Black Diamond Octane Pack Review
Though finding a good daypack may seem easy from an outsiders viewpoint, there are often a number of factors that go into finding the right daypack for you. With daypacks ranging from $10 at Walmart to upwards of $200, there are a number of features that differentiate the good from the bad. We’ve been testing out the Black Diamond Octane on a number of long and short day hikes in the Rocky Mountains. With a capacity of 28L for a size medium and a 30L capacity for a size large, we were able to fit all of our day hiking gear with us and had some room to spare.
It is one thing to make a pack that has a large load capacity and another thing to make a pack that can comfortably handle a large load capacity. Black Diamond has come out with all the stops when it comes to supporting the capacity of the Octane backpack. For starters, the Octane has a beefy hip belt that moves with the motion of your hips while hiking. This feature is attributed to the hipbelt pivoting from the lower center section of the pack, allowing the pack to adjust to all the twist and turns you can throw at it. To get a snug fit around your hips, you can use the pull straps on the hipbelt to get an exact fit.
To give the Octane a personalized fit on your shoulders, it come with load lifters that are pull straps on the top of the shoulder straps allowing you to distribute the weight of the pack to different parts of your body. When out for long hikes, I like to be able to distribute the weight from my shoulders to my hips on and off, giving each a rest. To keep the pack from sloshing around from side to side, the Octane has a sternum strap with an attached whistle in case of an emergency.
It terms of the Octane’s storage capacity, it comes with two hip belt pockets for smaller items such as a camera, cell phone or bar. On the side of the pack are two stretch mesh pockets that are great for holding water bottles, dog leashes, or a light windshirt. On the outside of the middle of the pack, there is a large adjustable stretch mesh pocket that can hold larger jackets, food items, shoes, helmets, or other large items you want easy access to. Also for easy access, the Octane zips down about halfway down the backpack, making it a cinch to get things in and out of it, bladder compartment included. And for other small personal items, there is a small zippered compartment on top.
The Black Diamond Octane is made with 400 rip-stop denier nylon and 400 denier nylon twill to help reduce weight, while still keeping the pack durable. With an internal frame sheet, the Octane will keep your back from doing all the work on long day hikes, but it can be a little heavy for shorter day hikes. Pricing in at $139 retail, this pack is on the higher price point side which might scare some away, but if you plan to use this pack for more than the occasional day hike, you will get your money’s worth.