Gear review: Original Mountain Marathon Classic 32 pack

 photo 11949322_1639281872950605_7316460994171705435_n_zpsktufayww.jpg
Mum bought me an Original Mountain Marathon Classic 32 pack for my birthday in 2013. I chose it from an online retailer after conducting a heap of research about trail running packs. The bag wasn’t available in Australia at that time so I had to take a punt on an online product sight unseen. And I am glad that I did. This bag packs a lot of punch for it’s tiny 700g weight.

I have been using my OMM Classic 32 for trail running, day walks, paddling, adventure racing and backpack traveling. And it’s stood up to everything I’ve thrown at it so far. The fabric is lightweight, so I do not recommend coming too close to it with scissors or a knife. I know because I accidentally cut a hole in my pack within a fortnight of buying it. I haven’t done anything to repair the hole and it hasn’t spread at all. Currently (as visible in the photo above) I am carrying everything I need for a full month traveling Indonesia in the pack including my laptop and a spare pair of flip flops.

What I like about this pack:

  • It’s lightweight (700g) so I don’t lose any of my carry on allowance to the pack itself.
  • It has a handy removable foam pad inside that works well as an emergency sleeping mat or as something soft to sit on.
  • It has a handy external pockets. On the lid is great for sunglasses so they don’t get scratched. On the sides for drink bottles. And on the front for those things you need access to or don’t want in your pack (like flip flops or wet clothes).
  • It has a comfortable waist band with pockets on each side so I use them for my phone (which I use as a camera) and wallet).
  • It has a simple design so no space is wasted with multiple compartments. There’s just a nice big open area in the pack for gear.

Who do I recommend this pack to? Anyone looking for something simple, light and comfortable for hiking, traveling and adventure racing / rogaining.

Gear review: The Scrubba washing bag

I have resisted writing gear reviews on my blog until now. In the past week, I’ve had three requests for information about the gear that I use. One reason I resisted was because I didn’t see myself as sufficiently experienced to comment on travel gear. But after a little over a year of adventure travel, I have started to work out what I like and dislike about my kit. I will only write gear reviews periodically when the inspiration takes me. Usually if I am having an “OMG I can’t live without this item” moment or if I am having an “I wish I hadn’t wasted money on this” moment. So here’s my first gear review.

Scrubba wash bagThe Scrubba washing bag

Paul bought me a Scrubba washing bag after seeing it on the Shark Tank television show. I had been hesitant about the relatively high price tag ($AU64.95) for what looked like a luxury product. But let me tell you, it has been an amazing addition to my kit list and I doubt I will ever travel without it.

What it is

The Scrubba is essentially a dry bag with a washboard built into it and instructions for use printed on the outside. You put your clothes, water (to a marked fill line depending on volume of your load) and washing powder or liquid into the bag. You then roll down the opening and clip it closed (just like a regular dry bag). There is a valve you can use to release excess air from the bag. Then you place the bag on the ground and use your hands to rub / swish the clothes around for 30 seconds – 3 minutes depending on your preference. Open the bag, drain the filthy water from it and fill it with clean water for the rinse cycle. I find it takes 2-3 rinse cycles to get the detergent and grime out of the clothes properly.

The pros

The Scrubba is easy to use, lightweight, robust and practical. I store my dirty socks and underwear in it to keep them separate from my clean clothes until I am ready to wash them. No more trying to wash travel clothes in small or grotty sinks or shower cubicles. I just use my bag. It takes 5-10 minutes a load, so its faster than finding a laundromat. The bag comfortably washes two changes of clothes.

The cons

The bag does leak a bit so don’t do this on your hotel room or tent floor; take it to a bathroom or outdoor area that can get wet. I haven’t found any other issues with the bag.

My verdict

A must have item for any traveler, whether you are staying in hotels, hostels or a tent.