I mentioned that I was going to write a review of this rucksack but as I have only used it on day trips so far this is a purely first impressions one.
The biggest selling point for me is the fact that you can fold down a ¾ length Thermarest and replace the PlatFormat back support that comes with the bag. How effective the Thermarest is as an alternative to the much stiffer and stay reinforced PlatFormat remains to be seen but I’m hopeful that it will do the job. Replacing the pad reduces the weight of the bag, and as you use the pocket for the back support it tucks neatly away freeing up space in the main compartment that the mattress would’ve taken up.
Other key features include the two hip belt pockets that have a key clip each. They will swallow six 50g cereal bars a piece. And if you don’t use them for stashing food the key clips can be used to for securing keys (obviously) or other valuable kit that have lanyards attached.
The lid pocket can be opened whilst still wearing the rucksack although how useful this aspect is I’m not so sure but I guess that depends on what gets stowed there. There’s another key clip and the usual twin daisy chain for attaching crampons. The only downside is that the pocket is too small to hold a map.
There’s an internal bladder pocket with ports both left and right that will hold a 2L platypus. And for those who prefer to use water bottles there are two mesh side pockets that are easily reached and will hold a 1L bottle. Alternatively as they have bungee closures they could be used for stashing even more cereal bars or other bits and pieces that you may want to get your hands on throughout the day. There is also another bladder pocket on the side that is accessed with a side entry zip, I can’t see the benefit of this given the other options but others might. I have found the pocket a useful parking place for items like tent pegs and zip access to the main compartment is useful.
The ice tool retaining straps can be removed to save weight when not in use. As can the top compression/retaining cord if not required. This cord can be rigged to help hold a tent or rolled mat on the top of the main compartment under the lid. But it doesn’t seem substantial enough to me to hold in place a climbing rope however.
Another detachable item is the MSC (multi sports compressor) it’s a compression panel that has a mesh pocket (with yet another key clip) that can be used to stash items behind it like a helmet, snow shovel, and the alike.
The beauty of this bag is that it can be modified to suit your needs, and to illustrate this there is a thirteen page PDF product manual that can be downloaded from the OMM website that goes through the various options of reducing weight or modifying the bag for carrying skis, ice tools and other kit.
A very favourable impression of the Villain and I’m looking forward to loading it up and seeing how the bag performs on a trip or two.