ULA Equipment Ohm 2.0
Not too small...not too large...the UL Goldie-Locks…
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $200
Not too small...not too large...the UL Goldie-Locks of packs!
- Front Pocket
If I could only own one pack…the Ohm 2.0 is the pack I would choose…and more often than not…it is the pack I choose for trips ranging between 2-5 days. Utilizing a carbon-fiber pole to transfer weight to the hips the Ohm 2.0 is a fully functional internally framed backpack.
However…on trips where an internal frame is unnecessary users will find the fully removable carbon-fiber pole an added bonus…converting a thru-hike pack into an extremely durable frame-less pack in a matter of seconds. It is versatility such as this…in combination with the incredibly comfortable carry of the Ohm 2.0 that make it one of my favorite packs to date!
Out of the packaging the original weight of my size large pack with medium hip-belt was 902 grams or almost 32 ounces. As with anything I buy…there was a bunch of silliness that I immediately went about removing 1) hydration sleeve 2) hand-loops 3) water bottle holders 4) foam pad 5) security pocket…in all a removed 138 grams or almost 5 ounces of nonsense for a new pack weight of 764 grams or almost 27 oz.
There may be further subtractions in the future…but all of these items are easily removed and can be re-installed later…so further removal will require more consideration (thinking of removing trekking pole loops…as I find them mostly worthless since I must remove my pack to stow my poles).
The reputation of ULA as the maker of durable packs was one of the primary factors which led me to give the Ohm 2.0 a serious examination…because I am the most terrible thing ever devised for a backpack. Seriously…if I come back from a trip with a pack less than completely destroyed…it was probably only a day-trip.
The Ohm 2.0 is constructed of ULA’s 210 Robic…a near indestructible Dyneema material…on the back…sides…and top of the pack. 210 Robic is not the lightest material to construct a backpack from…but because of its remarkable durability I would actually increase its use on the pack if given the option. The front and top of the main compartment is constructed with uncoated 1.9 oz ripstop (which hinders my ability to punch holes through my bag quit a bit)…a Cordura bottom (which I will work diligently to wear away at by dragging it mercilessly)…and a lightweight stretchy mesh on the front pocket (which I have already patched with duct-tape).
The Ohm is a simple but versatile top-loading pack with drawstring closure and a top compression strap. The overall capacity of the pack is 64L…but the main compartment is only 34L…with the remaining storage distributed between two very spacious and easily accessible side-pockets…a large front mesh pocket…and two hip-belt pockets. Not one for a lot of complication…I find that the Ohm’s distribution of storage is well conceived…and is the perfect combination between organization and versatility.
The two large side pockets are probably one of my favorite features on the pack…made of ULA 210 Robic with elasticized closures they are basically indestructible…and capable of holding large Nalgeen bottles…a UL cook-set…fuel…snacks…and just about anything else you can imagine stuffing into them…these pockets are basically my glove-box + cup-holder when out on the trail!
The large front mesh pocket is made of a stretchy material that has the feel of pantyhose. For me personally a large front pocket is required of any pack I use…as it serves to keep my wet items like tarps away from drier items…but also makes opening my pack in the rain in search of raingear unnecessary. The front mesh pocket on the Ohm has a surprising amount of stretch and serves my needs well...but if given the option I would prefer the front pocket to be made of the same 210 Robic that the rest of the pack is made from…as I believe the delicate material used in the construction of the pocket is a poor compromise for the additional drying power it adds to gear I really do not mind being wet.
The two hip-belt pockets are not something I was particularly excited about before purchasing the pack…as I tend to find additional pockets and things unnecessary…but over time I have found myself growing ever fonder of these little guys. For one…the pockets keep things like my camera and snacks nearby…and while being large enough to be useful…I have not yet had any issues with the pockets getting caught on brush…or hindering my actions in anyway…the verdict at the moment is a positive one.
