It’s very true that less is more when it comes to weight and backpacking. But you just keep ditching weight wherever possible, eventually that’s going to mean compromising something – whether that’s load-carrying ability or stability.
So while as nice as it may sound to have a backpack that weighs a pound or even less, at some point you are making a giant tradeoff – either in physical load-carrying comfort or in how comfortable you are with the amount of gear you’re carrying.
Some of us like to carry a decent amount of gear on longer trips. Sure, we could get away with less – but sometimes the extra convenience and comfort gear items might offer can be very worthwhile. In which case, you aren’t getting a bag that weighs much below 2 or 3 pounds.
Which is why the ULA Ohm 2.0 resonated so much with us. In fact, ULA (Ultralight Adventure Equipment, out of Logan, Utah) itself bills it as the bag that’s “for the ones who travel light, but still like take a prudent amount of gear to be safe and comfortable”. With the perfect combination of weight, capacity and load-carrying, we can see why the Uhm fits that criteria.
What’s it have going for it? First, comfort. As we’ve mentioned, many ultralight bags just aren’t built for carrying a load, with comfort usually being the first compromise made. The Ohm 2.0 on the other, is the about as comfortable as it gets. The frame rods are made of carbon, which means they’re sturdy but stiff. It’s fantastic for loads of about 30 pounds – a reasonable load for even those trying to move light and fast. And at weights under 30 pounds, it barely even feels like it’s there. There’s a removable foam back pad for comfort and weight distribution.
So ULA didn’t skimp on the load-bearing on this one. The frame rods can be easily removed if that’s your style. Remove the belt too, and you’ve got an extra-simple backpack for carrying light loads comfortably on shorter, lighter trips; we’d say it’s really good for quick overnight ascents.
Next, the Ohm 2.0 does a good job of including all the features you’ve come to expect without compromising ease-of-use or simplicity. The pockets and drawstrings have everything you need, including a hydration Sleeve, Internal Stash Pocket, Water Bottle Holsters, and hand loops – all of which can actually be removed to further cut down on weight and simplify the package. There are also ice axe and pole retention loops, as well as an assortment of compression straps to keep everything tight and doable.
What does it weigh all together? A cool 34.5 ounces. So, not as ultralight as many of the other ultralight bags out there, but like we said – we’ll trade a bit of weight for a bit more support and structure. The fabric is 400D Robic nylon – tough and water-resistant.
For a durable, comfortable pack that’s adaptable to lightweight adventures and but carries heavier loads well, it’s a solid option.