OMM Villain Pack Review
I previously owned the OMM Mountain mover, the Giant Jaffa. I spent a few months umming and aahhing to buy it, with the only negative point being the colour. I bought it, and i was quite pleased. It did the job, but it was cavernous. Far too big for the kind of trips i was doing. I also started to hate the lid closure system. Basically no more than thin string with a toggle the size and thickness of a 5p piece.
First worry i had was the pack’s capacity. Packed it last night with tent, sleeping bag and most of the bulky items and there’s a load of free space. All i’m going to need to fit in there is a fleece and food, with a bit of spare space to pack my camera and windproof if i dont need t wear it. There are even some nifty side pockets where you can access the inside of the pack, though i’m not sure how useful they will be?
The lid pocket on the pack is better shaped too than the Mountain Mover, as are the side mesh pockets. They are made of a softer mesh that has a bit more give in it, but the full length mesh pockets are absent in this model and i think i’ll miss them. There’s a handy zipped pocket on the compression system too, ideal for maps or a bit of chocolate. Not to forget the pockets in the waist band too, for items you need to hand during the day. Chocolate tends to melt when kept in them though and they aren’t big enough for an OS map but a Harvey’s will squeeze in. Hopefully my GPS will fit into one too.
Weightwise, the pack isn’t exceptionally lightweight. According to the OMM website, the pack weighs 1160g. If i remove the backpadding like i used to on the Mountain Mover, then i’m sure the weight will be similar. I’m not reducing my overall packweight, but i am hopefully getting a pack more suitable to my needs.
Another place i think the pack scores well is on the straps. I found the previous straps far too minimal and caused discomfort under my armpits. These are far more substantial and as far i can tell, very comfortable. You can also adjust the straps much more than previous models, and i found the hipbelt was actually on my hips. Yes, probably down to the personal fit of the pack, but that’s all i can comment on. Theres some clips under the lid and a strap that you can use to fix ropes, or i can see being perfect for stowing my Paramos when not in use.
I will be trying the pack out the coming weekend all being well. If i don’t, then i’m not due out again till August due to my impending wedding. I can see how well it performs in the field, whether i use the gizmos on it and whether using it with the back padding in place will be more comfortable than using my sleeping mat as back padding. I’ll take some photos too.
Used it in the Moelwynion on the weekend and it is much more comfortable than the older models by OMM. It is quite tall and narrow, but that”s something i”m not used to – but i think i”ll get to like.
I do miss the side pockets and straps were slightly lower to keep the water bottles in their pockets. Plus, the side pocket to access the inside of the pack wasn”t useful this time. However, I realised that after putting a pack liner in and then, of course, opening the zip was of little use. I may put my new Montane Prism jacket there in a drybag as I”m always moaning that I can”t get to my warmwear as it”s under so-and-so.
I really like the closure on the pack too. it”s nothing special really, just so much better than the string on the old Mountain Mover. The Universal Gear Rail – basically a large open mesh pocket on the front of the pack that can be used to stow anything from skis, to rubbish bag, to wet tent and waterproofs – is very very handy. It also has a little pocket on it which is perfect for my site centred OS map or Harveys, but a little cramped for a full laminated OS.
Verdict – Excellent light pack, not the lightest but you choose. Do you want a pack that”s comfortable and carries well, or a ”really” light one that”s not so good at the packing? It”s also very durable (well, i can”t test that in a weekend, but i know the fabric is tough from the older model), which it has to be as most of my overnight trips involve mountain days that would shred a lesser pack.