, and multiple ways to compress your load, the Onni 65L by Katabatic Gear?? is a backpacker’s dream come true. The best part? This pack is incredibly lightweight coming in close to a pound and half. ?
Designed for multiple night excursions, this pack has enough room to easily carry all of the essentials, while still being compact and efficient enough to satisfy a more ultralight hiker. Supported by a removable aluminum stay and padded hip belts, the pack’s recommended load can go up to 35 pounds. This means you’ll be comfortably skipping down the trail and won’t have to feel guilty about throwing a few extra Snicker’s bars into your bag.
Circumstances of Review:
I used the Onni 65L on multiple backpacking trips along the Appalachian Trail, primarily in the states of North Carolina and New York. Although this pack and I went through a rain shower or two together, I had warm and mostly dry weather throughout each trip. Each trip varied in length, and therefor the weight of consumables I had for a hike was different each time. After all was said and done, the average total weight I was carrying in the pack was around 24 pounds.
My absolute favorite thing about this pack are the pockets. It features 2 huge, stretchy hip belt pockets that can very easily store an iPhone 6s (in a case), headphones, and a few energy bars. I even managed to fit a pouch of poptarts into a pocket on one trip. When empty, the pockets aren’t incredibly bulky, but once stretched they can hold a seemingly endless amount of stuff.
The side water bottle pockets are also shockingly big, and by that I mean they can fit TWO 1L Smartwater bottles in each pocket and still have significant room to spare. The pockets are so big that most hikers can easily fit all of their water on one side, and have the other side available for things like tent poles.
Located right above the side water bottle pockets on both sides, the compression cords not only help compress your load even further, but are handy to help hold side pocket items in place (example: tent poles, water bottles, etc). They also serve as a place to clip your carabiners, bear spray, or anything else you want hanging off your pack.
Magnetic Roll Top Closure
The roll top closure makes it easy to compress your load, and minimize the volume of the pack if not totally full. The added feature of tiny magnets in the roll top help make packing up seamless and quick. In addition to the roll top, the strap of the front mesh pocket wraps around and doubles as one more form of compression for your load, keeping everything in place and compact throughout the day.
Durability / Weight
The Onni 65L comes with two options for fabric depending on durability and weight preferences: the standard 70D fabric is the lightest option, which is plenty durable and ideal for people doing most of their hiking on maintained and established trails. Although slightly heavier, the V40 option is the most durable and was designed for people who are hard on gear, and who prefer bushwhacking or unmaintained trail adventures.
Although I personally have the “less durable” 70D fabric option, the pack has so far held up really well to abrasions, weather, and of course, being thrown on the ground after a long day. Even fresh out of the shipping box, everything about the bag feels tough: from the giant mesh pocket on the back, to the buckles and straps. This bag is definitely up to the challenge in a large variety of weather / terrain situations. And with even the largest size coming in at under 2 pounds, the weight of this pack is hard to beat.
More than once when bending over to retie my boots, or to get over a rock scramble, my water bottles fell out of the side pockets. I was able to eventually fix this issue by adding an extra item in the pocket to close up some of the extra space. However, for those using water bottles which are wider and shorter than Smartwater bottles, this problem may be nonexistent!
Although loaded with tons of fantastic padding and support, I found the “comfortable and airy” ventilated back panel to indeed be very comfortable, but also hot and sweaty. Although this isn’t the biggest disadvantage in the world, and if anything, normal in most packs, it’s never a great feeling to have a puddle of sweat forming in between your back and your pack.
I am absolutely loving my Onni 65. Although incredibly lightweight, it’s loaded to the brim with special features that make this pack downright fun to use. Loads of padding make the pack exceptionally comfortable, even when getting close to recommended load maximums, and the multiple oversized pockets make organization a breeze. All in all, the pack is durable, lightweight, and efficient to use, which makes this backpacker very happy.
Final Overall Rating: 8.5/ 10
Disclosure: this product was donated for the purpose of this review.
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