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Ultralight Adventure Equipment Ohm 2.0 Review

The ULA Ohm 2.0 was one of our favorite packs with its comfortable waist belt, large side pockets, and a volume that is just right for ultralight backpacking.
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Price:  $210 List
Pros:  Carries both light and heavier loads in comfort, large side pockets, very durable construction
Cons:  Relatively heavy, delicate carbon frame rods
Manufacturer:   ULA
By Brandon Lampley ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jan 31, 2016
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77
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#3 of 12
  • Weight-to-Volume Ratio - 35% 7
  • Comfort to Carry - 25% 9
  • Features - 20% 8
  • Adaptability - 10% 7
  • Durability - 10% 7

The Skinny

Ultralight Adventure Equipment produces a number of the top backpacks used by hikers on the Appalachian Trail. We were thoroughly impressed by the performance of the ULA Ohm 2.0. The Ohm is one of the company's lower volume packs and is perfectly sized for experienced ultralight backpackers. This high-performing back is ideal for 15 and 30-pound loads. It also has a great set of features, including larger-than-average side pockets and hip belt pockets.

While the Ohm 2.0 finished towards the top of the fleet, the Gossamer Gear Mariposa was ultimately our Editors' Choice Award winner. Following closely behind, we find the Gossamer Gear Gorilla's frame is both more robust and easier to remove if desired. In addition, we prefer the Gorilla's choice for distributing external storage. It has a large, stretchy main pocket; a superior top closure; and a removable foam back panel, all of which are superior features compared to the Ohm 2.0.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

The ULA Ohm 2.0 earned our second highest overall score due to the ability to comfortably carry a variety of loads, very durable fabrics, and a good set of features.

How to Get It:
Ultralight Adventure Equipment packs are not widely available and are best ordered directly from the small manufacturer in Logan, UT. That said, ULA packs are available in some small backpacking outfitters. Sage to Summit in Bishop, CA, and Mountain Crossings on the Appalachian Trail in Georgia are a couple of examples we know of.
Get it online at: ULA-Equipment.com.

Performance Comparison


The Ohm is one of only two packs we judged 'Great' for both 15 and 30 pound loads. Here  Brandon is out and about in the Mummy Range of RMNP looking over the Continental Divide.
The Ohm is one of only two packs we judged 'Great' for both 15 and 30 pound loads. Here, Brandon is out and about in the Mummy Range of RMNP looking over the Continental Divide.

Weight-to-Volume Ratio


Most packs from smaller manufacturers are available with mix and match sizing options, and this is true for the Ohm 2.0. We tested the medium pack and belt with S-curve straps.

Weight Bottom Line:
Total Weight with all modular components = 2 lb 1.7 oz
Pack stripped of components = 1 lb 4.4 oz
Frame Rod = 1.4 oz
Foam Pad = 1.0 oz
Waist Belt= 8.6 oz
Hand Loops= .9 oz
Hydration Pocket= .7 oz
Wallet Pocket= .7 oz

The Ohm 2.0 has quite a few modular parts - more than other contenders. The waist belt is notably heavy, with large pockets and ample padding.


We Measured Volume:
Total Volume = 48 L
Main Bag = 41 L
Front Pocket = 2 L
Side Pockets = 5 L

Our total weight listed above is every single modular component included with this competitor. For weight-to-volume calculations, we used a total weight that does not include the hand loops or removable internal pockets. We believe most weight conscious users will choose to leave these parts at home the majority of the time. Comparatively, the ULA Circuit measured a max ratio of 15 g/L and a stripped measurement of 9 g/L. The Circuit has a more substantial overall carrying capacity with a similar weight, which gave it a lower ratio. Also, compared to the Ohm's full configuration, the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Windrider 3400 has a much better weight-to-volume ratio.

Load Carrying Comfort


This pack excels at 15 and 30 lbs loads. Along with the Editors' Choice award-winning Mariposa and the Gorilla, the Ohm is one of only three packs that received a "Great" in both load categories. That said, we found the Osprey Exos 48, and the Gorilla and Mariposa were more comfortable with 30 pounds.

It was a little more difficult to fit our winter load into this pack compared to the Gossamer Gear Gorilla. The side pockets are larger  but the Ohm's main pocket doesn't stretch to hold as much clothing and gear.
It was a little more difficult to fit our winter load into this pack compared to the Gossamer Gear Gorilla. The side pockets are larger, but the Ohm's main pocket doesn't stretch to hold as much clothing and gear.

Features


ULA's designers seem to be torn on the feature set they want to provide. Aside from the permanently attached external pockets and hip pockets, the rest of the feature set, including the side compression cords, are removable. Some folks will be happy with all these removable features. They make it more customizable pack than one like the HMG with a permanent set of simple features.

