Katabatic Gear Backpack Review

Onni V40 – 50L BackpackKatabatic OminV40 Backpack Test | Photo Mike Hardaker Mountain Weekly News

The Katabatic Gear Onni 50 is a lightweight pack built for day hiking and quick overnight backpacking trips.  Founded in 2007, Colorado-based Katabatic Gear started by making quilts for the backcountry and has now expanded into a full line of backpacks, sleeping bags and bivys.

50L Capacity

Backpacking Yellowstone

Mike Hardaker Backpacking in Yellowstone with the Katabatic Gear Backpack | Photo Mountain Weekly News

The first time I packed the Katabatic Gear Onni 50L Backpack I found myself struggling to fit all the gear I needed inside. Finally, I decided to test this backpack out to see just how well it would hold during a couple overnight backpacking trips through Yellowstone National Park.

With a 50L capacity, I was able to stuff my 0 Degree sleeping bag inside the main compartment of the backpack, and not much else.  When I tried this with my -20 sleeping bag it would not fit inside the backpack.  However, the Katabatic Gear Onni V40  did have plenty of room for a 25-degree sleeping bag.

So depending on what you plan to carry this pack may or may not work for you.

Backpack Inside

Inside the Mike Hardaker Backpacking in Yellowstone with the Katabatic Gear Backpack | Photo Mountain Weekly News

When packed with the O degree bag on the inside of the backpack, about 75% of the space was taken up. The full frame style allows for easy carrying of the pack, however, it limits the amount of width on the inside of the backpack.  See the photo above, it’s about as wide as a Nalgene bottle.

With a roll-top closure, you can stuff even more gear inside the pack towards the top.  This worked perfectly to access to stuff you might need on the fly like a headlamp, extra layers and more. The pack is designed with a magnetic closure, although it was only noticed when looking up the pack for this review.  The magnetic closure could be beefed up a bit.

Katabatic Onni V40 Features

Water Bottle Sleeve for Backpack

Water Bottle Sleeve | Photo Mike Hardaker Mountain Weekly News

One of the best features of this backpack is the wide water bottle sleeves located on both sides of the pack.  Bottles can easily be slid and out with ease, including full-size Nalgene Bottles. I used one side to store water and the other pocket to hold bug spray and sunscreen.

One of the issues I had with this backpack was trying to get my tent inside.  Finally, I opted for a solo tent and just attached it to the outside of the Onni V40 which worked perfectly.  On the outside of the backpack, there is a huge mesh pocket that is almost as big as the main compartment of the pack.  The mesh compartment fit my stove, fuel, food, and snacks easily and best of all they were super easy to pull out when I got hungry.

I did notice the backpack rubbed my shoulder raw after a couple of days of backpacking.  Even with a lighter load than I normally take. Everyone’s shoulders are different in size, bone structure and such. Keep that in mind when buying any backpack, especially online.

On the backside of the backpack, Katabatic added a mesh back panel that’s not only comfortable it’s super breathable.  The only downside to the design is it will easily pick up pine needles and small debris trapping between the mesh lining and the backpack.

Overall Impression

Day Hike above Jackson Wyoming

Roll Top Design | Photo Mike Hardaker Mountain Weekly News

Who is this backpack designed for?  Day hikers and quick overnighters.  When ordering a backpack from Katabatic Gear you can choose to have waist belt pockets or not.  I always opt for the pockets as its the perfect place to store emergency supplies like a phone, fire starters, compass, personal locator beacon, snacks and a whole lot more, these pockets are deep.

One of the last things I really appreciate on the Katabatic Gear Onni V40 – 50L  was the shoulder strap gear tethers.  The gear tethers are the perfect place to attach a can of bear spray.  You can also attach a second can of bear spray into the water bottle sleeves as well.

One of the more durable, if not most durable backpacks I tested this year is hands down the Katabatic Gear Onni V40 – 50L. Made with 420D Nylon designed by the military for Paratroopers. The material needed to be lightweight and most importantly not to hang up as the Paratroopers exited the plane.  This stuff is bomber.

Backpacking Backpack Settup

Backpacking Loaded for Backpacking | Photo Mike Hardaker Mountain Weekly News

For a durable, reliable backpack to use for day hikes and short overnight backpacking trips. Be sure to keep the Katabatic Gear Onni V40 – 50L on your radar.

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About the Author

Mike Hardaker
Mike Hardaker grew up surfing and snowboarding in Orange County and followed his love of surfing to Hawaii before eventually moving to the mountains to concentrate on snowboarding. He went on to found Mountain Weekly News based in Jackson, Wyoming.

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