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Photo credit: www.theomm.com

OMM Ultra 8 Marathon pack review

07-Jul-16

Last updated: 24-Oct-18

By Fiona Outdoors

The Ultra 8 race pack forms part of the OMM race collection that also includes 12 and 15 litre pack. This new 8-litre training and race pack is aimed at short/day runs.

Features

  • “LeanWeight” Chassis
  • Yoke harness design
  • Combined chest strap and waist belt
  • Whistle on chest strap
  • Two-way zipped main pocket
  • Smaller zipped top pocket
  • Two mesh side pockets (with attachment for making them smaller)
  • “Universal Gear Rail” for attaching bits and pieces
  • Empty weight: 220g
  • Capacity 8 litres
  • Back length 38cm
  • Fit: Unisex
  • Price: £35

Pros: What’s good about the OMM Ultra 8 Marathon pack

The harness design is aimed at ensuring that the pack stays high and neat against the top of your back.

At first I wasn’t sure how to secure the pack on my back and shoulders. You can follow a good video here:

Once I watched this I found the pack was easy to put on and fairly easy to adjust. You simply slip the combined chest and waist belt over your shoulders, clip together at the front and then pull in the straps from the outside inwards. (If you have used a harness on a child’s car seat or in a buggy recently you’ll know how to work the system!)

Once adjusted to fit, you can move the front shoulder straps to the side of the chest or leave in the middle. As a fairly flat chested woman I wanted the straps at the side where they felt more comfortable.

The harness system does keep the pack in place and I like that the carrying weight of the pack is high on the back, rather than lower down.

The whole pack is very simple and that allows it to hug your back rather than feel disconnected.

When running with the pack it stays neatly in place. There’s very little bounce (if any at all) and it feels super stable.

The pack is lightweight at its most basic and because there is just eight litres of space you can’t carry much in it so it’s never heavy.

I like the simplicity of the pack with one larger zipped pocket and a smaller top pocket, also with a zip, which has a handy hook for keeping, for example, keys safe. Sometimes packs go overboard with pockets and this means I lose things!

The mesh side pockets are clever. You can use them at their widest for a carrying a spare jacket or baselayer or whatever. If you want to keep a water bottle secure and upright you clip together the plastic hook and eye. I think it’s useful to have versatile mesh pockets so you can decide what you carry in them.

There are hooks in the main pocket for fitting an OMM specific water bladder.

There are plenty of places for hanging gear, if that is what you want. I don’t think I’d ever use the so-called Universal Gear Rail but maybe others would so it’s useful to have that and doesn’t add a lot of weight of fuss.

The UK price of £35 is also very good.

Cons: What’s not so good about the OMM Ultra 8 Marathon pack

If you have a big chest, especially as a woman, the front straps of the harness set up might well be uncomfortable. I was able to adjust them to be fairly comfortable but I do not have a big chest.

I also found that if the harness was adjusted too tightly it compressed my rib cage and made breathing feel quite confined. You need to play around with the adjustments to get it just right.

I think it would be good to have different sized packs to fit different sized people. Although, saying that, this pack fits me well. I just wonder if it is suitable for small woman through to large guys.

It would be great if there was a universal style of hook that could be used for all types of bladders, not just the OMM specific water bladder.

The back system can make you sweaty. This does happen with a lot of race packs but there is no attempt, apart from the pack being lightweight, to address the sweaty back situation. The thin fabric covered foam back sits flat against your back, and that’s that.

Conclusion

Make sure the pack fits your chest area before buying it. If it does – and you like the system of a small pack sitting higher on your back–  you’ll enjoy this pack. It is a pared down, no-fuss pack with a secure fitting system.

The pack is also cheap, although that could be because it’s so simple. If you prefer a more sophisticated pack you’ll need to pay more but you will get more pockets and technical details. You’ll need to look at other brands for this though because OMM sell simple packs that they are proud of.

If you have a large chest, especially if you’re  woman, you might not find the pack very comfortable.

Score  
Design 8/10
Features 6/10
Performance 8/10
Value 9/10
Total 7.75/10


Other packs you may want to consider:

OMM Ultra 15
Inov-8 Race Ultra 5
Inov-8 Race Ultra 10
Salomon Advanced Skin 12
Ultimate Direction SJ Ultra Vest 2.0
Osprey Rev 18 

All images unless stated: Fiona Outdoors.

About the writer: Fiona is a keen runner, preferring off-road and hilly to flat and road. She lives in Scotland where the weather is fickle so needs to be prepared for all conditions.

Have you used the OMM Ultra 8 Marathon pack? Don’t agree with this review? What’s your opinion? Add your own comment to this review and share your experience and passion for running with others.

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Review OMM Ultra 8 Marathon pack review

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