The ULA Ohm 2.0 is the latest version of ULAs mid-size original Ohm…but the primary difference between the two models is the addition of a beefier and more comfortable hip-belt. From the original version the Ohm 2.0 still makes use of ULA’s contoured shoulder and sternum straps…full-body compression system…and load-lifters…which in combination with the new larger hip-belt makes the Ohm 2.0 the most comfortable pack I have ever used.
The torso length is adjustable through a hook and loop adjustment where the lumbar support should be. Having a long torso I appreciate this added adjustability…but I question why the complete removal of all lumbar support? I think this is an easy enough fix (simply glue or hook and looping a piece of dense foam to the back of the pack)…but for me this is one of the biggest factors which ULA overlooked. With that said…the two-way tension control on the hip-belt allows the user to “seat” the hip-belt perfectly across the top of the iliac crest…a feature I will look for in every pack here out.
I do not find anything particularly unique about ULA’s upper harness system…but having the build of a wrestler I find the sternum strap…load-lifters…and contoured shape of the shoulder straps helpful in keeping the straps from rubbing the underside of my arms and sides of my neck…and to assist in keeping the pack centered against my back. The shoulder straps are a good width which distributes the weight of the pack nicely across the shoulders…and like any respectable brand the insides of the straps are constructed with 3D spacer mesh and a comfortable amount of foam. The sternum strap is fully adjustable…and the load-lifters are easily adjusted while wearing the pack.
The body of the pack is (almost) fully compressible via a length of low-stretch cord weaved along the sides of the pack. This is a simple and practical solution that helps keep everything snug and tight…but ULA failed to continue this system to the bottom of the pack. Probably to prevent the cord from interrupting the use of the large side pockets…but this could have been overcome by creating a channel for the cord to run through.
Overall I have not found this a significant drawback…as I use the pack more often than not near the maximum capacity of the bag…but the day-pack practicality of the bag would no doubt be significantly improved had the compression system been fully extended.
I have used the Ohm 2.0 for almost a year…comprising of 10 trips in total…with most trips being of the 2-4 day variety. Most recently I used it for a trip on the Adventure Trail near Corydon Indiana…and a 3 day trip through the Shawnee National Forrest with fellow trailspacers Eric + Jefferey + Vince. Though the Shawnee National Forrest trip was wet…it turned out to be rather dry compared to my aptly named Adventure Trail experience…where flashfloods turned my bivy into a water-bed…and supposedly dry creeks into raging torrents that required hours of bush-whacking downstream in search of safer crossings.
On a trip in the spring the Ohm 2.0 fought off continual attacks by rodents who were not at all discouraged by the fact that the pack was suspended in the air…and during a canoe trip in early summer the bag floated for about 3 seconds before plunging downwards during a river crossing in the Ozarks. Through all of the things this bag has seen in the last year…it still looks as good as the day I received it in the mail…the only damage being a small hole ripped in the front mesh crawling under a downed tree….that was easily repaired with a piece of duct-tape.
To be honest I loved the pack since the very first time I packed it full of gear and placed it on my shoulders…as I was immediately impressed with how well it carried…but over time this sentiment has only grown. The additional hip-belt pockets have added significant convenience…as I can take pictures on the go now…and yet I never feel as though the pack has too many pockets…or pockets of a useless size.
Furthermore…as I have learned to fine-tune the pack to my body…I hardly feel the pack when carrying weights of less than 20lbs (my typical pack weight with consumables). Though I picked the pack originally to be a mid-sized choice…it turns out that I find myself tempted to use the Ohm 2.0 for over-nighters (perhaps this winter it might just see such use)…and expanding its use for trips of longer duration…as the pack performed admirably on a seven day trip in the Ozarks (though I feel this might be near the edge of its capacity if you require food every day).
I would conclude by simply stating that the Ohm 2.0 is a great pack…that is probably well-suited for most people who keep their loads on the lighter side of things…and that it is impressive just how much work a person can squeeze out of this one pack!