This simple frame pack includes a removable internal foam back pad and a simple drawstring closure for the main bag. Unlike other models with a large central exterior pocket, the Ohm's is one of the smallest, and it's not stretchy. It also tapers in at the bottom where the huge pack fabric side pockets meet it. The hip belt pockets on this pack are huge, nearly twice the volume of others. Large enough, in fact, we found they could get in the way of our arms swing when filled to capacity.

Four buckles tighten the oversized waist belt at the sides adjacent to the pockets; a system shared with the ZPacks Arc Blast 55. We prefer a more straightforward system like the ones found on the Gorilla or Exos. Rather than compression webbing, this pack uses 2mm cord that zig-zags up the sides of the contender. Two loops with cord locks up top and on bottom center below the main exterior pocket provide options for stowing poles or an ice axe.

The Ohm also features an internal removable hydration bladder pocket and has left and right ports to route the drinking hose over either shoulder. Also, a small detachable zipper pocket can secure your valuables. Large D-rings up high on the shoulder strap provide attachment for the removable hand loops, and a set of two bungee loops with cord locks provide attachment points on both shoulder straps. The sternum strap buckle does not include a whistle.

Durable side pockets and huge hip belt pockets are featured on this pack. We found the hip belt pockets large enough to be in the way if fully loaded.
Durable side pockets and huge hip belt pockets are featured on this pack. We found the hip belt pockets large enough to be in the way if fully loaded.

Adaptability


While we described the Ohm as one of the packs relatively easy to strip down to no frame and hip belt, it is far more difficult to remove and re-install its frame than it is on the Gorilla. The Ultralight Adventure Equipment Circuit is a larger pack overall, making it a better option for those looking to use a bear can with the pack frequently.

We found the Ohm "just OK" for fitting a BV500 bear canister inside. If you commonly need to carry a bearproof canister, we suggest one of the larger ULA models.

The two adjustable loops up top are perfect for stowing trekking poles if you want to put them away for long stretches.
The two adjustable loops up top are perfect for stowing trekking poles if you want to put them away for long stretches.

Durability


This pack earned one of the highest durability scores we awarded. Both the pack fabric and attention to detail in construction are top notch. Ultralight Adventure Equipment is a small company that hand-makes their packs in the U.S., and they seem to pay attention to detail at every stage. We do have one primary durability concern, and that is the carbon rod frame. You don't want to sit on this pack when loaded or haphazardly toss it around when traveling. When we removed the frame for stripped down testing, we noticed one end of the carbon rod had some splintering, and the other was missing its sealing plug.

The ends of the carbon frame rod after removal from the Ohm. One is missing the reinforcing plug and the other shows some splintering of the carbon. While overall this pack is very durable  we would love to see a more durable simple frame.
The ends of the carbon frame rod after removal from the Ohm. One is missing the reinforcing plug and the other shows some splintering of the carbon. While overall this pack is very durable, we would love to see a more durable simple frame.

Best Applications


The ULA Ohm 2.0 is a top notch pack suited for experienced thru-hikers and weekend warriors, alike. We fit a 25 pound winter time load without a problem, and it carries lighter loads equally well. This pack has the largest hip pockets of any we tested and large side pockets as well. If you're seeking the most hip and side storage available, the Ohm is the obvious choice.

Value


At $210 retail, this pack is one of the more affordable top scorers in our review. As long as you don't break the carbon frame rod, this pack will last for many thousands of miles.

Conclusion


The ULA Ohm 2.0 earned one of the highest overall scores in our review of ultralight backpacks. It does an excellent job carrying a variety of loads and is built with very durable fabric. That said, in the same weight and price range, we feel the Gossamer Gear Gorilla is a better pack overall.

Taking in the view down to the Colorado River near Fruita  Colorado. This is a great pack  but we prefer the Gossamer Gear Gorilla's feature set.
Taking in the view down to the Colorado River near Fruita, Colorado. This is a great pack, but we prefer the Gossamer Gear Gorilla's feature set.

Sizing, Accessories, & Other Versions


There are a number of options when purchasing the Ohm 2.0: four main bag sizes depending on your torso length, five waist belt sizes, and a choice of three colors for the 210D pack fabric, or two colors in a burlier Cordura 500 fabric. In addition, you have the choice of two different styles of shoulder straps. Guidance for sizing and options can be found here.

The Ultralight Adventure Equipment Circuit is a larger volume cousin with a very similar design. It both carries heavier loads in more comfort and more easily accepts a bear canister.


Brandon Lampley