Outdoor Products designs reasonably priced gear for everything from family camping to urban commuting. Their 40L Gama Pack has served me well all summer long, surviving numerous day hikes, travel, short weekend backpacking trips, and hours outside shooting photos.
Made from durable polyester, the Outdoor Products Gama Backpack
features a roomy main zippered compartment with a sleeve for either your 2L hydration reservoir or laptop. Exits on both sides enable you to choose on which strap you would prefer to wear your hydration hose.
A further front zipper pocket houses an organization panel that is great for storing your phone, iPod, wallet, small gear items, or even photo accessories when using the pack for day hiking or traveling. You can store sunglasses, snacks, your camera, and other easy access items in the top lid zipper pocket, as there are no pockets on the hipblet, meaning you have to remove your pack whenever you want to get something.
Two zippered side pockets are not exactly water bottle friendly (although a Vapur Element fits nicely) but great for storing extra gear. A couple of D-rings on the outside of the pack offer up some extra attachment points and can be useful for stowing your helmet on your bike commute. By strapping your tent to the bottom of the Gama Pack, you can easily use the pack for a short backcountry weekend. These straps also come in handy for stowing your tripod when out for the day shooting photos.
For added comfort, the Gama Pack uses an extra padded hipbelt and shoulder straps. To shave some weight off the pack's 3lb 6oz., you can remove the hipbelt if you are just using it as a lightweight daypack or when traveling. Full sliding sternum strap adjusters are nice to help accommodate different size torsos and even genders, while a padded mesh backpanel helps with cooling and comfort.
My one tiny grievance with the Gama Pack is the amount of buckles on the front. You need to undo three separate buckles just to access the front zipper pocket. I guess this design provides a nice extra level of security for your valuables if you are using the pack to travel, but as a daypack or for backpacing, the buckles are more of an annoyance. I almost wish Outdoor Products would do away with the front stash pouch in order to remove some buckles, even if it is handy for storing maps or dirty clothes.
Bottom Line: The very reasonably priced Gama makes a great basic pack, versatile enough for use on day hikes, weekend camping trips, or travel.
The Outdoor Products Gama Backpack
retails for $60-$76 and is available now.