The only experience I’ve had with water hydration packs was while sharing one with a few friends hiking in the Tongass National Forest near Juneau, Alaska. We were saving the water in my water bottles for cooking, since it would be easier to manage once we got to camp. The hose leaked, the mouth piece was chewed up, and I questioned the last time it was cleaned. I didn’t let it ruin the amazingness of the hike, but it did leave a bad taste in my mouth.
I recently started researching water bladders and hydration packs in an effort to free up space, and cut weight. Thanks to great advice from some #hikerchat friends on twitter, I ordered an Oasis 1100 from Teton Sports. The first thing to point out is the level of quality that you get for the price. Had I been given the pack to test prior to purchasing it, I would have expected it to cost close to double what I paid for it, especially since the 70 oz. water bladder was included.I’ve taken the Oasis on a few hikes through the Sourland Mountain Preserve in Somerset County, NJ and have been really pleased with it so far. Loaded up with water, snacks, extra layers, and GoPro accessories, the Oasis was nothing but comfortable over the 20 miles or so I’ve had it out.
The Oasis is a smart backpack. No, I’m not talking about GPS beacons, touch-screens, or data plans; but a well thought out (smart) product. The 1100 cubic inch hydration pack’s pockets are designed to allow you to fill the 70 ounce bladder and still use the other compartments with ease. Unfortunately, you can’t always assume that you will be able to use all features of a product simultaneously (I’ve used other packs that boast multiple compartments, but when pockets compete with each other for space, it really doesn’t matter how many there are.) Luckily, that wasn’t the case with Teton’s Oasis and I was able to access all of my gear even with the bladder full.
My favorite part of the Oasis pack was the perfectly sized, and elasticized, granola bar pockets. I take my trail snacks very seriously, and can rest assured that my granola bars are secure should I need to access something else in this pocket.
Dual exits from the bladder pocket allows both righties and lefties to rehydrate on the trail with ease. The mouthpiece is easy to use, doesn’t taste funny, and is 100% beard compatible. The loops on the top of the ventilated shoulder straps keep the hose in front of you; out of the way but easy to reach. Bonus feature: that orange part of the chest strap clip is an emergency whistle!
Overall, the Oasis 1100 is a great day pack, and could easily be used for a lightly packed overnight bag. I’m still exploring the features of the bag and will report in if (when) I need to use the integrated rainfly. For more information about the Oasis 1100 and other Teton Sports products: head over to http://www.tetonsports.com – or send them a tweet @TETONsports and tell them @kevinspocket sent you.