It is our experience that Kulkea makes some of the best-built, most durable, and smartest designed bags on the market, and the OTRmost Hydration Backpack continues that tradition. Leave it to Kulkea to take an established design -- the hiking and biking daypack -- and reinvent it. Not only did Kulkea improve the daypack by adding its own design cues and high levels of quality and durability, but the company might have made its own Micro Pack obsolete. Introduced a few years ago, the Micro Pack was Kulkea’s first foray from traditional ski and boot bag designs into the world of daypacks; you can see reviews HERE and HERE. The only shortcoming that left us thirsty for more was the lack of hydration integration.
As usual, Kulkea has not short-changed the bag with regard to compartments. Starting at the top and working down, the LensArmor semi-hard sunglass case has a spot not only for sunglasses but also for additional lenses; this is a feature I would like to see incorporated in its Trekker boot bag collection. This “XTRA Space” compartment is also nice and deep so you can carry a multitude of other items such as power snacks or even a light lunch. The compartment also extends over the Tri-wrap reservoir support where the HydraPak is contained. Depending on how much space you are using, the volume of this flex pocket can be controlled with four straps. Next to it is a sleeve for a bike pump. About halfway up the pack, two loops on either side are cleverly placed for attaching a bike or climbing helmet. What is well thought out here is that the chin strap on the helmet attaches between the breathable control panels on the back ... pretty ingenious. Speaking of the breathable panel on the back, there is a great hidden pocket behind it for ID, extra cash, or whatever flat items you need to carry with you.
Don’t order yet: I didn’t tell you about the rain cover cleverly hidden in the bottom of the bag, a feature I probably will never use in the high desert of Nevada but a thoughtful addition for other parts of the country. There is also a spot for a rear light and loops for hiking poles. This bag has everything!
Now that we know about its features, how does it work in the real world? Well, this will be a two-part review. The first part will cover its use for mountain biking, and the second will discuss its application for hiking when I visit Alaska later this summer. In typical Kulkea fashion, there are almost too many compartments -- not that it is a design flaw, but it can be a flaw in user application, because stuff tends to expand into whatever space that it can. I immediately start filling all the nooks and crannies with stuff, then I ended up backing things out. Comfort-wise, Kulkea did an awesome job with venting. One of the things that @Andy Mink didn’t like about the Micro Pack was that it sits right on your back. The OTRmost solves that issue: not only does your back breathe well, but both the shoulder and waist strap are also well ventilated.
- Who is it for? Those looking for a daypack to use for a multitude of outdoor activities.
- Who is it not for? Pack rats who can't control themselves; you can leave the kitchen sink at home.
- Color Options: Solar Yellow, Electric Blue, Racing Red