California-based Mountain Hardwear has been around since 1993 and has been responsible for some of the most notable innovations in the outdoor market, namely welded technology in clothing, windows in tent flies and Windstopper Fleece. One of their latest inventions is “OutDry” technology – basically a construction style that “bonds a waterproof-breathable membrane directly to the shell fabric” according to the company literature. Four of the 28 backpacks the company makes features OutDry technology including the popular Scrambler 30 backpack (which I’ve been using for the past year and absolutely love) as well as the Mountain Hardwear Ozonic 50 OutDry pack I was sent in late June to review.
Since then I’ve hiked with the Ozonic 50 OutDry Pack into the alpine as well as thrown all my rock climbing gear in it to go cragging. The padded waistbelt and vented back and shoulder straps made it extremely comfortable to carry but I found that the 50L size was too small to take all my camping and rock climbing gear into the mountains with me (normally I use a 70L backpack) and it was too big to go cragging with. (Typically I use a 38L pack, which holds my rack, draws and personal gear with the rope draped over the top.) No doubt there will be others who find the 50L size exactly to their liking but it doesn’t cater to the activities I’m interested in. That said, I have yet to take it backcountry ski touring and, given it’s “waterproof” membrane, it just might be perfect for that.
Speaking of which, let’s address the waterproof aspect of this pack. When I think of the term “waterproof,” as it applies to packs, I think about accidentally overturning my canoe and knowing the contents onboard are going to stay dry. To be clear, that will not happen with the Ozonic 50. According to the company this pack was “rain room tested for 24 hours” and it stayed dry but in my mind, weather and water are two different things. Waterproof should mean I’m able to submerge the Ozonic, which I wouldn’t recommend. Granted, the pack is tough and will probably weather a hurricane, but it won’t keep your items dry if you dump it in the lake.
That all said, the 400D HD Nylon material with the OutDry laminate is strong! I’ve dragged this pack across rocks and hucked it into the dirt at the base of climbs and it’s as pristine as it was the day I got it. It may be a bit heavier than other materials but it’s definitely durable. Other aspects I like about the Ozonic 50 are the reinforced gear loops and cinch stays, an under-lid compression strap with flap that helps keep out moisture, the front stash pocket with drainage and the two deep side pockets that swallow 1-litre bottles. I’ve never been a big fan of removable top pockets as they just involve more straps and buckles and sure enough the Ozonic has webbing galore. According to the company, the top can be reversed to offer “maximum weather protection” but I can’t imagine ever using it. A final word about pockets is there isn’t one to hold a water bladder, nor is there a hole to slide a hose through – probably to ensure its water resistance.
Overall I think Mountain Hardwear’s Ozonic 50 Outdry backpack is very good: it’s burly, and comfortable but light, extremely water resistant (but not waterproof as the marketing might have you believe), and it has the right amount of features without overloading you with bells and whistles.
- Watertight OutDry® construction main compartment and seam taped top pocket (rain room tested for 24 hours)
- Customizable HardWave suspension with venting channels
- Seam taped, reversible top pocket offers the choice of easy access (standard) or maximum weather protection (reversed)
- Floating, removable, zippered top pocket with internal security pocket and key clip
- Two side pockets
- Large front stash pocket with drainage
- Fully padded hipbelt with two large zippered pockets (one stretch mesh, one fabric)
- Superb load transfer through a high strength aluminum perimeter stay that locks into hipbelt yet allows slight pivoting for great range of motion
- Offset hipbelt connection allows for precise pull-forward adjustability while moving the buckle off the mid section
- Padded shoulder straps
- Adjustable sternum strap
- Main compartment top closure design allows pack to be used without the top pocket with no compromise in weather protection
- Side compression straps
- Lower webbing accessory straps
- Carry loops for ice axes or trekking poles
- The Good:
- Comfortable to carry with the padded hipbelt and vented shoulder straps. Excellent durability and water resistance. The side, front and hip pockets are great.
Comfortable to carry with the padded hipbelt and vented shoulder straps. Excellent durability and water resistance. The side, front and hip pockets are great.
The Ozonic 50 backpack may be extremely weatherproof and would probably survive a hurricane no problem but despite what the company may say, it is not “waterproof” because you cannot fully submerge it.
I was told I look good in the the “azul” blue colour by a gorgeous woman (my fiancé). Sold.
- Price: US$230.00
- Colour: Azul
- Size: S/M and M/L
- Weight: 1.723kg (3lb 13oz) and 1.73kg (3lb 13oz)
- Volume: 50L
- Fabric: 400D HD Nylon & OutDry waterproofing laminate
To read more of my review about the Mountain Hardwear Ozonic 50 OutDry Pack, log on to the Mountain Culture Group website.