OMM Classic Marathon 32L -

Tested

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Price:

£55

Weight: 720 grammes (measured

weight)

Features: 32-litre

lightweight pack with Leanweight chassis, 80gsm 210T fabric

with reinforced lid, Universal Gear Rail, hydration bladder

compatible - either in internal pouch or front compression

pocket, two mesh side pockets, sternum strap with whistle

buckle,.zipped belt pockets, removable side elastics,

axe/ski fittings and Duomat, saves approximately 175

grammes.


What's It For?

Based on the Original Mountain Marathon Company's classic 25L race

sac, the 32L is larger and slightly longer and designed with maximum

versatility and minimum weight in mind. That means you could

conceivably load it up for a superlightweight alpine ski

mountaineering epic or strip it down for a mountain marathon.

Most obviously though, it's either a large and very lightweight

day or weekend pack with a plethora of extra carrying options making

it extremely versatile.


The Techy Bits

The OMM's buzzword is 'Lean Weight', which basically means their

packs are strippable to create an even lighter version, say for a

summit attempt - in the case of the 32L, that means you can strip out

the Duomat, which forms the back system, along with the side elastics

and the axe/ ski fittings and save yourself another 175 grammes.

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What's interesting about the 32L is that it's anything but

minimalist, but through the use of very light fabrics and materials,

OMM has still kept it well up in the weight weenie stakes.

The back system, for example, is very simple, with padding

provided by folded into four, lightweight, closed-cell foam mat

housed in a sleeve. Shoulder straps use a lightweight foam/mesh

construction and the fabric is ultralightweight, super-thin 210D

stuff except for the reinforced base and back central section.

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Not radical, but certainly thorough. Last but not least, the pack

has a veritable rash of storage pockets, gear loops and compression

cords.


How It Performs

Our test sac's done a mountain marathon as well as being used for

day walks and the odd long mountain bike ride and it's sailed

serenely through it all like the classic thoroughbred it is.

As with any minimalist sac, you have to give some thought to

packing carefully - heavy objects in the lid pocket, for example,

will flop annoyingly if you run - but the internal Duomat gives a

surprising amount of cushioning and once the pack is loaded and

compressed, snugging up the straps pulls everything tight and stable

into your back.

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It helps compression if the sac is fullish, but the twin side

cords and the main back pocket, which also compresses inwards are

pretty effective in use. We were a little concerned by the absence of

top tensioner straps, but in practice, it doesn't seem to make a

difference .

The bottom line is that even though 32-litres is a tad large for

most runners, you can load it up knowing that bounce will be minimal.

While we're talking capacity. there's plenty of external storage and

it works. You can, for example, reach the side mesh stash pockets

without taking the pack off, the back pocket has side entry so you

don't need to un-do the lid buckle for access and so on. We love the

belt pockets too, ideal for carrying frequently used items and on the

move munchies.

There's also a veritable smorgasbord of carrying options for skis,

axes, poles and so on, in the form of upper axe loops and the lower

'Universal Gear Rail', a sort of horizontal daisy chain.

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It's all mostly simple, but effective. We did have a few quibbles.

The side compression cords and top axe loops use the same cord and

grips, so it's easy to pull the wrong one when compressing the sac -

colour coding would be a nice touch - and like all back-hugging

packs, it can feel warm when the going gets hot, though at least the

non-foam back panel doesn't turn into a sponge.

And we suppose we should point out that lightweight kit won't

stand the same level of abuse as heavier stuff, so if you're prone to

thrutching up dank gullies or Scottish mixed routes - much the same

thing - you may be better off with something else.


Verdict

Given the heritage of The Original Mountain Marathon Company

and legendary founder Mike Parsons, you'd expect the 32L to be well

sorted and you won't be disappointed. It's simply a very efficient,

very light, large-sized day pack that's tremendously versatile thanks

to well thought through additional storage and carrying

gubbinses.

Compress it down for bounce-free fast-moving performance or load

it up for a lightweight weekend-packing trip, the 32L does it all. A

classic of its kind. If you need less capacity, the 25L is identical

but smaller.


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Light, effective and extremely versatile.

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Erm, compression cord confusion and that's just about

it.

Performance
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Value
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